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Common Moral Purpose in Organizations

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Published: Tue, 24 Apr 2018

Please answer all the following questions based on Weeks 2, 3, 4 and 5 and submit your answers through Turnitin by Sunday 2nd April at 11.59pm. Answers to each question should be around 250 words. Please use your textbook and journal articles to support your answers (2 to 3 references per question including the textbook required)

Question 1: Do you think the term used by Barnard — “common moral purpose” (pg. 103) — is a good way to describe what happens in work organizations? Why or why not? (Please have a look at chapter 4: The Human Organisation to support your answer)

A “common moral purpose” is somewhat of a good way to describing how an organisation functions according to Chester Barnard. It is appropriate in some aspects as individuals are usually advised of the company’s goals and how to achieve them. Employees go to work to achieve a common purpose, whether that be creating a product or providing a service to customers. Usually their job descriptions and roles will relate to the company’s objectives and long term goals. In this way employees do all have a “common moral purpose”. However, the concept of organised collective activity, in which individuals put the companies needs and objectives above their own may not always be possible to achieve. However, Barnard theorised that it can be accomplished through incentives such as recognition or rewards. This may encourage employees to be more productive, although if their main purpose is to come to work just to make a living, rather than to achieve the company’s goals, incentives may not work effectively. The motives of the employees must be matched with companies for a common moral purpose to be achieved. Nevertheless, it has been suggested that an individual’s personality may not be adequately overpowered by the forces of the common moral purpose. Employees must value company’s ideas and believe in them. If this occurs a “common moral purpose” will be more easily achieved.

  • El-Harber, N 2016, Foundations of Management, 1st Edition, New South Wales
  • Mourkogiannis, 2005, Strategy + Business, The Realist’s Guide to Moral Purpose, blog post, November 23rd, viewed 27th March 2017

Question 2: Rational-bureaucratic organizations are supposed to develop the best means to achieve their goals. Based on your reading of Chapter 5 (pg. 56), what would you say are some of the obstacles to making the “best” decisions about ways to reach a goal or solve a problem? Do some organizations have a more difficult time with this than others? What kinds of goals or problems do they deal with? (Please have a look at chapter 5: Bureaucracy, Rationalisation and Organisation theory to support your answer)

“The rational-bureaucratic organizational model is built on the machine metaphor of organisations that draws an analogy between the relationship among the parts of a mechanical device and the relationship among positions in an organisation.” (El-Haber, 2016, p.56) This theory was conceived by Max Weber. It utilises a formal hierarchy, specialization, impersonality and promotion based on qualification and achievements, to help a company achieve their goals. These elements assist in accomplishing a fair and equal work place, clear directions and which then aids employees with who to seek guidance from. Yet there are still obstacles when applying this model in the workplace. The strict and rigid conformity to rules and procedures can undermine the company’s main objectives. This occurs as employees are heavily focused on obeying company policies leading them to overlook the company’s goals. This could then result in lessen productivity. In an organisation where products are produced, this could affect the end product. Another pitfall of this model is the assumption that a formal position equates to automatic authority. Authority and respect must be earnt by the authority figure and not demand. If it is, it may cause resentment and lessened productive among employees. Weber also believe that the most technically able employees should be put into these formal positions. This may be a contradiction as he stated that promotion should be able on qualifications and achievements. Someone may be highly technically able, but may lack the interpersonal skills and qualifications to effectively manage and liaise with employees. Although Webers model can benefits in achieving goals, it may negative affect product due to its disadvantages.

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