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CS5032 Lecture 14: Organisations and failure 2


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CS5032 Lecture 14: Organisations and failure 2

  2. 2. IN THIS LECTURE…This lecture will focus on organisations. This will be a high leveloverview.1. What are organisations?2. Organisational structure3. Change4. Process, Practice and Management5. Enterprises and Ecosystems
  3. 3. SOCIO-TECHNICAL SYSTEMSENGINEERING Society Organisations People and ProcessesSocio- ApplicationsTechnicalSystems SoftwareEngineering Communications + Data Engineering Management Operating Systems Equipment
  4. 4. Failures, accidents and disasters often haveunderlying organisational causes and factors…
  6. 6. HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE• A UK ferry capsizes shortly after departing Zeebrugge, killing 193 people. The bow doors remained open as it departed.• UK Enquiry finds a disease of sloppiness and negligence at every level of the corporations hierarchy
  7. 7. HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE• The disaster was a key event leading to • The development of Corporate Manslaughter Laws in the UK • The Public Interest Disclosure act (protection for whistleblowers)
  9. 9. MACONDO INCIDENT DEEPWATER HORIZON (DEEPWATER HORIZON)A rig exploded and sank, killing 11 and leading to one of the largest oilspills in history.The US Government‟s investigation concluded:• Better management of decision-making processes within BP and other companies, better communication within and between BP and its contractors and effective training of key engineering and rig personnel would have prevented the Macondo incident.
  10. 10. MACONDO INCIDENT DEEPWATER HORIZON (DEEPWATER HORIZON)The rig was operated within a complex organisational context:• Commissioned by R&B Falcon which later became part of Transocean• Leased to BP from 2001 until September 2013. BP had grown rapidly through a series of acquisitions and mergers.• Employees from several organisations were involved, inlcuding Haliburton who were providing cement modelling services.• The rig was registered in the Marshall Islands, and regulated by the Minerals Management Service (MMS)• During and after the incident, these organisations appeared to try to shift blame to each other.
  12. 12. THE SHUTTLEDISASTERS• The CAIB investigation into the Columbia shuttle disaster focused on: a wide range of historical and organisational issues, including political and budgetary considerations, compromises, and changing priorities over the life of the Space Shuttle Programme
  13. 13. THE SHUTTLEDISASTERS• NASA is a large, complex organisation• The Shuttle programme also involved external organisations • Managerial failings including a failure to share information, to take engineers seriously, to explore contingencies • Communication problems and misunderstandings with external organisations • A “faster, better, cheaper” strategy• Columbia disaster reminiscent of challenger.• Other disasters such as the loss of the Mars Climate Obriter also attributed to organisational problems.
  15. 15. BHOPAL GAS DISASTERIn 1984, water was mixed with methyl isocyanate at a pesticideplant in Bhopal, India, resulting in the release of toxic gas. Therewere approximately 3000 deaths (in the short-term), andhundreds of thousands of injuries including blindness, kidney andliver failure.According to Shrivastava [1] there were a series of organisationalantecedents to the accident including poor training, poormotivation, poor manning, and low importance of the plant to itsparent organisation
  16. 16. BHOPAL GAS DISASTEROngoing controversies on the immediate cause: how did watercame to be mixed with methyl isocyanate?But there were clearly wider problems:• Storing chemicals in large tanks and filling beyond recommended levels• Poor maintenance leading to failure of several safety systems. Other safety systems being switched off to save money• Wider problems included growth of slums around the plant, a lack of catastrophe plans, and lack of healthcareOngoing disputes over responsibility: a global organisationoperating under different jurisdictions. Complex issues overownership.
  17. 17. ORGANISATIONAL FAILINGSIn examples such as these we see factors including• Communication failures• Failures to coordinate and cooperate• Failures in designing and maintaining equipment• Failures to learn• Prioritisation of cost over safety• Failures of responsibility• Regulatory failingsThese are operational failures, but will have roots inorganisational design and strategyWhen we say there are organisational problems we are nottalking specifically about the organisation as an entity but aboutorganisation-in-action
  18. 18. WHAT IS ANORGANISATION?Organisations are groups of people who distribute tasks for acollective goal.• There are many definitions of organisation (including several legal definitions).• However, our interest is not to look at „types‟ of organisation, but to examine how organisational practice can be dependable. • Our interest should be in how people work in an organisational, or institutional context • Organisation should be treated as both a noun and a verb • Organisations should not be seen as entities but as arenas for activity, and technologies not as artefacts but social objects in this• Critical systems engineering is often interested in sociological and psychological views of work and organisations
  19. 19. ORGANISATIONALSTRUCTUREOrganisations are structured. They have a purposeful structure• Contrast with unstructured collectives• Contrast with self-structuring ecologiesThere are many kinds of structure, but it is not my intention tocovers these here.Structure is normative, an ideal rather than a mirror.• Practices will be constrained by and orient to the structure• Practices will be dynamic• So ecologies and collectives may be apparent within and across organisations (disorder will exist in order, and order in disorder)
  20. 20. EXAMPLE: THE HOME OFFICE Ministers and Home Office Board Strategic Centre HQ Professional Services Delivery GroupsHome Office Office for Office for Crime Reduction Shared Services Criminal Justice Security and and Community and Reform Counter Safety Group Terrorism Delivery Agencies Criminal UK Borders Identity and Records Agency Passport Bureau Service Delivery Partners Counter NDPBs (e.g. Terrorism Serious Partners Organised Crime Agency) Local Partnerships 43 Police Forces
  21. 21. STRUCTURE ANDDEPENDABILITYSome evidence structure has an effect on dependability, e.g:Complex and/or ambiguous structures• Hinder decision making• Can lead to an absence of responsibilityControl centric organisations• Can lead to poor decision making (bottlenecks, remote)• Have single point of failureHowever, the problems do not lie purely in structure, but in therelation between structure and practice.• Eg. Can decision-making be effectively migrated in a hierarchical organisation? Can decisions be negotiated in a horizontal one?
  22. 22. ORGANISATIONAL ANDSOFTWARE STRUCTUREThe information technology used by an organisation oftenhas a close relation with organisational structure• IT is often deployed as a part of re-structuring efforts within organisations• Many organisations seek to implement enterprise systems • Enterprise does not necessarily mean organisation, but can refer to distinctive parts of an organisation, and to conglomerates of organisations.• Generic, customisable systems are popular. • These are not truly generic, but have an accrued functionality – they do not represent an „ideal‟ organisation. • Some evidence to show that the less customisation that takes place, the more successful a deployment will be [6]
  23. 23. SOFTWARE STRUCTURE ANDORGANISATIONAL STRUCTUREConway‟s law: organizations that design systems are constrained toproduce systems which are copies of the communication structuresof these organizations.• “if you have four teams working on a compiler, you‟ll have a four pass compiler” (Eric Raymond).• The quality of systems interfaces reflects the quality of organisational communication (e.g. Mars Orbiter crash)• A study of Microsoft Vista [2] suggests organisational structure is a better predictor of the failure proneness of software than code-based metrics (churn, dependencies, test coverage, etc.). • The more people who touch the code the lower the quality. • A large loss of team members affects the knowledge retention and thus quality. • The more edits to components the higher the instability and lower the quality. • The lower level is the ownership the better is the quality. • The more cohesive are the contributors (organizationally) the higher is the quality. • The more cohesive is the contributions (edits) the higher is the quality. • The more the diffused contribution to a binary the lower is the quality. • The more diffused the different organizations contributing code, the lower is the quality.
  24. 24. TESTING AND ORGANISATIONALSTRUCTUREAhonen [3] suggests organisational structure has significantinfluence on the quality of testing in an organisation.Team based development models:• A more pleasant working atmosphere, but leads to an uneven and difficult-to-assure testing process.Interdepartmental model:• Teams can sometimes end up passing costs to each other, but testing is easier to manage, and issues can be tracked.Resource pool based model:• This can have severe problems on working atmosphere, but is the most suitable for supporting an effective testing regime.
