Organisation and Environmental Framework

  • Chapter 8
  • OD interventions:
    Strategy and structure

  • Learning OUTCOMEs
  • After studying this chapter, you should be able to:

–Explain the different ways an organisation can respond to    its environment.

–Describe the guidelines for open systems planning.

–Discuss planned change initiatives, including transorganisational development, restructuring and              re-engineering.

–Explain the three approaches to work design.

  • Organisation and Environmental Framework

vGeneral, task and enacted environments

vOrganisation responses to                   environmental drivers

Critical Question: What do you understand ‘environment’ to mean?

  • Environment

Consists of everything outside organisations that can affect, either directly or indirectly, their performance and outcome

  • General environment

–Social, economic and ecological forces

  • Task environment

–Customers, suppliers, competitors, producers of substitute products/services, unions and potential new entrants

  • Enacted environment

–Managerial perceptions and representations of the environment

Critical Question: Give an example of each of these three environments.

  • Environmental Dimensions and OrganisationAL Transactions
  • Special units for scanning particular parts or aspects of the environment

–market research

–public relations

–government relations

–strategic planning

  • Gather and interpret relevant information about the environment, communicating it to decision makers
  • Enables organisations to monitor and make sense of their environment and gives a competitive edge

Critical Question: What are the limitations of scanning?

  • Engage in political activity to influence laws and regulations
  • Seek government regulation to control entry to industries
  • Behave in a socially responsible way
  • Acquire control over resources
  • Introduce new products/services and use advertising to shape customer preferences
  • Organisation Responses:
    Collective Structures
  • Organisations deal with problems of environmental dependence and uncertainty by building alliances with other organisations, e.g. bargaining, contracting, co-opting, joint ventures, strategic alliances, consortia and federations
  • Open Systems Planning

vUnderlying assumptions of Open Systems Planning (OSP)

vImplementation process

vGuidelines for implementation.

Critical Question: What does ‘Open System’ mean?

  • Underlying Assumptions in OSP
  • Perceptions play a major role in environmental relations
  • Organisation members must share a common view of the environment
  • Perceptions must accurately reflect the condition of the environment if organisational responses are to be effective
  • Organisations can not only adapt to their environment, but also create it proactively
  • OSP Implementation Process

1.Assess the external environment

2.Assess how the organisation responds to the external environment

3.Identify the core mission of the organisation

4.Create a realistic future scenario of environmental expectations and organisational responses

5.Create an ideal future scenario of environmental expectations and organisation responses

6.Compare the present with the ideal future and prepare an action plan for reducing the discrepancy

Critical Question: What could go wrong with this process?

  • Guidelines for Implementing OSP
  • Devote sufficient time and resources
  • Document all steps
  • Deal only with key parts of the environment
  • Follow the steps in order
  • View planning as a process, not an outcome
  • Transorganisational Development (TD)
  • Defining transorganisational development (TD)
  • Transorganisational systems and their problems
  • TD application stages

Critical Question: Before progressing to the next overhead, what do you understand TD to mean?

  • Transorganisational
    Development (CONT.)
  • An emerging form of planned change aimed at helping organisations develop collective and collaborative strategies with other organisations
  • When one organisation forms a partnership with another to perform tasks and solve problems that are too complex to be handled alone

Critical Question: Can you offer examples of TD?

  • Transorganisational systems (TSs) and their problems
  • TSs are complex, with individual organisations coming together for a common purpose
  • Tend to be underorganised and:

–Relationships among member organisations are loosely coupled;

–Leadership and power are dispersed among autonomous organisations rather than hierarchically centralised; and

–Commitment and membership are tenuous as member organisations attempt to maintain their autonomy while coming together for the common purpose

  • Regarded as difficult to manage, but a useful response to external threat
  • TD application stages
  • Restructuring Organisations
  • Downsizing
  • Re-engineering

Critical Questions: What has happened since downsizing and re-engineering                                      are being used frequently?

Were they considered successful or otherwise?

  • Downsizing
  • Refers to interventions that are aimed at reducing the size of the organisation
  • Application stages

–Clarify the organisation’s strategy

–Assess downsizing options and make relevant choices

–Implement the changes

–Address the needs of survivors and those who leave

–Follow through with growth plans

  • Results

–Research shows mixed results

–The way in which downsizing is conducted may explain these divergent outcomes

–Following a well planned application of the process seems to improve outcomes

  • Downsizing Tactics
  • Re-Engineering

The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in performance.

  • Implementation steps

–Prepare the organisation

–Fundamentally rethink the way work gets done

  • Identify and analyse core business processes
  • Define performance objectives
  • Design new processes

–Restructure the organisation around the new business processes

  • Results

–Wide variation

–Little systematic research despite popularity

Critical Question: Will re-engineering survive the evolution of management theory?

  • Work Design

vThree approaches to work design

vRedesigning work for technical and          personal needs

  • Three Approaches to Work Design
  • Engineering approach

–Focuses on efficiency and simplification  and results in traditional jobs and work groups redesigns

  • Motivational approach

–Uses motivational theories

–Focuses on enriching the work experience

  • Sociotechnical Systems (STS) approach

–Seeks to optimise both the social and technical aspects of work systems

  • Understanding the Core Dimensions of a Job
  • Job Enrichment:
    Barriers and Results
  • Not all people react in similar ways to job enrichment interventions
  • Individual differences can impact negatively

–A worker’s knowledge and skill levels


–Strength and satisfaction with contextual factors

  • Job Enrichment:
    Barriers and Results (CONT.)
  • Four system level barriers have also been identified

–Technical system

–Personnel system

–Control system

–Supervisory system

  • Results from participants are generally positive
  • STS Conceptual Background
  • Two fundamental notions

–An organisation/work unit is a combined, social-plus-technical system

–This system is open to its environment

  • Self managed work teams are the most common application of STS

Critical Question: What do you understand as sociotechnical systems (STS) approach?

  • Self-Managed Work Teams
  • STS: Application Stages
  • Sanction the design effort
  • Diagnose the work system
  • Generate appropriate designs
  • Specify support systems
  • Implement and evaluate the work designs
  • Continually change and improve

Critical Question: What difficulties may occur

with each of these stages?

  • Designing Work: Technical Factors
  • Technical interdependence

–Extent to which cooperation among workers is required to produce a product or service

  • Technical uncertainty

–Amount of information processing and decision making that employees must do to complete a task

Critical Question: What is the fundamental   assumption about technological change                 which may undermine designing work?

  • Work Designs that Optimise Technology
  • Designing Work: Personal Factors
  • Social Needs

–Desire for significant social relationships

  • Growth Needs

–Desire for personal accomplishment, learning and development

  • Work Designs that Optimise Personal Needs

Thus we may know that there are 5 essentials for victory:

1.He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight;

2.He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces;

3.He will win who knows whose enemy is animated by the spirit throughout all its ranks;

4.He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared;

5.He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with          by the sovereign.’

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Critical Activity: Apply these essentials to OD          strategy and structure.

  • Summary
  • Newer forms of OD and organisation change focus on external environmental factors and systems level changes to optimise organisation performance.
  • The impact of the external environment is becoming increasingly important.
  • Responses to external threats and pressures:

–Open systems planning

–Transorganisational interventions

–Organisation restructuring

–Changes in work design.

