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No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. But only well-executed business processes can be beautiful. The RT20 looks just like the SK4 Phonosuper, only the turntable has been replaced by a speaker and the device is flipped 90 degrees so that the controls are visible from the front instead of sitting on the top.
Each button has a simple and clear purpose. The radio bands are identified on a backlit linear scale that can be easily read. The aesthetics of a physical object such as this can be observed, but what about the aesthetics of an organizational design? This influence was 12 Submission felt first in Europe not in the United States.
By applying a mechanical metaphor inherent in scientific management to the design of houses, public buildings, schools, factories, and everyday objects, European modernism magnified the impact of scientific management by extending it into new realms. If scientific management argued that organizations and people in organizations worked, or were supposed to work, like machines Morgan, ; Perrow, ; Schein, ; Scott, b , European modernism insisted on the aesthetic potential of efficiency, precision, simplicity, regularity, and functionality; on producing useful and beautiful objects; on designing buildings and artifacts that would look like machines and be used like machines Guillen, , p.
The modernist aesthetic took hold much later in the United States, beginning in the s. We should not be surprised that Rams took his training in architecture and translated it into the field of industrial design. The Modernist factory and office, Guilen argues, is the place where scientifically managed organizations can thrive. Guilen concludes with several questions about aesthetics and organization design as suggestions for future research: 1.
Are job performance and satisfaction influenced by aesthetic factors? Are different authority structures consistent with specific aesthetic orders?
Is decision making in organizations affected by aesthetic considerations in addition to ideological and instrumental ones? Do organizational cultures and occupational communities contain aesthetic elements? Guillen, , p. In a nice follow-up article to Weggeman, et al; Starkey and Tempest argue that the design challenge facing business schools is to create a more holistic view of management and management education-- one that acknowledges the complexity of the current business environment.
This holistic view, they argue, can be achieved by greater engagement with the arts and humanities. They suggest that curriculum designers should rethink management education in terms of "narrative imagination" focusing upon the language we use and "dramatic rehearsal" focusing upon drama and music to challenge existing rational decision making models, and to remake the business school as a more empathic, creative institution p.
Rather than seeing management as a series of distinct decisions, each evaluated within some bounded set of rational constraints, these authors suggest that management education root itself in the flow of continuous adjustments that allow for constant instability in the environment.
Management education, then, should provide opportunities for learners to experience high levels of ambiguity and rapid change that preclude black and white answers to pre-determined discussion questions. An even better design can make the organization talk. The best design is self-explanatory. While the members of an organization can talk, it is difficult to see how the structure itself could talk and be self-explanatory.
One way the organizational structure speaks is through artifacts such as the physical layout of an office or facility. An office with a window and a door that closes suggests someone in authority, although that may not always be the case. The 15 Submission presence of a counter suggests that you go there to get service, although the counter may not have anyone present behind it. To go deeper than visible artifacts, we would need to know how organization design is embedded in a culture.
In the exercise, students are assigned the task of setting up a school newspaper. I have run the exercise several times with undergraduates, graduate students, and even a group of high school students, all in California.
Every group created a simple hierarchy. The top manager was usually the most vocal person in the group. The editor was usually the one with some prior experience in publishing. The idea of a hierarchy was embedded in their cultural assumptions of what it means to organize. Hierarchies, while remarkably efficient, can also break down. Jacobides examined a incident between Greece and Turkey in a dispute over uninhabited islands.
The organizational structure of the Greek government was overly complex, which caused a needless escalation in the conflict due to local reactions that were never coordinated at a central level.
Jacobides goes on to make several recommendations for making hierarchies more effective such as structuring decision making processes so that they do not miss key information that is available in the outside environment but may have been overlooked inside due to over specialization.
North American aboriginal groups, on the other hand, do not culturally organize into hierarchies. Newhouse and Chapman reported on the redesign of a tribal organization from Western style hierarchy to an organizational design based on aboriginal values consistent with collectivist societies. The structure is not hierarchical, it is made up of concentric circles representing the four directions; north, east, west, and south. Each direction symbolizes a set of responsibilities. For example, the east where the sun rises bringing new light each day represents new knowledge, and so members from the eastern part of Canada were assigned the responsibility for education, culture and heritage in the organization.
The four directions model was designed to foster cooperation and unity for breaking down traditional provincial barriers.
The intent of choosing the circle as the basis for the structure of the organization was to encourage members to think of the organization as a traditional assembly, as a council in which they shared the responsibilities which they had set out for themselves. The aboriginal value of sharing was thus incorporated into the organizational structure and then into the organizational culture.
The structure also emphasized trust and cooperation by removing the hierarchical structure and replacing it with a circle in which all shared responsibility pp. The four directions could also represent spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional development. The model also resonates with the farming cycle of planting, cultivating, harvesting, and consuming.
Its simplicity allows for multiple interpretations and layered nuances in ways that a hierarchy or matrix do not. They proposed a method of describing unit roles, responsibilities and relationships in a way that is clear, but not excessively detailed and hierarchical, including a new taxonomy of eight different types of unit roles. While the matrix solves some issues around the management of complex projects, it adds new ones because it violates the unity of command principle, asking workers to report both to a functional manager and a project manager.
The design outlined by Newhouse is more self-explanatory than the multi-layered diagram for a matrix organization, or a complex hierarchy such as the government of Greece.
It would lead to an organizational design that, when observed by stakeholders, leads them to feel that they understand the design— what it is for and why the parts are organized the way they are. I, the second author, get the distinct impression that my students have no idea why they are being asked to take a course on marketing but not ethics. I have yet to see a rational explanation of why the courses in a standard MBA program or any MBA program for that matter exist.
Nor have I ever seen an attempt to do this, much less an explanation of how the different courses lead to desired learning outcomes. Instead of understanding, I get the impression that my students would do just about any assignment I give them if it was graded, and they would take any course offered, if it was required to graduate.
Second, we should give our students the opportunity to design their own organizational structures and evaluate them by a variety of criteria. They should stay abreast of innovative organizational designs in practice that are simple and understandable models they could implement in the future. The key is to balance complexity and parsimony in ways that make knowledge useful and understandable.
They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. On the basis of this principle, we would argue that a good organizational design would serve the members of the organization rather than the other way around. It would not just be a chart on a wall, frozen in time like a work of art or a decorative object, but a system that is frequently updated and modified as conditions and needs change like a wrench that is redesigned to fit a new kind of nut or bolt.
A good design would give managers flexibility to implement changes within a particular unit in order to improve its effectiveness. The bureaucracy is used as an excuse for poor performance or for requirements no one can justify. Barnard was one of the first to recognize the need for an informal organization necessary to supplement the communication channels outlined by the formal organization.
Unobtrusive organization does not mean that the structure is invisible. It should be sufficient to meet most of the coordination and specialization needs of the organization. If too much is relegated to the informal organization, the situation can become highly politicized Pfeffer, What are the implications of unobtrusive organizational design for management educators?
Students need skill building exercises in simplifying organizational processes without destroying their effectiveness. Delayering just to reduce costs can be devastating as organizations lose years of tacit knowledge. Given the current economic downturn, helping students learn to streamline their organizations and make them more flexible would help them implement this design principle in the future. Nor does it involve attempting to manipulate its stakeholders with promises that cannot be kept.
Ponzi schemes look great to the first investors in but promise results that are not sustainable. Sub-prime mortgages were packaged into vehicles that could not possible provide the returns promised to investors. The linkage between this principle and corporate ethics and social responsibility is clear and does not need extensive discussion here.
Werhane defines moral imagination as "the ability in particular circumstances to discover and evaluate possibilities not merely determined by that circumstance, or limited by its operative mental models, or merely framed by a set of rules or rule-governed concerns" p.
What does this mean for management education? There are two implications.
