Applying Burke-Litwin Framework in Research

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Original Research

APPLYING THE BURKE–LITWIN MODEL AS A DIAGNOSTIC FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING ORGANISATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS
Authors: Nico Martins1 Melinde Coetzee1 Affi liations: 1 Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa Correspondence to: Nico Martins e-mail: martin@unisa.ac.za Postal address: Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, PO Box 392, UNISA, 0003, South Africa Keywords: Burke–Litwin model of organisational performance and change; organisational diagnosis; organisational effectiveness; transactional factors; transformational factors Dates: Received: 19 Nov. 2008 Accepted: 16 July 2009 Published: 11 Sept. 2009

ABSTRACT
This exploratory study investigated the utility of the Burke–Litwin model as a diagnostic framework for assessing the factors affecting organisational effectiveness. The research setting consisted of an international company, with a population comprising representatives of more than 17 different nationalities. The purposive sampling method was used to involve employee participants (N = 147) in focus groups and executive managers (N = 11) in semi-structured probing interviews. The factors identified related to both the transformational and transactional dimensions of the Burke–Litwin model. The findings add to the existing literature on factors causing organisational effectiveness and ineffectiveness in cross-cultural organisational contexts.

INTRODUCTION
Organisations are continually searching for innovative ways of enhancing competitiveness, as evolving external forces, such as changing demographics, globalisation and technology, require managers to rapidly rethink and retool their organisational management strategies (Whitfield & Landeros, 2006). In this regard, organisational leaders and theorists increasingly view organisational diagnosis as a key element in developing and maintaining competitive advantage (Lee & Brower, 2006). Although the current literature on organisations offers a diverse array of theories on the construct of organisational effectiveness, virtually all such theories acknowledge the importance of organisational effectiveness and its relation to improved organisational performance (Baruch & Ramalho, 2006; Lee & Brower, 2006). Organisational effectiveness illustrates the soundness of an organisation’s culture, processes and structure in terms of its overall system performance (French & Bell, 1999). The practical use of assessing organisational effectiveness stems from the intent to analyse the present state of an organisation to improve the performance of the organisation in accordance with diagnostic findings (Lee & Brower, 2006). Assessing organisational effectiveness by means of a well-planned and well-executed diagnostic process is, therefore, generally assumed to form part of a broad organisational management strategy aimed at improving overall system management (Cummings & Worley, 2005; French & Bell, 1999). The use of such a diagnostic process provides an organisation with the systematic knowledge that it needs to design a set of appropriate intervention activities that should improve overall organisational effectiveness (Van Tonder & Dietrichsen, 2008). Diagnosis entails understanding a system’s current functioning. More specifically, Harrison (cited in Van Tonder & Dietrichsen, 2008:137) describes organisational diagnosis as consisting of investigations that draw on concepts, models and methods from the behavioural sciences. Such investigations are generally aimed at examining an organisation’s current state, at helping clients find ways to solve problems, or at enhancing organisational effectiveness. Organisational diagnosis is also regarded as a collaborative process embarked on between organisation members and an organisational development (OD) consultant. The process involves collecting pertinent information about current operations, analysing the data obtained, and drawing conclusions...
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