Δευτέρα, 3 Σεπτεμβρίου 2007

Social Capital of Organizations.

Ευστράτιος Παπάνης

The idea of looking at social capital in firms and organizations is, as Cohen and Prusak (2001) say, relatively new. This may be because of the way in which the dominance of more mechanistic and system-oriented conceptions of organizational activity have 'masked their deeply social nature . A number of those concerned with organizational development, like Cohen and Prusak, have become increasingly suspicious of the 'people, processes, technology' mantra, 'ceaselessly intoned as a summary of the sources of organizational effectiveness'. There has, of course, been a significant embracing of the notion of human capital - but those writing about rarely approach the social nature of organizations - and often fall prey to a tendency to draw upon theories and metaphors that derive financial and physical notions of capital. The argument of those concerned with social capital is that when harnessed it generates economic returns. More particularly, the benefits claimed include:
Better knowledge sharing, due to established trust relationships, common frames of reference, and shared goals.
Lower transaction costs, due to a high level of trust and a cooperative spirit (both within the organization and between the organization and its customers and partners).
Low turnover rates, reducing severance costs and hiring and training expenses, avoiding discontinuities associated with frequent personnel changes, and maintaining valuable organizational knowledge.
Greater coherence of action due to organizational stability and shared understanding. (Cohen and Prusak 2001).Given the relative infancy of the application of social capital to organizational life there is little sustained or substantial research that can support attention to the notion within organizations. It certainly isn't the key to success), but it is part of the fabric of organizational life - and the need to engage with it is, arguably, growing. The increasing complexity of organizations and the scale of informational activity; globalization; external and internal volatility; and what Cohen and Prusak (2001) call 'the challenge of virtuality' (work carried out over a distance of time and space) all contribute.
Working so that people may join groups – whether they are organized around enthusiasms and interests, social activity, or economic and political aims – can make a considerable contribution in itself. Encouraging the development of associational life can also make a significant difference to the experience of being in different communities. Here we might highlight the case of schooling. Educational achievement is likely to rise significantly, and the quality of day-to-day interaction is likely to be enhanced by a much greater emphasis on the cultivation of extra-curricula activity involving groups and teams.
Second, informal education’s longstanding concern with association and the quality of life in associations can make a direct and important contribution to the development of social networks (and the relationships of trust and tolerance that is usually involved) and the strengthening of democracy. Informal educators interest in dialogue and conversation, and the cultivation of environments in which people can work together, take them to the heart of what is required to strengthen and develop social capital. Their ethical position also demands they attend to the downsides of networks – in particular, the extent to which they are oppressive and narrowing. A focus on tolerance and the acceptance, if not the celebration, of difference is required. There is a place for both bridging and bonding social capital.
Third, there is very strong argument here against those who wish to concentrate the bulk of resources on groups and individuals who present the strongest social problems (currently the received thinking among many policymakers - see, for example, the Connexions strategy in England). If we follow Putnam’s analysis we can see that, for example, crime can be reduced, educational achievement enhanced and better health fostered through the strengthening of social capital. Significantly this entails working across communities – and in particular sustaining the commitment and capacities already involved in community organizations and enthusiast groups, and encouraging those on the cusp of being actively involved. The majority of the people we are talking about here cannot be classified as suffering from multiple disadvantage, will not be engaged in criminal activity, and will be (or have been) engaged with education systems and/or the world of work. In other words, open and generic work needs to be afforded a far higher priority – and so-called ‘issue-based’ work needs to be more closely interrogated as to the benefits it brings. In recent years Robert Putnam has done us a great service, and while aspects of his argument will no doubt be disputed over the coming years, his central message is surely true. Interaction enables people to build communities, to commit themselves to each other, and to knit the social fabric.
2. Definitions of Organizational Culture
It seems then, that the work-related values and shared goals may influence the extend to which he/she derives satisfaction from his/her work. These shared values and goals are adapted from the organizational context within which employees operate. The term “organizational culture” is used to describe the complex system of any organization which is made up of “values, principles, attitudes and ways of viewing and relating to the world, that are unique to it, and different from other organizations” (Arnold, Cooper & Robertson, 1995). Whereas in the past the assessment of organizational culture was taking place via the examination of symbols , rituals, ceremonies and “rites”, nowadays a more anthropological approach, related to the examination of “core activities” for carrying up the organization’s work, has been adopted. Under this light, cultural phenomena are reflected upon job context, hierarchical position, and patterns of interaction between different organizational levels . Additionally, the term “organizational climate” is used for describing the total of all social influences on behaviour within organizations, and refers to “ the consensus of member perceptions about how a particular organization and/or its subsystems deals with its members and its external environment” (Jewell & Siegall, 1990). Even though during the past it was suggested that “ job satisfaction” and “organizational climate” are different terms used interchangeably for describing the same phenomenon, more recent research has proved that there is a clear distinction between the two, with “organizational climate” having a descriptive function, and “job satisfaction” referring to the affective element of the organization’s social perceptions (Schneider & Snyder, 1975; as cited in Jewell & Siegall, 1990).
2.1 Organizational Culture- The mechanistic and Organic Organizations
In their 1961 book, "The Management of Innovation" T. Burns and G.M. Stalker examined the relationship between organisations and their environment. Their focus was on Scottish electronics companies operating in increasingly competitive and innovative technological markets. Two major forms of organisation have been identified, mechanistic and organic/organismic. Organizations of mechanistic form are appropriate to conditions of relative stability, are highly structured, members have well-defined, formal job descriptions/roles, and precise positions vis a vis others. Additionally, direction is from the top - down through the hierarchy. Communication is similarly vertical while the organisation insists on loyalty and conformity from members to each other, to managers and to the organisation itself in relation to policies and methods. Members in such organization need sufficient functionary ability to operate within organisational constraints. Problems of mechanistic organization form include organisational creativity and effort can focus on internal problems only - systems and procedures and heavy administrative overhead - internal procedures consume more resources than external customer-focused operations. Moreover, these organizations are slow in responding to external change – often they lose touch with customers and external stakeholders. Parochialism, defend-my-patch behaviours occur. Organisational members can develop unhelpful, bounded mind-sets - perceptions of external and internal. Job and departmental boundaries can lead to the rational-legal organisation becoming bogged down in a spaghetti of tortuous processes and "need-to-consult" everyone and anyone. Finally, he status quo is defended rather than changed to meet new circumstances.
Another alternative form of organizations is the organic form which is more suitable to unstable, turbulent and changing conditions. The organismic firm tries to re-shape itself to address new problems and tackle unforeseen contingencies .Rather than a rigid, highly specialised structure - a fluid organisational design is adopted which facilitates flexibility, adaptation and job redefinition. Departments, sections and teams are formed and reformed. Communication is lateral as well as vertical - with emphasis on a network rather than a hierarchy while organisational members are personally and actively commitment to it beyond what is basically operationally or functionally necessary.
Conversations often refer to different organisations having different cultures. For the average person - "culture" may mean that they perceive the organisation they are involved with to be
• pushy, harsh and authoritarian
• very political with traps and pitfalls for people to fall into if they are not nimble and able to wheeler-deal and hold their own in a brawl
• rule and ritual bound
• cold and separated
• brisk, dynamic, opportunitic
• exploitative, all take and no give
• caring and genuinely interested in people as people
People classify what they see as the characteristics of organisations. We construe and organisation culture. It is socially defined and experienced. The experience of the things we feel are displayed by the "culture and its practices" affect how we behave and respond to the organisations we work in.
The interest in the organizational culture and on the extend at which an employee’s performance and job satisfaction is influenced by this context, grew in parallel with the adaptation of Management –by-Objectives approach by many companies. A theoretical model for understanding the effects of organizational climate on work-related behaviors, has been proposed by Field & Abelson (1982). The model suggests that the perceptions of organizational climate are influenced by external factors, such as the physical and socio-cultural environment, organizational factors, like the size, structure, standardization and formalization of the company, and person-related factors, such as the managerial behavior, the leadership pattern, and the distribution of rewards and controls. Thus, the overall perception of the organizational climate is composed of sub-perceptions regarding the degree of autonomy and structure, the rewards, and the support, warmth and consideration directed toward the employees. According to Field & Abelson (1982), the work group, the work task, and the employees’ unique personality characteristics moderate these perceptions. The expectancies and the instrumentalities created by the perception of the organization’s psychological climate and adapted to the individual’s cognitive map are in turn further moderated by individual ability and personality. In that sense, even if two employees perceive the climate in their organization in a similar way, their responses to it are likely to differ. Finally, the degree of motivation, performance and job satisfaction related to a particular work situation, are believed to be mostly influenced by perceptions of organizational culture. Employees are aware of the different ways organizational culture influence resource allocation outcomes -such as access to raw materials, rewards, bonuses and other non monetary rewards - while at the same time they maintain a desire for equity in resource distribution. In cases in which employees perceive inequity due to the overall culture adopted by the organization, feelings of dissatisfaction are likely to emerge.