The first involves the design of the programs. An honest design would be one that is organized according to publicly stated goals and principles. Unfortunately, we know of many management programs that claim to be organized to produce certain specific learning outcomes, but are actually organized to fulfill the interests of the faculty, administration and staff. The learning outcomes are not seriously assessed, so those involved could not organize the programs to meet the outcomes even if they tried.
Many years before I, the second author, came to work at my current university, I worked at a university where the inability to even consider a stance of organizing the operation of the business school according to publicly stated values and principles was made clear to me, when I made a suggestion during a faculty meeting--that we adopt the principle of operating the business school according to the principles that we teach our students.
In response, the entire faculty immediately erupted in loud laughter. Business schools are frequently criticized for contributing to the poor ethical standards of global corporations. These are difficult concepts to explain. Not all students are ready to embrace systems archetypes suggested by the work of Senge , especially if they have little managerial experience and do not have an engineering background.
The case explores the use of card punch machines in Nazi concentration camps, the German railroad, and the German census bureau. IBM received royalties on the sales of the machines. A search of Academy of Management Learning and Education shows that it has published 31 articles on ethics and education between and Clearly, ethical behavior is of high interest to management educators and will continue to be in the future.
In order to expect ethical behavior from our students, as educators we must create honest curriculum designs that do not promise more than they can deliver. A bachelors degree or MBA is not magic in itself. The magic comes from the growth and development a student experiences from the challenges inherent in the course of study. Things which are different in order simply to be different, are seldom better, but that which is designed to be truly better is almost always different.
An organizational design following this principle would avoid organizational design fads. He lists consulting staples such as business process reengineering and, empowerment that, meet the requirements of a fad, and argues that fads offer a limited number of action steps which promise to quickly produce results. A fad leaves room for managers to make small changes that give them a personal stake in the idea, makes the manager the predominant stakeholder, and tends to disregard the perspectives of others in the organization.
De Burgundy goes on to state what a fad must not be or do. It cannot be new; it cannot challenge existing management beliefs, and it cannot say unflattering things about the current role or conduct of its target audience de Burgundy, Managers love the quick fix Kilmann, I, the first author, heard Ralph Kilmann speak several years ago. He said he received a call from a Fortune company asking him if he would speak at a management retreat. They asked how long his presentation would take.
He said he would need about two days. They called back and asked him if he could compress it to one. He decided not to pursue the opportunity.
Is curriculum overly influenced by any educational fads that happen to be sweeping through academia at the moment? Good design of curriculum would question both the status quo and the latest fad, looking for deeper insights and consistent results that go beyond the surface level of issues. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards stakeholders. He pushed his design team to reduce the number of clicks required to play a song on the iPod down to a maximum of three.
He pushed them to reduce the size of the devices, and had endless arguments about the right thickness, color, finish and number of buttons.
Early management theories discussed organizational design in a similar way. Fayol, for example, lists fourteen key principles of organizational design that are still followed today: unity of direction, discipline, division of work, authority and responsibility, remuneration, 24 Submission centralization, scalar chain, order, equity, stability of tenure and personnel, subordinate of individual to general interest, initiative, esprit de corps Fayol, It is vital that students of management learn the nuances and details of classic theory, even though it may run counter the value of keeping things simple and understandable.
It conserves resources and minimizes physical, visual, and psychological pollution throughout the lifecycle of the organization. Environmental sustainability is not a new concern in management theory.
Awareness of the natural environment has become a standard topic in many textbooks, moving from the fringe to the mainstream over the past several years. In addition to protecting the natural environment 25 Submission around the organization, good organization design should protect those in it from harm, especially from the effects of the organization itself, not just its physical artifacts such as facilities and waste products.
Although they save organizations from self-destructing, toxic handlers often pay a high price emotionally, professionally, and physically. For the first definition of sustainability, including the natural environment as a stakeholder in discussions of business decisions is one place to start.
Students without work experience may not be aware of how toxic an organizational environment can be, but students who are working adults will often have experience with a toxic boss or coworker, or a toxic situation due to layoffs or rapid, unexpected chance. Similarly, students educational experience should not be a toxic one.
Student services that support learning are vital. Students who are billed incorrectly or denied graduation because of credit mix ups can quickly become disillusioned by the time they must spend sorting out their accounts rather than studying course content.
Back to purity, back to simplicity. McGregor lamented the over-reliance on formal authority in classical management theories and argued that this lead to resistance, restriction of input, indifference to organizational objectives, refusal to accept responsibility, and inadequate motivation. He advocated using persuasion and the help professional psychologists through knowledge of human motivation and organized effort.
His work on Theory X and Theory Y has been extended, with mixed success, by the work of Goleman McGregor argued that by integrating individual goals with organizational goals, intrinsic motivation would lead workers to do what was needed for personal and organizational success. Argyris proposed a third model, similar to Theory Z, in which the values of sharing information, making informed choices and being committed to the choice take precedence.
Management theorists will continue to debate how to balance minimalist design with the need for complex policies that meet legal requirements for protection from harassment, discrimination and opportunistic behavior. Management educators should work to model simple curriculum designs that are obvious and workable to the students who enroll in their programs.
They should help students see the advantage of reducing bureaucracy to the minimum level necessary to keep the organization useful, functioning, and aesthetically pleasing.
In doing so, it has developed the following ten recommendations for management educators: 1.
Balance complexity and parsimony in ways that make knowledge useful and understandable. Students need skill building exercises to help them learn to simplify organizational processes without destroying their effectiveness.
Reduce the emphasis on codes of ethical conduct and behavior, replacing them with better thinking about entire systems, especially complex ones in which results of actions on one part of a system cannot be seen until after a lengthy delay Werhane, Senge, Good design of curriculum would encourage students to question both the status quo and the latest fad, looking for deeper insights and consistent results that go beyond the surface level of issues.
Include the natural environment as a stakeholder in discussions of business decisions; and model "healthy" toxic handling. Minimize the toxicity of the educational experience. Help students see the advantage of reducing bureaucracy to the minimum level necessary to keep the organization useful, functioning, and aesthetically pleasing.
A rubric for these ten recommendations could form the basis for a sound program evaluation as part of a broader review process. That discovery made sense and helped connect our love of architectural design to our passion for the study of organizations and management education.
It should not be surprising that the most significant recommendation is the third one: that management education should improve the aesthetic sensibility of our students and improve their ability to see and appreciate beauty, whether it is in a well prepared financial report, a well designed marketing campaign, or a finely tuned organizational process. Good design is innovative 2. Good design makes a product useful 3.
Good design is aesthetic 4. Good design makes a product understandable 5. Good design is unobtrusive 6. Good design is honest 7. Good design is long-lasting 8. Good design is thorough, down to the last detail 9. Good design is environmentally-friendly Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
But only well-executed objects can be beautiful. At best, it is self-explanatory. Cylindric T 2 lighter, , by Dieter Rams for Braun Figure 9 Rams, 35 Submission 6 Good design is honest It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is.
It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept. L flat loudspeaker, TG 60 reel-to-reel tape recorder and TS 45 control unit, , by Dieter Rams for Braun Figure 10 Rams, 7 Good design is long-lasting It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.
Things which are different in order simply to be different are seldom better, but that which is made to be better is almost always different. Dieter Rams, My goal is to omit everything superfluous so that the essential is shown to best possible advantage.
Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer. ET 66 calculator, , by Dietrich Lubs for Braun Figure 12 Rams, 9 Good design is environmentally-friendly Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment.
It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product. Knowledge for Action. A guide to overcoming barriers to organizational change. San Francisco:. Barnard, C. The Functions of the Executive. Boston: Harvard University Press. Becker, J. Managing as Designing. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford. Boland Jr. Design Issues , 24 1 ,