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Application of Theory

After working through the Theoretical Foundations Powerpoint, select only one of the theories and discuss its usefulness in the context of managing organizations. Use online peer-reviewed journal research (case study research is best) to inform your writing, and to advance the theoretical discussion beyond what you encountered in the PowerPoint. You may select a theory that you will eventually use elsewhere in the course.

Identify the consequences of having dissatisfied employees and describe ways of applying the four theories of job satisfaction and how you would use them to boost job satisfaction. Discuss how intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors affect job satisfaction. 

When answering consider how goals may help with job satisfaction and how to design jobs to enhance motivation.

Introduction to the Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Management:
A Primer

MGMT 600 –

Organizational Management

References for all citations located at the end of the Syllabus

Thank you for contributions by Farrago to this presentation (http://quizlet.com/18997324/chapter-2-management-theory-essential-background-for-the-successful-manager-flash-cards/)


Introductory Word About Management

Much has been said and written about management and leadership over the past century, particularly in the latter part of the 20th century. Note that each term—“management” and “leadership”—are distinct.

As students of management, it is important to understand the various roots and schools of thought from which contemporary management studies emerge so that you can sort through and make sense of the myriads of books and approaches you will invariably encounter, and so that you can reach a sense for differentiation between the terms “leadership” and “management.”

Keep in mind that this is ONLY an introduction.


This Lecture Contains Three
Main Sections:

Differentiating Leadership and Management

Approaches to Organizational Management

Motivational Theories and Concepts for Organizational Management


Differentiating Leadership and Management

How are these terms/actions different?


Leaders and Managers are both essential to the effective functionality of organizations. Note that there are distinct differences between them, characterized by Warren Bennis’ description:

“Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right things.”



Produces “Change and Movement”

Vision Building/Strategizing

Aligning People/Communicating



Produces “Order and Consistency”




Leadership and Management


Leader Tendencies

Focus on the future

Create change

Create a culture based on shared values

Establish emotional link with followers

Use personal power

Manager Tendencies

Focus on the present

Maintain status quo

Implement policies and procedures

Remain aloof and maintain objectivity

Use position power

Leaders vs. Managers

Check out the “Team Technology” website as a good resource to distinguish leaders and managers: http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/leadership/management/overview/


Thematic Network for Differentiating Between Leadership and Management

Source: Toor, S. (2011). Differentiating leadership from management: An empirical investigation of leaders and managers. Leadership and Management in Engineering, 11(4), 310-320.


Approaches to Organizational Management

A starting place . . .



Organizing: “A consensually validated grammar for reducing equivocality by means of sensible interlocked behaviors. To organize is to assemble ongoing interdependent actions into sensible sequences that generate sensible outcomes” (Weick, 1979, p. 3).

Management: The creation of “conditions that make people want to perform as desired” (Greenberg, 2010, p. 7).


Two Approaches to Describing Management in Organizations

The Historical Approach to Management

The Historical Approach to Management examines the evolutionary development of management science, including a look at the classical advancement of management through behavioral and quantitative lenses.

The Contemporary Approach to Management

The Contemporary Approach to Management examines the applications/streams of how management practice is conceptually organized, such as through “frames,” “systems,” “total quality management,” and “human resource management.”


The Historical Approach to Management of Organizations

The classical advancement of management through behavioral and quantitative lenses


Historical/Classical Viewpoint

The historical/classical viewpoint of management has its roots in rationalism, and emphasizes finding way to manage and work with greater efficiency. There are two main sections of the classical viewpoint of management:

Scientific Management: Fredrick W. Taylor and Frank & Lillian Gilbreth (“Cheaper by the Dozen” fame) pioneered scientific study of work methods to increase productivity (e.g., motions studies, differential pay rates)

Administrative Management: Henri Fayol and Max Weber applied management of overall organizations through systematic planning, defined hierarchy, job specialization, defined procedures, and merit pay.

Scientific Management videos:

Time motion study by General Electric: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9vIhPszb2I

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (ala “Cheaper by the Dozen” movie focus)



Bonus: Weber’s Concept of Bureaucracy

An “office” is to be held by the person most qualified

The duties, power, and authority of an “office” are clearly defined

Procedures are clearly defined and followed in order to allow for an exchange of people

Requires a stable environment

Originally defined by Weber as an “ideal type” – not what eventually developed


Weber’s Three stages of leadership history:

Traditional/Loyalty/Inherited power/lord-feudal roots/Politics

Bureaucratic—by hierarchical authority/knowledge

Charismatic—by relationship with significant, specially endowed person.