2.2. Types of Organizational Culture
Organisations can further be classified under four broad cultural categories (Handy,1999)
1.Power culture
Many small enterprises and large conglomerates such display the characteristics of a centralised power culture. Rays of power and influence spread out from a central figure or group. There may be a specialist or functional structure but central control is exercised largely through appointing, loyal key individuals and interventionist behaviour from centre.whim and personal influence rather than on procedures or purely logical factors. This is not to say that the whim is autocratic or authoritarian - although it be is authoritative. Effectiveness is judged on results and sometimes for the central figure, perhaps the ends sometimes justify their means. Such organisations can be strong, proud and dynamic, react quickly to external demands.
However power cultures may suffer from staff disaffection. People in the middle layers may feel they have insufficient scope. The interventionist pressure and constant need to refer to centre may create dysfunctional competition and jostling for the support of the boss
The organisation is dependent on the ability and judgement of the central power - if weak then the organisation will struggle. As the power organisation grows, the centrist culture breaks down if it becomes impossible for the centre to keep up its interventionist, co-ordinating role. The large organisation may need to divisionalise (create other spiders webs linked to the central web).

2. Role/Buerocratic Culture
Often referred to as a bureaucracy, it works by logic and rationality. Its pillars represent functions and specialisms. Departmental functions are delineated and empowered with their role e.g. the finance dept., the design dept etc. Work within and between departments (pillars) is controlled by procedures, role descriptions and authority definitions. Communication structures and well defined systems and products (committee constitutions and reports, procedure manuals, official memoranda). There are mechanisms and rules for processing decisions and resolving conflicts. Matters are taken up the line to the pediment of the doric structure where heads of functions can define a logical, rational, &corporate response".
Co-ordination is at the top - the senior management group. Job position is central to this not necessarily the jobholder as a person. People are appointed to role based on their ability to carry out the functions - satisfactory performance of role. This is very much in line with Weber's bureaucratic framework
Performance required is related to role and functional position. Performance over and above role is not expected and may disrupt.
Efficiency stems from rational allocation of work and conscientious performance of defined responsibility. If economies of scale are more important than flexibility or technical expertise and specialism more important than product innovation or product cost - the stability and conformity of the role culture has merits. Mintzber (2003) refers to this model as the machine bureaucracy.
Role-cultures tend to develop in a relatively stable environment. Importance is given to predictability, standardisation and consistency.
However the role-culture may find it harder to adjust to change. Rules, procedures and tested ways of doing things may no longer fit the circumstances. Burns & Stalker pointed out the problems of mechanistic organisations struggling to cope with dynamic market change. Similarly bureaucratic management style - tends to place less emphasis on task innovation and people relationships (Reddin: ?)
Work in a role-culture is frustrating to someone who wants discretion and opportunity for innovation in his/her work. Those who are ambitious may focus on procedures and existing methods and work the committee structure. Performance focuses on standard expectations rather than novel problem-solving to achieve results.
Many feel that bureaucracy is synonymous with inefficiency, an emphasis on red-tape and excessive writing and recording - especially public administration. However lets be very careful about this. The claims are sweeping and perjorative. They fail to recognise the great capacity of the bureaucratic form to be elegant, to work slickly, to empower people and let them operate in coordinated ways. The rational legal systems embodies values which people respect. The form offers occuptational opportunities and challenges to people. The rules and regulations protect the members of the organisation and its external clients. It is founded on principles of honesty and integrity, of regular, predictable behaviour and the application of competent, well rehearse action by members. Clients come to expect this conformity.
Yet of course conformity is not always valued particularly where it may block abd limit the capacity for parts of the organisation to respond quickly to events that have not been programmed into the organisations systems of policies, procedures and rules. The classical picture of the very able bureaucrat is that where they say:
"I am awfully sorry. I would love to help but the rules you know ...... "
Writers of popular literature from Dickens (e.g. Little Dorritt and the "Circumlocution Office") to Kafka (The Trail) build intricate mazes of bureaucratic splendour - where bureaucrats block and conspire. Bureaucracies do not get a good press. They are the meat and veg. of popular writers, writers who have particular leanings politically and whose creatively is based on imagining, colouring, emphasising, shaping and commenting on all they see around them.
Yet the contribution of the bureaucratic form to human productive endeavour is enormous and still is. Simply consider the bureaucratic system of the Inland Revenue Service - which basically works - give or take a few, mind-bogglingly complex forms that have to be filled in.
For Weber - the organisation is "neutral" (a big, big assumption and one to be challenged). It is presented as a technically useful model of the most logically efficient form of structure possible.
"Precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of files, continuity, unit, strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs - these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration".
Though metaphorically a smooth machine its rules and set procedures can be inflexible instruments of administration - experience of the past may not be in-tune with present conditions. Some rules cannot be readily adapted to suit individual needs and they can become barriers behind which the vulnerable administrator to hide. Bureaucratic alienation is reinforced by conformations with "face-less administrators"
A tension occurs in organisational design between preserving control and encouraging flexibility & freedom of expression. Bureaucracy favours the former. Cries of "bureaucratic inefficiency" marks frustration of taxpayers, drivers, holiday makers, radical activists, people from other departments - who feel their personal domain has been infringed. Bureaucracy today is attacked for its inability to innovate, aspects of its alienating and demotivating effect on employees, and the dependent "unhealthy" relationships some feel it creates (rather than self- help).
Bureaucratic culture rewards safe, conformist attitudes - constrained, riskfree work is good. Non-conformist, creative and outward-looking, opportunistic approaches to management are suspect. The bureaucratic model by definition embodies depersonalisation. Bureacrats become more absorbed with maintaining the official form (the means). They lose sight of what they are supposed to achieve. Smooth, efficient running removes hassle for officers but may be effective.

