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Pbog dialectics of activity system 2011


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Pbog dialectics of activity system 2011

  1. 1. PBOG: The sociology of organisational lifeUsing activity theory... naming the dialectic innerconnections using PBOGA working paper by Clive Burgess October 2011Contact email:
  2. 2. Activity Theory: A brief history... basic understanding and use in practiceIntroduction to Activity Theory (Andy Brown)The premise of activity theory is that a collective work activity, with the basicpurpose shared by others (community), is undertaken by people (subjects) who aremotivated by a purpose or towards the solution of a problem (object), which ismediated by tools and/or signs (artefacts or instruments) used in order to achieve thegoal (outcome). The activity is constrained by cultural factors including conventions(rules) and social organisation (division of labour) within the immediate context andframed by broader social patterns (of production, consumption, distribution andexchange). theory provides a conceptual framework from which we can understand theinter-relationship between activities, actions, operations and artefacts, subjects’motives and goals, and aspects of the social, organisational and societal contextswithin which these activities are framed.Vygotskys mediation triangle Mediational Means (tools) (machines, writing, speaking, gestures, architecture, music etc) Subjects Object/Motive(individuals, dyads, groups) ---> OutcomeLeontev – the object of the activity is its true motive Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  3. 3. Activity Theory: Engestrom’s model Artefact Sense Outcome Subject Object Activity Meaning Rules Community Division of Effort’s model above is useful for understanding how a wide range factorswork together to impact an activity. In order to reach an outcome it is necessary toproduce certain objects (e.g. experiences, knowledge, and physical products) Humanactivity is mediated by artefacts (e.g. tools used, documents, recipes, etc.) Activity isalso mediated by an organization or community. Also, the community may imposerules that affect activity. The subject works as part of the community to achieve theobject. An activity normally also features a division of labour.Three levels of activity: • Activity towards an objective (goal) carried out by a community. A result of a motive (need) that may not be conscious social and personal meaning of activity (Answers the Why? question) • Action towards a specific goal (conscious), carried out by an individual or a group possible goals and sub goals, critical goals (Answers the What? question) • Operation structure of activity typically automated and not conscious concrete way of executing an action in according with the specific conditions surrounding the goal (Answers the How? Question) Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  4. 4. David Russell (1997) Activity SystemDonna Kain, East Carolina University 1999Elizabeth Wardle, University of Dayton 1999 Tools Motive Subject Object Outcome Divisions Rules of Labour CommunityRulesLaws, codes, conventions, customs, and agreements that people adhere to whileengaging in the activityCommunity:People and groups whose knowledge, interests, stakes, and goals shape the activityDivision of LaborHow the work in the activity is divided among participants in the activitySubjectPerson or people engaged in activity who are the focus of a study on activity. Thepoint of view used to focus on the activity.ToolsPhysical objects and systems of symbols like language, mathematics that people useto accomplish the activityMotives Purposes, reasons for the activityObject... Immediate goals of activityOutcome... Long-terms goals of activity Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  5. 5. Operationalising Activity Theory:Mwanza’s (2001) Eight-Step-ModelAs a means of operationalising Engeström’s Activity System, Mwanza’s (2001)Eight-Step Model incorporates a series of open-ended questions based on theindividual components:ActivityWhat sort of activity am I interested in?Object - iveWhy is this activity taking place?Subjects [Plan - Input]Who is involved in carrying out this activity?Tools [Artefacts - Cultural means - PBOG]By what means are the subjects carrying out this activity?Rules and Regulations [Legal or Other Guidelines]Are there any cultural norms, rules and regulations governing the performanceof this activity?Division of Labour [Rational Organisation – Division of Effort]Who is responsible for what, when carrying out this activity and how are theroles organised? [competence - roles and responsibilities - coordination]Community – Organisation – Group - TeamWhat is the environment in which activity is carried out? [operations]Outcome [Object -outcome (goal attainment)- Patterns of Behaviour]What is the desired outcome from this activity? Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  6. 6. PBOG a sociology of organisational life... A brief history... basic understandingand use in practiceSocial reality of organisational life is composed of the following.,.At the management/control level – Management practices in a Managed Society human being:The only thing that acts in our social ecosystem is the human being(Plan - Subject – Artefact /Activity - – Object - Outcome – Patterns of Behaviour)Composed of the body and the brain.(Thinking Body)This gives rise to...(it is difficult to think of a mathematical theory when you are using words... thenearest you get to it is economics)___Uniqueness: The human being___The collective: All human beings living in a community. (Activity theory)___The in between : What is neither unique nor total___The in between collective majority or minority state___The in between majority or minority state among opposing groups: (conflict)___The collectivities: A network of collectivities... hubs, clustersIs controlled by... cultural norms___Management processes that manage our interrelations. Individual or in group___Management processes that manage our interactions. Individual or in group___Management processes that manage our collectivities.