Organizational models that do little more than describe or depict are frustrating, both from the perspective of research about organizations and from that of consultation o organizational clients. What is needed is a model that predicts behavior and performance consequences, one that deals with cause (Organizational conditions) and effect (resultant performance). Some existing organizational models that are largely descriptive do stipulate certain parameters. Whiskered (1976), for example, states that the role of the leadership box in his six-box model is to coordinate the remaining five.
The Needle-Dustman (1977) model is one of congruence. These authors argue that for effectiveness, the various boxes comprising their model should be congruent with one another; for example, organizational arrangements (structure) should be congruent with organizational strategy. However, most if not all of these models are largely descriptive, with limited, if any, causal features. It is true that contingency models of organizations (Lawrence & Larch, 1969; Burns & Stalker, 1961) do have certain causal aspects.
Organizational effectiveness is, in part, contingent on the degree of match be;en the organization’s external environment (whether static or dynamic) and the organization’s internal structure (either mechanistic or organic). But contingency models tend to resent too many contingencies and few, if any, methods for sorting out their interrelationships. In contrast, the subject of this article, the Burke-Litton model, is more than merely descriptive and congruent; it serves as a guide not only for organizational diagnosis but also for planned, managed organizational change.
Two primary risks were inherent in developing this causal model of organizational performance. First, ‘What causes what’ could ultimately be wrong (although substantive theory and some research evidence have been encouraging). Second, narrowing the choices of causal actors might ignore some significant organizational variables. The concepts of organizational climate and culture and a description of the Burlington model will be described next, including suggestions for ways to use the model and some preliminary research support.
Each category or box in the model can be described as follows: External Environment. Any outside condition or situation that influences the performance of the organization. These conditions include such things as marketplaces, world financial conditions, political/governmental circumstances, and so on. Mission and Strategy. What employees believe is he central purpose of the organization and how the organization intends to achieve that purpose over an extended time. Leadership. Executive behavior that encourages others to take needed actions.
For purposes of data gathering, this box includes perceptions of executive practices and values. Culture. “The way we do things around here. ” Culture is the collection of overt and covert rules, values, and principles that guide organizational behavior and that have been strongly influenced by history, custom, and practice. Structure. The arrangement of functions and people into specific areas and evils of responsibility, decision-making authority, and relationships. Structure assures effective implementation of the organization’s mission and strategy.
Management Practices. What managers do in the normal course of events to use the human and material resources at their disposal to carry out the organization’s strategy. Systems. Standardized policies and mechanisms that facilitate work. Systems primarily manifest themselves in the organization’s reward systems and in control systems such as goal and budget development and human resource allocation. Climate. The collective rent impressions, expectations, and feelings of the members of local work units.
These in turn affect members’ relations with supervisors, with one another, and with other units. Task Requirements and Individual Skills/ Abilities. The behavior required for task effectiveness, including specific skills and knowledge required for people to accomplish the work assigned and for which they feel directly responsible. This box concerns what is often referred to as job-person match. Individual Needs and Values. The specific psychological factors that provide desire and worth for individual actions or Houghton. Motivation.