Antecedents for Achievement of Alignment in Organizations

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Beehr, T. A., Glazer, S., Fischer, R., Linton, L. L., & Hansen, C. P. (2009). Antecedents for Achievement of Alignment in Organizations. Journal of Occupational and organizational Psychology, 82(1), 1-20.



Organizations are commonly viewed as open systems in which various components of the organization are interdependent; that is, the functioning of one unit in an organization’s structure depends on the functioning of other units of the system. If one component is not meeting the needs of another or if two components are striving for inconsistent goals, there is incongruency (Nadler & Tushman, 1997); the system is then less likely to be effective as a whole (Nadler & Tushman, 1988). The achievement of alignment is a component of contextual ambidexterity, an inward looking process of organizations that is necessary for organizational effectiveness (Gibson & Birkinshaw, 2004), and in systems theory of organizations, alignment reflects principles of coordination and integration among the parts of the structure (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Thus in an ideal organization, different subunits focus their efforts towards achieving the organization’s overall goals. This does not always happen, however, even among management-level employees (e.g. Rieley, 2004). Often, beliefs and actions in some units of the organizational structure are more aligned with the rest of the organization than in other units. Although the importance of such alignment for organizational effectiveness is intuitive, little solid evidence exists about how to foster it. The purpose of the present study is to examine antecedents or processes that can be used to achieve alignment of subunits’ day-to-day actions or operations with the overall goals of the organization as stated in its vision statement (consistent with Tosti & Jackson, 1994).