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OB Glossary of Key Terms

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Joel Marcus

Chapter 1 administrative A closed systems management perspective that focuses on the total organization and grows from principles the insights of practitioners (p. 26) bureaucratic An organization design that emphasizes management on an impersonal, rational basis through organization elements such as clearly defined authority and responsibility, formal record keeping, and uniform application of standard rules (p. 26) change A plan to guide an organizational change (p. 6) strategy chaos theory A scientific theory that suggests that relationships in complex, adaptive systems are made up of numerous interconnections that create unintended effects and render the environment unpredictable (p. 28) closed system A system that is autonomous, enclosed, and not dependent on its environment (p. 15) contextual Traits that characterize the whole organization, including its size, technology, environment, and dimensions goals (p. 18) contingency A theory meaning one thing depends on other things; the organization’s situation dictates the correct management approach (p. 27) effectiveness The degree to which an organization achieves its goals (p. 22) efficiency The amount of resources used to produce a unit of output (p. 22) Hawthorne A series of experiments on worker productivity begun in 1924 at the Hawthorne plant of Western Studies Electric Company in Illinois; attributed employees’ increased output to managers’ better treatment of them during the study (p. 6) learning An organization in which everyone is engaged in identifying and solving problems, enabling the organization organization to continuously experiment, improve, and increase its capability (p. 28) level of In systems theory, the subsystem on which the primary focus is placed; four levels of analysis analysis normally characterize organizations (p. 32) meso theory A new approach to organization studies that integrates both micro and macro levels of analysis (p. 33) open system A system that must interact with the environment to survive (p. 15) organizational A micro approach to organizations that focuses on the individuals within organizations as the behaviour relevant units for analysis (p. 33) organizational A macro approach to organizations that analyzes the whole organization as a unit (p. 33) theory organizations Social entities that are goal-directed, deliberately structured activity systems linked to the external environment (p. 11) role A part in a dynamic social system that allows an employee to use his or her discretion and ability to achieve outcomes and meet goals (p. 29) scientific A classical approach that claims decisions about organization and job design should be based on management precise, scientific procedures (p. 25) stakeholder Any group within or outside an organization that has a stake in the organization’s performance (p. 23) stakeholder Also called the constituency approach, this perspective assesses the satisfaction of stakeholders as approach an indicator of the organization’s performance (p. 23) structural dimensions Descriptions of the internal characteristics of an organization (p. 18) subsystems Divisions of an organization that perform specific functions for the organization’s survival; organizational subsystems perform the essential functions of boundary spanning, production, maintenance, adaptation, and management (p. 15) system A set of interacting elements that acquires inputs from the environment, transforms them, and discharges outputs to the external environment (p. 15) task A narrowly defined piece of work assigned to a person (p. 29) Chapter 2 analyzer A business strategy that seeks to maintain a stable business while innovating on the periphery (p. 62) competing- A perspective on organizational effectiveness that combines diverse indicators of performance that values model represent competing management values (p. 71) defender A business strategy that seeks stability or even retrenchment rather than innovation or growth (p. 61) differentiation Strategy organizations use to distinguish their products or services from others in the strategy industry/sector (p. 59) focus strategy A strategy in which an organization concentrates on a specific regional market or buyer group (p. 59) goal approach An approach to organizational effectiveness that is concerned with output and whether the organization achieves its output goals (p. 67) human Emphasis on an aspect of the competing-values model that incorporates the values of an internal relations focus and a flexible structure (p. 73) emphasis internal An aspect of the competing-values model that reflects the values of internal focus and structural process control (p. 73) emphasis internal- An approach that looks at internal activities and assesses effectiveness by indicators of internal process approach health and efficiency (p. 67) low-cost A strategy that tries to increase market share by emphasizing low cost when compared with leadership strategy competitors’ products (p. 60) mission The organization’s reason for its existence (p. 54) official goals The formally stated definition of business scope and outcomes the organization is trying to achieve; another term for mission (p. 54) open-systems An aspect of the competing-values model that reflects a combination of external focus and flexible emphasis structure (p. 73) operative Descriptions of the ends sought through the actual operating procedures of the organization; these goals explain what the organization is trying to accomplish (p. 55) organizational A desired state of affairs that the organization attempts to reach (p. 66) goal prospector A business strategy characterized by innovation, risk taking, seeking out new opportunities, and growth (p. 61) rational-goal An aspect of the competing-values model that reflects values of structural control and external emphasis focus (p. 73) reactor A business strategy in which environmental threats and opportunities are responded to in an ad hoc strategy fashion (p. 62) resource- based An organizational perspective that assesses effectiveness by observing how successfully the organization obtains, integrates, and manages valued resources (p. 67) approach strategy The current set of plans, decisions, and objectives that have been adopted to achieve the organization’s goals (p. 59) structure The formal reporting relationships, groupings, and systems of an organization (p. 65) Chapter 3 centralized Decision making is limited to higher authority (p. 89) chain of Formal line of authority in a hierarchy (p. 91) command decentralized Decision making and communication are spread out across the company (p. 89) departmental A structure in which employees share a common supervisor and resources, are jointly responsible grouping for performance, and tend to identify and collaborate with each other (p. 97) divisional A grouping in which people are organized according to what the organization produces (p. 97) grouping divisional The structuring of the organization according to individual products, services, product groups, structure major projects, or profit centres; also called product structure or strategic business units (p. 99) functional The placing together of employees who perform similar functions or work processes or who bring grouping similar knowledge and skills to bear on a task (p. 97) functional A structure in which functional bosses have primary authority, and product or project managers matrix simply coordinate product activities (p. 107) functional structure The grouping of activities by common function (p. 98) horizontal The organizing of employees around core work processes rather than by function, product, or grouping geography (p. 97) horizontal The amount of communication and coordination that occurs horizontally across organizational linkage departments (p. 91) horizontal A structure that virtually eliminates both the vertical hierarchy and departmental boundaries by structure organizing teams of employees around core work processes; the end-to-end work, information, and material flows that provide value directly to customers (p. 111) hybrid A structure that combines characteristics of various structural approaches (functional, divisional, structure geographical, horizontal) tailored to specific strategic needs (p. 117) integrator A position or department created solely to coordinate several departments (p. 93) liaison role The function of a person located in one department who is responsible for communicating and achieving coordination with another department (p. 92) matrix A strong form of horizontal linkage in which both product and functional structures (horizontal and structure vertical) are implemented simultaneously (p. 105) multifocused A structure in which an organization embraces structural grouping alternatives simultaneously (p. grouping 97) organizational Designates formal reporting relationships, including the number of levels in the hierarchy and the structure span of control of managers and supervisors; identifies the grouping together of individuals into departments and of departments into the total organization; and includes the design of systems to ensure effective communication, coordination, and integration of efforts across departments (p. 88) outsourcing Contracting out certain functions, such as manufacturing, information technology, or credit processing, to other organizations (p. 115) process Organized group of related tasks and activities that work together to transform inputs into outputs that create value for customers (p. 111) product matrix A variation of the matrix structure in which project or product managers have primary authority, and functional managers simply assign technical personnel to projects and provide advisory expertise (p. 107) re-engineering Redesigning a vertical organization along its horizontal workflows and processes (p. 111) symptoms of Signs of the organization structure being out of alignment, including delayed or poor-quality structural decision making, failure to respond innovatively to environmental changes, and too much conflict deficiency (p. 120) task force A temporary committee composed of representatives from each department affected by a problem (p. 92) teams Permanent task forces often used in conjunction with a full-time integrator (p. 93) vertical The periodic reports, written information, and computer-based communications distributed to information managers (p. 91) system vertical Communication and coordination activities connecting the top and bottom of an organization (p. linkages 90) virtual cross- Teams comprising individuals from different functions who are separated in space and time as functional well (p. 95) teams virtual network Organization that is a loosely connected cluster of separate components (p. 97) grouping virtual network The firm subcontracts many or most of its major processes to separate companies and structure coordinates their activities from a small headquarters organization (p. 115) virtual team Made up of organizationally or geographically dispersed members who are linked through advanced information and communications technologies. Members frequently use the Internet and collaborative software to work together, rather than meeting face to face (p. 95) Chapter 4 boundary Activities that link and coordinate an organization with key elements in the external environment spanning roles (p. 146) buffering roles Activities that absorb uncertainty from the environment (p. 145) cooptation When leaders from important sectors in the environment are made part of an organization (p. 155) differentiation The cognitive and emotional differences among