3.Task/Project team culture
Imagine this culture as a net with small teams of cells at the interstices. It is very much a small team approach to organisations. The modern jargon also refers to organisational arrangements such as network organisation - small organisations co-operating together to deliver a project. So the large organisation consists of lots of little ones that make their contribution. As a culture, power and influence are distributed to the interstices of the net. The emphasis is on results and getting things done. Resources are given to the right people at whatever level who are brought together and given decision making power to get on with the task. Individuals empowered with discretion and control over their work. The task and results and the main focus and team composition and working relationships are founded on capability rather than status.

Team culture is flexible and adaptable. Tams are formed for specific purposes and then move on. Team composition changes according to the stage of the project. The team is flexible and sensitive to the environment. Client responsiveness is important.
Economies of scale are harder to realise - but computer communications and information systems facilitate sharing of information and co-ordination.
People in the team who want to specialise may be sucked into general problem-solving and when the task changes they must move with it rather than a particular scientific or professional specialism.
The project usually involves high risk and ambiguity. Control is via allocation of projects and target setting, project budgets/resource allocation and monitoring/review of progress systems.
Where resources become scarce and top management may intervene more closely. There may be competition between project leaders for available resources. Either way morale may suffer. Idividual priorities and objectives take over and the task culture may then become a power culture.
4.Person Culture
The individual is the central point. If there is a structure it exists only to serve the individuals within it. If a group of individuals decide to band together to do their own thing and an office or secretary would help - it is a person culture. The culture only exists for the people concerned; it has no super-ordinate objective.
This culture may be the only acceptable organisation to particular groups - such as workers' co-operatives or where individuals basically work on their own but find some back up useful.
Only the originators are likely to achieve success - the organisation begins to take on its own identity and begins to impose on individuals so moving towards some of the other cultures.

2.2.1. The Distinction of Quinn and Cameron
According to Cameron & Quinn (1999) there are four major culture types. In order to understand the first type which is the hierarchy culture, the researchers were based in the work of the German sociologist Max Weber, who studied government organizations in Europe during the 1800s. Weber argued that the major challenge faced by organizations at the beginning of the industrial revolution was to produce efficiently goods and services for an increasingly complex society. To accomplish this Weber proposed seven characteristics that have become known as the classical attributes of bureaucracy (rules, specialization, meritocracy, hierarchy, separate ownership, impersonality, accountability). These characteristics were adopted widely in organizations whose major challenge was to generate efficient, reliable, smooth flowing, and predictable output. So, until the 1960’s every book of management and a lot of organizations made the assumptions that the hierarchy of bureaucracy was the ideal form of organization, because is led to stable, competent, highly consistent products and services.
Large organizations and government agencies are generally dominated by a hierarchy culture, as evidenced by large numbers of standardized procedures, multiple hierarchical levels and an emphasis on rule-reinforcement. Even in small organizations such as a Mc Donald restaurant, a hierarchy culture can dominate. For example, many of the employees in the typical Mc-Donald’s restaurant are young people who have no previous training or work experience and a hallmark of the business is the uniformity of products in all outlets. Key values center on maintaining efficient, reliable, fast, smooth-flowing production. New employees begin by doing only one specific job (such as cooking French fries). The rules manual that every employee studies and is tested on is over 350 pages long and covers most aspects of employee dress and on-the-job behavior. One requirement for promotion is knowledge of these rules and policies. Promotion within the restaurant follows a specific series of steps, and it is possible for an employee to be promoted several times within a restaurant before reaching a managerial level (for example from fry cook to fry-hamburger-filet cook).

Another form of organization became popular during the late 1960’s as organizations were faced with new competitive challenges. Market culture was based largely on the work of Oliver Williamson. These organizational scholars identified an alternative set of activities that they argued served as the foundation of organizational effectiveness. The most important of these was transactions costs. The term market is not synonymous with the marketing function nor with consumers in the marketplace. Rather, it refers to a type of organization that function as a market itself. It is oriented toward the external environment instead of internal affairs. It is focused on transactions with external constituencies including suppliers, customers, licensees, unions, and regulators. Unlike the hierarchy where internal control is maintained by rules the market operates
primarily through economic market mechanisms, mainly monetary exchange. That is, the major focus of markets is to conduct transactions (exchanges, sales, contracts) with other constituencies
to create competitive advantage. Profitability, bottom line results, strength in market niches, stretch targets, and secure customer bases are primarily objectives of the organization. Not surprisingly, the core values that dominate market type organizations are competitiveness and productivity. Competitiveness and productivity in market organizations achieved through a strong emphasis on external positioning and control. The basic assumptions in a market culture are that the external environment is not benign but hostile, consumers are choosy and interested in value, the organization is in the business of increasing its competitive position, and the major task of management is to drive the organization toward productivity, results and profits.
A third ideal form that Cameron & Quinn represent was the Clan Culture. It is called “clan” because of its similarity to a family-type organization. After studying Japanese firms, in the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s researchers observed differences between the market and hierarchy forms of design in America and clan forms of design in Japan. Shared values and goals, cohesion, participativeness, individuality and a sense of we-ness permeated can type firms. They seemed more like extended families than economic entities. Instead of the rules and procedures of hierarchies or the competitive profit centers of markets, typical characteristics of clan type forms were teamwork, employee involvement programs and corporate commitment to employees. These characteristics were evidenced by semiautonomous work teams that received rewards on the basis of team (not individual) accomplishment and that hired and fired their own members, quality circles that encouraged workers to voice suggestions regarding how to improve their own work and the performance of the company, and an empowering environment for employees. Some basic assumptions in a clan culture are that the environment can best be managed through teamwork and employee development, customers are best thought of as partners, the organization is in the business of developing a humane work environment, and the major task of management is to empower employees and facilitate their participation, commitment and loyalty.

