TITLE

Differentiating Organizational Problems

AUTHOR(S)
Giblin, Edward J.
PUB. DATE
May 1981
SOURCE
Business Horizons;May/Jun81, Vol. 24 Issue 3, p60
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
No seven (or seventeen) step process will solve all, or even most, problems. Managers need to recognize that there are different kinds of problems, some of them difficult even to recognize, and many different kinds of solutions. Few people appear to have recognized what seems such an obvious incongruity: namely, that while the distinguishing characteristic of our society's managers is their problem-solving orientation,[1] they do not appear able to solve many of the problems of their own organizations, a failure which in turn contributes to the problems of the larger society. I believe this seeming incongruity stems largely from the failure to differentiate among the problems confronting organizations. Organizational problems are generally lumped together and treated in the same fashion. While there is a plethora of literature on problem- solving, mostly of the normative, "how-to" variety, almost none of it tries to differentiate or classify the types of organizational problems they are proposing solutions to. Not surprisingly, most of the recommended techniques are highly rational and usually mechanical in nature, such as, "a seven-step process for identifying and solving problems." Implicit in most of this literature is the assumption that these techniques or processes are equally applicable to, and effective in, solving all kinds of organizational problems. In fact, not only do these techniques fail to solve all kinds of problems, they often fail to solve most kinds of problems. A notable exception to the problem-solving literature is Dale E. Zand's dichotomous model of organization problems.[2] He classifies problems as well-structured (for example, amending normal operating procedures of the business) and ill-structured (for example, developing a long-range plan). This distinction leads Zand to suggest using alternative organizational structures that employ different norms for dealing with these different types of problems. In fact, any attempt to...
ACCESSION #
4528351

 

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