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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
Lesson # 15
FURTHER APPLICATION OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORIES
First is the strategy­structure debate and its application of western managerial knowledge in context of
Pakistan. The knowledge around us is the knowledge developed in the West for their own purposes and
objectives (environment). What is important for us is to develop skills to seek relevancy, relate and
appropriate this knowledge to our own contexts. We can already observe the limitations and
inadequacies of Western managerial and theoretical knowledge like that of Hawthorne effect and
Maslow theory of motivation as too abstract and generalised to deal with distinct and differentiated
cultural entities and societies of developing countries like that of Pakistan. Hence the need is to go for
synthesis and selective application of Western management paradigm.
Similarly, the logic and spirit of contextualising also goes fine with certain dimensions of evolution
theory like that of selection and adaptation. For instance in the context of public sector organisation in
Pakistan there is a kind of fixation with organization structure rather than strategy resulting in the failure
to evolve a distinct organization structure and managerial culture on their own. For example one such
reason for the failure of strategy was that shift in government's strategy from import-substitution to
export-promotion over a period of time never brought with it a shift or adjustment in organization
structure. In fact with the same (static) set of institution, bureaucratic structure and values different
strategies were followed. Therefore what is suggested is that evolving strategy should be coupled with
evolving structure.
With respect to strategy-structure debate the typical controversy is which should come first? Should
strategy be formulated first and then structure is organized along the strategy dimensions? Or it is the
idealised and standardised structure which remains effective and can make effective any type of
strategy. Further concern is how do organizations evolve their strategies? And more important is
whether change in strategy is simultaneously followed or corresponded with strategy. Going by the
spirit of evolutionary thinking it is the strategy­structure alignment and match which is required. This
was considered a traditional paradigm of management that good managers were considered good
managers every where (irrespective of industry, technology, size & place of organization) old paradigm
not valid for today's world. This has become irrelevant in today's highly specialised era with hi-tech
hyper changing world. So according to cultural school of thought (Comparative Management)
managerial practices which were considered effective in USA or Europe may not be relevant and valid
for developing countries like Pakistan. Therefore the localisation of management by MNCs and other
indigenous or local organization is imperative going by the dynamics of evolutionary theory.
Large organisations are complex ­ more vulnerable because of formalization of process and
routinization. Mangers focus too much on procedures and due-process of law. Organizations are divided
into vertical columns (functional departments), therefore managers cease to look at organization from
holistic and integrated perspective. Organizations become rigid and refuse to learn owing to functional
specialization and tend to become inflexible. For larger organisations, QM should be more successful in
large and complex because they are vulnerable to organisational routines and stagnation. Large
organizations operate as a special case of selection principle as organization moves from smaller to
large one. According to John D Rockefeller, "the growth of a large business is merely a survival of the
fittest: it is merely the working out of a law of nature"
Moreover, organisation theorists use the term evolution in variety of ways. One such concept is learning
which means change in knowledge, change in skills and change in attitude of individual and or
organization as well. Now the question, is adaptation and learning synonymous with change? Sidney
Winter uses the term adaptive problem-solving. Adaptation and evolution are used synonymously but
for some authors the two terms are not similar? Levinthal distinguishes between learning and
adaptation. To him, learning occurs when there is an incremental change in an organisational routine in
response to feedback about outcome while adaptation is defined as when an organisation changes some
of its core attributes to fit environmental contingency.
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Change Management ­MGMT625
VU
Strategic management perspective
A firm has a perpetual concern with strategy formulation, strategy implementation and strategic
evaluation; and has a choice which set of strategy to opt or formulate. The two sets of policy choices are
internal development and external development; and both are considered opposite to each other. The
internal development strategy, in its traits is slow, gradual, equity based where one's own organization
culture is considered very sacred as against the external development strategy which exhibits the
characteristics of being fast, structural and high growth oriented. Mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures
strategies explain the same mode. Internal refers to slow, gradualism or incrementalist or evolutionary
view and the other refer to revolutionary types of change.
Relationship With other theories of change
How this theory fits with other theories like with teleological, life-cycle and dialectical theories. This
theory incorporates diversity and multiplicity of views. This theory seems to be comprehensive viz.
other theories like. OLC is again like parallel explanations of evolutionary theory. Thing tend to evolve
in each stage of its development; be competitive; and environmental context. Teleological theory
explains change in terms of purposive and cautious ways of objective setting, compatible with
teleological ­ consistency in policies and objective for stable evolution of organization With in
organization we have dialectics and dialectical thinking; have to incorporate opposing view point so as
to come forth with effective policy outcome.
Criticism
This theory is not free from criticism. Natural selection favours the best of existing alternatives rather on
the best possible design. Here in this theory outcome is satisfying rather than optimising, which means it
does not strive for the best possible objectives. Another point of concern is that organisation analogy is
considered weak as organization is designed and managerial decisions are taken cautiously and
purposively while evolutionary biology rests on random variation. Because of this deficiency in analogy
Mayr has termed this theory as an "inappropriate formulation".
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