  25. 25. ORGANISATIONALCHANGEOrganisations are not static but change over time• Organisations often go through periods of restructuringThe goal is not to find the perfect organisational form, but tomanage a changing organisation in a changing context.Restructuring is necessary because of factors including:• Growth, Mergers, Changing purpose, Changing technology, Changing context.Ciborra [4] argued there is a cycle in organistions betweencontrol and drift.• Change occurs naturally, and is punctuated by efforts to regain control
  26. 26. From Ciborra [4]
  27. 27. ORGANISATIONALBOUNDARIESOrganisations have boundaries• These are both internal and external and take different forms • Physical boundaries • Unit boundaries • Organisation-wide boundaries• The boundaries may be different on paper than in practice• Communication across boundaries is often problematic • formalised either through reports or formal meetings • “Boundary objects” need to be able to be transmit meaning between different contexts.
  28. 28. ORGANISATIONALBOUNDARIESBoundaries can lead to “silo working”.• People working in proximity to each other but within „closed‟ arenasAccording to Page [5], Silos occur because of:• Turf wars• Budget protection• Bureaucratic politics• Ignorance• Legal reasons• Technology reasons
  29. 29. OPERATIONAL PROCESSESThere are three types of business process: Managerial,operational, and support processes.This area has generally been focused on efficiency ratherthan quality• Adam Smith found it was possible to increase productivity in pin manufacturing by 2400% if production was organised into a process• This was taken to extremes under Scientific management and Fordism where work was split into simple repetitive tasks• More recently the emphasis has been on business process reengineering
  30. 30. OPERATIONAL PROCESSESProceduralisation and process reengineering is notnecessarily contrary to dependability• Many industries rely upon correct procedure being followed• Regulation is also coming to rely heavily on the inspection of procedureProblems emerge when• There is an accompanying diminishing of responsibility• Efficiency is taken to extreme• Problems also emerge when processes are impractical or incomprehensible for people in the organisation
  31. 31. MANAGEMENT ANDGOVERNANCEManagement• Management involves planning, organising and controlling work in an organisation. • Top level management: Develop goals, strategies, policies. • Middle management: Develop organisational functions. • Low level management: Assign and supervise tasks.Governance• Decisions that define expectations, grant power and responsibilities and verify performanceComplex organisations require effective governance. Anoverreliance on management is known as managerialism: wheremanagement seeks to control all aspects of organisational working.
  32. 32. MANAGEMENT ANDGOVERNANCELeadership• A distinction can be made between management and leadership. • Leaders show the way, but do not specify the means of travel.• Remember - Good leaders need good followers. “Followership” is a skill too.Responsibility• Procedural responsibility• Consequential responsibility
  33. 33. CULTUREThe idea of “Culture” is often invoked in characterisingworkplaces, particularly where it comes to non-functionalaspects of this.• “Organisational culture”• “Safety culture“• “Culture of trust”This is a slippery term• It is used to typify actions, rather than specify what does happen• It is used at varying granularities• It is used in several senses
  34. 34. CULTUREThe most comprehensive framework for describing culture comes fromIBM. Hofstedes cultural dimensions theory was developed in the 1970s. Itwas primarily aimed at working through cultural differences in amultinational firm.It covers the degree of:• Subordination to power• Collectivism• Uncertainty avoidance• Masculinity (competitiveness, assertiveness, etc)*• Temporal orientation (long vs short-term)• Indulgence and restraintThere are many other models and frameworks for culture – but often thesecome from a managerial literature focused on instilling desirable valuesrather than describing or explaining culture. *This was the 70s!
  35. 35. CULTUREAnthropology is the academic field that studies culture.• The management literature on culture, including Hofstede, is not taken seriously in this discipline!In Anthropology, culture is largely a comparative concept.• Over the last two decades, as anthropology has come to focus on organisations • Culture rediscovered as “communities of practice” • Forms of understanding rediscovered as “distributed cognition” • Emphasis placed on the contextualisation of practice. Particularly its physical and social “situatedness”
  36. 36. PROFESSIONALISMAn alternative source of power in work and organisations arisesthrough professional bodies• Professional bodies develop around skilled areas of work, what Abbot [7] describes as Jurisdictions• Not all areas are able to professionalise. Software development has had significant problems [7].Professional bodies also seek to regulate the environments inwhich their members work, to ensure they can work effectively.• To become a member of a profession usually requires some demonstration of skillTrades Unions also seek to represent the interests of members• Unions have been instrumental in the development of participatory design, and socio-technical approaches
  37. 37. “LOCATEDNESS”
  38. 38. LOCAL VARIABILITYThere can be variance across ostensibly equivalent parts of anorganisation• For example, there is large variation between NHS hospitals, and even between wards on the same hospital. • Work is contingent upon local resources and constraints. • Practices are implemented, emerge and evolve locally.Organisations will go through periods of standardisation, oftenthrough the deployment of technology• But at local levels standards will always be interpreted, “gamed” or perhaps ignored.• A classic study by Barley [8] found that the deployment of the same technology in different hospitals led not to further diversities in their practices.