Historical/Behavioral Viewpoint

The historical/behavioral viewpoint of management focuses on the understanding of what causes workers to achieve. There are essentially three phases of the historical/behavioral viewpoint:

Early behaviorism: Hugo Munsterberg, “The father of industrial psychology” studied matching people with jobs; working conditions; motivation; Mary Parker Follett emphasized worker empowerment; Elton Mayo’s “Hawthorne Effect” demonstrated that employee productivity increases through the psychological stimulus of being made to feel important.

The Human Relations Movement: Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”: 1. Physiological, 2. Safety, 3. Love, 4. Esteem, 5. Self-actualization; Douglas McGregor proposed Theory X and Theory Y (pessimistic vs. optimistic view of workers).

Behavioral Science: This phase concludes that scientific research (in psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc.) proves theories about human behavior that can produce effective tools to manage people in organizations.


Quantitative Viewpoint

The quantitative viewpoint of focuses on the application of quantitative techniques, statistics, and technological simulations to more effectively manage organizations. There are essentially two quantitative branches:

Management Science: Using Mathematics to aid in problem solving and decision making. This includes scientific research (typically non-behavioral) related to the practice of management.

Operations Management: Stevenson (2009) defines operations management as “the management of systems of processes that create goods and/or provide services” (p. 4). Terms associated with operations management typically include: supply chain, demand, forecasting, capacity planning, facilities, scheduling, quality assurance, optimum inventory levels, system design, engineering, purchasing, budgeting, distribution, maintenance. Organizational functions that typically interface with operations includes: human resources, legal, accounting, information systems, and public relations.


The Contemporary Approach to Management of Organizations

The applications/streams of how management practice is conceptually organized


The Systems View of Management

The systems viewpoint of management sees organizations as a set of interrelated parts (or sub-systems) that operate together to achieve a common purpose, and that they may be either open or closed, with inputs and outputs, transformational processes, and feedback.

Inputs: Money, people, equipment, and materials required to product an organization’s goods or services; whatever goes in the system

Transformation processes: The organization’s capabilities to convert inputs into outputs (through managing internal processes, & tech used to do the job)

Outputs: The products, services, profits, losses, employee satisfaction/ discontent that are produced by the organization.

Feedback: The information about the reaction of the environment to the outputs that affects the inputs (i.e., how many items did the customer purchase)

Open System: A system that continually interacts with its environment. Illustration: Netflix was at once a closed system and in 2011, almost went bankrupt because of it.

Closed System: A system that has little interaction with its environment, and that ignore feedback.


Complexity Theory

The study of complex systems is about understanding indirect effects.

how interactions give rise to patterns of behavior

understanding the ways of describing complex systems

the process of formation of complex systems through pattern formation and evolution.

The field of complex systems cuts across all traditional disciplines of science, as well as engineering, management, and medicine.

It focuses on certain questions about parts, wholes and relationships.

These questions are relevant to all traditional fields.


What is the study of Complex Systems? Complex Systems is a new field of science studying how parts of a system give rise to the collective behaviors of the system, and how the system interacts with its environment. Social systems formed (in part) out of people, the brain formed out of neurons, molecules formed out of atoms, the weather formed out of air flows are all examples of complex systems. The field of complex systems cuts across all traditional disciplines of science, as well as engineering, management, and medicine. It focuses on certain questions about parts, wholes and relationships. These questions are relevant to all traditional fields.

Why Complex Systems? The study of complex systems is about understanding indirect effects. Problems that are difficult to solve are often hard to understand because the causes and effects are not obviously related. Pushing on a complex system “here” often has effects “over there” because the parts are interdependent. This has become more and more apparent in our efforts to solve societal problems or avoid ecological disasters caused by our own actions. The field of complex systems provides a number of sophisticated tools, some of them concepts that help us think about these systems, some of them analytical for studying these systems in greater depth, and some of them computer based for describing, modeling or simulating these systems.

Three approaches to the study of complex systems:

There are three interrelated approaches to the modern study of complex systems, (1) how interactions give rise to patterns of behavior, (2) understanding the ways of describing complex systems, and (3) the process of formation of complex systems through pattern formation and evolution.

