The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Organizational Linkages: Understanding the Productivity Paradox
and synergies that occur when individuals are grouped into work teams, departments, organizational systems, and economies.
It is important to note at the outset that focusing on individual productivity measures provides a myopic view of the organizational world. Organizations are set in the context of a changing, competitive environment in which strategies are developed to guide the efforts of management and workers toward a common vision and set of objectives. Even the best-designed processes will fail without a supportive culture within the organization that values change, continuous improvement, goal commitment, group cohesion, and respect for people. Every concept in this chapter assumes that the individual worker and the work group are set in an organizational context that is internally consistent and environmentally consonant.
It is also important to note that productivity, although a major concern, is not the only indicator of individual or organizational performance. Productivity interacts with other aspects of employee performance, financial controls, innovation, and competitive effectiveness—any one of which can lead to organizational failure. In Chapter 6 Sink and Smith identify seven related but separable performance criteria for an organizational system: (1) effectiveness, (2) efficiency, (3) productivity, (4) quality, (5) quality of working life, (6) innovation, and (7) profitability (profit center) or budgetability (cost center). Other authors, such as Pritchard (Chapter 7) and Campbell (Chapter 8), have slightly different ways of relating or combining these performance dimensions. For the purposes of this chapter, my definition of productivity includes effectiveness (producing the right products or services), efficiency (prudent utilization of resources), and quality (meeting technical and customer specifications).
My purpose in this chapter is to assimilate knowledge about the measurement and management of individual productivity in order to provide a link in the chain of understanding regarding how individual productivity contributes to group productivity, which in turn contributes to organizational productivity. My intent is to aggregate existing knowledge and propose some theoretical foundations in order to reveal areas in which theory development and empirical research are needed. Throughout, I make an effort to bridge the gap between the concerns of researchers and the needs of practitioners in industry.
PRODUCTIVITY MEASUREMENT AND GOAL ALIGNMENT
In industry, the measurement and analysis of individual-level productivity serves the following five major functions: