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Title: Strategy-making in business : coping with uncertainty in the organisational design process
Author: Spender, J. C.
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1980
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'l'his thesis r apo rts a progr amme of res e-arch into how practising senior managers deal with the unc ertainti~ s of tho organisational s ituation. Resolving these is especially OJ.: teial at the strategj.c level, when designing the organisation' ~ st ~ltc1;ure 0 ::... . plann ing tho p110grammes of aotion that lead t o its obj ec1l- ives 0 Uncertainties arise in many W(l,Ys , but all must be resolved. somewhere wit11in any theory of tho msnaeeria l process - if it i s t o be "creat ed seriously by practising manage rs . A..YJ.d we (lan only t heori se about this process by theorj.sing about the nature of organisat io;).al uncertainties. The discussion with a t wo pari; analysis of the theories and empirica l generalisations that bear on anagement. We f:i':'1d tho.1: some theories , including aome 0 f the claseic.Cl.J. ones, havo HI' eoific kinds of uncertainty bu.ilt into them) theya,re not as ooherent and prescriptive 80S haa been thought. We also find that the familiar fou:t'-f'old typology of policy, strategic, adm:inistl'a tive and. cp eration.s management has prc- blems wi th its str..tCture 8ntt tior. too.. It becomes clea r that ullcert a inty has only b&c{)me such a stumbling block to contemporary theorists because of the ge:1eral ccmmi ttment to poal tivist methods. Analysing Child. '.S co "iCept of stl."n.te cic choice, we can aee the.t t heoris about uncertainty ~. s really a Ui t.l:~ter ( f finding a. place for management 's unccrtainty-rE."Bolving ent e:r:Pr ise~ craatlYit.y and judgment 0 Doing this 6f'fec.;t i vely sha.:ceG thi-) mn.l1n.geria,l, and the burden::: of explana.tion, b etween the ana.lyst' ~ abst r D.ct ion:: and the manager' s judgrnGnts . At fi rs t sieht t heae judgr!jGnts are private, s>lo j e ctiye f;lxld b p.;;ond scientific r e s c3.:c~h. But Y:8 can surmi::;o that the burdon of c:::-oativi t y leads r.l~uge~·s to::.- };ocia liso .!c;heulse l vEls into those cO ffir.1u.n i tic~ wf.l.';se ~xperiencc ana. achr:l.ce s eem relevant , n.,l1d the most obvious such srou!,) :i.s that o f th~ mana.gel's :l~1 thA sa.-ne ;~nrlustr~r. Our oxpe r;i.I:10J'.ta1 h~rpO'~hesis is t hat t.he judgme:i-f;s managers make '; hen r esolviIlts' l)(:$l'c eived lL cartail' ties are, t o c? siGnif:lc(U'1t. extent, shared w'it-hin -the indust:..y . ~'his comn:ull03.1 o:!.';)r:J n Jlis · .. .-hich ""'0 call tho industry' s ' re c ir-t-)t , is :l.' _ea.:roe'l as 3imple .;:~ ,:; n-re::sc and unrcr.:larkab l o" But It can ht.: researched. a.a mad9 (;x~licj,1:. ·,;~·~h the pheYJ o meno lc.'G ;~ca l or il1te)"prGt;iv';) 111atho5s ~~.ll"eady uS9d b .... .;()ciul anthr",PoJ. ogints and somc eoc:l .. ol GistB . ( . . ) \ ::LJ. The empirical sections of the thesis r eport the r esults of applying these techniques in throe different UK indus tries . The study covers 34 companies s generally medium-sized single-industry concerns. The dat)8. is gathered in Merton-t ~"Pe I focused I i nterviews , which r eally unstructured discuss ions around an agreed top ic; these are t ape-recorded and analysed .for common features. Whon these appear they i ndicate shared patterns of jud~ent . Our results show not only high homogenei ty within each of the three industries , b1lt also differences between them . Despite problems with validation, the l'esults support the hypotheSis. The final chapter explores some of the theoretical r amifications of the suggestion tha t useful organisation theories, one~ that deal with rather than avoid uncertainty, are inuustry-specific. We conolude that organisational analysts must expand their explanations from those developed .... 1 thin the posi tiv1st t rad.i tion to inclUde an identif ication of the con·text or universe of experienve from ',vhich the mp..nagerial judgments spring; and th~t we oan only make sense of an organisation in a democra.tic society by e1ioi ting the interests of those who orea.te and (lontrol it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Management & business studies Management