Chaos Theory

Chaos is more long-term than short-term

Behavior in chaotic systems is aperiodic,

May evolve in a way that appears to be smooth and ordered

Chaos refers to the issue of whether or not it is possible to make accurate long-term predictions of any system if the initial conditions are known to an accurate degree.


Chaos: There is no prediction as to what to do, or what will happen.

What exactly is chaos theory? The name “chaos theory” comes from the fact that the systems that the theory describes are apparently disordered, but chaos theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data. When was chaos first discovered? The first true experimenter in chaos was a meteorologist, named Edward Lorenz. In 1960, he was working on the problem of weather prediction. He had a computer set up, with a set of twelve equations to model the weather. It didn’t predict the weather itself. However this computer program did theoretically predict what the weather might be.

When you see the underlying order —you move into complexity theory (see page)

What this is saying:

You predict 19 of the next 2 disasters. You develop the wrong expectations of the future based on the events of the past.

Fixes to this:

Pro-active planning

Write a history and see whatever patterns might have occurred.

Try to see patterns.

Small entrepreneurial orgs may have this mindset.

Complex Adaptive Systems

Complexity science suggests a paradigm for leadership that frames leadership as a complex interactive dynamic from which adaptive outcomes emerge;




Complexity Leadership Theory focuses on enabling the learning, creative, and adaptive capacity of complex adaptive systems (CAS) within a context of knowledge-producing organizations.

Leadership models of the last century have been products of top-down, bureaucratic paradigms. These models are eminently effective for an economy premised on physical production but are not well-suited for a more knowledge-oriented economy. Complexity science suggests a different paradigm for leadership—one that frames leadership as a complex interactive dynamic from which adaptive outcomes (e.g., learning, innovation, and adaptability) emerge. Complexity Leadership Theory focuses on enabling the learning, creative, and adaptive capacity of complex adaptive systems (CAS) within a context of knowledge-producing organizations. This conceptual framework includes three entangled leadership roles (i.e., adaptive leadership, administrative leadership, and enabling leadership) that reflect a dynamic relationship between the bureaucratic, administrative functions of the organization and the emergent, informal dynamics of complex adaptive systems (CAS).


Bonus: Senge on Systems Thinking

“In effect, the art of systems thinking lies in seeing through the detail complexity to the underlying structures generating change. Systems thinking does not mean ignoring detail complexity. Rather, it means organizing detail complexity into a coherent story that illuminates the causes of problems and how they can be remedied in enduring ways” (Senge, 2006, p. 124).


Contingency Viewpoint

The contingency viewpoint of management emphasizes the manager’s approach as variable according to the individuals in the organization and the environmental situation. Manager’s who use this approach will think “outside the box,” and realize that there is likely more than one right way of doing something.

Management should be viewed as a process, and therefore new ways to manage should be innovated and embraced, based on core beliefs:

Is the belief worth challenging? Is it weak? Does it interfere with organizational goals?

Is the belief universally valid? Counter examples? What can be learned from the examples?

Does the belief serve the interests of the people? Do some of the people derive reassurance or comfort from this belief?

Is the belief self-fulfilling? Is it true because we made it so?

(From Gary Hamel)


Bonus: Fiedler’s Contingency Theory

Certain conditions require certain leadership styles and vice versa:

Leadership Style – a consideration of personality that moves toward relationship orientation or task orientation

Situational Favorableness—three factors: leader-member, task structure and position power.

Since leaders cannot change their styles it is necessary to change leaders to fit the specific needs of the organization with regard to its environment


Although Paul Hersey (Situational Leadership) says that leaders can change by the situation, this theory says that when leaders CAN’T change styles then they need to be taken out.

Managerial leadership has influenced organizational activities in many ways. These influences include motivating subordinates, budgeting scarce resources, and serving as a source of communication. Over the years researchers have emphasized the influences of leadership on the activities of subordinates. These emphasis by researchers led to theories about leadership. “The first and perhaps most popular, situational theory to be advanced was the ‘Contingency Theory of Leadership Effectiveness’ developed by Fred E. Fiedler” (Bedeian, Glueck 504). This theory explains that group performance is a result of interaction of two factors. These factors are known as leadership style and situational favorableness.

Leader Style and Effectiveness: According to Fiedler’s theory, the effectiveness of the leader is the product of interaction between the leader’s style of leading in a particular environment with certain characteristics present. Leader effectiveness will, therefore, be the outcome of the degree of match between the leader’s style traits and the favorableness of the situation within which the leader leads in the way he/she leads. Some research indicates that the dominant leadership trait is a personality factor that moves upon the leader toward either “relationship orientation” or “task orientation.”

