Organisations as Emergent Normative Personalities: Part 1, the Concepts
Kybernetes, Vol. 40, Nos. 5-6, pp. 635-669, 2011
35 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2011 Last revised: 8 Jan 2012
Date Written: 2011
Purpose – Modelling the organization to enable purposeful analysis and diagnosis of its ills is often problematic. This is illustrated by the unconnected non-synergistic plurality of organizational models each of which relates to a particular isolated frame of thought and purpose. A cybernetic approach is adopted to create a generic psychosocial model for the organization that is used to characterize its emergent normative personality. Organizations are often complex, and seeing them in terms of their normative personality can reduce the complexity and enable a better understanding of their pathologies. This paper seeks to do two things. The first is to show that it is possible to set up a generic model of the organization as an agency, and the second is to show that this same model can also be represented in the alternative terms of the emergent normative personality. In order to do this, an understanding of what it is that constitutes generic criteria is required. In addition, the paper shall show that organizational and personality theories can be connected generically. One of the consequences of the theory is that the patterns of behavior which occur in an agency have underlying trait control processes.
Design/methodology/approach – A meta-systemic view of the organization is adopted through knowledge cybernetics that enables more flexibility and formality when viewing organizational models. The paper develops a formal generic model of the organization that should facilitate the exploration of problem situations both theoretically and empirically.
Findings – The outcome of the research formulates the cognitive processes of normative personality as a feasible way of explaining organizations and provide a capacity to analyse and predict the likelihood of their behavioral conduct and misconduct. As an agency trait model, agency explains the socio-cognitive aspects of self-organization and the efficacy of connections between the traits. These traits control the personality, and inter-trait connections are Piagetian intelligences that orient the traits and work through forms of first- and second-order autopoiesis. The development of a typology of pathologies is also suggested as feasible.
Originality/value – There are previous metaphorical notions that link agency with traits. Here, metaphor is extended to produce a formal model for the emergent normative personality. This is the first time that socio-cognitive and trait approaches are formally linked, as it is the fist time that a typology for organizational pathologies is proposed.
Keywords: organizational behaviour, modelling, knowledge, cybernetics, personality, pathology
JEL Classification: A00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation