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Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations by Robert D. Austin, Timothy Lister, Tom DeMarco

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Chapter Two. A Closer Look at Measurement Dysfunction

Blau (1963) defines dysfunction broadly as “those observed consequences of social patterns that change existing conditions in the direction opposite to socially valued objectives, or consequences that interfere with the attainment of valued objectives” (p. 10). In an organizational context, dysfunction can be defined as consequences of organizational actions that interfere with attainment of the spirit of stated intentions of the organization. That dysfunction is violation of the spirit and not the letter of stated intentions is important. In the TWA case, managers increased profits, thus fulfilling a stated intention of their organization—but the way that TWA increased profits was not what ...

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