National Academies Press: OpenBook

Enhancing Organizational Performance (1997)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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Enhancing Organizational Performance

Daniel Druckman Jerome E. Singer Harold Van Cott, Editors

Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This project was supported by the Army Research Institute. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Enhancing organizational performance / Daniel Druckman, Jerome E Singer, and Harold Van Cott, editors.

p. cm.

"Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council."

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-05397-8

1. Organizational effectiveness. 2. Organizational change. 3. United States. Army—Management. I. Druckman, Daniel, 1939-. II. Singer, Jerome E. III. Van Cott, Harold P. IV. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance.

HD58.9E54 1997

658.4'063—dc21 97-1782

CIP

Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20418 800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
×

Committee On Techniques For The Enhancement of Human Performance

Jerome E. Singer (Chair),

Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland

Janice M. Beyer,

Department of Management, University of Texas, Austin

Nicole W. Biggart,

Department of Management and Sociology, University of California, Davis

W. Warner Burke,

Department of Organization and Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University

Kim S. Cameron,

Department of Management, Brigham Young University

David L. DeVries,

Kaplan DeVries, Inc., Greensboro, North Carolina

Paul F. Diehl,

Department of Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana

George P. Huber,

Department of Management, University of Texas, Austin

Robert L. Kahn,

Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

James A. Wall, Jr.,

Department of Management, University of Missouri, Columbia

Brig. General John M. Wattendorf (retired),

Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York

Brig. General Myrna H. Williamson (retired),

A&E Electronics, Arlington, Virginia

Gary Yukl,

Department of Management, State University of New York, Albany

Daniel Druckman, Study Director

Harold Van Cott, Consultant

Cindy Prince, Senior Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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Preface

In 1985, the Army Research Institute (ARI) asked the National Academy of Sciences to explore the utility and effectiveness of various techniques to enhance human performance. The Academy, through the National Research Council, established the Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance. The committee, composed primarily of psychologists, first examined and then evaluated commercial and proprietary techniques then being considered by the Army; later the committee broadened its inquiry to study a variety of related issues, including team learning, simulation training, and skills practice, among other topics.

This is the fourth report of the committee. Over the decade since it was established, the membership has evolved so that the fields of expertise covered are no longer almost exclusively in psychology, but include experts whose knowledge is suited to the particular tasks at hand, at the same time providing continuity from study to study.

This change in committee composition is relevant to this study, which examines the organizational context of individual and group performance. Accordingly, the membership draws less on the contributions of scientists in cognitive psychology, experimental social psychology, neuroscience, and motor performance and more on the scholarship of people engaged in organizational theory, industrial management, and business consulting. Our Army sponsor explicitly requested that we not produce a report directed exclusively toward military organization but rather to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the best evidence for current organizational practices. The committee has stayed within those general guidelines, but to help ensure

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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the relevance of our conclusions to the sponsor, several of our members are specialists in military leadership and organization.

The committee organized for its task by establishing a set of subcommittees, each directed toward a particular topic from the agenda to be addressed. The subcommittees worked well as units, not only executing their assignments in a timely fashion but also communicating their products to the others and responding well and promptly to suggestions for revisions and changes needed to produce the developing final report. Moreover, many members had skills and knowledge appropriate to more than one topic, making them important resource persons for other subcommittees.

Just as the committee's focus on organizations instead of individuals made its membership more diverse than that of previous phases, so, too, the nature of the evidence was different in emphasis than that surveyed in previous reports. The topics of the earlier reports were amenable to laboratory study and were supported by the kind of experimental data that permit the drawing of relatively clear and persuasive conclusions. In contrast, the organizational literature we examined dealt in large part with field studies and observational materials. Many aspects of management, leadership, and culture do not have a broad and extensive research database that would permit the drawing of definitive conclusions. In fact, for several interesting points, no data at all were available. Of necessity, the inferences and conclusions made here are the result of careful deliberation and the reasoned consensus of the members as they considered evidence that was not as strong or as firm as we would have liked. The members' mutual respect and collegial exchange of ideas and concerns made it easier to distinguish between firm and ambiguous conclusions.

No committee works alone; many people aided our efforts by giving generously of their time and knowledge. Appendix B contains a list of the organizations, places, and people visited and consulted by the committee, the subcommittees, individual members and staff. Several of those who aided us in the project are deserving of special mention. Edgar Johnson, director of the Army Research Institute, and Michael Drilling, chief of the Research and Advanced Concepts office at AIR, made contacts for us, helped to set up meetings, answered a variety of questions, and all in all were a model of what every committee would wish its sponsor to be. Mary E. Zeolite gave excellent service in reviewing the practitioner literature on organizational culture. William E. Spiegel made a significant contribution to the work on interorganizational relations.

Most of our appreciation goes to the incomparable professional staff. Cindy Prince kept us on an even keel with superb meeting arrangements and the shepherding of the manuscript, parts of which kept arriving from different locations at different times from different people, and all of which was in constant revision. Thanks also to Mary DeLorey for her assistance

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
×

in piecing together the various parts of the manuscript under time pressure and to Elsa Riemer for her assistance in preparing the final versions of the manuscript. Harold Van Cott served unstintingly as a consultant to the committee; his contributions and advice are reflected throughout the document.

A special debt of gratitude is extended to Christine McShane, editor par excellence of this report. She helped us to unify our styles, excise our infelicities of language, and give more shapely coherence to the whole report. In addition, she undertook the awesome task of producing a revised document that was responsive to our concerns about communicating the work to a wide audience of readers with diverse interests in the general topic. Whatever success we may have had in achieving this goal is due in large part to her effort.

Jerome E. Singer, Chair

Daniel Druckman, Study Director

Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1997. Enhancing Organizational Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5128.
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Next: Summary »
Enhancing Organizational Performance Get This Book
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Total quality management (TQM), reengineering, the workplace of the twenty-first century--the 1990s have brought a sense of urgency to organizations to change or face stagnation and decline, according to Enhancing Organizational Performance. Organizations are adopting popular management techniques, some scientific, some faddish, often without introducing them properly or adequately measuring the outcome.

Enhancing Organizational Performance reviews the most popular current approaches to organizational change--total quality management, reengineering, and downsizing--in terms of how they affect organizations and people, how performance improvements can be measured, and what questions remain to be answered by researchers.

The committee explores how theory, doctrine, accepted wisdom, and personal experience have all served as sources for organization design. Alternative organization structures such as teams, specialist networks, associations, and virtual organizations are examined.

Enhancing Organizational Performance looks at the influence of the organization's norms, values, and beliefs--its culture--on people and their performance, identifying cultural "levers" available to organization leaders. And what is leadership? The committee sorts through a wealth of research to identify behaviors and skills related to leadership effectiveness. The volume examines techniques for developing these skills and suggests new competencies that will become required with globalization and other trends.

Mergers, networks, alliances, coalitions--organizations are increasingly turning to new intra- and inter-organizational structures. Enhancing Organizational Performance discusses how organizations cooperate to maximize outcomes.

The committee explores the changing missions of the U.S. Army as a case study that has relevance to any organization. Noting that a musical greeting card contains more computing power than existed in the entire world before 1950, the committee addresses the impact of new technologies on performance.

With examples, insights, and practical criteria, Enhancing Organizational Performance clarifies the nature of organizations and the prospects for performance improvement.

This book will be important to corporate leaders, executives, and managers; faculty and students in organizational performance and the social sciences; business journalists; researchers; and interested individuals.

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