Kinds of minds : how organizations think and why it matters / Alexandra Michel.

Michel, Alexandra.
ix, 253 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Management.
Management -- Penn dissertations.
Penn dissertations -- Managerial science and applied economics.
Managerial science and applied economics -- Penn dissertations.
The dissertation compares two different ways of involvement with the social context - social identification and direct involvement---in terms of (1) their distinct cognitive, emotional, and motivational or regulatory processes, and (2) their differential performance consequences at the individual, group, and organizational level. As compared to social identification, this alternative form of involvement is more direct in that it places a primacy on concrete-perceptual---versus on abstract-cognitive---regulatory processes and in that it is not mediated by a person's self-concept or identity. I went through a multi-stage process to develop and test a theory of involvement, including a two-year ethnographic study that compares two Wall Street Investment Banking departments and a one-year field experiment in an international software company. I found that employee identification caused individual, group, and organizational performance to suffer, as compared to direct involvement. When an employee identified with organizational values, norms, and standards they acquired a special personal significance which, in turn, caused the employee to regulate more towards what was relevant to the self versus relevant to the more objective situation. This preoccupation with the self distracted employees from using organizational resources effectively and, therefore, prevented systemic synergy among resources. The data suggests that distinct organizational socialization processes caused these different types of involvement. The dissertation offers detailed recommendations to managers. To socio-cognitive theory, the dissertation contributes a more social approach to self, cognition, emotion, and motivation. Current theories assume that the self is an abstract-cognitive concept or identity that consists of high-priority goals which mediate cognition and emotion. The dissertation shows that people can also enact a different kind of self in which people "forget" their abstract self-concept and conceive of themselves more in concrete, situation-specific terms. In this direct involvement self-interpretation, cognition and emotion are oriented not by abstract identity goals but by concrete task goals. I show that when these regulatory processes are oriented differently, they become different types of constructs in that they conceptually reside in a situation versus in a person. Under this condition, the situation becomes the appropriate unit of analysis.
Adviser: Karen A. Jehn.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Management) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2003.
Includes bibliographical references.
Local notes:
University Microfilms order no.: 3095922.
Jehn, Karen A., advisor.
University of Pennsylvania.
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