Finally, the adhocracy culture refers to an organizational form that is most responsive to the ever accelerating conditions that increasingly typify the organizational world of the twenty-first century. With rapidly decreasing half-life of product and service advantages, sets of assumptions were made. Innovative and pioneering initiatives are what lead to success. Those organizations are mainly in the business of developing new products and services and preparing for the future; the major task of management is to foster entrepreneurship, creativity and activity of the cutting edge. It was assumed that adaptation and innovation lead to new resources and profitability, so emphasis was placed on creating a vision of future, organizes anarchy and disciplined imagination. The root of the world adhocracy is ad hoc-referring to a temporary, specialized, dynamic unit. Most people have served on an ad hoc task force or committee, which
disbands as soon as its task is completed. Adhocracies are similarly temporary. A major goal of an adhocracy is to foster adaptability, flexibility and creativity where uncertainty, ambiguity and/or information-overload are typical. The adhocracy organization may frequently be found in industries such as aerospace, software development, think-tank consulting and filmmaking. Unlike markets or hierarchies, adhocracies do not have centralized power or authority relationships. Instead, power flows from individual to individual or from task team to task team depending on what problem is being addressed at the time. A high emphasis on individuality, risk taking and anticipating the future exists almost everyone in an adhocracy becomes involved with production, clients, research and development. For example each different client demand in consulting firm is treated as an independent project, and a temporary organizational design is set up to accomplish the task. In sum, an adhocracy culture is characterized by a dynamic, entrepreneurial and creative workplace. People stick their necks out and take risks. Effective leadership is visionary, innovative, and risk-oriented. The glue that holds the organization together is commitment to experimentation and innovation. The emphasis is on being at the leading edge of new knowledge, products, and services. Readiness for change and meeting new challenges is important. The organization’s long-term emphasis is on rapid growth and acquiring new resources. Success means producing unique and original products and services.
These four culture types serve as the foundation for the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) that has been used in more than a thousand organizations and found to predict organizational performance. It consists of six questions. Each question has four alternatives corresponding to the four cultures. This simple instrument can be used to assess the current and preferred culture of and organization and evaluate the alignment with the competitive environment facing the firm.

3 Job satisfaction and Culture

3.1 Theories of Job satisfaction
Nowadays organizations seek to identify the conditions that create a motivated and satisfied workforce. In other words, they focus on motivation and job satisfaction in order to run a profitable business, while at the same time striving to develop and maintain a culture that will keep motivation and performance of employees high. Their focus is on the well being of the employees and then on their work performance.
It is important to know that there are only two categories of motivation theories. They can be divided into “content” theories and “process” theories. Content theories assume that all individuals possess the same set of needs and therefore prescribe the characteristics that ought to be presented in jobs. Process theories stress the differences in people’s needs and focus on the cognitive processes that create these differences.
Maslow outlined the most influential of content theories. He suggested a hierarchy of needs up which progress. Once individuals have satisfied one need in the hierarchy, it ceases to motivate their behavior and their motivated by the next level up the hierarchy. Although this theory was not intended to give an explanation in the workplace, many managerial theorists have willingly adopted. This theory suggests that employees will always tend to want more from their employers. When they have satisfied their subsistence needs, they strive to fulfill security needs. When jobs are secure they will seek ways of satisfying social needs and if successful will seek to the ultimate and of self-actualization . Additionally, Hertzberg introduced another content theory. It is known as the two-factor theory, which looks at motivators and hygienes and proposed that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction appeared to be caused by two sets of different factors. Hygiene issues include salary and supervision, work environment, company policies and relationship with colleagues. Motivator’s issues include responsibility, re cognition, promotion, achievement and intrinsic aspects of the job
Thus, in late 1950s, Frederick Hertzberg interviewed a group of employees to find out what made them satisfied and dissatisfied on the job. From these interviews Hertzberg wet on to develop his theory that there the two dimensions to job satisfaction: motivation and ‘hygiene’.‘Hygiene’ according to Hertzberg cannot motivate employees but can minimize dissatisfaction, if handle properly. In other words, they can only dissatisfy if they are absent or mishandled. Motivators, on the other hand, create satisfaction by fulfilling individuals’ needs for meaning and personal growth. Hertzberg argued that once the hygiene areas are addressed, the motivators will promote job satisfaction and encourage production. Although hygiene issues are not the source of satisfaction, these issues must be dealt with first to create an environment in which employee satisfaction and motivation are even possible. According to Hertzberg then we cannot neglect hygiene factors before moving to motivators (available at (http://www.aafp.org/fpm/991000fm/26.html#1). To do so we would face two problems: First, the employees would be generally unhappy and this would be apparent to their performance. Second, hardworking employees, who can find jobs elsewhere, would leave, while your mediocre employees would stay and compromise your practice’s success. So we have to deal with the hygiene issues first and then move on to the motivators. Moreover Mumford introduced another content theory of motivation. He argued that workers have:
