Term Paper: Theories of Organization Dynamics and Development Information Technology (IT)

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¶ … Organization Dynamics & Development it

The Breadth Component - Organizational Culture and Leadership

This study examines a spectrum of organizational culture and leadership, organizational change, and system-wide organizational development theories with a focus on the underlying methods of achieving performance excellence in a university entity. To this end, the objectives of this study are to: (a) analyze various theoretical foundations associated with system-wide organizational development, organizational culture and leadership, and organizational change, including those theories of Schein, Bennis and Mische, Binney and Williams, Birnbaum, Davidow and Carr, examining the exigencies of the major theories discussed in their writings; and to (b) integrate the disparities among theories to form a comprehensive view of achieving performance excellence in a higher education organization. A summary of the research and salient findings are presented in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Organizational Culture and Leadership.

As never before in history, organizations of all types and sizes are confronted with the opportunities and challenges that go hand-in-hand with competing in an increasingly globalized marketplace. As Carr and Hard (1995) emphasize, "Today, organizations big and small, public and private, domestic and global... find themselves in an era of paradigm shift when a set of assumptions no longer applies and must be replaced. The recent remapping of the world, the emergence of new players on the global scene, and the explosion of technology have created new circumstances to which organizations are learning to adapt" (p. 3). While the body of evidence concerning the impact of organizational culture and leadership style on company performance continues to grow and be refined, there are some aspects of organizational development that have achieved relative consensus among human resources authorities, including what organizational culture is in general terms. According to Risher (2007), "At this point, the notion of an organizational culture is generally understood. Perhaps the simplest and most practical definition is 'the way things get done around here.' A more academic but still practical definition is 'the collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with contacts outside the organization'" (p. 25). Today, one of the most challenging aspects of understanding how organizational culture and leadership can affect a company's performance and profitability is why some approaches work in some settings just fine while they may fail miserably in others, even with everything being equal otherwise. In his book, Management Fads in Higher Education: Where They Come From, What They Do, Why They Fail, Birnbaum (2000) provides a useful conceptualization concerning the success and failures of different management approaches that illustrates some current trends in academic leadership. According to Fife (2003), "Those who believe that the loosely coupled, semicontrolled, anarchical nature of higher education institutions is the most appropriate form of organizational structure for this education enterprise will find great pleasure and solace. Those who believe there are alternative organizational structures will be greatly disturbed" (p. 469).

According to Birnbaum, a so-called "management fad" is "a management innovation that is introduced with exaggerated zeal, receives brief popularity and modest success, but, because it is incompatible with the organizational culture, is never fully absorbed and is eventually rejected, as a body would finally reject a foreign matter" (p. 469). Regrettably, many otherwise potentially useful management approaches have been discarded in favor of yet the next "management fad du jour" without ever having used these approaches properly or without providing them with the requisite time needed to realize any benefits. As Ashkenas (1994) emphasizes, "Like moths to a flame, many North American managers have been inexorably drawn to the magic of the quick fix -- the exciting new program or management approach that promises fast results and competitive advantage. Unfortunately, all too many of these managers become burned rather than brightened, wasting untold corporate resources while diverting their people from more productive endeavors" (p. 25). In this regard, Birnbaum identifies seven recent management innovations that he believes satisfy this definition: (a) Planning, Programming, Budgeting Systems (PPBS); (b) Management by Objectives (MBO); - Strategic Planning; (d) Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB); (e) Benchmarking; (f) Total Quality Management (TQM) and (g) Business Process Reengineering, which are described further in Table 1 below.

Table 1.

Overview of recent management fads.

Management Fad

Description

Planning, Programming, Budgeting Systems (PPBS)

PPBS was concerned with creating a more rational approach at the beginning or input stage of a process by linking planning based on program priorities with budgeting. It was seen as a solution to the historically based, incremental budgeting systems (called Ur-Management by the author) that rarely questioned the appropriateness of a budget and had as a basic assumption that more money would solve any problem (Birnbaum).

Management by Objectives (MBO)

MBO attempted to bring some control to an organization's output or what an organization should actually be doing by identifying and holding people accountable for specific objectives or outcomes (Birnbaum).

