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Title: Being human : an argument for improvising
Author: Vito, Vincenzo L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 1067
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2016
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This research is about improvisation. By applying a compare and contrast view, it examines two successful organizations operating in the same market. Each company chose a different way of structurally coping with market requirements; one applied a traditional structure with a top-down strategy whereas the other relied on a bottom-up improvisational setup. The dissertation discusses the concept of improvisation emerging from behavioural disciplines into organizational and management research and the problems with applying an exclusively positivist measurement on it. Instead, it vouches for a postmodern social construction to reveal benefits for organizations and contribute to theory building. It connects improvisation with two other relevant concepts, sensemaking and emergent strategizing. It aims to show that while organizational members improvise they draw on believe and action driven sensemaking which acts as a validated framework. This implies a strong cultural foundation. While creating new realities, patterns of actions are produced. Bundling them in hindsight allows the organization to use an emergent strategizing concept. While working for each of the companies and by applying a participant-observer research method, I took a closer look at how the two companies were set up, how members cooperated and how everyday issues were handled. The top-down organization controlled strategy delivery via strong financial controlling, technology and personal goals and incentives. However, it counted more employees in relation to its customer base and struggled with target setting. The second company just set a rough annual focus and relied on a strong vision and mission agreement with staff, subordinating budgeting, technology and controlling processes. It was cost efficient. Organizational life was improvisational, but it made sense because it enabled the whole organization to adapt to market needs fast and continuously. Above all, it was very human.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral