Figure 4. Organizational structure per quartile Organizational structure 557 Downloaded by National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) At 02:21 09 July 2015 (PT)
Low horizontal job specialization requires the employee to carry out many different, varied tasks, implying more participation in the whole process. If the variable is defined in this way, individuals can generate different perspectives on the same information, gaining knowledge of extra information that is not immediately required. This implies a positive impact on knowledge creation, promoting OLP. On the contrary, a high level of horizontal job specialization means individuals carry out a small number of non-varied tasks, so it is difficult for them to improve their perspectives, information and knowledge. In this case, the organizational goals are to improve work efficiency as a whole and to reduce the skills level required of any individual employee; this implies a negative impact on OLP. However, Mintzberg (1983) claims that a high level of horizontal job specialization can facilitate learning, if the individual works in an environment of technical and organizational complexity, because cognition is limited. In this case, the companies studied do not consider either their environment or their technology to be complex. The level of vertical job specialization is medium in both clusters. This means the individual is not only limited to carrying out the activity, but has gained control of the activity, of implied decisions and of the objectives and criteria that govern decision-making. If this design variable is low level, we could assume OLP occurs, because individuals have to participate in their job design and control. In this context, Lloria (2007) claims that lower vertical job specialization produces more autonomy and favours new knowledge creation. However, in our case, with medium level specialization in both clusters, the interpretation of the results is limited. The study also shows the high level of formalization existing in the organizations sampled. As Mintzberg (1983) points out, this is common in large organizations, because they have to control their employees’ behaviour, reducing its variability and trying to predict and control their actions. The basic idea is that excessive formalization of communication can block the development of innovative problem solutions needing the collaboration of different areas. This means that innovative organizations must have routines that can cross the limits set up by the organizational structure. However, knowledge included in operating instructions, rules and regulations (Alavi and Leidner, 2001) and stored in the organizational memory has a double effect. First, internalizing knowledge becomes a learning process for those who acquire it. And, second, knowledge can help to create new knowledge, and means all the organizational members know exactly what they have to do in any given situation and therefore the level of organizational knowledge is higher.
- Summer '17