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning came into existence because existing planning techniques primarily focused internally on an organization's priorities and did not take into consideration how external events might also affect an organization.

Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB)

The underlying assumption of ZBB was that both PPBS and MBO blindly accepted an organization's existing priorities. ZBB required that budget priorities and assumptions be continually reexamined and justified in order to qualify for future funding (Birnbaum).

Benchmarking

Benchmarking evolved as a more sophisticated form of MBO. While MBO was focused on existing organizational objectives, benchmarking assumed that an organization could be improve by studying and adopting the processes of another organization that was doing something better than anyone else. TQM attempted to bring together, as a total system, the concepts that related to the inputs of an organization (i.e., planning and budgeting); how an organization functioned or its processes (i.e., the major focus of benchmarking); and the outcomes of an organization (i.e., the basis of MBO) (Birmbaum).

Continuous Process Improvement

This paradigm espouses many of the principles of the Total Quality Management (TQM) movement discussed below which is currently prevalent in business and industry. Two of several principles common to CPI and TQM include (a) explicitly stated outcomes (b) that have been validated by the organizations customers (Waner, 1995).

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Fundamental to TQM was the assumption that if inputs, processes, and outcomes were seen as an interrelated and interdependent system, an organization would better understand the cause and effects of the various parts of organization's processes and be able to make changes that would help an organization better achieve its vision and mission (i.e., create focused continuous improvement) (Birnbaum).

Business Process Reengineering

Business Process Reengineering, or BPR, is an extension of MBO and benchmarking, was the result of the frustration people have with the slowness of change. Reengineering assumed that once reorganization or the implementation of new systems was determined as necessary in order to eliminate internal resistance, it was critical to make rapid changes in personnel, organization, and processes. As Earl (1998) points out, "Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is the latest management recipe being offered for the survival of Western businesses. Also known as Business Process Redesign, Process Innovation, and various combinations of these keywords, it has become the subject of best-selling books, a new practice area (sometimes trademarked) for consultants, a phenomenon upon which most business academics feel they should have a view, and a growing endeavour in many companies" (p. 53).

Source: Birnbaum cited in Fife at p. 469; Earl at p. 53; Waner at p. 52.

The foregoing list is only a partial recounting of all of the recent management "fads" that have experienced various levels of popularity. A partial list of such management fads provided by Ashkenas also includes the following:

Computerization;

Theory Y;

Quantitative Management;

Diversification;

T-Groups;

Centralization;

De-centralization;

Matrix Management;

Conglomeration;

Managerial Grid;

Zero-Based Budgeting;

The Experience Curve;

Portfolio Management;

Theory Z;

Intrapraneuring;

Demassing;

Restructuring;

One-Minute Managing;

Management-by-Walking-Around;

Skunkworks;

Quality Circles;

Wellness Programs;

Rightsizing;

Diversity Training;

Work-Out;

Benchmarking;

Broad-Banding;

Core Competencies;

Supply-Side Management; and, 360 Degree Feedback (Ashkenas, p. 25).

The evolution of these management fads can be easily discerned from a timeline that reflects the era in which they were developed as shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2.

Management fads according to decade of introduction.

Decade

Management Fads Introduced

1950s

Computerization, Theory Y (Douglas McGregor), Quantitative Management, Diversification, and Management by Objectives.

1960s

T-Groups, Centralization and then Decentralization, Matrix Management, Conglomeration, and the Managerial Grid

1970s

Zero-based budgeting, the Experience Curve, Portfolio Management. Strategic Planning

1980s

Theory Z (William Ouchi), Intrapraneuring, Demassing, Restructuring, Corporate Culture, One-minute Managing (Blanchard), Management by Walking Around (Peters and Waterman), Skunkworks, Quality Circles, Wellness Programs

1990s

Rightsizing, Diversity Training, Work Out (developed by GE); Benchmarking; Broad-banding; Total Quality; Core Competencies; Supply-side Management; 360 degree feedback; and Reengineering.

Source: Ashkenas at p. 25.

One of the primary constraints to the all of the foregoing management approaches, though, is their fundamental inability to capture all of the robust qualities, factors, details and interpersonal relationships that can make or break… [END OF PREVIEW]

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