(community)___Management processes that manage our societal resources (community)FeedbackControl and Resistance... Reproduction and Transformation = ConflictWe use our management system to create a process to organise, manage and controldeveloping situations... people within that situation...and the work process...Our social ecosystemSociety = the sum total of or an ensemble of social relationships...How do you define social relationships?A relationship is a quality which can be stated only of two or more entities togetherwhere each refers to the other, not of some single thing.Relationships may be physical, biological, social or cultural.Example Physical: Cup and Saucer... Biological: Bird and an egg... Social: Husbandand Wife... or Home and Work... Cultural: A noun and a verb Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  7. 7. relationships are where some entity recognised as being social that ispeople, organisations or societies, are constantly in interaction with each other atsome level or another..Relationships: Relationships when viewed as social relationships....Activities carried on in relationships___Interactions: the operational relationships, one to one, one to many, many tomany, that citizens have with each other and with other societal resources, whoseactions arising from these relations are aimed at achieving an operational objective.Citizens are then used as a (natural/social) resource. (capital)A relationship is an interaction between two people... a husband and a wife is a homerelationship … a boss and a worker is a work relationship... an interrelationshipstrictly speaking is a relationship between two relationships___Interrelationships: relationships, one to one, one to many, many to many, thatpeople have between themselves within the framework of friendly or family relations.A relationship between two relationships in the home betweenhusband and wife and relationships at work between a boss and a workerInterrelationships are therefore relationships between relationships... a woman as aworker at work and the woman as a wife at homeBy extension intra-relationships is an activity carried on within a relationship forexample the wife having sex with the husband but not with her boss that would beextra-relationships...Community – Organisation – Group - TeamA network of relationships or a social network of relationships within adefinitive time frame and own space...It is this movement I am trying to capture... the movement between control andresistance to reproduction and transformation... this fluctuating conflict and struggle...this complicated network of communicated words, actions and processes that areused in everyday life to control the developing conflicting situations betweenactivities and relationships and make some logical sense out of it all... toconceptualise it...This captured movement I have called organisational life... PBOG Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  8. 8. Plan – Governance – Policies & Procedures – Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR)Legal or other Guidelines – Rules and RegulationsCultural Norms...our management processes the way we regroup or not - social relationsPatterns of Behaviour – Activities – Actions – OutcomesRational Organisation – Division of EffortTotal Quality Management (TQM) Do it All Bristol Clive Burgess 1995 are four core elements or corner stones that I have used to produce myconceptual model Plan, Patterns of Behaviour, (Rational) Organisation, Guidelines(legal or other)The six main management practices that are seen as important to any enterprise orbusiness venture, these fit neatly around the outer rim of my model and are used tocapture any unwanted or perceived threats to the enterprise.These practices are used to control risks, information, legislation, conflict,operations and finance.Each one in turn has a certain mechanism that allows them to function in everydaywork situations and can be demonstrated through observation, monitoring orengaging in any work practice.These controls are used to maintain collaboration between businessesobjectives/goals and the workforce.These management practices are used to minimise any damage or harm to the bottomline or profitability of the enterprise. And control alienated non-compliant, non-cooperative, non-conformist rebellious and/or deviant employees.The business objectives/goals originate in the planning process and include suchthing as governance, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development,employment contracts, policies and procedures.For simplification I have called this core element of my conceptual model PLAN.(On a subjective level re activity theory, plan is seen as an internal process) Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  9. 9. The words I have used to show the dialectic movement between the core elementscan be found in any of the new legislation produced in the UK since 1992.Each pair of words (which are used in our everyday language) move in a circularmotion for and against each other in a feedback loop, when forced together theyproduce another word that has relevant meaning to the combination of the two.Each new word/practice in turn is then controlled by another controlmechanism, and one of the six management practices is then used to control theworkforce and the smooth running of the business enterprise.PBOG Conceptual model: Action research - Participant ObservationCopyright Clive Burgess Sept 2011: Action Science Input Outcome Implement Patterns of Behaviour PLAN Review/Evaluate Cooperation Focus and Feed-back Self- Discipline Condition Competition Direct, Inform, Instruct, Train Competence Legal or other Guidelines Rational Organisation Coordinate RULES Division of Effort Community Activity TheorySociology of Organisational Life...PBOG... a reflection of a managed societyUsed to observe and monitor work situations... Copyright Clive Burgess Sept 2011P - Plan... the thinking bodyGovernance,Policies, Procedures, Organisation and Arrangements, WI Thomas thedefinition of the situation, Mao Zedong On Practice, Action/Strategic planning etcB - Patterns of Behaviour - Activity and Actions... Sequence of processes - outcome Attitude, Aptitude ….this is how its done round here...O - Rational Organisation - Division of Effort we want you to do this with these to produce that...G- Legal or other Guidelines - Rules, Regulations, Orders, Codes of Conduct,Codes of Practice... this is how it should be done... Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  10. 10. Community – Our Space – Organisation – Group - TeamAbstract... (key) Outcome Two missing arrows from conceptual modelEnforce/Encourage add Conform Follow Nudging Sanction or Corrective Action 5 Law Management of LegislationPBOG Keywords: Management practice – Control – Aspect – ProcessesManagement of1 - Information2 – People - Conflict3 - Risk4 - Operations5 - Legislation6 - Financial-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Social Control1 - Meetings (committee, group, team etc)2 - Roles and responsibilities3 - Supervision/Involvement4 - Measure Performance (KIPs Key Performance Indicators, Targets, Benchmarks)5 – Sanctions - Corrective Action6 - Audits or self-regulationAspects1 - Consultation2 - Teamwork (collaboration)3 - Participation4 - Management5 - Conform6 - ComplianceMicro- Processes1a – Implement 1b – Review/Evaluate2a – Cooperation 2b - Competition3a - Direct, Inform, Instruct or Train 3b - Focus and Feedback4a – Competence 4b - Coordination5a – Enforce/Encourage 5b - Follow6a – Condition 6b – Self-Discipline Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  11. 11. Operationalising PBOG with Activity TheoryPulling the three ideas together... Copyright Clive Burgess September 2011 Control and Reproduction A Meso theory with Micro processesActivity Theory: PBOG in Action Artefact Input Input Activities Object Subject Outcome Input Patterns Plan of Behaviour Culture Guidelines Work Environment Rational Organisation Meso LevelManagerial control work to reproduce or transform the pattern of behaviour ofthe subordinate.The transformation is brought about by the activities of the subject on the objectthrough the artefact, and the outcome is the reproduction or the transformation ofthe patterns of behaviour in the culture.This affects the rational organisation and this renews or changes the guidelinesallowing the subject to confirm or change the plans.The transformation is mediated by the artefact...The outcome of the transformation goes from the object to the patterns of behaviour...In other words the purpose of the transformation is the control of the object and thereproduction of the patterns of behaviour which in its turn reproduces the rationalorganisation, which goes through work environment (community) to guidelinesenabling the subject to create new plans.Activities are at the micro level and culture is at the meso level...“Information does not necessarily lead to increased awareness, and increasedawareness does not necessarily lead to action. Information provision, whetherthrough advertisements, leaflets or labelling, must be backed up by otherapproaches.” Demos & Green Alliance, 2003 Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  12. 12. Activity Theory: PBOG in Action Artefact Behavioural Safety Contract Input Input CharterManager/Trainer Activities Object Subject Implement Outcome Input Patterns Plan Direct of Subordinate Self- Discipline Behaviour Culture Guidelines Work Environment Organisation Situation Meso LevelManagerial control work to reproduce or transform the pattern of behaviour ofthe subordinate.Change in patterns of Behaviour1 – Internalised Plan input Active Subject – Manager - Trainer – Coach – Mentor2 – Externalised Plan introduce a behavioural safety programme3 – There are three levels of relationships which influence the change in patterns ofbehaviouri – Macro level – Guidelines (Law – Rules and regulation produced by the community)ii – Meso level – Organisation (Controllers, Producers – The workforce as a collectivity)iii – Micro level – Object – Motive Getting the subordinate to work safely4 - Subordinate – Outcome Accept the safety culture as part of their own practice...they can then be compliant with the situation they are in... Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  13. 13. Activity Theory: PBOG in Action Artefact Behavioural Safety Contract Input Input CharterManager/Trainer Activities Object Subject Outcome Input Patterns Plan Enforce/Encourage of Subordinate Condition Behaviour Culture Competence Organisation Guidelines Work Environment Situation Meso LevelGuidelines (Law – Rules Regulation produced by community)Micro process – Macro level of relationshipConditions the internalised planEnforces/Encourages a transformation in patterns of behaviourCompetence raises level of competence over - time, skills, knowledge & certification Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  14. 14. Activity Theory: PBOG in Action Artefact Behavioural Safety Contract Input Input CharterManager/Trainer Activities Object Subject Outcome Input Patterns Plan Focus & Feedback of Subordinate Competition Behaviour Culture Guidelines Coordination Organisation Work Environment Situation Meso LevelOrganisation Micro processes – Meso LevelCoordination – we want you to do this to produce that safely and on timeFocus & Feedback – to the Manager/Trainer – cultural normCompetition – this is needed in an organisation as a motivational factor forleadership - it is also need between organisation and organisation to producecompetitiveness... Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011
  15. 15. Activity Theory: PBOG in Action Artefact Behavioural Safety Contract Input Input CharterManager/Trainer Activities Object Subject Outcome Input Review/Evaluate Patterns Plan of Subordinate Follow Cooperate Behaviour Culture Guidelines Work Environment Organisation Situation Meso LevelSubordinates Patterns of Behaviour … Micro level Micro ProcessesCooperation... Cultural norm re Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974Follow... Cultural norm re disciplinary action in workplace settingsReview/evaluate... ones own internalised plan in relation to the artefact and in turnreview and evaluate the plan for the introduction of a behavioural safety programme Clive Burgess Copyright October 2011