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Theories of Practice: The Structural Frame

MPA 8002 The Structure and Theory of Human Organization Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.

Since the mid-19th century and throughout the Industrial Era, social scientists have made inquiry into the nature of human organizations. The overall endeavor has been to objectify and analyze those factors which constitute effective and efficient organizations.

The goal has been to characterize how effective and efficient organizations: function well achieve and surpass goals survive and thrive in the environment what competitors emulate

The rational and objective side of human organizations...


The structural frame upholds the notion that organizations are judged primarily on and by the proper functioning of those elements which constitute good organization... giving appropriate emphasis to the process integrating people and technology...

and enabling the organization to achieve its goals.

A STRUCTURAL SCENARIO

The fundamental responsibility of managers and leaders is to clarify organizational goals, to attend to the relationship between structure and environment, and to develop a structure that is clear and appropriate to the goals, the task, and the environment. Without such a structure, people become unsure about what they are supposed to be doing. The result is confusion, frustration, and conflict. In an effective organization, individuals are clear about their responsibilities and their contribution. Policies, linkages, and lines of authority are well-defined. When an organization has the right structure and people understand it, the organization can achieve its goals and individuals can be effective in their roles.

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN A STRUCTURAL SCENARIO

The job of managers and leaders is to focus on task, facts, and logic, not personality and emotions. Most people problems really stem from structural flaws rather than from flaws in individuals. Structural managers and leaders are not necessarily authoritarian and do not necessarily solve every problem by issuing orders (though that will sometimes be appropriate). Instead, they try to design and implement a process or structure appropriate to the problem and the circumstances. Bolman & Deal (1991, p. 355)

the structural frame

Primary Metaphor for Organization:


Factory Machine

Central Concepts:

Managerial and Leadership Image:


Social architect Chief Executive Officer President

Fundamental Challenge:

Rules Roles Goals Policies Technology Environment

Attune structure to task, technology, environment Align people, process, and technology

For the greater part of the 20th century, the assumptions and concepts of scientific management have informed most theories of practice.

One of the earliest precursors of scientific management...


Max Weber

19th century sociologist hired by Frederick the Great to reorganize the Prussian army conceived the rationalized bureaucracy

But, if Max Weber rationalized the bureaucracy Frederick Winslow Taylor hyper-rationalized the bureaucracy.

Frederick Winslow Taylor...


the father of scientific management originally trained as a statistician sought an objective, scientific mechanism to improve organizational functioning conducted time and motion studies to ascertain the one best way in turn, this provided the basis for worker training, assessment, and improvement

In 1911, Taylor published his theory of practice, The Principles of Scientific Management... ...eventually, Taylors book became the standard textbook in management training in the North America and Europe.

The assumptions of scientific management...


1. organizations exist to achieve established goals and objectives 2. organizations work best when rationality prevails over personal preferences and external pressures 3. structures must be designed to fit an organizations circumstances (including its goals, technology, and environment)

4. organizations increase efficiency and enhance performance through specialization and division of labor 5. appropriate forms of coordination and control are essential to ensure that individuals and units work together although both are subordinate to organizational goals 6. problems and performance gaps arise from structural deficiencies and are best remedied through organizational restructuring

The Five Principles of Scientific Management...


1. shift all responsibility for the organization of work from the worker to the manager 2. use scientific methods to determine the most efficient way of doing the work 3. select the best person to perform the job thus designed 4. train the worker to do the work efficiently 5. monitor worker performance

Although common sense by todays standards...

Taylors principles were a fundamental assault upon traditional theories of practice Taylors intention was to effect a mental revolution aimed at transforming how people looked at work, their lives, and their world

The mental revolution...


reform:

fixed division of labor

replaced:

craft guilds and trades where one worker completes an entire job

reform:

uniform rules govern job performance

replaced:

work dictated by the caprice, whim, fancy, or feeling of a superordinate

reform:

workers would possess technical qualifications

replaced:

patrimony, patronage, graft

reform:

the separation of person from office

replaced:

individual assertions, claims, tenure

reform:

a hierarchy of officers

replaced:

dictators, autocrats, monarchs

reform:

work as a life-long career in an organization

replaced:

work as a trade where workers seek employment wherever available

Taylors mental revolution also transformed managerial practice...

his principles focused attention upon the manager as a social architect

In practice episodes...

managers apply the principles and concepts of scientific management to resolve the fundamental dilemmas present in the workplace
Although Taylor is oftentimes credited (or discredited) for rationalizing the workplace, he was the first to introduce the concept of creativity into the managerial process.

