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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2016

Charles J. McMillan

The purpose of this paper is to address the core concept of docility in Simon’s learning theories and elaborate docility as a missing link in organizational performance…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the core concept of docility in Simon’s learning theories and elaborate docility as a missing link in organizational performance structures. In his book, Administrative Behavior, first published in 1947 with three subsequent editions, Herbert A. Simon introduced a new concept to the emerging field of organizational theory, docility.

Design/methodology/approach

In Administrative Behavior, Herbert A. Simon introduced to management and organization theorists the concept of docility. Simon adopted the concept and meaning from E.C. Tolman’s (1932) classic work, Purposive Behavior in Animals and Men, and his novel views on learning processes and key concepts like purpose (goals), thought processes (cognitive psychology) and cognitive maps. This paper elaborates on docility mechanisms and the implications for social learning in organizations.

Findings

This paper addresses this lacuna in the organizational literature, and the implications for current theories of organizations and organizational learning.

Practical implications

Docility is a tool to link individual learning with organizational learning in complex environments and changing technologies.

Originality/value

The paper traces origins of Simon’s docility and learning theories.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2013

Paola Ossola

In order to reach their goals organizations need to establish relationships with other organizations, and cooperate with them. The success of such initiatives relies on…

Abstract

In order to reach their goals organizations need to establish relationships with other organizations, and cooperate with them. The success of such initiatives relies on the exchange of suggestions, advice, and information. This behavior has been labeled as ’docile’ (word borrowed from the work of the late Herbert Simon). This paper elaborates on determinants of docile behavior and introduces a model that is based on trust mechanisms. The theoretical model supports the claim that trust enhances the likelihood that docile behavior appears. The study also shows that organizations may benefit from higher levels of docility that increase the chances of success when cooperation and external partnerships are established.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2009

Davide Secchi and Emanuele Bardone

Herbert Simon introduced the term “docility” to define the tendency of human beings to get information from social channels. In this paper, we enrich this first definition…

Abstract

Herbert Simon introduced the term “docility” to define the tendency of human beings to get information from social channels. In this paper, we enrich this first definition with distributed cognition based arguments, and suggest that docile individuals modify the information they get, before passing it on to others. We present a simulation model of docile and non-docile individuals in organizations, where different docility attitudes (behaviors) are considered. In standard conditions, findings suggest that the above-average docile individuals remain below 20% of the number of workers in a given organization. This way, we outline potentials and limits of this intriguing concept.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Charles J. McMillan

This paper aims to address the nature of docility in organizations, its practical role in attention scarcity and knowledge diffusion in complex organizations and the…

1040

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address the nature of docility in organizations, its practical role in attention scarcity and knowledge diffusion in complex organizations and the management implications for organizational learning and innovation to improve knowledge management.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines knowledge organizations from the perspective of human resource strategies, their role in information abundance and attention scarcity and techniques to enhance docility mechanisms at different levels of the organization to increase innovation and performance.

Findings

This paper, in reviewing the organization literature on attention scarcity, addresses the shortage of studies linking the need for docility – the desire to learn from workers and the desire to teach – in personnel practices of knowledge firms, where intense social interaction, social feedback and social learning are the norms.

Practical implications

Knowledge management – scanning, creation, coordination, interpreting, transfer and integration – may well be the basis of competitive advantage, based on human resource strategies to mobilize explicit and tacit knowledge via docility mechanisms, including mentoring, teamwork, coaching and deep collaboration.

Originality/value

Decades ago, Herbert A. Simon introduced this new concept, docility, which is now central to knowledge organizations that face information abundance and attention scarcity. Knowledge organizations require tools of docility to align human resource strategies to both strategic management and operational functions to enhance teaching and learning in design structures that are time-constrained.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2013

Davide Secchi and Emanuele Bardone

Bandwagon refers to the adoption of popular ideas, thoughts, or practices. Although the inter-organizational (macro) dynamics of the phenomenon have been widely studied…

Abstract

Bandwagon refers to the adoption of popular ideas, thoughts, or practices. Although the inter-organizational (macro) dynamics of the phenomenon have been widely studied, its intra-organizational (micro) aspects have received limited attention. The paper presents a theoretical framework and a model that address intra-organizational aspects of bandwagon drawing on distributed cognition, social relationships, and other elements of the organizational structure such as culture and defensive routines. The analysis of simulated data from the model suggests that the phenomenon is likely to decrease with highly informal culture, promotion of advice taking and giving, low levels of distrust, strong social ties, and minimal defensive routines.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

Abstract

Details

Computational Organizational Cognition: A Study on Thinking and Action in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-512-7

Abstract

Details

Computational Organizational Cognition: A Study on Thinking and Action in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-512-7

Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

Mette Sandoff and Gill Widell

The purpose of this paper is to suggest a frame of reference about the relations between the responsibility and the commitment of employees on the one side and type of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to suggest a frame of reference about the relations between the responsibility and the commitment of employees on the one side and type of organization on the other. The basis is a discussion of the tension between docility and freedom.

Design/methodology/approach

Results from earlier empirical studies of disciplinary practices among teachers and warders form the starting point. In this paper the phenomenon of hedonism is added. Hedonism is investigated from a psychological perspective and applied to work organizations with the help of attribution theories, theories on coping and motivation and theories on the conflict between the individual and the organization, i.e. of power, culture and coherence.

Findings

The paper has developed a typology on coping strategies in work contexts, which describes four possible “ideal” roles an individual can take, referring to three dimensions, the dichotomy between freedom and docility, the individual's locus of control as external or internal, and the coherence between individual and organizational values.

Practical implications

The model can be used for empirical studies and contribute to the development of work organizations where people feel committed enough to take responsibility both for monotonous and dull everyday tasks and for exceptional and acute unique problem solving situations.

Originality/value

Most studies on disciplining and docility focus on the painful side of coping. Few studies focus on what people do in order to cope with commitment and responsibility. This paper considers the different power struggles embedded in the work context, and give varying interpretations of them.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 29 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Computational Organizational Cognition: A Study on Thinking and Action in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-512-7

Abstract

Details

Computational Organizational Cognition: A Study on Thinking and Action in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-512-7

1 – 10 of 233