Working Paper Series, School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Operationalizing the concept of conflicting functional demands
Abstract: A number of authors have described the challenge of
managing organizations that are subject to conflicting functional demands.
These authors belong to different sub-disciplines of the field, and have
demonstrated that conflicting external demands may result in inconsistent
strategies, organizational structures, and management practices. Although
the issue is widely recognized, the concept of “conflicting functional
demands” has rarely been operationalized. The lack of operationalization
complicates the interpretation of existing research. It also leads to weak
prescriptions for practice. The question raised in this paper is thus how
we may operationalize this concept and assess it empirically. The key
proposal is to separate between function and structure (or ends and means)
and to define functional conflict as a negative interdependency between a
particular function and a structural element (e.g., a management practice
or organizational unit). This reconceptualization suggests an alternative
manner in which to test dualistic models that contain two opposing factors,
such as exploration vs. exploitation, related vs. unrelated
diversification, or broad vs. narrow strategy.
Keywords: Organization design [eller organizational design]; functional conflict; construct perationalization; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: M10; (follow links to similar papers)
46 pages, December 13, 2016
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