Critical Literature Review
Organizational management has existed for as long as human societies developed the capacity for collective action and organized activity (Grey, 2010). In the contemporary business world, it is being critically analyzed and is the subject of numerous theories that seek to determine how to maximize the functionality and utility of resources and people in business establishments. Organizational management can be described as the process of leading, planning, and controlling resources in an entity with the intent of achieving a set of predetermined goals (Grey, 2010). The process requires that both scholars and practitioners take into account a variety of factors that underpin strategic management and determine the extent to which they can be effective. Primary among these are human resource, ethics, management policies, and motivation, all which facilitate the synchronization of the factors that ultimately determine if it will or not be successful. The literature review in this paper examines the ideas of an assortment of scholars and thinkers who have studied and discoursed on various elements of organizational management.
A critical review
Clegg (2002) has derived a series of questions from the current literature, i.e., what are the types of an organization’s ethics? How do they emerge? How do they work? These questions respectively address the analysis, causal models, and dynamics of firms (Hinings & Greenwood, 2002). They were used to make a paradigm shift from a retrospective point of view, which focused primarily on the interest of businesses. In the mid 1990s, new contemporary topics on organizational management were introduced. They included change, globalization, culture, diversity, and gender, just to mention a few. The frames through which management within firms could be studied were extended to include models, such as the contingency theory, strategic choice population ecology, and the analytical theory (Hinings & Greenwood, 2002). In the last two decades, this focus has been narrowed down to a select number of diverse topics that determine the effectiveness of and company, and the need for it to interact with society and its employees in a productive and mutually beneficial way. This implies that business establishments concentrate on more goals than just about making profit. Even as they do so, they must respect society, the environment, and their employees. In fact, they should realize that without these, they would not exist (Hinings & Greenwood, 2002). Managers need to consider the impacts of their actions outside organizations and recalibrate their objectives, so they do not contradict societal wellbeing. From a practitioner’s perspective, it has been established that, in most cases, employers can value their objectives more than their personnel. The approach, although appearing to have some advantages in the short-term, eventually backfires. When workers, for example, are forced to work for long hours and are paid as little as possible, the margins may increase as a result of increased productivity and low cost of labor. However, this is not sustainable since it leads to employee apathy and, ultimately, stifled innovativeness and commitment (Grey, 2010).
Bell and Bryman (2007) examine the notion that academicians in the field have tended to depend on a code of ethics, which emerges from other disciplines that are related to their practice. They contend that the practicability of this approach in the modern environment is determined by ethical regulations and considerations in the field of social sciences. Despite the evident demand for more research on management and ethics, Bell and Bryman (2007) point out that while the subject of ethics has been significant in research in several fields, such as public relations, much less attention has been paid to ethics in organizational management. One of the reasons proposed for this is that “business schools do not devote much effort in equipping learners with the skills they need to address ethical issues” (Easterby-Smith, Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2008, p. 420). After examining the contents of nine social scientific associations, Bell and Bryman (2007) concluded that there was very little evidence to support the notion that a code of ethics for organizational management could be borrowed from other disciplines (Grey, 2010). This is due to the fact that there is the risk of ethics resulting in instrumental or textbook compliance with minimum ethical obligations (Bell & Bryman, 2007).
Nevertheless, there is still the possibility of reflecting a more inspirational agenda, which ultimately makes the development of a management code of ethics meaningful. In the past, when researching on problems based on the workplace, the same issue was always encountered. While workers do not appear to want genuinely to act ethically, it has been found “that they do not always have a comprehensive understanding” of what this pertains (Grey, 2010, p. 680). Ironically, most of the issues in relation to organizational management have been studied in leading business schools, where ethical matters have been core parts of training. However, the observation could raise many questions. For example, how is it that workers do not seem to contextualize theoretical studies of ethics in their day-to-day work activities?