Situational Favorableness Variable: The second major factor in Fiedler’s theory is known as situational favorableness or environmental variable. This basically is defined as the degree a situation enables a leader to exert influence over a group. Fiedler then extends his analysis by focusing on three key situational factors, which are leader-member, task structure and position power.

Quality Management Viewpoint

The quality management viewpoint is dedicated to continuous quality improvement, training, and customer satisfaction. Regardless the “school” of thought regarding quality management, there are three terms that should be understood:

Quality: this is the total ability of a product of service to meet the needs of the customer(s). Quality add value and competitive advantage to the product or service.

Quality Control: this is the strategy for minimizing and limiting the amount of errors in the overall product or service through the management of each stage of production and/or preparation.

Quality Assurance: this term focuses on the performance of the organizational members; employees are urged to strive for “zero defects” in the product or service. A challenge to be considered in quality assurance is the gap between the design/designer and the workers who produce or prepare the product or service.


Managing for Quality:
TQM and Six Sigma

TQM (Total Quality Management) is a management approach that integrates ongoing quality improvement into the overall culture of the organization through the emphasis of key fundamentals such as: customer-focus, employee involvement/recognition, performance monitoring, systems integration, process improvement, fact-based decision making, and on-going communication.

The Six Sigma approach shares many of the fundamentals of TQM. However, Six Sigma prioritizes problem-solving based on organizational priorities and focuses more on statistical measurements, well-defined project scope/goals, etc.


Theories, Concepts, Styles

An introductory list


Motivational Theories and Concepts for Organizational Management

Why do people do what they do? What influences managers to manage and workers to work?


Motivational Theories: Categories

Two major categories: need-based and process-based

Need-Based Motivational Theories:

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Alderfer’s ERG theory

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

McClelland Learned Needs Theory

Process-Based Motivational Theories

Equity Theory—task and reward should match, that’s only fair

Expectancy Theory—Vroom—I expect better if I do certain things

Fishbein’s Reasoned Action—motivation is connected to intention and therefore influencers


There are two major categories of motivation: need-based perspectives and process-based perspectives.

Need-based perspectives states that people are motivated by things that the individual requires or wants and assume that need deficiencies cause behavior. There are primary needs, which include basic physical requirements and secondary needs which include needs that are learned from the environment or culture. Examples of need-based theories include Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, Alderfer’s ERG theory, and Herzberg’s Two-Factor (Dual-Structure) Theory.

Processed-based motivational theories tend to involve more logic and reason than need-based theories. Processed-based motivators connect expectations and outcomes so that if certain activities are engaged, then certain outcomes will be the result.

Need-Based Motivational Theories


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is based on five basic categories of needs. As a person satisfies one need, they move up the hierarchical structure, and the next motivating factor becomes the central focus of the person’s behavior. The five levels are: (1) physiological; (2) security needs; (3) belongingness needs (love); (4) esteem needs; and (5) self-actualization needs.

Maslow’s motivational theory is a content motivational theory dealing with a hierarchy of needs beginning with physical needs and moving up a scale ending with self-fulfillment.  The idea is that as basic needs are met, a person progresses upwards and becomes motivated by higher needs.

ERG Theory

Existence Needs

Relatedness Needs

Growth Needs

The difference between ERG theory and Maslow’s theory is that in ERG theory, if a person is frustrated trying to meet higher level need, they will regress back to the lower level need.


Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Hygiene factors

The company

Working conditions







Interest in the job


The Two-Factor (Dual-Structure) theory states that there are two dimensions to understanding motivation and levels of satisfaction. Herzberg’s theory has two kinds of motivators, which include motivation factors and hygiene factors. According to Herzberg, hygiene motivators, which are external and do not motivate the employee in a positive direction via job satisfaction; rather, if they are absent they will discourage/dissatisfy the employee and create significant job dissatisfaction. Second are intrinsic motivators, which are internal and have the capacity to motivate the employee in a positive direction to be satisfied with the job if they are present.

Learned Needs Theory

Need for achievement, idealistically or personally

Need for affiliation and acceptance

Need for power with people or processes


McClelland’s Learned Needs theory of motivation is based on three primary factors.  These factors are the need for achievement, such as an ideolistic or personal achievement.  A second factor is the need for affliliation or a sense of being accepted by a particular group or person.  The third factor is the need for power, such as
power or control over a person or a process.

