The development of a model for organisational integration through integrated hypothesis development.
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The history of modern manufacturing organisations is relatively short. It owes its beginnings to men like Eli Whitney and Henry Ford, individuals whose life experiences consisted of interwoven engineering theory and practice. Men such as these designed and built integrated organisations. Throughout the twentieth century these integrated organisations have been on the decline, as individuals with broad technical and practical backgrounds become less common. As a result, manufacturing organisations have been forced to rely on the interaction of experts in the development of their new products. The problem of integration affects organisations in two distinct ways, firstly there is the integration of organisational functions for the effective operation of the firm as a system. While the integration of beliefs necessary, within an individual, for the production of valid design hypotheses, represents the second area of concern. The need to divide a firms activities into a number of specialist areas, is the cause of organisational integration problems. To understand the relationship between functional groups and to assess the causes of organisational dis-integration, Stafford Beer's Viable System Model is used. It is stated that the fundamental cause of dis-integration, in the development of valid design hypotheses, is the decline of the integrated individual. Where in the past an engineer could empathise with an accountant or machinist, from his own experiences, today’s specialists cannot. Gone is the integrating system of beliefs, once developed through years of on the job training within the many areas and levels of the organisation. The Purposeful Design Model provides an architecture of the necessary roles to be performed, to ensure a designer can develop the integrated system of beliefs, necessary for the truly integrated development of design hypotheses. An extension of the model shows how its general use as a hypothesis development model, can help bring about overall organisational integration. The model is used to place existing design methods into a wider framework, and to assess their integrative abilities. To further elucidate the power of the Purposeful Design Model a number of case studies are considered.