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Integrating Organization Theory: A Realistic Theory of Leadership Practice MPA 8002 The Structure and Theory of Human Organization Richard M. Jacobs, OSA,

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating Organization Theory: A Realistic Theory of Leadership Practice MPA 8002 The Structure and Theory of Human Organization Richard M. Jacobs, OSA,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating Organization Theory: A Realistic Theory of Leadership Practice MPA 8002 The Structure and Theory of Human Organization Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.

2 Since the time of Francis Bacon (1561-1626)... an “organization” has been viewed as an achievement, a product of experimentation... …as people hypothesize about what constitutes “best practice” …and devote themselves to improving organizational functioning

3 Organization is viewed as a product of an objective, scientific method... where humans control conditions in order to reproduce existing knowledge and reduce anomalies …by moving from defective forms of knowledge to more accurate forms functional theory …by working within and replicating a tradition (i.e., functional theory) with the goal of increasing productivity

4 hypothesis theory tradition a conjecture about organization a conceptual schema to be subjected to further testing culminating in a body of knowledge “To see what one knows”... …and is used to analyze human beings and their conscious activities

5 For Kuhn (1986), this paradigm proves somewhat problematic... the structure of organization constrains the ability for people to think beyond the mediated theories and tradition …as extant knowledge is duplicated and replicated …and unconstrained inquiry is stultified by disciplinary canons

6 …the movement from one form of self understanding to another …the capacity to engage in intellectual work on one’s own …previously experienced mental operations and the dynamics that follow from them an invitation to participate in discovering within oneself... Substantively, inquiring into organizational issues is a more subjective endeavor...

7 …a matter of science insight achieve insight into the essential nature of organization …a matter of understanding …a matter of judgment “To know what one sees”...

8 …one must investigate antecedents to understand “organization”... …envision precedents, the content of the subject (the investigator) …grapple with novelty in its context …render a decision about the “right” thing to do

9 is an intellectual endeavor by which human beings attempt to achieve intelligent understanding about the ways human beings structure their conscious activities Substantively, investigating a human organization... as this endeavor is fueled by a keen desire to improve the lot of humanity and civilization

10 How do things really work? How did things come to be this way? Gather factual data that support these matters. Do not rely on anecdotal information. Rather than attempting to “reinvent the wheel,” how might elements of the present structure be used to foster organizational change? requires critically examining existing structures and processes

11 formulate an organizational purpose that responds to an environmental demand, a perceived need, or an opportunity to be seized mix expertise and generate healthy organizational tension by cross-fertilizing divisions forge a common commitment to making “working” decisions for which members bear responsibility but, at the same time, are subject to re-assessment and change requires designing an organizational structure that takes into account its history, experience, and preferred future:

12 Substantively, leading human organizations requires... developing a comprehensive conception of the organization What is its mission and vision? What are its current strategies and goals? What does its history say about the organization’s strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities and threats are present?

13 Conceptualizing organizational leadership... VISIONMISSION a preferred future what ought to be based upon factual data the motivation the opportunities the challenges


15 STRATEGY a shared motive with explicit values formulate preferred scenario explicating why we do what we do a “roadmap” that specifies the “game plan”

16 STRATEGYGOALS action-oriented, “smart” outcomes frames subsequent decisions that will be made at lower levels of the organizational hierarchy which implement the strategy the “what” to be achieved

17 translate the organizational purpose and strategy into performance goals S M A R T specific measurable ambitious yet attainable realistic, reflect mission time specific with target dates

18 GOALSPROJECTS purposive actions by groups in practice episodes frame subsequent decision making by the various groups closest to the action where frequent decisions must be made the “how” we will do it

19 TOOLSPROJECTS purposive activities by individuals (or groups) in practice episodes actions and routines used in practice episodes to achieve desired outcomes the who will do and the what they will be doing













32 regularize a system for individual and collective accountability, one that translates the organizational purpose, goals, and commitments into tangible achievements All the while, leaders endeavor to... intra-organizational cohesion

33 adopt the “experimental mentality” associated with practice episodes: to retain what works, to discard what doesn’t, and to refine the structure as needed flexibility

34 report back what is being learned through practice honest and accurate feedback

35 vertical coordination lateral control To avoid organizational dysfunction... The leader’s challenge is to integrate vertical coordination with lateral control

36 vertical coordination one integrate the various levels of the organization’s formal hierarchy

37 power Tactics for vertical coordination... rules and policies planning and control systems legitimate referent expert specify the conditions of work performance control action planning coercive reward

38 lateral control a second focus: …to balance the need for autonomy and responsibility at similar levels in the organization’s formal hierarchy

39 meetings Tactics to exercise lateral control... opportunities for dialogue, feedback about operations, and the honest exchange of facts, insights, and learning Meeting agendas should forge structural redesign that promises to improve organizational functioning not provide a forum to air personal grievances and interpersonal conflicts.

40 task forces groupings of stakeholders representing diverse viewpoints A task force is given a specific charge to integrate structures not to be mired in endless debate about current standard operating procedures.

41 coordinating roles engaging in boundary spanning Boundary spanning enables workers to develop the cross-functional skills needed to coordinate work in a complex organization. This liberates both the organization and its members from co-dependency.

42 matrix structures identifying critical linkages between divisions Matrix structures identify and link otherwise disassociated divisions in the endeavor to eliminate inter-divisional conflict, confusion, and turf protection.

43 networks individuals and groups focusing on a particular area of interest Self-organizing networks provide the much needed cross-functionality and geographical diversity to spur creative thinking about organizational issues. However, networks are unwieldy, difficult to control, and offer no guarantees of positive outcomes.

44 vertical coordination lateral control realistic Leaders need to be realistic... While using these tactics to integrate...

45 A realistic theory of leadership... not the central issue confronting managers and leaders is that change not stability characterizes human organizations

46 Some of the significant changes impacting organizational functioning include: information technology organizational vision environmentsize of organization age of organization core process

47 However, the single, most significant change impacting an organization is: people

48 Because organizations are primarily human enterprises... leaders use “teams” to foster organizational learning (DiBella & Nevis, 1998) a small number of people possessing complementary skills committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach toward achieving them for which they hold themselves mutually accountable

49 change alters the clarity and stability of roles and relationships, creating confusion and chaos This requires leaders to be attentive to periodically realigning and renegotiating formal patterns and policies by resolving the issue.

50 The organization envisaged today remains to be perfected. Due to this generation’s lack of insight, most questions about organizational issues are very difficult, if not impossible, to answer fully. The leadership challenge...

51 There is a sense in which the really tough questions about organizational issues reduce a leader to silence until that person can think about the relationship between the past and present and envision a pathway of change that will substantively improve the organization.

52 In this generation, then, all a leader can realistically hope to accomplish is to develop an interim organization, one that is substantively better because one’s insight into organizational issues offered the promise of a better way to achieve the organization’s purpose.

53 was Or, to put it in another way, that the people in the organization and the organization itself are better off because the leader was there.

54 This module has focused on... realistic theory of leadership a realistic theory of leadership for utilization in practice episodes

55 References Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1997). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership (2 nd edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. DiBella, A. J., & Nevis, E. C. (1998). How organizations learn. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Morgan, G. (1986). Images of organization. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Sergiovanni, T. J. (1989). Informing professional practice in educational administration. Journal of Educational Administration, 27(2), p. 186.

56 Taylor, F. W. (1911/1967). The principles of scientific management. New York: W. W. Norton. Weber, M. (1930/1992). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism (A. Giddens, Trans.). New York: Routledge.

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