1. Knowledge needs, work that utilizes their knowledge and skills
2. Psychological needs such as recognition, responsibility, status and achievement
3. Task needs, which include the need for meaningful work and some degree of autonomy
4. Moral needs, to be treated in the way that employers themselves wish to be treated
Mumfords’ assumption was that employees did not simply see their jobs as a mean to an end but they had needs which are related to the nature of their work (Steers, Porter and Bigley, 1996).
Contrary now to content theories, we have process theories. The common element in all process theories is an emphasis on the cognitive processes in determining his or her level of motivation.
Equity theory, assumes that one important cognitive process involves people looking around and observing what effort other people are putting into their work and what rewards follow them. This social comparison process is driven by our concern for fairness and equity. A research by Adams and others confirms equity theory as one of the most useful frameworks for understanding work motivation.
In addition, valence, instrumentality, and expectancy (VIE) had resulted from Vroom’s work into motivation (also known as expectancy theory). The theory aims to explain how people choose which of several possible courses of action they will pursue. Specifically, his argument was crucial to motivation at work and supported that there is a link between effort and reward. Perceiving this link could be thought of as a process in which individuals calculated first whether there was a connection between effort and reward and then the probability (valences) would follow from high performance. In other words, for each of the employee’s action considered there are three factors to take in account:
1. Expectancy: If I tried, would I be able to perform the action I am considering?
2. Instrumentality: Would performing the action lead to identifiable outcomes?
3. Valence: How much do I value those outcomes?
(Gordon, 1996)
Thus if expectancy, valence and instrumentality values are known the motivational force of a job can be calculated. In other words, V, I, and E are multiplied together to determine motivation.
This would mean that if any one of the components was zero, overall motivation to peruse that course of action would also be zero.
The main contribution of both types of process theory has been to highlight the effects of cognitive and perceptual processes on objective work conditions. Applying this theory into practice it suggests that managers need to pay attention to four main aspects of their subordinate’s perceptions:
1. Focus on the crucial expectancy values (the link between effort and their performance)
2. Managers should determine what outcome employee values
3. They need to link the reward that subordinates value to their performance
4. Managers need to ensure that wage rates are not perceived as inequitable.
(Gordon, 1996)
As part of the process theories is Locke’s theory of goal-setting as a means of motivation. According to this theory goals direct effort and provide guidelines for deciding how much effort to put into each activity when there are multiple goals. Participation in goal – setting increases the individual’s sense of control and fairness in the process (Steers, Porter and Bigley, 1996). As Locke et.al (as cited in Gordon, 1996) noted: “A goal is what an individual is trying to accomplish; it is the object or aim of an action” . After research and reviews Locke arrived at a number of conclusions, most of which fully or substantially support goal – setting theory. The following findings establish the core of goal - setting and make it probably the most consistently supported theory in work psychology. Locke et al. (as cited in Gordon, 1996) observed that 90 % of laboratory and field research studies produced results supporting the fundamental elements of goal – setting theory. Research has resulted in the following fundamental phenomena: 1. Difficult goals lead to higher performance than easy goals, as long as the person trying to achieve them has accepted them. 2. Specific goals lead to higher performance than general ‘do your best’ goals. 3. The beneficial effects of goal – setting depend partly on a person’s goal commitment: that is their determination to try to achieve it, and unwillingness to abandon or reduce it . 4. If the performance benefits of setting difficult and specific goals are to be achieved, knowledge of results (feedback) is an essential element. (Hollenbeck, Williams and Klein, as cited in Gordon, 1996)
Moreover, another important observation is that the relation between productivity and job satisfaction is exactly the opposite of what most of the people believe. That is to say, that it is not job satisfaction that leads to productivity rather it is productivity that leads to satisfaction. In return job satisfaction affects productivity indirectly by creating feelings of commitment to the organization and its goals.
A meta-analysis (Lafaldano & Muchinsky, as cited in Kantas 1998 ) of researches have shown that the correlation between job satisfaction and productivity is 0,17. These means that based on research evidence a satisfied employee is not necessarily a productive one. Critiques over this assumption vary. Sometimes productivity can be affected by factors external to the individual that consequently might affect his/her productivity (Kantas 1998). For example, the performance of a sails person is greatly related to the market rather than to his/her own ability to persuade.

