Managing People and Information in Complex Organizations

Managing People and Information in Complex Organizations

Kalu N. Kalu (Auburn University Montgomery, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-857-4.ch058
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Abstract

Information technology affects organizations and society itself as it redefines work content, reorganizes leadership styles and cultures, reshuffles power hierarchies, and spawns a series of both man-designed and spontaneous adaptations. Information technology oftentimes necessitates a new division of labor that creates policy problems and loss of accountability. Organizational leadership, especially in the public sector, urgently requires a theoretical as well as a practical revaluation to cope with the structural and functional changes within work and administrative organizations. This project seeks to elucidate three leadership models in the context of IT-induced changes in organizational forms and processes, namely, networked leadership, organic leadership, and gatekeeper leadership models.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Networked Leadership: This is based on organizational systems in which the operational units and control mechanisms are extensively linked and facilitated by the exchange of information through both centralized and dispersed technology-based hubs.

Learning Organization: Learning is a process by which an organization adapts to new challenges in its operational environments. Members do this first by unlearning or “unfreezing” old habits, and second by accepting new methods and innovations, and incorporating these into a new process of learning (refreezing) so as to survive in an increasingly uncertain and complex environment.

Organic Leadership: This model is drawn from a biological analogy depicting contingent leadership scenarios that would be needed to accommodate an increasing level of uncertainty, nonroutine functional roles, and technological and information diversity in the new work environment.

Substitute for Leadership: The substitute-for-leadership theory posits that sometimes hierarchical authority makes no difference in organizational relationships because leaders have come to rely extensively on the expert knowledge of subordinates below them.

Leadership: Leadership is a formal organizational activity involving individual managerial and decision-making functions, employee motivation, and incentives directed at achieving organizational goals and missions.

Neutralizer of Leadership: Neutralizers constrain a formal leader’s ability to behave in certain ways, and in most cases can nullify the immediate effect of his or her actions or directives. Examples could be situations where workers have alternate resources, a leader lacks the power to impose sanctions and/or rewards, subordinates have operational autonomy, or where subordinates are distant from the leader.

Epistemology: Epistemology is the nature and scope of knowledge and understanding relative to a specific idea, field, or concept.

Gatekeeper Leadership: The gatekeeper plays a mediating or moderating role between internal organizational processes and their adaptation to external turbulence and complexity that could affect organizational effectiveness and success.

Information-Based Organization: This is an organization that relies on a progressively intensive application of information technology in the functional relationships between and within organizational units.

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