Matching technology and organizational structure: A case study in white collar productivity improvement

Lee W. Frederiksen, Anne W. Riley, John B. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A case study is presented of a life and health insurance company that undertook a reorganization of work flow, management practices and structure following the implementation of automation. With the adoption of an on-line computer system, there was the potential for a competent, rapidly responsive and adaptive organization. However, the functionally organized, highly specialized business was operating as a white-collar assembly line. It was unable to respond to market demands and financial market changes in a creative, timely manner. The organizational potential created by the total processing system could not be realized until the social system, the organization of the people, was adapted to take full advantages of the new technical capabilities. An assessment involving all of top management was conducted in which managers were allowed to determine the problems, goals, and potential solutions. Management developed a long range, overall approach to the organizational change. The decision was made to phase-in experimental self managed work teams and to restructure organizational contingencies to support achievement of organizational rather than unit goals. This paper presents the initial twenty-four month period in the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-80
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior Management
Volume6
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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