Investigations into the Effect of Structural Composition on the Efficiency of Multinational Bodies
Al Hajery, Hazza
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This research can be gathered under the general heading of Cybernetics (the study of organisational structure) which subsumes Systems Thinking. The researcher believes that multinational companies can be considered as complex systems, with emergent behaviour. Most existing studies and models have been conducted from a Western perspective and are set in the context of simpler organisational structures. There is no knowledge of a synthesis of three systemic methodologies (Soft System Methodology, System Dynamics and Viable Systems Modelling) to non-western, comprehensive regional intergovernmental organisations, such as the GCC, has been previously attempted which addresses a gap in knowledge. The global economy has seen the rise of many multinational organisations and it is important that these are organised and managed in the most effective and efficient manner. The optimal organisational structure for such organisations is not known and there is no definitive method for doing the analysis Two possible (and contrasting) scenarios are a centrally controlled organisation with limited autonomy for the members or a looser federation of autonomous states with a nominal controlling body. Examples of the former are the United States of America and the European Union whilst the Swiss Federation is an example of the looser configuration. This is therefore a fertile area for research to examine possible organisational structures and to develop viable organisational models in other locations, settings or contexts (Asian, Middle Eastern, South American). This is a gap in knowledge that this research addresses. The purpose of this research is to discover if three major systemic tools can be efficiently and usefully employed to analyse multinational institutions. The GCC was selected as a case study. One reason for this selection is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain reliable information for such large multinational organisations. Due to the position of the researcher in the hierarchy of the GCC, it was possible to obtain data that would have been difficult for others to obtain which itself is a contribution to knowledge. The SSM was used to create a clear picture of the purpose/identity of the organisation and to identify inherent difficulties in the existing organisational structure of the GCC. The VSM was chosen as a more detailed diagnostic tool and was used to construct a model of the existing organisational structure. The VSM model was then used to suggest changes to alleviate the problems raised in the SSM analysis. One such issue was the possibility of the GCC acting as a supranational entity. To do so would entail a radical structural transformation which is outside the remit of this research but the qualitative aspect of SD (using causal diagrams to explore “what if “situations) was used to investigate this possibility. The results demonstrated that this combination of the three systemic tools was a reliable method to tackle the problems of multinational organisations. It can serve as a guide for the GCC and other similar organisations in effectively coping with complexity. In particular, the present study can help managers re-shape the organisations they are running to form new organisational structures that are anchored on autonomy and flexibility rather than on traditional hierarchical structures which are rigid and thus, are rendered incapable of coping with the dynamically- changing environment.
PhD Thesis - School of Management
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