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Title: The sources of goal incongruence in a public service network
Author: Jones, Owen Anthony
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Goal incongruence, both within organisations and between organisations operating in a network context, has long been acknowledged as an important influence on organisational behaviour. This work presents the findings from an ethnographic study of goal incongruence in a public service network located in the UK. The study develops a conceptual framework for defining and researching the extent and sources of goal incongruence within public service networks. The author defines incongruence as contradiction between goals, draws evidence from organizationally enacted behaviours and recognises distinctions between formal goals and the operative goals of network groups. Empirical evidence is used to evaluate two explanations of goal incongruence: that goal incongruence is produced by the nature of bureaucratic delegation (the hierarchical model) and that it is produced by professional difference (the horizontal model). The findings of the study indicate that bureaucratic delegation is the source of goal incongruence. However, several elements of the hierarchical model are questioned. The evidence does not support the orthodox view that incongruence between formal and operative goals increases as conceptions of desired ends are transmitted downward within hierarchies. The study finds that the operative goals of actors at the apex of the network were most highly incongruent with the formal goals of the network. Professional difference was not a source of goal incongruence. Indeed the study provided evidence that operational staff who exhibited different professional identities co-operated to integrate practice and reduce goal-incongruence. The study concludes that the application of the novel conceptual framework provides a more selective, detailed and convincing account of goal incongruence than those found in the recent literature. The sources of goal incongruence were hierarchical elites putting the resources of the network to their own purposes as social agents and hierarchically imposed systems of organisational obligation and performance control. Finally, the study suggests that evidence for interprofessional integration indicates that the role of peer groups in moderating goal incongruence is under-represented in theoretical and empirical accounts of goal incongruence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF Commerce ; JF Political institutions (General)