Needs Theories Compared

http: //www.drawpack.com


Process-Based Motivational Theories


Equity Theory

Associated with fairness and justice

Compares what one puts in with what one gets back relative to the perception of what others (peers, subordinates, and superiors) get back


Equity theory holds that individuals view work from the perspective that the
task and the reward should match. In the event that task and rewards do not
match, the individual will compensate by either soliciting more rewards or
withdrawing the level of effort.

Expectancy Theory

Examines the value of a motivator relative to:

Expectancy: Perception that the effort will gain the reward (cause-effect)

Instrumentality: Perception that if the effort occurs that the reward will occur (trust)

Valence: Perception that the reward will be of value (preference)


Vroom’s Expectancy theory suggests that motivation is a linkage between a person’s desire for something better with the expectancy that if certain actions are taken, then the reward of something better will be received. The variables have to do with the accessibility of the thing pursued and the person’s ability to do what is necessary to
achieve. Expectancy theory looks at motivation based on external rewards–for the employee there must be valency–perceived benefit in the reward, in order to be motivated.

Reasoned Action Theory

Human beings are rational and make systematic use of information available to them.

People consider the implications of their actions before they decide to engage or not engage in certain behaviors.


Fishbein’s Reasoned Action Theory also considers outcomes, but is concerned more that the driver for motive is connected to the intention of the behavior. Therefore there is a consideration for various influences in the mix, such as the subjective aspect played by relationships affected by the action.

Looking at Expectancy and Reasoned Action theories together, the Expectancy theory appears more objective and logical, whereas the Reasoned Action theory is more
subjective and therefore complicated by virtue of a person’s ability to be affected by those around him or her as well as by the general acceptability of the action as the means to pursue the outcome.

General Theories and Concepts

Here is an introductory collection of material you should know


Bases of Power

An important initial consideration relates to how power is viewed in terms of leadership (and management). The following five “Bases of Power” are identified by French and Raven:

Legitimate Power—positional—accepted by others because of:

Social Conditioning—upbringing; experiences

Designation—respect for the office.

Reward Power—people work to get something in return

Coercive Power—people work because of the threat of what happens if they don’t

Referent Power—people follow you because they are attracted by success, notoriety, etc.

Expert Power—not personal attraction, but need of the follower for a specialist


Configuration Approach

All organizations can be described in terms of:





While there is an infinite combination of elements only a few are successful


EXAMPLE, using the Miles and Snow archetypes:

Leadership–Prospector—on the leading edge

Structure–Analyzers—working with what is


Defenders—protecting your braintrust

Organizational Behavior

OB (organizational behavior) may be defined as “the multidisciplinary field that seeks knowledge of behavior in organizational settings by systematically studying individual, group, and organizational processes.”

[Miner, J. B. (2002). Organizational behavior: foundations, theories, analyses. New York: Oxford University Press.]


Climate and Culture

Climate: Prevailing Influence or set of conditions

Culture: Integrated patrtern of knoweldge, belief, and behavior


Seven Climate Measurements:




Rewards equitability

Change resistance

Leader credibility


Culture Theory:
Hofstede’s 5 Dimensions

Power Distance

Acceptance by less powerful members that power is unequally distributed

Degree of human inequality underlying functionality of a given society

Uncertainty Avoidance

Level of comfort in unstructured situations, ie., novel, unknown

Degree to which a society tries to control the uncontrollable


How much your identity belongs to someone else

Masculinity/Femininity (Gender Egalitarianism)

Distribution of emotional roles among genders

“Tough” versus “tender” societies

Long-term/Short-term Orientation (Humane Orientation)

Level of delayed gratification of material, social, and emotional needs


Goal Setting Theory

The more specificity to the goal the higher the performance

The higher the goal the higher the performance

The more attainable the goal the higher the performance


Impression Management Theory

In the dramaturgical perspective, social interaction is akin to a theatrical performance.

