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Organizational Information Theory. Systems Approach towards Orgs Karl Weick. The Theory. Humans exist in an information environ. Incl many channels Created by members of the org The info an org receives differs in terms of its equivocality Messages differ in understandability

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Organizational Information Theory

Systems Approach towards Orgs

Karl Weick


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The Theory

  • Humans exist in an information environ.

    • Incl many channels

    • Created by members of the org

  • The info an org receives differs in terms of its equivocality

    • Messages differ in understandability

      • Must deal w/massive amts of info w/multi interps

    • Who is best qualified to deal w/info?

    • Orgs must develop a process to mk sense of specific info


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Reducing Equivocality

  • “Requisite Variety”

    • Engaging in complex comm behavs to reduce equivocality

      • Highly ambiguous info req more complex comm

      • Less ambiguous info req less complex comm


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Rules

  • Rules – the guidelines an org has established

    • Incl how the org will analyze the equivocality of the info

    • Incl how the org will deal w/the feedback provided in response to the org

      • Duration

      • Personnel

      • Success

      • Effort


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Cycles

  • Cycles – systems/series of behavs used to decreased ambiguity

    • 3 stages:

      • Action

      • Reaction

      • Response / Adjustment

        • Adjustment to ensure understanding

        • Req for more info to gain understanding


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Double Interact Loop

  • Cycles of acts, reactions, and responses, with multiple communication cycles used to assist in reducing equivocality

  • Focus on the comm relationships betw ppl ----- not their knowledge/talent

    • Highly equivocal msg = org will likely hv fewer rules = greater # of cycles to reduce equivocality

    • Less equivocal msg = org will typically have less rules = fewer cycles required.


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Reducing Equivocality

  • Use rules

  • Use cycles (insufficient rules)

  • 3 stages in process

    • Enactment

    • Selection

    • Retention