Communicating organizational quality: A phenomenological study through the lenses of complexity leadership and organizational learning theories

by Dayton, Daniel K., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 289 pages; 3473159


This dissertation is a phenomenological study of the communication processes about quality in a symphony chorus, the Cincinnati Choral Society (CCS), addressing the research question, How do the communication processes in which organizational members engage support organizational learning that leads to a shared vision of quality? Based upon intensive observations of and participation in rehearsals and concerts over a five-month period, as well as open-ended interviews with 21 members of the CCS, the study develops an organizational narrative of the organization's endeavors to achieve quality musical performances. The structure of the interviews and conversations were analyzed via the theoretical construct of coordinated management of meaning theory using narrative and metaphor analysis, as well as episodic analysis. Individual and organizational understanding of the phenomena of communication about shared vision of quality and of leadership were analyzed via organizational learning theory and complexity leadership theory, based upon phenomenological reduction analysis of participant interviews. The findings of the analyses reveal relationships among individual and organizational understandings of the phenomena of communication, leadership, and quality based upon members attributes of length of tenure with the organization and level of university education. The findings reveal competing epistemological understandings of these phenomena among organization members that impact the highly complex construct of leadership and the significant difficulties in developing and communicating shared visions of organizational quality. The implications of these findings are equally significant upon long-term organizational change and continuous quality improvement efforts in organizations that rely upon downsizing to accomplish short-term financial goals. Further, the findings suggest implications upon the epistemological postures of university educational programs at the bachelor and master degree levels, and the impact of reductionist educational epistemologies upon the abilities of graduates to succeed in a complex organizational world. The findings suggest that further study is needed of the nature of the relationships among organizational tenure and level of education with epistemological understanding of the complexity of leadership, learning, and quality.

AdviserLinda J. Terry
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEpistemology; Management; Organization theory
Publication Number3473159

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