Friday, February 3, 2012

Org psychology at Universities

Within a corporate organisation, you have individuals and the organisation as an entity.

The individuals are working both, for themsevles and to further the goals of the entity(we assume).

This is a nice simple picture... but what if there is resource competition within the organisation?  Say inter-department competition for resources? Is it just an inverse hierarchy? Simply an us and them fight only differentiated depending on the level at which the competition occurs?

Ok, fairly simple so far....

Now what happens if the managment is cash-cowing one department to expand or push resources into another? 

At the indivudual level.... probably not a huge change. (0)
At the department level... one is asked to altruistically "take one for the team".  (-1)
At the organisation level.... progress. (+1)

Now what if the organisation is a University where staff not only have loyalty to themselves, their department and their University... but also to their field and professional organisations. 

Suddenly taking one for the team means that their department, field and professional organisations are robbed while resources are sent elsewhere.  Research they are passionate about and think is significant is stalled or blocked while someone else eats the cake.  Keep in mind that a researcher who is not researching... is effectivly wasting their life.

So, seeing resources moved elsewhere for "organisational purposes" results in something like this

At the individual level .... probably no change (0)
At the department level .... a loss (-1)
At the organisation level ..... a win (+1)
At the field level .... a loss (-1)
At the research level ... a loss (-1)

Universities are more like charaties that support people... as soon as one stops paying... the people need to move to another.  There is no point sitting and marking time.  Time is the most precious resource.

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