managers in various functional departments of an organization and formal structure differences among these departments (p. 147) direct interlock A situation that occurs when a member of the board of directors of one company sits on the board of another (p. 155) domain An organization’s chosen environmental field of activity (p. 135) general Includes those sectors that may not directly affect the daily operations of a firm but will indirectly environment influence it (p. 137) green Our natural environment (p. 135) environment indirect interlock A situation that occurs when a director of one company and a director of another are both directors of a third company (p. 155) integration The quality of collaboration between departments of an organization (p. 148) interlocking A formal linkage that occurs when a member of the board of directors of one company sits on directorate the board of another company (p. 155) mechanistic An organization system marked by rules, procedures, a clear hierarchy of authority, and centralized decision making (p. 149) organic An organization system marked by free-flowing, adaptive processes, an unclear hierarchy of authority, and decentralized decision making (p. 149) organizational All elements that exist outside the boundary of the organization and have the potential to affect environment all or part of the organization (p. 135) resource A situation in which organizations depend on the environment, but strive to acquire control over dependence resources to minimize their dependence (p. 153) sectors Subdivisions of the external environment that contain similar elements (p. 135) simple-complex The number and dissimilarity of external elements relevant to an organization’s operation (p. dimension 141) stable-unstable The state of an organization’s environmental elements (p. 141) dimension task environment Sectors with which the organization interacts directly and that have a direct effect on the organization’s ability to achieve its goals (p. 136) uncertainty Occurs when decision makers do not have sufficient information about environmental factors and have a difficult time predicting external changes (p. 140) Chapter 5 coercive forces External pressures such as legal requirements exerted on an organization to adopt structures, techniques, or behaviours similar to other organizations (p. 192) collaborative An emerging perspective whereby organizations allow themselves to become dependent on network other organizations to increase value and productivity for all (p. 179) generalist An organization that offers a broad range of products or services and serves a broad market (p. 187) institutional Norms and values from stakeholders (customers, investors, boards, government, etc.) that environment organizations try to follow in order to please stakeholders (p. 188) institutional A view that holds that, under high uncertainty, organizations imitate others in the same perspective institutional environment (p. 188) institutional The emergence of common structures, management approaches, and behaviours among similarity organizations in the same field (p. 191) interorganizational The relatively enduring resource transactions, flows, and linkages that occur among two or relationships more organizations (p. 173) legitimacy The general perspective that an organization’s actions are desirable, proper, and appropriate within the environment’s system of norms, values, and beliefs (p. 188) mimetic forces Under conditions of uncertainty, the pressure to copy or model other organizations that appear to be successful in the environment (p. 191) niche A domain of unique environmental resources and needs (p. 184) normative forces Pressures to adopt structures, techniques, or management processes because they are considered by the community to be up-to-date and effective (p. 192) organizational A system formed by the interaction of a community of organizations and their environment, ecosystem usually cutting across traditional industry lines (p. 173) organizational An organization’s specific technology, structure, products, goals, and personnel (p. 184) form population A set of organizations engaged in similar activities with similar patterns of resource utilization and outcomes (p. 183) population ecology A perspective in which the focus is on organizational diversity and adaptation within a perspective community or population or organizations (p. 183) retention The preservation and institutionalization of selected organizational forms (p. 185) selection The process by which organizational variations are determined to fit the external environment; variations that fail to fit the needs of the environment are “selected out” and fail (p. 185) specialist An organization that has a narrow range of goods or services or serves a narrow market (p. 187) struggle for A principle of the population ecology model that holds that organizations are engaged in a existence competitive struggle for resources and fighting to survive (p. 186) variation Appearance of new organizational forms in response to the needs of the external environment; analogous to mutations in biology (p. 184) Chapter 6 consortia Groups of firms that venture into new products and technologies (p. 212) domestic stage The first stage of international development in which a company is domestically oriented while managers are aware of the global environment (p. 210) economies of Achieving lower costs through large volume production; often made possible by global expansion scale (p. 208) economies of Achieving economies by having a presence in many product lines, technologies, or geographic scope areas (p. 208) factors of production Supplies necessary for production, such as land, raw materials, and labour (p. 209) global company A company that no longer thinks of itself as having a home country (p. 21
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