In conclusion, scholars have found that personnel do not indeed have a coherent understanding of ethics, it only goes as far as disciplines, such as sociology and generalized business ethics. When it comes to organizational management, many intellectuals are often confused when faced with complex ethical challenges, which leads the writer of this literature review to concur with Bell and Bryman that more emphasis should given on the study of ethics in specific fields. Management teams of firms should utilize strategies that can result in excellent outcomes in the short-term and long-term.
The Debates Around the Impact of American-Centrism on Knowledge Creation
Most studies on organizational management are carried out in the United States, possibly because the democratic culture of the nation encourages constant re-examination and assessment of traditional methods of the workplace (Easterby-Smith et al., 2008; Pratt, 2008). This, however, can pose a challenge since, in a globalized world, ideas tend to be heavily borrowed from the American business environment. The “American business environment is radically different from, say Chinese business surroundings, and what may work in one country might be a recipe for disaster in another nation” (Pratt, 2008, p. 500). Consequently, I have found there is a need for researchers to either carry out parallel studies outside the US or try to have them replicated in other target countries before they can be considered for universal applications. In view of this, I believe that I should publish my findings in an international forum since I feel that they would contribute a lot to increased awareness in the most practical elements of organizational management.
One of the main ethical issues that I would encounter in investigating my workplace-based problem is with regard to the use of “ethics codes that are formulated by social scientists in related fields” (Bell & Bryman, 2007, p. 70). In the current organizational management climate, the approach might not yield excellent results due to the fact that social sciences are characterized by many ethical regulations. Two ways would be suggested to solve the problem by increasing knowledge co-production through the development of more reciprocal interactions with other research investigators. First, Bell and Bryman (2007) suggest that researchers from many firms should conduct an exploratory analysis of ethics codes. Second, it would be important to involve a significant number of investigators in knowledge co-production through facilitating them to think about management research obligations.
A final component of management in business establishments that is often ignored is motivation, which managers sometimes tend to assume across all disciplines (Grey, 2010). I have had a retrospective experience with an organization that had a large number of technical staff and scholars. The main role of scholars was to design innovations that could be used by technical personnel. However, the management realized that the attrition rate of the scholars was very high compared with the rest of the staff, yet they were all motivated in the same way (Freedman, 2011). According to “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, different people require different motivations and, in this context, assuming that the motivational needs of intellectuals are the same as those of practitioners, is the first mistake that the company made” (Freedman, 2011, p. 10). Technical personnel work to make a living and, in return they expect financial rewards and job security, this is not the same for intellectual staff. Their efforts cannot be directly measured, and they are motivated by the success of their work rather than financial rewards. Thus, it is important to state that it is impractical to expect intellectual personnel to function in a high-pressure environment irrespective of extrinsic factors. In order for firms to thrive in a competitive business environment, it would be feasible for management teams to use different methods to motivate groups of workers. In fact, different approaches to motivating workers will result in excellent performance outcomes in the short-term and long-term.
Bell, E., & Bryman, A. (2007). The ethics of management research: an exploratory content analysis. British Journal of Management, 18(1), 63-77.
Clegg, S. R. (2002). Lives in the Balance”: A Comment on Hinings and Greenwood’s” Disconnects and Consequences in Organization Theory?. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(3), 428-441.
Easterby-Smith, M., Golden-Biddle, K., & Locke, K. (2008). Working with pluralism determining quality in qualitative research. Organizational Research Methods, 11(3), 419-429.
Freedman, A. M. (2011). Using Action Learning for Organization Development and Change. OD Practitioner, 43(2), 8-12.
Grey, C. (2010). Organizing studies: Publications, politics and polemic. Organization Studies, 31(6), 677-694.
Hinings, C. R., & Greenwood, R. (2002). Disconnects and consequences in organization theory?. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(3), 411-421.
Pratt, M. G. (2008). Fitting oval pegs into round holes tensions in evaluating and publishing qualitative research in top-tier North American journals. Organizational Research Methods, 11(3), 481-509.