Senior Management's Organizational View as a Co-Producer of Organizational Change

Date of Submission


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Science in Management Systems (Sc.D.)




Abbas Nadim

Committee Member

David Morris

Committee Member

Pawel Mensz

LC Subject Headings

Organizational change, Employer attitude surveys

Call No. at the Univ. of New Haven Library

AS 36 N290 Mgmt. Syst. 1999 no.3


Ackoff and Gharajedaghi have defined three organizational views or metaphors: deterministic, animated, and social systems. These models are based on a framework involving the organization’s and individual’s sense of purpose and choice. Deterministic systems are systems in which people are viewed as having no purpose of their own. Animated systems are viewed as having a purpose; however, an individual’s sense of purpose or choice is not recognized. In the social systems model both the organization and the individual are seen as having both a sense of purpose and choice.

This research was undertaken to determine if there is a relationship between the senior managers’ (chief operating officer or president) organizational view and the organizational change program the organization has undertaken or would be inclined to choose. Specifically, the co-producer relationship was studied between the three organizational views (deterministic, animated, and social system) and four organizational change programs (Corporate Downsizing, Total Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering, and Cultural Transformation). This relationship has not been empirically explored, though the philosophical and theoretical connections are strong. The co-producer relationship does not suggest a linear or exclusive relationship, as such organizational view is seen as but one factor in the decision to choose a particular organizational change program.

A framework for defining organizational view was developed based on the work of Ackoff and Gharajedaghi. This framework involves ten organizational elements that in total represent the senior managers’ organizational view. Using the organizational view construct surveys were developed for both the senior and human resource manager in each of 400 organizations ranging in size from $75 to $500 million in sales. Approximately 1500 surveys were sent. This involved in most cases two surveys for each manager in each organization. The surveys were sent in roughly equal amounts to four geographically diverse areas in the United States. The senior manager survey was based on five business scenarios in which a written response was required. The human resource manager survey was based on twenty Likert scale questions. Fifty-one human resource surveys were completed and 10 senior manager questionnaires were returned. Responses were analyzed for each group senior manager and human resource manager individually, and responses from the same organizations were compared. For organizations where both the human resource and the senior manager participated, additional non-survey information was sought regarding the senior manager’s organizational view.

In the human resource manager survey, senior managers’ with lower organizational view scores were more inclined to choose organizational change programs with deterministic and animated components such as Corporate Downsizing and Business Process Reengineering, while those with slightly higher views chose programs of Total Quality Management and Cultural Transformation. The relationship in the senior manager survey also followed the expected pairing between organizational view and organizational change programs. These results demonstrate that the senior managers’ organizational view, within the boundaries of the co-producer relationship, does have a strong relationship to the organizational change program the organization chooses to implement.