  39. 39. SOCIAL NETWORKSAn alternative way of viewing organisations is in terms of theformal and informal social connections between people withinorganisations• Social networks do not mirror organisational structure, although they will often have some correspondence to itStrong networks improve• Expertise finding (“know-who”)• Social capital• Awareness among workers• Greater flows of information and innovation• LoyaltyEmail and electronic communication can be used to give an ideaof social networks exist, but do not constitute social networks
  40. 40. SOCIAL TECHNOLOGYMany organisations are turning to social technology• Many large organisations are deploying their own internal social network sites• Some are turning to „public‟ social network sites (such as twitter), although many are restricting use of these - for security reasonsThere is also a broader class of “collective intelligence”technologies – collaboration technologies that• Enable sharing and structuring of information• Enable adhoc communication• Enable distribute problem solving
  41. 41. ORGANISATIONSThe problem of dependability does not usually sit inindividual organisations• Organisations often work with others • Eg. suppliers, service providers, partners.• Technologies exist across organisations. • The technology, or tasks such as maintenance may be offered as a service • Different components may be operated by different organisations• Organisations often operate in an “industry” • Regulation will be at the industry level
  42. 42.
  43. 43. INTER ORGANISATIONALRELATIONSHIPSWhen organisations collaborate or provide services there will usuallybe a formal agreement• Eg. Contracts, SLAsHowever, the ties between organisations need to be stronger than justhaving written agreements • Eg. emergency workers do not just need to fulfill their specified roles but to work effectively together • A well known example was Toyota‟s ability to restart production just days after a supplier of a complex component suffered a catastrophic fire. [9]Organisations are sometimes conceptualised in terms of ecosystems• Formal and informal relations and dependencies exist between organisations• Organistions can enter into strategic ecosystems, where they cooperate with others to supply services or build a market
  44. 44. Failures, accidents and disasters often haveunderlying organisational causes and factors…
  45. 45. KEY POINTS• Many accidents and disasters have organisaional roots• These problems lie in the working of the organisation, so they cannot be resolved just by creating the correct „type‟ of organisation but through ensuring organisations operate effectively• The organisational model is usually an aspiration rather than a mirror, and even if the model is accurate, the organisation itself will change. This does not mean the model is unimportant!• Organisational departments will not operate in uniform ways.• Organisations often work closely with others. Cross boundary communication can often be more formalised.• Network views of organisations point to the importance of connectedness over structure
  46. 46. REFERENCES1. Shrivastava, P. (1986), Bhopal,New York: Basic Books2. Nagappan et al (2008) The Influence of Organisational Structure on Software Quality: An Empirical Case Study. In Proc. ICSE‟08: 521-530.3. Ahonen et al (2004) Impacts of the Organizational Model on Testing: Three Industrial Cases. Empirical Software Engineering, 9, 275–296, 2004.4. Ciborra (2000) From control to drift : the dynamics of corporate information infrastructures. Oxford University Press.5. Page, E. C. (2005). Joined-up government and the civil service. In V. Bogdanor (Ed.), Joined up government (pp. 139–155). Oxford: Oxford University Press.6. N. Pollock, and R. Williams. Software and Organizations. The Biography of the Enterprise-Wide System or How SAP Conquered the World. Routledge 20087. Abbott A (1988) The System of Professions. An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour. University of Chicago Press.8. Barley, S. R. (1986). “Technology as an occasion for structuring: Evidence from observations of CT scanners and the social order of radiology departments.” Administrative Science Quarterly 31(1): 78-108.99. Beaudet, and Nishiguchi,(1998) The Toyota Group and the Aisin Fire. Sloan Management Review, 40,1 1998