Pay as a Motivator

Furthermore another important issue that is related to work motivation is ‘pay’. Pay is certainly used in many attempts to increase motivation. Performance-related pay (PRP) has been tried in many organizations and involves attempts to link directly to work performance of individuals or groups. Of course for each motivation theory that we met ‘pay’ is perceived differently. For Maslow, pay would be a motivator only for people functioning at the lower level of the hierarchy needs. In expectancy theory, pay will be an effective motivator to the extend that it is desired by the person; at the same time a person can identify behaviors that will lead to high payment and this will motivate him/her to perform those behaviors. On the other hand, in goal – setting theory goals are not defined in terms of pay rather in terms of a person’s behavior and/or accomplishments. Nevertheless if there is a very clear and direct link between a person’s accomplishments and their pay, then specific, difficult goals defined in terms of earnings may be motivating (Gordon, 1996).

3.2 Research on Job Satisfaction
However, when people are asked what motives them at work, people are more likely to give answers like variety, responsibility, interesting work or challenge than pay (Herzberg as cited in Gordon, 1996). Motivation then can fall into two broad categories: intrinsic motivation which is based on rewards intrinsic to the task itself (interest, variety) and extrinsic motivation which rewards are extrinsic to the task; pay, for example, is an extrinsic reward. An interesting study was conducted named “What are the statistically significant factors that affect job satisfaction?” in which 15,000, largely white collar, employees nationwide from all levels of the participating organizations took place. 20% were managers/supervisors; 91% worked full-time; average age was 33 and there was an even proportion of males and females. As part of a larger project whose goal was to create an employee-driven, survey-improvement process, Bavendam Research identified six factors that influenced job satisfaction. When these six factors were high, job satisfaction was high. When the six factors were low, job satisfaction was low. Job satisfaction therefore is influenced by (in ascending order): Adequate authority, Fair rewards, Work standards, Leadership, Stress and, Opportunity. In addition, Bevendam Research has included measures of job satisfaction in all the employee surveys. Clear patterns have emerged. Employees with higher job satisfaction share the following characteristics: believe that the organization will be satisfying in the long run, they care about the quality of their work, are more committed to the organization, have higher retention rates and are more productive.
The job satisfaction literature is dominated to a considerable degree by a preoccupation with the relationships between job satisfaction and absenteeism, turnover and job performance. Studies of the relationship between job satisfaction and other behaviours and attitudes appear less frequently, but some interesting findings have been reported. A negative relationship between job satisfaction and the tendency to assume that others left the organization because of job dissatisfaction has been reported. Khaleque (1981) reported one of the more interesting correlates of job satisfaction. The investigator found the heart rates of female cigar factory employees reporting higher job satisfaction to be significantly lower (which is better) than the heart rates of subject reporting lower job satisfaction. There was no correlation between heart rate and perceived physical effort. Job satisfaction has been found to be negatively related to both role conflict (i.e., conflicting expectations for job behaviors) and role ambiguity (i.e. not receiving any clear information about expected job behaviors). These relationships are generally reliable and fairly strong (availiable at http://www.employeesatisfactions.com//specialreportsvol6.pdf).
The current reported correlation-also between job satisfaction and employee productivity has been reported to be .017, indicating a trivial relationship between the two variables (Κάντας, 1998). Even though studies have confirmed that job satisfaction exerts little or no causal influence to productivity, and that when this is the case, productivity is more likely to lead to increased feelings of job satisfaction (Greene, 1973; as cited in Locke, 1975). In a study of physicians, Nathanson & Becker (1973) identified that job satisfaction and productivity were related when the physicians felt that they attained important work values and goals. Specifically, in cases in which they felt that their work was an end by itself and not merely a means to an end, when they derived intrinsic motivation from their health care activities, and when they received recognition for these activities, productivity and satisfaction were significantly correlated. When these conditions did not exist, no relationship was obtained between them. For identifying the impact organizational climate may have with specific work -related variables such as job satisfaction and work performance, it is essential to study thoroughly the organizations’s overall culture. Although several studies have focused on identifying the dimensions that characterize an organization’s culture, only a few have investigated the extent to which an organization’s values affect actual outcomes. The most important article addressing the linkage between organizational culture and performance was published by Deshpandé et.al. (1993). Concentrating on only Japanese firms, these authors found that higher levels of business performance were most closely associated with a market culture (meaning one that emphasizes the values of competitive aggressiveness and outcome orientation) and an adhocracy culture (one that emphasizes the values of flexibility and innovation). Other studies (e.g., Marcoulides & Heck, 1993) have simply concluded that the values that characterize an organization’s culture significantly affect performance without specifying which values are most closely associated with business outcomes.
Additionally, the effects of national culture have important implications. For instance, the values that characterize organizations are likely to parallel those of the national culture in which the organization operates (Rhody & Tang 1995). The enculturation procedure of individuals in every social institution is a result of learned behaviours, values and shared beliefs, as mentioned earlier. In order to further understand the process of enculturation and knowledge acquisition , the learning process must be closely examined.
4. Learning and knowledge
Learning isn’t simply something that is individual. Learning can also be social:
A social system learns whenever it acquires new capacity for behaviour, and learning may take the form of undirected interaction between systems. Government as a learning system carries with it the idea of public learning, a special way of acquiring new capacity for behaviour in which government learns for the society as a whole. In public learning, government undertakes a continuing, directed inquiry into the nature, causes and resolution of our problems.
A critical analysis of systems theory substitutes responsive networks for traditional hierarchies, his theory of governance remains locked in top-down paternalism. Only an understanding of the role of democratic politics can provide answers to the purposes and conditions for the learning society he desires. The way societies learn about themselves, and the processes by which they transform themselves, is through politics, and the essence of politics is learning through public deliberation, which is the characteristic of effective learning systems. (Ranson 1998). Subsequently, we have seen very significant changes in the nature and organization of production and services. Companies, organizations and governments have to operate in a global environment that has altered its character in significant ways.
Productivity and competitiveness are, by and large, a function of knowledge generation and information processing: firms and territories are organized in networks of production, management and distribution; the core economic activities are global – that is they have the capacity to work as a unit in real time, or chosen time, on a planetary scale. (Castells 2001) A firm is an internal social learning system in which the system’s interactions must now become a matter of directed transformation of the whole system. These directed transformations are in part the justification for the business systems firm. But they oblige it to internalise processes of information flow and sequential innovation which have traditionally been left to the ‘market’ and to the chain reactions within and across industry lines – reactions in which each firm had only to worry about its own response as one component. The business firm, representing the whole functional system, must now learn to effect the transformation and diffusion of the system as a whole. (Schon 1973). Diffusion of innovation can take place either in the traditional way or by incorporating the learning system’s model. In the first case the unit of innovation is a product or technique and the pattern of diffusion is a centre –periphery one, while leadership style is fixed, with the communication of stable messages or the replication of a central message. Additionally, the scope of the company is limited by resource and energy at the centre of the organization, and feedback moves from all the secondary centres to the primary centre and back to all secondary ones. On the other hand, in the learning system’s model feedback operates locally and universally throughout the network, and the scope is limited by infrastructure technology. In this approach, the unit of innovation is a functional system, and diffusion takes place as the system transforms itself. The learning system’s model has been adopted by many managers seeking to focus more on knowledge elements and to incorporate organizational learning procedures for transforming their organizations.
4.1 . Organizational Learning
The central template or ideal form in the 1990s and into the twenty first century was the notion of the learning organization. A helpful way of making sense of writing on organizational learning is to ask whether writers fall into one of two basic camps. The dividing line between them is the extent to which the writers emphasize organizational learning as a technical or a social process.
The technical view assumes that organizational learning is about the effective processing, interpretation of, and response to, information both inside and outside the organization. This information may be quantitative or qualitative, but is generally explicit and in the public domain. The social perspective on organization learning focuses on the way people make sense of their experiences at work. These experiences may derive from explicit sources such as financial information, or they may be derived from tacit sources, such as the ‘feel’ that s skilled craftsperson has, or the intuition possessed by a skilled strategist. From this view, learning is something that can emerge from social interactions, normally in the natural work setting. In the case of explicit information it involves a joint process of making sense of data. The more tacit and ‘embodied’ forms of learning involve situated practices, observation and emulation of skilled practitioners and socialization into a community of practice.
4.1.1. Single- and Double-loop Organizational Learning
This model of learning goes back to some work that Argyris and Schön did in 1974, but it found its strongest expression and grounding in organizational dynamics in 1978. Single-loop learning with it’s emphasis on the detection and correction of errors within a given set of governing variables is linked to incremental change in organizations. Double-loop learning involves interrogating the governing variables themselves and often involves radical changes such as the wholesale revision of systems, alterations in strategy and so on.


