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Thursday, 27 October 2011 00:48

Applying Organizational Psychology

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The official in the company’s EDP Department and the claims adjuster in the Occupational Injury Department were involved in intensive collaboration for a period of about six months. They had never previously had the opportunity to work together and did not know each other well. The EDP specialist is the head of his department, which forms a part of the company’s central financial administration, positioned immediately below head-office management. The occupational-injury claims adjuster is head of one of the company’s business units, the Occupational Injury Department, which is geographically located in another part of the town.

The EDP Department has the duty, on a continuous basis, to rationalize and redesign the forms used by the company, so that the registration of documents and correspondence within the company’s various business units is simplified and made as effective as possible.

The Occupational Injury Department has the task of handling the occupational-injury claims of its policyholders (circle of clients) in a scrupulous and accurate manner, so that clients feel that they are correctly treated. The EDP Department has a rationalizing function in the company, whereas the Occupational Injury Department has a client-oriented function in a specialized area of insurance business.

The occupational-injury claims adjuster has daily contacts with other officials in his own work group and also with members of other work groups within the Occupational Injury Department. These contacts are made primarily to discuss matters concerning occupational injuries that will enable the maintenance of an intra-departmental consensus on the guiding principles for claims adjustment. The Occupational Injury Department lives in a world of its own within the company, and has very few direct contacts beyond those with its own circle of clients. Contact with the rest of the company is extremely limited.

The EDP Department is a part of the company’s central financial-control system. The head of department has brief but regular contacts with all parts of the company, in fact more with these parts than with the personnel of parallel departments in central finance.

The primary reason why collaboration between the EDP official and the occupational-injury claims adjuster arose is that the EDP Department received instructions from management to so design its rationalization activities that insurance officials in the business units were able to increase their productivity, and thereby provide scope to accommodate a wider circle of clients (in part by offering new kinds of policies/insurance packages). The occupational-injury claims adjuster reacts with great hesitation to the EDP official’s proposal when the latter indicates management’s motive. The adjuster wants to achieve his own goal and fulfil his own function in the company, namely that of satisfying the needs of policy holders for the scrupulous administration of matters concerned with occupational injuries. He considers that this goal is incompatible with a further increase in productivity.

The interaction between the official from the EDP Department and the occupational-injury claims adjuster is complicated by factors concerned with their different locations within the organization, their different kinds of obligations and their differing “points of view” on activities in general. In other words, the two officials have to approach problems (in this case the problems of profitability) from different perspectives.

What we have discovered is the existence of conflicting goals and forces, which are built into an organizational design for activities, and which make up a platform for interaction between two officials.

 

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Contents

Preface
Part I. The Body
Part II. Health Care
Part III. Management & Policy
Part IV. Tools and Approaches
Part V. Psychosocial and Organizational Factors
Organizations and Health and Safety
Resources
Psychosocial and Organizational Factors
Part VI. General Hazards
Part VII. The Environment
Part VIII. Accidents and Safety Management
Part IX. Chemicals
Part X. Industries Based on Biological Resources
Part XI. Industries Based on Natural Resources
Part XII. Chemical Industries
Part XIII. Manufacturing Industries
Part XIV. Textile and Apparel Industries
Part XV. Transport Industries
Part XVI. Construction
Part XVII. Services and Trade
Part XVIII. Guides

Organizations and Health and Safety Additional Resources

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Organizations and Health and Safety References

Alvesson, M. 1989. A flat pyramid: a symbolic processing of organizational structure. Int Studies Manag Org 14(4):5-23.

Charan, R. 1991. How networks reshape organizations—for results. Harvard Bus Rev September/October:104-115.

Ivancevich, JM, MT Matteson, SM Freedman, and JS Phillips. 1990. Worksite stress management interventions. Am Psychol February:252-261.

Karasek, R. 1992. Stress prevention through work reorganization: a summary of 19 international case studies. Cond Work Dig 11(2):23-41.

Likert, R. 1961 and 1967. The Human Organization. New York: McGraw Hill.

Miller, D and H Mintzberg. 1983. The case of configuration. In Beyond Method: Strategies for Social Research, edited by G Morgan. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Mintzberg, H. 1983. Structure in Fives: Designing Effective Organizations. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Morgan, G. 1986. Images of Organizations. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

Porras, JI and PJ Robertson. 1992. Organizational development: theory, practice, and research. In Chap. 12 in Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, edited by D Dunnette and LM Hough. Chicago: Rand McNally College Publishing Company.

Westlander, G. 1991. Organizational change and health at work. In The Psychosocial Work Environment: Work Organization, Democratization and Health, edited by JV Johnson and G Johansson. New York: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.