RAHMATIAN, SASAN; PHD

                         UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, 1982

                         BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, GENERAL (0310)

                         This research focuses on the problem of organizational control faced by public service organizations,
                         particularly of the type which operate under contract with other agencies. The problems of organizational
                         control and performance appraisal arise from the fact that the organizational mission is not clear, the
                         objectives are not operationally formulated, and there are no collectively agreed-upon measures of
                         performance. This is shown to be the case for vocational counseling agencies operating under
                         subcontract with the Prime Sponsors of CETA. Then the traditional model of organizational control is
                         critiqued by identifying its underlying assumptions and showing that they are not always satisfied. In
                         particular, the traditional feedback hypothesis is shown to be inappropriate under such circumstances. A
                         modified version of the feedback hypothesis is then proposed. This is based on the observation that two
                         individuals or social systems, when confronted with the same information, may respond in two different
                         ways: one may view it as mere information, while the other may go beyond that and regard it as feedback.
                         Information ceases to be mere information and begins to turn into feedback when it is viewed no longer
                         as pertaining to external, uncontrollable events (or states), but as relevant to the outcomes of one's own
                         actions. The added dimension of relevance, when systematically pursued and utilized, offers a new
                         concept of feedback by attributing a new function to it: that of unraveling latent priority structures. It is
                         hypothesized that feedback has the potential for generating consensus regarding objectives, at a level
                         higher than already existing, among a group of professionals working in an organization, and between
                         this organization and the higher level administration to which they are accountable. The proposed model
                         of feedback builds on the discrepancy that exists between the perceptions of these professionals
                         regarding the outcomes of their activities and the official statistics of the higher organization to which they
                         are accountable. Once such discrepancies are brought to light, they are then subjected to future scrutiny
                         in terms of the two critical dimensions of feedback, namely truth and relevance. For every move on the
                         subject's part, a countermove is proposed for the consultant/interventionist, which would enable him to
                         elicit the subject's view on what constitutes relevant outcomes. These hypotheses are then tested and


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