When the error detected and corrected permits the organization to carry on its present policies or achieve its presents objectives, then that error-and-correction process is single-loop learning. Single-loop learning is like a thermostat that learns when it is too hot of too cold and turns the heat on or off. The thermostat can perform this task because it can receive information (the temperature of the room) and take corrective action. Double-loop learning occurs when error is detected and corrected in ways that involve the modification of an organization’s underlying norms, policies and objectives.
Single-loop learning seems to be present when goals, values, frameworks and, to a significant extent, strategies are taken for granted. The emphasis is on ‘techniques and making techniques more efficient’ (Usher and Bryant, 1989) Any reflection is directed toward making the strategy more effective. Double-loop learning, in contrast, ‘involves questioning the role of the framing and learning systems which underlie actual goals and strategies’ (Usher and Bryant, 1989).
Chris Argyris and Schon (1978) suggest that each member of an organization constructs his or her own representation or image of the theory-in-use of the whole. The picture is always incomplete – and people, thus, are continually working to add pieces and to get a view of the whole. They need to know their place in the organization, it is argued. An organization is like an organism each of whose cells contains a particular, partial, changing image if itself in relation to the whole. And like such an organism, the organization’s practice stems from those very images. Organization is an artifact of individual ways of representing organization.
Hence, our inquiry into organizational learning must concern itself not with static entities called organizations, but with an active process of organizing which is, at root, a cognitive enterprise. Individual members are continually engaged in attempting to know the organization, and to know themselves in the context of the organization. At the same time, their continuing efforts to know and to test their knowledge represent the object of their inquiry. Organizing is reflexive inquiry. Members require external references. There must be public representations of organizational theory-in-use to which individuals can refer. This is the function of organizational maps. These are the shared descriptions of the organization which individuals jointly construct and use to guide their own inquiry.
Organizational theory-in-use, continually constructed through individual inquiry, is encoded in private images and in public maps. These are the media of organizational learning. (Argyris and Schön ,1978)
By looking at the way that people jointly construct maps it is then possible to talk about organizational learning (involving the detection and correction of error) and organizational theory-in-use. For organizational learning to occur, ‘learning agents’, discoveries, inventions, and evaluations must be embedded in organizational memory’ (Argyris and Schön ,1978). If it is not encoded in the images that individuals have, and the maps they construct with others, then ‘the individual will have learned but the organization will not have done so’
In this organizational schema single-loop learning is characterized as when, ‘members of the organization respond to changes in the internal and external environment of the organization by detecting errors which they then correct so as to maintain the central features of theory-in-use’ (ibid.: 18). Double-loop learning then becomes: “those sorts of organizational inquiry which resolve incompatible organizational norms by setting new priorities and weightings of norms, or by restructuring the norms themselves together with associated strategies and assumptions. (Argyris and Schön ,1978)
4.2. Can organizations learn?
Prange (1999) comments that one of the greatest myths of organizational learning is the ‘who question’, that is, ‘the way in which learning might be considered organizational’. There are those who argue that it is individuals, not organizations, who learn. In other words, learning refers to the processes of thinking and remembering that take place within an individual’s brain. Traditionally, the study of cognitive processes, cognitive development, and the cultivation of educationally desirable skills and competencies has treated everything cognitive as being possessed and residing in the heads of individuals; social, cultural, and technological factors have been relegated to the role of backdrops or external sources of stimulation (Salomon ,1993)
How can companies use knowledge to secure a strategic advantage? In a nutshell, its about generating greater value through the knowledge in products, people and processes:
-Knowledge in Products: 'Intelligent' or 'smart' products can command premium prices and be more beneficial to users. One example is the 'intelligent' oil drill that bends and weaves it way to extract more oil than ever from the pockets of oil in underground formations.
-Knowledge in People: "Our most valuable asset", according to many company reports, although the actual way they are treated and managed often belies this. 'Learning Organisation' programmes, such as that at Anglian Water, is one way of nurturing and applying underutilised talent.
-Knowledge in Processes: In many companies there are often differences in performance levels of 3:1 or more among different groups performing the same process. Closing such a gap saved Texas Instruments the cost of one new semiconductor fabrication plant (a $1billion investment).
These are not the only ways that companies are creating strategic advantage through knowledge but give a flavour of what is possible. Others include active management of your intellectual property portfolio of patents and licences, and creating new businesses that exploit your internally generated information and knowledge.
One of the practical problems of developing knowledge strategies or adding a knowledge dimension to other strategies is the complex nature of knowledge. As we now know from many disappointing artificial intelligence initiatives of the 1970s, you cannot easily package knowledge into a black box and have it perform miracles. A potentially worrying trend about today's knowledge management movement is that IT managers, information professionals and software suppliers are jumping on the bandwagon and merely substituting the word 'knowledge' for 'information'. That is not to say that information is unimportant, since a good IT infrastructure, good information management (in the library sense) and effective information solutions, such as data mining, decision support tools, document management and groupware, are essential foundations. However, they do not go far enough.
The difficulty comes, not through handling 'explicit' knowledge, but 'tacit' knowledge which is harder to express and codify. Very often the most valuable knowledge that an organisation has is in the heads of its people, and those of its stakeholders, especially customers. However, "people walk", so forward looking companies continually to seek ways of locking it in to their organisation. The two complementary approaches are:
1.Converting it to a more explicit form - in documents, processes, databases etc. This is often referred to as "decanting the human capital into the structural capital of an organization". I call this the "Western tendency" since it's the main emphasis of many European and US knowledge programmes.
2.Enhancing tacit knowledge flow through better human interaction, such that the knowledge is diffused around the organisation and not held in the heads of a few. In Japan various 'socialisation' activities support this kind of knowledge flow, that by its very nature also sparks the generation of new ideas and knowledge. Add some basic elements of good human resource management, including a stimulating environment, personal development plans, motivation and suitable reward and recognition systems (such as knowledge sharing awards and stock options), then there is less chance of your best knowledge workers wanting to leave.
5. The Learning Organization
According to Senge (1990) learning organizations are organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together. Other definitions write that: "The essence of organisational learning is the organization's ability to use the amazing mental capacity of all its members to create the kind of processes that will improve its own" ( Dixon, 1994), "A Learning Company is an organization that facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself" (M. Pedler, J. Burgoyne and Boydell, 1991 )and "Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to learn together" ( Senge, 1990)
The important points to note about this definitions are that learning organizations are adaptive to their external environment, continually enhance their capability to change/adapt ,develop collective as well as individual learning and use the results of learning to achieve better results. Argyris and Schön (1978; 1996) suggest that each member of an organization constructs his or her own representation or image of the theory-in-use of the whole . The picture is always incomplete – and people, thus, are continually working to add pieces and to get a view of the whole. They need to know their place in the organization. Hence, our inquiry into organizational learning must concern itself not with static entities called organizations, but with an active process of organizing which is, at root, a cognitive enterprise. Individual members are continually engaged in attempting to know the organization, and to know themselves in the context of the organization. At the same time, their continuing efforts to know and to test their knowledge represent the object of their inquiry.
Members of such organizations require external references. There must be public representations of organizational theory-in-use to which individuals can refer. This is the function of organizational maps. These are the shared descriptions of the organization which individuals jointly construct and use to guide their own inquiry. Organizational theory-in-use, continually constructed through individual inquiry, is encoded in private images and in public maps. These are the media of organizational learning. (Argyris and Schön, 1978). The basic rationale for such organizations is that in situations of rapid change only those that are flexible, adaptive and productive will excel. For this to happen, it is argued, organizations need to ‘discover how to tap people’s commitment and capacity to learn at all levels’.
