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Beyond Effectiveness: Attractiveness and Unity as Criteria For Decision-Making in Organizations

January 23, 2012 • Strategic Spotlight, STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT

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By Josep M. Rosanas

Management, has to do with people and getting people together as the first priority. Unfortunately, mechanistic models that assume a behavior has to do only with incentives, profits or value, seem to be the dominating force in the last few years. This article presents an alternative way of looking at organizational decision-making, that is based on (1) effectiveness, which means obtaining specific results, (2) attractiveness, which means satisfying the intrinsic motives of individuals, and (3) unity, which means satisfying transcendent or altruistic motives.

According to the Wikipedia, “Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.” To be more specific, management is about people before anything else; and about getting people together next. This, to some, may be only too obvious; but more frequently than not, we find in management books, magazines, journals and schools that only a very small percentage of their content is devoted to people. “Business” as such, in terms of product strategies, marketing tools, financial results and financial engineering, takes the driver’s seat. If people are taken into account at all, it is as instruments of a purpose devised by top management, typically expressed in financial terms, and not as subjects of their own life and their own rights who need to fulfill different kinds of motives.

 

A mechanistic model of organization


A mechanistic model of organization is that of standard, neoclassical economics that is implicit in most analyses. “Firms” are an abstract production function that only indicates the feasible efficient combinations of inputs and outputs. Then, someone (presumably “the owner”) impersonally chooses the combination that maximizes profit and makes all the pertinent decisions. In its crudest version, the standard economic model assumes that all workers sell their labor to the firm at prevailing market prices in a perfectly transparent market where both parties know exactly what they are buying and selling. Thus, there is no need for motivation, monitoring or control.



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