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Beyond the functional silos: An exploratory analysis of institutional complexity in practice

Pots, K (2017) Beyond the functional silos: An exploratory analysis of institutional complexity in practice.

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Abstract:Interdepartmental collaboration can be very beneficial for the success of an organisation, as it affects the ability of managers to engage employees and it increases efficiency; especially in fast-growing multidisciplinary organisations with an intensive knowledge base. These multidisciplinary organisations are often characterised by having traditional hierarchical structures; where different departments often work in silos. Prior studies, addressing interdepartmental collaboration, primarily focused on the departments or entities that have a direct effect on productivity, growth, and profit. However, there is scarcely research that focuses on departments that have an importance influence on the conduct of business, but do not have a direct effect on the performance metrics. Therefore, this study focuses on these executive entities and aims to gain insight into in the actors’ perspectives on current interdepartmental collaboration and knowledge sharing practices. Because collaboration and institutionalisation are proven to be interdependent, this study provided a lens based upon the concepts of institutional work and complexity. In seven semi-structured individual interviews and two duo- interviews, participants offered their perspectives on the organisation’s current interdepartmental collaboration. The findings showed that there are contrasting perspectives and logics towards current interdepartmental collaboration. The determinants for these divergent perspectives were found in the high degree of polarisation, compartmentalisation, and the level of commitment to their own department. Thus, it is important to find a way to crisscross the departments to benefit from current compartmentalisation and avoid and overcome polarisation; where the actors are aware of equivocal perceptions and can eventually act on and accommodate to them. The findings of this study emphasise the importance of studying interdepartmental collaboration in correlation with institutional complexity and ambidexterity in the broader organisational context. This study also sets the groundwork for future research on interdepartmental collaboration in fast-changing and multidisciplinary organisations.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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