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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.

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theories of practice the structural frame

Theories of Practice:The Structural Frame

MPA 8002

The Structure and Theory of Human Organization

Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.

slide2
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.
slide3
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 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.

slide5

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.

slide6

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)

slide8
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
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”
slide10
But, if Max Weber “rationalized” the bureaucracy…

…Frederick Winslow Taylor “hyper-rationalized” the bureaucracy.

frederick winslow taylor
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
slide12
In 1911, Taylor published his theory of practice, The Principles of Scientific Management...

...eventually, Taylor’s book became the standard textbook in management training in the North America and Europe.

the assumptions of scientific management
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 organization’s circumstances (including its goals, technology, and environment)

slide14
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
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 today s standards
Although “common sense” by today’s standards...
  • Taylor’s principles were a fundamental assault upon traditional theories of practice
  • Taylor’s intention was to effect a “mental revolution” aimed at transforming how people looked at work, their lives, and their world
the mental revolution
The mental revolution...
  • fixed division of labor

reform:

replaced:

  • craft guilds and trades where one worker completes an entire job
slide18
uniform rules govern job performance

reform:

replaced:

  • work dictated by the caprice, whim, fancy, or feeling of a superordinate
slide19
workers would possess technical qualifications

reform:

replaced:

  • patrimony, patronage, graft
slide20
the separation of person from office

reform:

replaced:

  • individual assertions, claims, tenure
slide21
a hierarchy of officers

reform:

replaced:

  • dictators, autocrats, monarchs
slide22
work as a “life-long” career in an organization

reform:

replaced:

  • work as a “trade” where workers seek employment wherever available
taylor s mental revolution also transformed managerial practice
Taylor’s mental revolution also transformed managerial practice...
  • his principles focused attention upon the manager as a “social architect”
in practice episodes
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
Management and leadership as creative “social architecture”...
  • integration: the manager devises a structure to conjoin people, process, and technology in the most efficient and effective way possible

fundamental concepts:

  • 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
slide27

overlaps

gaps

vs.

slide28

overload

underuse

vs.

slide29

lack of creativity

lack of clarity

vs.

slide30

excessive

autonomy

excessive

interdependence

vs.

slide31

too tight

too loose

vs.

slide32

over-centralization

diffuse authority

vs.

slide33

goal-bound

goal-less

vs.

slide34

unresponsiveness

irresponsibility

vs.

scientific management
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
“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
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
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

assumes:

slide39

2. use scientific methods to

determine the most efficient way

of doing the work

managers design the worker’s task by specifying the precise way in which the work is to be done

assumes:

slide40

3. select the best person to perform

the job thus designed

job competencies and requirements can be explicitly detailed

assumes:

slide41

4. train the worker to do the work

efficiently

training is routinized, involving demonstration, practice, and drill

assumes:

slide42

5. monitor worker performance

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

assumes:

the power of scientific management
The power of scientific management...

structural elements:

hierarchies

division of labor

policies

span of control

implies

procedures

rules

integration

assessment

can improve organizational functioning
…can improve organizational functioning...
  • the structure will support the work

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

  • the organizational structure and workforce will complement one another
  • efficiency and effectiveness will create the circumstances for achieving the organization’s goals
or can become an ideology
…or can become an ideology...
  • the structure will remain impervious to challenge

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

  • tensions between structure and people will mount
  • inefficiencies and ineffectiveness will contribute to organizational dysfunction
  • new management will re-establish control—or— the organization will flounder until it eventually dies in its environment
managing and leading human organizations requires
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 organization’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What opportunities and threats are present?
slide47

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?
slide48

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
Using scientific management...

VISION

MISSION

the motivation

a preferred future

the opportunities

what ought to be

the challenges

based upon factual

data

slide50

VISION

MISSION

PURPOSE

slide51

PURPOSE

STRATEGY

 formulate preferred

scenario

a shared motive

 with explicit values

 define the “game

plan”

 explicating why

we do what we do

slide52

STRATEGY

GOALS

frames subsequent

decisions that will be

made at lower levels

of the organizational

hierarchy

 action-oriented,

“smart” outcomes

 which implement the

strategy

slide53

 translate the organizational purpose and strategy

into performance goals

short

S

measurable

M

achievable

A

realistic

R

time bound

T

slide54

GOALS

TACTICS

 purposive actions by

groups in practice

episodes

frame subsequent

decision making by the

various groups closest

to the action where

frequent decisions must

be made

how we will do what

we will do

slide55

TACTICS

PROJECTS

 purposive actions by

individuals in practice

episodes

frame subsequent

decision making by

individuals who do the

“work”

what I will do

slide56

VISION

GOALS

MISSION

TACTICS

PURPOSE

PROJECTS

STRATEGIES

all the while management and leadership endeavors to
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

The managerial objective:

intra-organizational cohesion

slide58

 adopt the “experimental mentality” associated with

practice episodes: to retain what works, to discard

what doesn’t, and to refine the structure as needed

the managerial objective:

flexibility

slide59

 report back what is being learned through practice

the managerial objective:

honest and accurate feedback

to avoid organizational dysfunction
To avoid organizational dysfunction...

The manager’s challenge is to integrate vertical coordination with lateral control

vertical

coordination

lateral control

slide61
one focus:

vertical

coordination

...to integrate the various levels of the organization’s formal hierarchy

tactics for vertical coordination
Tactics for vertical coordination...

coercive

legitimate

power

referent

expert

reward

specify the conditions of work

rules and policies

planning

and

control systems

performance control

action planning

slide63
a second focus:

lateral

control

…to balance the need for autonomy and responsibility at similar levels in the organization’s formal hierarchy

tactics to exercise lateral control
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.

slide65

groupings of stakeholders representing diverse viewpoints

task forces

A task force is given a specific charge to integrate structures not to be mired in endless debate about current standard operating procedures.

slide66

engaging in boundary spanning

coordinating roles

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.

slide67

identifying critical linkages between divisions

matrix structures

Matrix structures identify and link otherwise disassociated divisions in the endeavor to eliminate inter-divisional conflict, confusion, and turf protection.

slide68

individuals and groups focusing on a particular area of interest

networks

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
While using these tactics to integrate...

Managers and leaders need to be realistic...

vertical

coordination

lateral control

a realistic theory of managerial and leadership
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.

slide71

Some of the significant changes impacting organizational functioning include:

size of organization

environment

age of organization

organizational vision

information technology

core process

because organizations are primarily human enterprises
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

slide74
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
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 management1
Using scientific management...

effective managers and leaders are

…social architects

…honest analysis

whose primary concerns are

…creative design

abusing scientific management
Abusing scientific management...

ineffective managers and leaders are

…petty tyrants

…micro-managing

whose primary concerns are

…issuing memos

…ruling by fiat

strengths of the scientific management theory of practice
Strengths of the scientific management theory of practice...

…objectivity

…logical

…action oriented

…modes of accountability

limitations of the scientific management theory of practice
Limitations of the scientific management theory of practice...

…impersonal

…overly simplistic

…pessimistic

…inflexible

integrating reflective practice conceptual pluralism and organizational analysis
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 political frame

the structural frame

the human resources frame

the symbolic frame

this module has focused on
This module has focused on...

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

slide82

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

slide83

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.

slide84

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 next module will focus on
The next module will focus on...

the human resources frame

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

slide87

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 don’t communicate effectively, or who simply don’t 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.

slide88

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)

references
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.