If organizations can learn, this does not mean that they learn very well. A strong theme in the literature on organizational learning is the weakness of the learning system involved. The learning of the collective suffers from a startling range of limitations. Some of these are equally characteristic of solo and collective learning entities. For instance, rare high-stakes events—marriage decisions in an individual or major shifts of direction in a business—are difficult learning targets because they do not occur often to disambiguate the lessons of experience, and because by the time they occur again circumstances may have changed substantially. Other problems of learning are exacerbated by the specifically organizational character of the learning. For example, different individuals and units within an organization may hold somewhat different criteria of success. Also, advocates of a policy are likely to interpret any difficulties with it as reflecting an insufficiently vigorous pursuit of the policy, while opponents interpret the same data as signifying a bad policy. Feedback about the results of organizational actions may be distorted or suppressed as people rush to protect their turf or to maintain a positive climate.
5.1. Dimensions of Learning Organizations
While all people have the capacity to learn, the structures in which they have to function are often not conducive to reflection and engagement. Furthermore, people may lack the tools and guiding ideas to make sense of the situations they face. Organizations that are continually expanding their capacity to create their future require a fundamental shift of mind among their members. The dimension that distinguishes learning from more traditional organizations is the mastery of certain basic disciplines or ‘component technologies’. The five that Peter Senge (1990) identifies are said to be converging to innovate learning organizations. They are:
Systems thinking
Personal mastery
Mental models
Building shared vision
Team learning
People are agents, able to act upon the structures and systems of which they are a part. All the disciplines are, in this way, ‘concerned with a shift of mind from seeing parts to seeing wholes, from seeing people as helpless reactors to seeing them as active participants in shaping their reality, from reacting to the present to creating the future’ (Senge 1990).
Systems theory’s ability to comprehend and address the whole, and to examine the interrelationship between the parts provides both the incentive and the means to integrate the disciplines. First, while the basic tools of systems theory are fairly straightforward they can build into sophisticated models. A better appreciation of systems will lead to more appropriate action. . Classically we look to actions that produce improvements in a relatively short time span. However, when viewed in systems terms short-term improvements often involve very significant long-term costs. For example, cutting back on research and design can bring very quick cost savings, but can severely damage the long-term viability of an organization. Part of the problem is the nature of the feedback we receive. Some of the feedback will be reinforcing (or amplifying) – with small changes building on themselves.
The systems viewpoint is generally oriented toward the long-term view. That’s why delays and feedback loops are so important. In the short term, you can often ignore them; they’re inconsequential. They only come back to haunt you in the long term.
Personal mastery. ‘Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs’ (Senge 1990). Personal mastery is the discipline of ‘continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively’. It goes beyond competence and skills, although it involves them. It goes beyond spiritual opening, although it involves spiritual growth. Mastery is seen as a special kind of proficiency. It is not about dominance, but rather about calling. Vision is vocation rather than simply just a good idea. People with a high level of personal mastery live in a continual learning mode. They never ‘arrive’. Sometimes, language, such as the term ‘personal mastery’ creates a misleading sense of definiteness, of black and white. But personal mastery is not something you possess. It is a process. It is a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, their growth areas. And they are deeply self-confident
Mental models. These are ‘deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures and images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action’ (Senge, 1990). The discipline of mental models starts with turning the mirror inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. It also includes the ability to carry on ‘learningful’ conversations that balance inquiry and advocacy, where people expose their own thinking effectively and make that thinking open to the influence of others. (Senge, 1990). If organizations are to develop a capacity to work with mental models then it will be necessary for people to learn new skills and develop new orientations, and for their to be institutional changes that foster such change. Moving the organization in the right direction entails working to transcend the sorts of internal politics and game playing that dominate traditional organizations. In other words it means fostering openness (Senge, 1990). It also involves seeking to distribute business responsibly far more widely while retaining coordination and control. Learning organizations are localized organizations .
Building shared vision. When there is a genuine vision (as opposed to the all-to-familiar ‘vision statement’), people excel and learn, not because they are told to, but because they want to. But many leaders have personal visions that never get translated into shared visions that galvanize an organization. What has been lacking is a discipline for translating vision into shared vision - not a ‘cookbook’ but a set of principles and guiding practices. The practice of shared vision involves the skills of unearthing shared ‘pictures of the future’ that foster genuine commitment and enrolment rather than compliance. In mastering this discipline, leaders learn the counter-productiveness of trying to dictate a vision, no matter how heartfelt. (Senge, 1990). There are ‘limits to growth’ in this respect, but developing the sorts of mental models outlined above can significantly improve matters. Where organizations can transcend linear and grasp system thinking, there is the possibility of bringing vision to fruition,
Team learning. Such learning is viewed as ‘the process of aligning and developing the capacities of a team to create the results its members truly desire’ (Senge, 1990). It builds on personal mastery and shared vision – but these are not enough. People need to be able to act together. The discipline of team learning starts with ‘dialogue’, the capacity of members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine ‘thinking together’. To the Greeks dia-logos meant a free-flowing if meaning through a group, allowing the group to discover insights not attainable individual. It also involves learning how to recognize the patterns of interaction in teams that undermine learning. (Senge, 1990)
5.1.1 Culture that Promotes Learning in Organizations
According to Boyett and Boyett (2000), an organizational culture must have certain characteristics in order to enhance learning and sustain a working environment in which all employees will have access to new knowledge. In this culture leaders and managers have an important role to play as they should balance the interests of all stakeholders, the community and the stockholders so that no group will dominate the thinking of management. More importantly, leaders and managers in this type of culture believe that their employees can truly learn and change their attitudes. This attitude presupposes a large amount of idealism about human nature. Another related and necessary assumption for learning is that individuals have the capacity to change their environment and ultimately make their own fate.
Apart from the shared beliefs that should exist in a “learning culture”, the organization should provide adequate time for learning opportunities, so that individuals can also develop a shared commitment to learning and thinking systemically and understand how things work and especially the consequences of actions over time. Communication importance is also stressed at this type of learning cultures. Employees have a shared commitment to open and extensive communication and a commitment to tell the truth, but most importantly they have understood that trust, teamwork and cooperation are critical for success, while individualistic competition is not the answer to every problem. James (2003) notes that learning organizations are characterised by strong egalitarian cultures which facilitates continuous improvement and adaptation at all levels. Egalitarian cultures create sets of norms that promote organizational learning. Creation of this kind of culture is created via the use of recognition and rewards which in turn reinforces behaviour that exemplify the egalitarian values of the organization.
It is assumed that ‘good’ learning ‘takes place in a climate of openness where political behaviour is minimized’ (Easterby-Smith and Araujo, 1999). This is an assumption that can be questioned. It could be argued that organizations are inherently political – and that it is important to recognize this. Organizations can be seen as coalitions of various individuals and interest groups. ‘Organizational goals, structure and policies emerge from an ongoing process of bargaining and negotiation among major interest groups’ (Bolman and Deal, 1997). Thus, perhaps we need to develop theory that looks to the political nature of structures, knowledge and information. Here we might profitably look to games theory, the contribution of partisan and political institutions (Beem 1999) and an exploration of how managers can make explicit, and work with, political processe. Perhaps the aim should be ‘to incorporate politics into organizational learning, rather than to eradicate it’ (Easterby-Smith and Araujo, 1999).


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