فعل و انفعالات بین گروه کنترل و یادگیری سازمانی در مورد یک شهرداری: مطالعه تطبیقی با Kloot (1997)
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4030||2009||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Management Accounting Research, Volume 20, Issue 2, June 2009, Pages 102–116
Control systems are frequently described as hindering organizational learning. The reality is far more complex. In this framework this article tries to complete Kloot's work (1997) by coming up with a more comprehensive approach. Indeed, it highlights through an analysis grid the impact of controlling systems on the questioning of organizational methods and objectives. In this research on a local community our standpoint consists notably in taking account of the political aspect, more concretely, of the influence of elected representatives whose role is predominant in questioning the validity as well as the rationality of controlling tools.
Control systems are often viewed as hindering organizational learning. The apparent contradiction between organizing and learning has prompted Weick and Westley (1996) to describe organizational learning as an oxymoron. The way organizations deal with this contradiction is crucial: they have to face up to ever more rapid and unexpected environmental changes whilst keeping their operations under control. The relationship, even the interaction, between control and organizational learning is therefore becoming vital although it was hardly an issue when control only focused on surveillance. However, though this issue is often studied (Lorino, 1995, Simons, 1995 and Burlaud and Simon, 1997), it is seldom approached in a systematic way. Such an approach as identified by Bouquin (1999) is all the more promising as the main source of information is provided by control systems (Huber, 1991). Only Kloot (1997)1 has investigated this interaction further. She shows notably that the use of an appropriate control system can facilitate organizational learning driven by organizational changes. In the first place, analysing the relationships between control and learning should involve a theoretical synthesis that takes three important elements into consideration: (1) the extension of the notion of management control to that of organizational control; (2) the existence of both cybernetic and non cybernetic controls; (3) the fact that learning can be considered as organizational if it gives rise to the collective acquisition of knowledge and modifies the behaviour of the entity concerned (Huber, 1991)2. This concept is particularly relevant in the case of a public organization: the fragmentation into centres of responsibility and in particular the vertical structure mean that distribution of knowledge within the organization is not automatic. This article attempts to add to Kloot's work (1997) by highlighting the way control tools can be used to challenge organizational methods and/or associated objectives and strategies. Like Kloot's study, which is the point of departure of our own work, our research focuses on a local public organization, whose specific features have a major influence on the way relationships between control and organizational learning are analyzed. Such organizations are culturally marked by the influence of bureaucratic control, characterized by formalized procedures, hierarchical relationships and the importance of goals of legality and compliance with regulations. As regards organizational learning, local public organizations are also culturally marked by the influence of social and political rationales on decision-making, rather than the simple predominance of a single managerial rationale. These specific features, compared with exclusively market-based private organizations, thus provide a rich and complex contribution to the study of relationships between control and organizational learning. Consequently, in this research on a local community, we pay particular attention to the political aspect and, more specifically, to the influence of elected councillors whose role is predominant in questioning the validity as well as the rationality of control tools. After clarifying the fundamental constructs (part 1) and presenting a conceptual framework to study the relationships between control and learning (part 2), we describe the empirical, mostly exploratory study (part 3) we carried out to verify the relevance and realism of our analysis grid (part 4). The main purpose of this approach, based on a series of formal interviews, is to understand the connections between our theoretical hypothesis – that control fosters organizational learning – and the viewpoints of the actors taking part in our case study by emphasizing several major aspects of the problem: “Which management control systems hinder the distribution and mobilization of knowledge and which, on the other hand, stimulate organizational learning?” or “is knowledge provided by control systems especially and at which level of the organization?” (at which point in the organization do these pro- or anti-learning controls act?). Such questions, raised by Kloot (1997), deserve to be examined further.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The problems experienced by local authorities in adapting to their environment provided an ideal opportunity to analyse the relationships between control and organizational learning. However, the choice of the case study method presents biases and limits. Beyond the choice of the employees interviewed, the report on the organization studied, both in terms of its culture and its history, provides a powerful insight into the nature of the answers. A multi-level method, with both individual and group interviews, would have allowed for better identification of the circuits that can accelerate the process of knowledge transfer. Moreover field observations, as they relate to the concept of organizational learning, need to be qualified, in the sense that they can be highly subjective and difficult to measure. Also, another limitation is that we have not indicated the behavioural differences linked to the effects of experience or motivation. Finally, although it is appropriate to limit the case study, we see an opportunity to continue work with this methodology and take our research much further. Extending our case study to cover a longer period would have enabled us to confirm or disprove our results, and thereby verify the ability of some control systems to stimulate generative organizational learning. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between control systems and organizational learning in the particular context of a local public organization. We have shown the existence or absence of the influence of different internal and external controls on modifications of resources, in the form of adaptive learning, and on modifications of objectives, in the form of generative learning. It appears that cultural and bureaucratic controls, as predicted by the literature, tend to hinder organizational learning and require in response the implementation of transverse forms of management and organization. It also appears that, for control systems which stimulate organizational learning, decisions are influenced by the information provided, which is produced on the basis of a purely managerial rationale. However, this influence depends on where the learning takes place, at an administrative or political level, and on the nature of the public activity. Finally, in the context of a local public organization, contrary to what might happen in a private context, a political logic may in some cases prevent a control system that apparently fostered organizational learning from generating changes of the organization's methods and/or objectives. In other cases, control practices seem more likely to foster adaptive and generative learning. In the same way, as Kloot suggests, the existence of the characteristics necessary for a control system to stimulate learning would not be enough on its own to trigger a learning process. So, beyond those traditional stages of organizational learning, there seems to be a further stage, which we propose to call “knowledge filtering”, which needs to be added. By integrating this stage into the previous model we gain a better insight into the nature of public decision-making. The influence of control systems on organizational learning is thus easier to understand. This sheds new light on the way in which control systems affect public decisions leading to changes in methods, in the case of adaptive learning, and to the organization's objectives, in the case of generative learning. The search for a balance, not only between controls implemented by administrative staff and elected councillors, but also between the managerial and political rationales, can finally be summed up as follows: in the words of the Mayor “we manage public services which are often commercial services and users are becoming customers. The results of management control are useful but we are not a multinational bent on achieving objectives and meeting financial targets: management control is not the only factor in the decisions we are making but it is essential for decision-making. As we are a political organization, too, there is something irrational about our decisions. In this context, management control teaches us not to cross the line between the irrational and the unreasonable”.