Management and leadership as creative social architecture...


fundamental concepts:

integration: the manager devises a structure to conjoin people, process, and technology in the most efficient and effective way possible division of labor: the manager designs an appropriate means of control to facilitate vertical and lateral integration span of control: the manager organizes a system of supervision and accountability

The dilemmas confronting managers and leaders...

differentiation

vs.

integration

gaps

vs.

overlaps

underuse

vs.

overload

lack of clarity

vs.

lack of creativity

excessive autonomy

vs.

excessive interdependence

too loose

vs.

too tight

diffuse authority

vs.

over-centralization

goal-less

vs.

goal-bound

irresponsibility

vs.

unresponsiveness

Scientific management...

focuses on the social context of work specifies goals, roles, and relationships encourages organizational efficiency and effectiveness
In its inception, scientific management represented a fundamental reform of the workplace. But, as scientific management became an orthodox ideology governing practice episodes, some of its assumptions proved to be problematic.

Taylorism as scientific management came to be known...

dominated the training of managers and leaders for most of the 20th century eventually became an ideology shaping how people viewed virtually every form of human organization, including for-profit business, not-for-profit social services (e.g., hospitals, municipal governments, schools), and even homes

Some recent kindred cousins of scientific management...


PERT Analysis (1960s) Management By Objectives (1970s) Total Quality Management (1980s) Strategic Planning (1980s) Organizational Re-Engineering (1990s)

But, the principles contain hidden assumptions...


1. shift all responsibility for the organization of work from the worker to the manager
managers do all of the thinking related to the planning and design of work, leaving the workers with the task of implementation

2. use scientific methods to determine the most efficient way of doing the work
managers design the workers task by specifying the precise way in which the work is to be done

3. select the best person to perform the job thus designed


job competencies and requirements can be explicitly detailed

4. train the worker to do the work efficiently

training is routinized, involving demonstration, practice, and drill

5. monitor worker performance

managers ensure that appropriate procedures are followed and that pre-determined results are achieved

The power of scientific management...


structural elements: division of labor span of control integration
implies

hierarchies
policies procedures rules assessment

can improve organizational functioning...


As these structural elements align people, process, and technology:

the structure will support the work


the organizational structure and workforce will complement one another efficiency and effectiveness will create the circumstances for achieving the organizations goals

or can become an ideology...


When the structural elements become more important than the people in the organization:

the structure will remain impervious to challenge


tensions between structure and people will mount inefficiencies and ineffectiveness will contribute to organizational dysfunction new management will re-establish controlor the organization will flounder until it eventually dies in its environment

Managing and 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 organizations strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities and threats are present?

critically examining existing structures and processes


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?

designing an organizational structure that takes into account its history, experience, and preferred future:
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

Using scientific management...


VISION

MISSION

a preferred future what ought to be

the motivation the opportunities the challenges

based upon factual data

VISION

MISSION

PURPOSE

PURPOSE

STRATEGY

a shared motive

with explicit values


explicating why we do what we do

formulate preferred scenario


define the game plan

STRATEGY

GOALS

frames subsequent decisions that will be made at lower levels of the organizational hierarchy

action-oriented, smart outcomes which implement the strategy

translate the organizational purpose and strategy into performance goals

S
M

short measurable

A
R T

achievable
realistic

time bound

GOALS

TACTICS

frame subsequent decision making by the various groups closest to the action where frequent decisions must be made

purposive actions by groups in practice episodes how we will do what we will do

TACTICS

PROJECTS

frame subsequent decision making by individuals who do the work

purposive actions by individuals in practice episodes what I will do

VISION MISSION

GOALS

TACTICS PURPOSE PROJECTS

STRATEGIES

All the while, management and leadership endeavors to...


regularize a system for individual and collective accountability, one that translates the organizational purpose, goals, and commitments into tangible achievements

intra-organizational cohesion

adopt the experimental mentality associated with practice episodes: to retain what works, to discard what doesnt, and to refine the structure as needed

flexibility

report back what is being learned through practice

honest and accurate feedback

To avoid organizational dysfunction...


The managers challenge is to integrate vertical coordination with lateral control

vertical coordination

lateral control

one focus:

vertical coordination

...to integrate the various levels of the organizations formal hierarchy

Tactics for vertical coordination...


power

legitimate coercive referent expert reward

rules and policies planning and control systems

specify the conditions of work


performance control action planning

a second focus:

lateral control

to balance the need for autonomy and responsibility at similar levels in the organizations formal hierarchy

Tactics to exercise lateral control...


opportunities for dialogue, feedback about operations, and the honest exchange of facts and insights

meetings

Meeting agendas should forge structural redesign that promises to improve organizational functioning not provide a forum to air personal grievances and interpersonal conflicts.

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.

