Decentralized Autonomy and Company Culture Integration: Individual and Organizational Development Incentives and Potentials Contextualized

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Abstract

Decentralization is 1 way of mastering flexibility demands in postindustrial societies, increasing the need for employees’ autonomous work performance. Company cultures have been applied to integrate employees in organizational goals and visions. The aim of the article is to elucidate how a combination of decentralized autonomy and company culture integration is related to employees’ and organizational stage development. The overriding question concerns conditions hampering or promoting such processes. A competitive bank with this type of organization (emphasizing, e.g., local decision making, profit sharing, and employees’ developmental capability) was investigated in 2004–2010 in a multimethodological cross sectional case study. Reported results have focused on only separate aspects of the case. These results concern (a) a generally positive attitude to the company culture, (b) a frequent prevalence of expert adult developmental stage, and (c) work group interactions that mainly reproduce and reinforce company culture integration. Taken together and interpreted in an abductively further developed theoretical frame, the organizational learning and competitive advantages of the studied case are recognized. However, its stage transformative potential is problematized in terms of lacking alternative perspectives that appear to hamper using a potential space of action and development provided by decentralization.

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