Here on our website, we've listed the chapter synopsis from the book's expanded Table of Contents. Thesis statements are then provided for the main source(s) discussed in each section of the chapter, along with a list of additional readings discussed in the section. Where possible, we've provided links to publicly available sources. To read our detailed synopsis, discussion, and thoughts about the practical application of the ideas presented in the sources listed below, buy the chapter by clicking on the cover image (or buy the entire book).
Chapter 4: Organization and Process
Organizational design is the alignment of structure, process, rewards, metrics, and talent with the strategy of the business. We describe what has (and has not) been established to promote organizational effectiveness.
Any organization gains power from the assumptions shared by its members. It benefits researchers and managers to identify these implicit assumptions.
EDGAR SCHEIN, 2010. “The Concept of Organizational Culture: Why Bother?” and “The Three Levels of Culture,” Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
Thesis: Identifying the pattern of shared basic assumptions within a group is a powerful tool to understand organizational behavior.
HARRISON TRICE and JANICE BEYER, 1993. “Changing Organizational Cultures.” In J. M. Shafritz, J. S. Ott, and Y. S. Jang (editors), Classics of Organization Theory, 6th edition . Belmont, Wadsworth. pp. 383–392.
Thesis: With cultural change, losses are more certain than gains; therefore, managing change entails convincing people that the likely gains outweigh the losses.
- Adolph, Gerald, Karla Elrod, and J. Neely. 2006. “Nine Steps to Prevent Merger Failure.” Harvard Business School Working Knowledge for Business Leaders, 27 March.
- Arango, Tim. 2010. “How the AOL-Time Warner Merger Went Wrong.” New York Times, 10 January. p. 1, Media & Advertising section.
- Cotter, John. 1995. The 20% Solution: Using Rapid Redesign to Create Tomorrow's Organization Today. New York, Wiley.
- Delbecq, Andre and Joseph Weiss. 1988. “The Business Culture of Silicon Valley: Is It a Model for the Future?” In J. Weiss (editor), Regional Cultures, Managerial Behavior and Entrepreneurship. New York, Quorum Books. pp. 123–141.
- Hwang, Victor and Greg Horowitt. 2012. The Rain Forest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley. Los Altos Hills, Regenwald.
- Keichel, Walter. 1979. “Playing the Rules of the Corporate Strategy Game.” Fortune 25 September, 110–115.
- Markus, M. Lynne. 1998. “Lessons from the Field of Organizational Change.” Journal of Strategic Performance Measurement 2(2), 36–45.
- Mitchell, David. 2005. Making Foreign Policy: Presidential Management of the Decision-Making Process. Burlington, Ashgate Publishing.
The Impact of Structure and Situation
Personalities and personal values appear to play only a partial role in driving the behavior of individuals in groups. Situations drive behavior more than is commonly acknowledged.
PHILIP ZIMBARDO, 1972. “Pathology of Imprisonment.” Society 9(6), 4–8.
Thesis: In determining the behavior of individuals in groups, situations can have a larger impact than the inherent personalities involved. Poor organizational structure can predetermine destructive outcomes.
- Milgram, Stanley. 2009. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New York, Harper Perennial.
- Tourish, Dennis and Naheed Vatcha. 2005. “Charismatic Leadership and Corporate Cultism at Enron.” Leadership 1(4), 455–480.
- Zimbardo, Philip, Christina Maslach, and Craig Haney. 1999. “Reflections on the Stanford Prison Experiment: Genesis, Transformations, Consequences.” In T. Blass (editor), Obedience to Authority: Current Perspectives on the Milgram Paradigm. Mahwah, Erlbaum.
Organizations must learn just as people do. A growing body of research works to identify the conditions which facilitate learning in an organizational context.
SIM SITKIN, 1992. “Learning through Failure: The Strategy of Small Losses.” In B. Staw and L. Cummings (editors), Research in Organizational Behavior. New York, Elsevier Science. pp. 231–266.
Thesis: Failure is an essential prerequisite for learning. Organizations must allow people to fail in order to grow. Success fosters reliability, while failure fosters resilience.
- Axline, Sheryl. 2001. “Proactive Adaptation in ERP Teams: Mechanisms of Team Learning.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Claremont Graduate University.
- Page, Scott., 2008. The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Aligning Organizational Incentives
It is easy to identify antiproductive behavior in almost any organization. It is valuable to assess what incentives may be helping create that behavior, and how to reverse them.
STEVEN KERR, 1975/1995. “On the Folly of Rewarding A While Hoping for B." Academy of Management Executive 9(1), 7–14 .
Thesis: Organizations repeatedly reward behaviors inconsistent with behavior that is desired. This misalignment of incentives can be confronted and reversed.
HENRY PARSONS, 1975. “What Happened at Hawthorne?” Science 183(4128), 922–932.
Thesis: Any change that involves giving employees feedback with financial incentives will improve productivity—what gets measured gets managed.
- Mayo, Elton. 1945. The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization. London, Routledge .
We review decades of research into the determinants of job satisfaction and job performance.
EDWIN LOCKE and DOUGLAS HENNE, 1986. “Work Motivation Theories.” In C. L. Cooper and I. T. Robertson (editors), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Thesis: Job satisfaction does not actually drive job performance. Setting goals—particularly, specific and challenging goals—does lead to higher job performance.
GARY LATHAM and CRAIG PINDER, 2005. “Work Motivation Theory and Research at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century.” Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 1. New York, Wiley. pp. 1–35.
Thesis: Context is the key to job motivation, particularly that provided by culture, job characteristics, and job fit. Also, workers are motivated by subconscious as well as conscious sources.
- Culbert, Samuel. 2008. “Get Rid of the Performance Review.” Wall Street Journal, 20 October.
- Locke, Edwin. 1996. “Motivation through Conscious Goal Setting.” Applied & Preventive Psychology 5(2), 117–124.
- Locke, Edwin. 2000. “Motivation by Goal Setting.” In R. Golembiewski (editor), Handbook of Organizational Behavior. New York, Marcel Dekker. pp. 43–56.
- Nelson, Bob. 2012. 1501 Ways to Reward Employees. New York, Workman.
Power is the ability to get things done, and is not always aligned with position. We review research that looks at who gets power in an organization and which positions appear to lack power.
GERALD SALANCIK and JEFFREY PFEFFER, 1977. “Who Gets Power and How They Hold on to It: A Strategic Contingency Model of Power.” Organizational Dynamics 5(3), 3–21.
Thesis: Power accrues to those who cope with the organization's problems. Power is therefore the secret of success.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER, 1979. “Power Failures in Management Circuits.” Harvard Business Review 57(July–August), 65–75.
Thesis: Powerlessness (not power) breeds bossiness. Power can mean efficacy and capacity. To expand power, share it.
- Astley, W. Graham and Paramjit Sachdeva. 1984. “Structural Sources of Intraorganizational Power: A Theoretical Synthesis.” Academy of Management Review 9(1), 104–113.
- Pfeffer, Jeffrey. 1981. “Understanding the Role of Power in Decision Making.” In J. M. Shafritz, J. S. Ott, and Y. S. Jang (editors), Classics of Organization Theory, 7th edition . Belmont, Wadsworth. pp. 277–290.
- Shafritz, Jay, Steven Ott, and Yong Suk Jang. 2010. Classics of Organizational Theory, 7th edition. Belmont, Wadsworth.
Information Technology and Productivity
We review several process-improvement approaches that have come into and out of fashion since 1990, and focus on how these approaches involve the use of information technology. We also review the evidence on whether IT adds more value than it costs.
MICHAEL HAMMER, 1990. “Reengineering Work: Don't Automate, Obliterate.” Harvard Business Review 68(July–August), 104–112.
Thesis: Modern information technology can enable organizations to eliminate non-value-added activities instead of merely automating them to make them more efficient.
RAJIV KOHLI and SARV DEVARAJ, 2003. “Measuring Information Technology Payoff: A Meta-Analysis of Structural Variables in Firm-Level Empirical Research.” Information Systems Research 14(2), 127–145.
Thesis: Studies employing better methodologies tend to find a positive connection between IT and organizational productivity.
- Al-Mashari, Majed and Mohamed Zairi. 1999. “BPR Implementation Process: An Analysis of Key Success and Failure Factors.” Business Process Management Journal 5(1), 87–112.
- Antony, Jiju. 2008. “Pros and Cons of Six Sigma: An Academic Perspective.” Improvement and Innovation.com, 7 January.
- Covert, Michael. 1997. Successfully Performing BPR. Visible Systems Corporation.
- Davenport, Thomas. 1995. “Reengineering: The Fad that Forgot People.” Fast Company November.
- Davenport, Thomas, Jeanne Harris, and Robert Morrison. 2010. Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results. Cambridge, Harvard Business Press.
- Davenport, Thomas and James Short. 1990. “The New Industrial Engineering: Information Technology and Business Process Redesign.” Sloan Management Review 31(Summer), 11–27.
- Deming, W. Edwards. 2000. Out of the Crisis, 2nd edition. Cambridge, MIT Press.
- Deming, W. Edwards. 2000. The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education, 2nd edition. Cambridge, MIT Press.
- Hammer, Michael and James Champy. 1993. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution. New York, Harper Business Books.
- Markus, M. Lynne and Robert Benjamin. 1997. “The Magic Bullet Theory in IT-Enabled Transformation.” Sloan Management Review 38(2), 55–68.
- Melville, Nigel, Kenneth Kraemer, and Vijay Gurbaxani. 2004. “Information Technology and Organizational Performance: An Integrative Model of IT Business Value.” MIS Quarterly 28(2), 283–322.