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.

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.

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.

While using these tactics to integrate...

vertical coordination

lateral control

Managers and leaders need to be realistic...

A realistic theory of managerial and leadership...

the central issue confronting managers and leaders is that change not stability characterizes human organizations
However, scientific management and the structural theories of practice associated with it are constructed on the false premise that change does not characterize organizations.

Some of the significant changes impacting organizational functioning include:


environment

size of organization age of organization core process

organizational vision
information technology

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

people

Because organizations are primarily human enterprises...

managers and leaders use scientific management by focusing upon developing a team
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

change alters the clarity and stability of roles and relationships, creating confusion and chaos

This requires managers and leaders to be attentive to periodically realigning and renegotiating formal patterns and policies.

Structural tasks for managers and leaders...


1. set goals and policies under conditions of uncertainty 2. achieve delicate balance in allocating scarce resources across different businesses or functions 3. motivate, coordinate, and control large, diverse group of subordinates

Using scientific management...


effective managers and leaders are

social architects honest analysis

whose primary concerns are

creative design

Abusing scientific management...


ineffective managers and leaders are

petty tyrants micro-managing issuing memos ruling by fiat

whose primary concerns are

Strengths of the scientific management theory of practice...


objectivity

logical
action oriented modes of accountability

Limitations of the scientific management theory of practice...


impersonal

overly simplistic
pessimistic inflexible

Integrating reflective practice, conceptual pluralism, and organizational analysis...


Analyzing organizations through four frames inculcates the conceptual pluralism that managers and leaders need to diagnose the issues underlying the problems manifesting themselves in human organizations.
the structural frame
the human resources frame the political frame the symbolic frame

This module has focused on...


the scientific management theories that managers and leaders can utilize in practice episodes

as these theories of practice provide managers a frame of reference to inform decision making, the

the structural frame


offers managers and leaders guidance about the strengths and limits of scientific management theory

A STRUCTURAL SCENARIO

The fundamental responsibility of managers and leaders is to clarify organizational goals, to attend to the relationship between structure and environment, and to develop a structure that is clear and appropriate to the goals, the task, and the environment. Without such a structure, people become unsure about what they are supposed to be doing. The result is confusion, frustration, and conflict. In an effective organization, individuals are clear about their responsibilities and their contribution. Policies, linkages, and lines of authority are well-defined. When an organization has the right structure and people understand it, the organization can achieve its goals and individuals can be effective in their roles.

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN A STRUCTURAL SCENARIO

The job of managers and leaders is to focus on task, facts, and logic, not personality and emotions. Most people problems really stem from structural flaws rather than from flaws in individuals. Structural managers and leaders are not necessarily authoritarian and do not necessarily solve every problem by issuing orders (though that will sometimes be appropriate). Instead, they try to design and implement a process or structure appropriate to the problem and the circumstances. Bolman & Deal (1991, p. 355)

the structural frame

Primary Metaphor for Organization:


Factory Machine

Central Concepts:

Managerial and Leadership Image:


Social architect Chief Executive Officer President

Fundamental Challenge:

Rules Roles Goals Policies Technology Environment

Attune structure to task, technology, environment Align people, process, and technology

The next module will focus on...

the human resources frame


and the psychological theories that managers and leaders can utilize in practice episodes

A HUMAN RESOURCES SCENARIO

People are the heart of any organization. When people feel the organization is responsive to their needs and supportive of their goals, managers and leaders can count on their followers commitment and loyalty. Managers and leaders who are authoritarian or insensitive, who dont communicate effectively, or who simply dont care about their people can never be effective managers and leaders. The human resource manager and leader works on behalf of both the organization and its people, seeking to serve the best interests of both.

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN A HUMAN RESOURCES SCENARIO

The job of the manager and leader is one of support and empowerment. Support takes a variety of forms: letting people know that they are important and that managers and leaders are concerned about them; listening to find out about their followers aspirations and goals; and, communicating personal warmth and openness. Human resource managers and leaders empower their followers through participation and openness as well as by making sure that they have the autonomy and the resources they need to do their jobs well. Human resource managers and leaders emphasize honest, two-way communication as a way to identify issues and resolve differences. They are willing to confront others when it is appropriate, but they try to do so in a spirit of openness and caring. Bolman & Deal (1991, p. 359)

the human resources frame

Primary Metaphor for Organization:


Family Tribe Clan

Central Concepts:

Managerial And Leadership Image:


Empowerment Liberation Fulfillment SelfActualization

Fundamental Challenge:

Relationships Self-Interest Needs Feelings Skills

Attune organizational and human needs

References

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1997). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership (2nd edition). San Francisco: 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. 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.