Module 4 discussion board
Week 1: Sociopolitical Skills
Organizational structure, norms, values, culture, etc., all have an impact on a leader’s success. Consider the new or advancing leader. Such a leader is expected to learn how to effectively perform all of the important administrative and professional/technical tasks. In addition, the leader needs to master the necessary social skills associated with early effectiveness in the new position. Below are 10 “sociopolitical” categories which may influence a transitioning leader’s early (and enduring) effectiveness. These include, in no particular order, the ability to:

Enter into an established leader/employee “network.”
Sense, as well as use, appropriate communication; influence behaviors.
Sense and appropriately act on keen organizational norms.
Become aware of, and sensitively interact with, organizational “blockers” and “enablers.”
Build political bridges by identifying and relating to key formal/informal power sources.
Become known as a “go-to/can-do” individual.
Be perceived as a “team player.”
Sense key organizational issues upon which to create early vision, initiatives, and value.
Identify and appropriately respond to the requirements of superiors/peers/subordinates.
Be perceived as having organizationally appropriate ethics, values, and beliefs.

Please note that these are behavioral skill categories, not actual behaviors. You likely use many of the actual behaviors (such as “interpersonal communication”) within a category every day.
Week 1 Discussion Question:

Does this list of “sociopolitical” skill categories match your sense of what is most required to help ensure a leader’s early success in a new role/position? What might you add or subtract to help ensure the most effective transition into a new job?

Week 2: Sociopolitical Skills
Week 2 Discussion Question:

In your view, how important to your enduring success in the job are your early efforts in a new leadership role? Presuming you have already practiced some or all of the 10 items, how did you learn to do so?

Remember, after you submit your answer each week to the Discussion Question itself, you also need to respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.

Organizational Structure and Culture
All background materials (as well as materials referenced on the home page) are required unless designated as optional or general reference materials.
Organizational Culture
Have you ever observed how some organizations just seem to be shining stars in their fields, even if the product or service they produce is not that much different from their competitors? Have you noticed that it seems that they are the ones who are the most successful? Did you ever wonder why? Read the following material on organizational culture for some insights into what culture is, what it does, how it is formed, and how it is taught to newcomers in the organization. This reading is available in the Trident University Library.
Flamholtz, E. & Randle, Y. (2011). Corporate Culture: The Invisible Asset. Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset. (pp. 3-25), Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books.
This material on organizational culture type may be particularly helpful as you prepare your Module 4 SLP assignment.
McNamara, C. (2000) Organizational Culture. Adapted from the Fieldguide to Organizational Leadership and Supervision. Free Management Library. http://managementhelp.org/organizations/culture.htm
Organizational Structure and Design
The way an organization is designed and structured can have significant effects on its members and its ability to execute its strategy. In this module we will try to understand those effects and analyze the behavioral implications of different organizational designs.
An organizational structure defines how job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated. According to Robbins and Judge (2014), managers need to address six key elements when they design their organizationâ€s structure:
Work specialization – the extent to which activities are subdivided into separate jobs.
Departmentalization – the basis on which jobs will be grouped together.
Chain of command – the people who individuals and groups report to.
Span of control – the number of individuals that a manager can direct efficiently and effectively.
Centralization and de-centralization – the locus of decision-making authority.
Formalization – the extent to which there will be rules and regulations to direct employees and managers.
One way to gain insight into the complexity of organizations and how organizations are structured or designed is through metaphors. For example, using metaphors, an organization can be talked about as if it were a machine or as if it were an organism. The organization that is like a machine is characterized by extensive departmentalization, high formalization, and limited by low formalization, flat hierarchy and the use of cross-hierarchical and cross-functional teams, free flow of information, and decentralization. Each design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, organizations that are like machines are often good at keeping the costs of standardized products or services down, but could inhibit innovation and creativity. Read the excerpt (pp. 98-108) for insight into organizational design and how metaphors can be used to understand how organizations work:
Cameron, E. & Green, M. (2009) How Organizations Really Work. Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools, & Techniques of Organizational Change 2nd Ed. (pp. 98-108). London and Philadelphia: Kogan Page. http://www.bms.lk/download/GDM_Tutorials/e-books/Making_Sense_of_Change_Management.pdf
Organizational structures are also considered in how they fit or align with an organizationâ€s strategy, mission, and objectives. Traditional structures were divisional structures, functional structures, team-based or process structures, and flexible structures. More recently, organizations have needed to take on more “open boundary” designs. Models of hollow, modular, and virtual organizations describe these “open boundary” organizations. Overall, the key learning here is that the structure selected should match the organizationâ€s strategy – or it will be very difficult for the organization to be successful.
The following reading considers organization design in an era of newer strategic considerations such as globalization and changing market dynamics:
Insights@IMD (2012). Organization Design: Inviting the Outside In. retrieved from https://www.imd.org/globalassets/publications/insightsimd/docs/9-organizational-design-final-w.-no.-05.11.12.pdf
Aligning culture and structure
Designing an organization’s structure involves more than just shifting boxes and lines on an organizational chart. Mootee (2012) offers several critical tests when considering the adequately designing an organizationâ€s structure:

The Future Test: Does the design reflect the needs for how a company plans to compete in the future?
The People/Culture Test: Does the design adequately reflect the motivations, strengths, and weaknesses of employees?
The Competitive Advantage Test: Does the design allocate sufficient management emphasis to the strategic priorities?
The Power Test: Does the design provide the desired allocated power to groups/individuals that is linked to the strategic value of the unit or functions?
The Agility Test: Is the design adaptable and swift to respond to future changes? (p. 1)

It makes intuitive sense that organizational culture and organizational structure should affect each other. Indeed, the way work is coordinated, the way hierarchies are designed, and the way communications are channeled should align with the norms and values of the people who work there. If they do not, there will be tension and conflict between the way people feel comfortable working and the structures that force work to be done in a different way. The following article is an excellent and compelling analysis of why management should consciously insure that culture and structure support each other so that the organization can function as smoothly and effectively as possible.
Janicijevic, N. (2013). The mutual Impact of organizational culture and structure. Economic Annals 58(198). Retrieved from http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0013-3264/2013/0013-32641398035J.pdf
Required Reading
Cameron, E. & Green, M. (2009) How Organizations Really Work. Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools, & Techniques of Organizational Change 2nd Ed. (pp. 98-108). London and Philadelphia: Kogan Page. http://www.bms.lk/download/GDM_Tutorials/e-books/Making_Sense_of_Change_Management.pdf
Denison, D., Hooijberg, R., & Lane, N. (2012). Building a high-performance Business Culture. Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations: Aligning Culture and Strategy. (pp. 1-23), Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved fromhttp://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/4X/04709088/047090884X-373.pdf
Flamholtz, E. & Randle, Y. (2011). Corporate Culture: The Invisible Asset. Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset. (pp. 3-25), Stanford, CA: Stanford Business Books.
Insights@IMD (2012). Organization Design: Inviting the Outside In. retrieved from https://www.imd.org/globalassets/publications/insightsimd/docs/9-organizational-design-final-w.-no.-05.11.12.pdf
Janicijevic, N. (2013). The mutual Impact of organizational culture and structure. Economic Annals 58(198). Retrieved from http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0013-3264/2013/0013-32641398035J.pdf
McGinty, D.W. & Moss, N. (2001) What is your corporate culture? INC.com. http://www.inc.com/articles/2001/08/23312.html
McNamara, C. (2000) Organizational Culture. Adapted from the Fieldguide to Organizational Leadership and Supervision. Free Management Library. http://managementhelp.org/organizations/culture.htm
Mechanistic vs. Organic Organizational Structure: Contingency Theory (2014) BusinessMate.Org http://www.businessmate.org/Article.php?ArtikelId=44
Pfeffer, J. (2014). Do workplace hierarchies still matter? Retrieved from http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/jeffrey-pfeffer-do-workplace-hierarchies-still-matter
Optional Reading
Dawson, C. (2010). Leading culture change: What every CEO needs to know. Redwood City: Stanford Business Books, pp. 3-20. Retrieved from the Trident Online Library.
McNamara, C. (n.d.) Guidelines for organization design. In Free Management Library. Retrieved from http://managementhelp.org/organizations/design.htm
Mootee, I. (2012). What is the right organizational design for your corporation? And what test to use to know if youâ€ve got the right one? Innovation Playground. Retrieved from http://mootee.typepad.com/innovation_playground/2012/06/what-is-the-right-organization-design-for-your-corporation-and-what-test-to-use-to-know-if-youve-got.html
Organisation culture: Links and articles.(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.new-paradigm.co.uk/Culture.htm#Case%20Studies
Robbins, S.P. & Judge, T.A. (2014). Essentials of Organizational Behavior (12th Edition). Pearson.
Schein, E.H. (2010) Organizational Culture & Leadership. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 
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