  • Juggling the personal needs of people with the technical needs of work is becoming increasingly complex.
COURSE:     Master of Business Administration Master of Business Research
Unit:Organisational Learning and Change
Unit Code:BUS 510
Type of Assessment:Assessment 2 – Individual essay
Unit Learning Outcomes addressed:Learning outcomes – (a), (c), (d), (e) and (f)a)    Critically analyse and critique the major theories of organisational learning.c)    Critically review and evaluate the reasons for different approaches to change, and demonstrate an ability to apply this understanding to volatile or novel organisational contexts.d)    Critically analyse and critique common perspectives on the role of, and relationship between, individuals, teams and leaders in the change processes.e)    Integrate biblical frameworks into a contemporary understanding of organisational learning and change.f)     Integrate the concepts of organisational learning, strategic and innovative change management with leadership theory and practice 
Criteria for Assessment:·         Criterion 1 – Extent to which question is answered (5/30)·         Criterion 2 – Understanding of the theoretical concepts (10/30)·         Criterion 3 – Extent of critical analysis (10/30)·         Criterion 4 – Structure and references (5/30) 
Assessment Task:The purpose of this assessment is to improve the analysis of organisational learning concepts within the organisations and the ability to design of relevant solutions.Students will be expected to write an essay in response to the question below. QuestionDiscuss any five (5) key barriers to organisational learning in organisations in your home country. Explain in detail, any four (4) strategies that that can be implemented to improve organisational learning.Support your discussion on the barriers with examples drawn from your home country.
Submission Date:Week 8 (online submission via Turnitin) 
Total Mark & Weighting:30 marks (30%)
Students are advised that any submissions past the due date without an approved extension or without approved extenuating circumstances incurs a 5% penalty per calendar day,calculated from the total mark e.g. a task marked out of 35 will incur a 1.75 mark penalty per calendar day.

General notes for assignment

Assignments should usually incorporate a formal introduction, main points and conclusion, and will be fully referenced including a reference list. 

The word count for the assessment is 1500 words (+/- 10%)

Marks will be deducted for failure to adhere to the word count

General Notes for Referencing

References are assessed for their quality. You should draw on quality academic sources, such as books, chapters from edited books, journals etc. Your textbook can be used as a reference, but not the lecturer notes. We want to see evidence that you can conduct your own research. Also, in order to help markers, determine students’ understanding of the work they cite, all in-text references (not just direct quotes) must include the specific page number/s if shown in the original.

Work that includes sources that are not properly referenced according to the “Harvard Referencing Workbook” will be penalized.

Marking Guide (Rubric):

Your assessment would be marked based on the following marking guideline.

Total marks – 30
CriteriaMarkFailPassCreditDistinctionHigh Distinction
Criterion 1 Extent to which the question is answered5Below 2.52.5 – 3.03.5 – 3.83.9 – 4.4 4.5 and above
Not all parts of the question are addressedIndividual parts of the questions addressed in a reasonable way with limited integrationIndividual parts of the questions addressed soundly with some degree of integrationIndividual parts of the questions addressed strongly with strong integrationQuestions addressed strongly in all dimensions with a high level of integration
Criterion 2 Understanding of the theoretical concepts   10Below 5.05.0 – 6.07.0 – 7.67.8 – 8.8   9 and above
Understanding of the individual organizational learning concepts not demonstratedUnderstanding of the individual organizational learning concepts is satisfactoryUnderstanding of the individual organizational learning concepts is soundUnderstanding of the individual organizational learning concepts is detailedUnderstanding of the individual organizational learning concepts is highly integrated
Criterion 3 Extent of critical analysis  10Below 5.05.0 – 6.07.0 – 7.67.8 – 8.8   9 and above
Lack of critical analysis, with no application of theoretical concepts Limited critical analysis, with limited application of theoretical conceptsSome critical analysis, with theoretical concepts applied Competent level of critical analysis, with correct application of theoretical concepts  Clear and thorough critical analysis, with adequate application of theoretical concepts
Criterion 4 Structure and references-       Coherence and organization-       APA format5Below 2.52.5 – 3.03.5 – 3.83.9 – 4.4 4.5 and above
An unfocussed, incoherent essay, characterized by disorganization and/or missing required sections.References are inconsistent with required format; a notable number of errors present.A somewhat focused, slightly incoherent essay, characterized by some disorganization and/or missing required sections.References are inconsistent with required format; a number of errors present.A somewhat coherent and organized essay and including most required sections.Referencing format is adhered to throughout the essay, with some errors present.A clear and coherent essay, organized and including all required sections.Referencing format is rigorously adhered to throughout the essay, with very few errors present.An exceptionally clear, concise and coherent essay, critically organized and including all required sections.Referencing format is rigorously adhered to throughout the essay, with no errors present.


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