Individuals engage in scripted behavior in order to persuade a desired mode of action from those with whom one is interacting


Job Design Theory

High Internal
Work Motivation

High Quality
Work Performance

High Satisfaction
with the Work

Low Absenteeism
and Turnover

Employee Growth
Need Strength

Core Job


and Work

Skill Variety

Task Identity

Task Significance


of the Work

for Outcomes
of the Work


Knowledge of the
Actual Results of
the Work Activities




Nominal Group Technique for Organizations
(Ellis & Fisher)

Individualized idea generation —brainstorming taking place individually; group members write silently for 15 min or so

Recording Ideas —group leader collects and records ideas and makes flip-chart visible to all

Group discussion —elaboration and clarification of ideas; no arguing or criticizing until all ideas are mutually understood

Discussion and Decision —open and thorough discussion of top-rated ideas. If consensus not reached, votes may be taken.


Nominal Group Technique (NGT) increases individual group members’ participation by attempting to create an environment whereby, regardless of role or social status in the group, a member’s input is given equal consideration. Use of this technique enabled a group consisting of teachers, students, administrators, and custodians used NGT to deal with unacceptable behavior in a work environment at a school that led to the exodus of skilled teachers. The participants independently brainstormed and wrote their ideas about the problem on index cards prior to assembling for discussion and decision-making.

Perception of Organizational Politics

Organizational politics refers to behaviors that are designed to promote self-interest and that are taken without regard to organizational goals

Perceptions of politics are related to organizational commitment and turnover intentions


Management Styles

There may be more than one way to skin a cat; how would you do it?


Five Leadership Styles

Authority-Compliance (9,1)—high task, low relationship

Country Club Management (1, 9)—low task, high relationship

Impoverished Management (1,1)—low task, low relationship

Middle-of-the-Road Management (5,5)—moderate task, moderate relationship

Team Management (9,9)—high task, high relationship


Management Style Continuums

Autocratic: The autocratic manager controls all the power, manages by directive, and needs/seeks no subordinate input. Subordinates may feel undervalued, have decreased motivation, and increased turnover.

Democratic: The democratic manager delegates power equally to subordinates, manages by consensus, and depends on subordinate input. Subordinates may feel empowered, but bogged down by decision process, and although motivated, may be limited in potential because others can carry them.

Participative: Participative managers share the power with subordinates, manages as with a team, but with final say, and engages subordinate input. Subordinates feel valued, have increased motivation to contribute, and may be individually rewarded.

Laissez Faire: The Laissez Faire manager gives subordinates access to all the power, manages in abject freedom (to a fault), may not be aware of individual subordinates’ input. Subordinates may possess either confidence/high motivation or lostness, depending on the involvement of the leader.






Archetypes by Miles and Snow

“Miles and Snow ask how and why organizations differ in strategy, in structure, in technology and in administration . . . . to align organization and environment successfully, management has to solve three problems, and solve them continuously. They are entrepreneurial, engineering and administrative problems.” (Pugh & Hickson, 1996, p. 81). Four archetypes depict the adaptation strategies employed by management:

Defenders: try to sustain a narrow market segment and adapt cautiously in order to protect what they have.

Prospectors: find and exploit new opportunities. They “do the right things” without caution, but can face risks of wasteful actions.

Analyzers: these follow change, but do not initiate it, so are somewhere in the middle between defenders and prospectors.

Reactors: these fail to achieve or hold an appropriate defending, prospecting, or analyzing strategy, and so perform poorly.

Market-Matrix: this is a mixed strategies approach with mixed structures within the organization.


Miscellaneous Other Stuff

Here are some additional items worth noting . . .




The Learning Organization

A learning organization is one that actively creates, acquires, and transfers knowledge within itself, and is able to modify its behavior to reflect new knowledge. Key elements/activities of the learning organization may include:

Creating and Acquiring Knowledge: observing the outside environment, hiring new employee, and investing in training.

Transferring Knowledge: reducing barriers between employees

Modifying Behavior: new knowledge is used in order to further the organization’s goals/objectives.


Bonus: Argyris’ and Schön on Learning

Argyris and Schön “defined learning as detection and correction of error, and distinguished between ‘single-loop learning’ (detecting error without questioning underlying policies) and ‘double-loop learning’ which involves questioning and changing governing conditions in order to achieve desired results” (Easterby-Smith, Burgoyne & Araujo, 2006, p. 160).

Managers reckon the gap between their own espoused theory and their theory-in-use, and also in the type of model to which they ascribe in putting their theories to use.

Managing from Model I theory-in-use (single-loop): is characterized by four behaviors that result in learning being more conforming (not recommended).

Managing from Model II theory-in-use (double-loop): is characterized by organizational learning and team with workers for the best solutions



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