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5.4 The pursuit of legitimacy

Social institutions affect which actions are seen as legitimate. As we make decisions in organisations it is common to be concerned not just with economic outcomes but also with ‘legitimacy ’: ‘How will this decision be seen by X ’?; ‘Does this fit the way things are done around here?’; ‘What would happen if the press got hold of this?’; and so on.

Some of this can be quite unconscious; the conceptual frameworks and notions of cause and effect that are available to decis
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Managing Human Resources (B824) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area.

Strategy is based on the unique relationship between an organisation's distinctive resources and capabilitie
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3.2 CSR reporting

We mentioned earlier three reasons for environmentally friendly behaviour, effectively deriving from personally held values, niche marketing or regulatory pressure. To a large extent the same holds true for ethical behaviour.

Some organisations have a long tradition of good citizenship, ranging from the UK social housing of Bourneville or Port Sunlight, through to community involvement schemes from such as Xerox and IBM. Financial sponsorship of good causes, whether that be artistic end
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3.6 Collecting and interpreting data

In many projects it can be difficult to make comparisons with anything similar. However, there may be quality standards that can be used for one of more of the outcomes, perhaps alongside different targets for time-scales and resource use. Benchmarks are another possible source of comparative data; they have been established for many processes, and data are available from industry, sector and professional support bodies.

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2.2 Closure tasks

The closing stages of a project need as much, if not more, attention as the early stages. Many of the final tasks in a project may seem rather tedious ‘housekeeping’ once the project's main purpose has been achieved. Nevertheless, there are a number of actions that must be taken to close the project and ensure that any necessary maintenance arrangements have been made.

  • Make sure that all project staff actually stop work on the project.


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2 Why projects fail – the dimensions of failure

Unfortunately, projects are not always completely successful and the consequences of an unsuccessful project can be significant politically, financially and socially for organisations and for the people who carry out the project. Considering the key dimensions of a project (budget, time and quality) there are three obvious ways in which one might fail:

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1.2 What is expected from projects?

  • The project may be expected to deliver financial benefits to the organisation.

  • In the public sector projects are usually expected to lead to social, economic and political outcomes.

All projects are different. The level of complexity differs and the context in which a project exists will affect it. There is no single right way to manage a project. All projects have customers.

There are three key dimensions to a projec
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Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • identify the main features of a project;

  • explain the importance of the key dimensions of budget, time and quality;

  • identify the links between a project's scope and definition and a sponsor's strategic and operational objectives;

  • agree the objectives of the project in sufficient detail to enable it to be planned effectively;

  • assess the feasibility of a project and to negotia
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Introduction

Many managers find that they are required to manage projects. In this unit we aim to help you to take an overview of the features of a project and the issues that arise in managing a project. Once you have identified a piece of work as a project, you are able to use a number of management approaches that have proven effective in managing projects. A project is a one-off, non-repeated activity or set of tasks that achieves clearly stated objectives within a time limit. Most projects are goal-o
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Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Chris Stalker, He
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3 Conclusion

This unit has introduced a series of ideas that relate to campaigning and how organisations can adapt their outlook in order to achieve their campaigning goals.


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2 What's so great about innovation?

So far we have suggested that innovation is a positive concept and, it appears, the rate of innovation continues to accelerate, led mostly by technology. The process is an example of positive feedback, in which the change is self-reinforcing: the development of technology itself increases the capacity for technological innovation, and raises the expectation of consumers for further innovation. While there seems little reason why this process of accelerating technological change should
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should:

  • understand why and how innovation is important;

  • recognise the benefits which innovation can confer on an innovating organisation.


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2.1 Introduction

'All experiences count and are valuable and no one should push those aside. It really doesn't matter where that experience was gained. It's about what you learnt from it… don't devalue yourself. Recognise the importance of what you've done.'

Ruth Stokes, KPMG on the vol
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1.4.1 Historical background

European unification was begun by the social democratic and Christian democratic leaders of the Western European states who had fought each other during the Second World War. The idea was to create a community of states that would guarantee peace and prosperity. The process turned out to be long and arduous, particularly after the federalist failures of the Congress of the Hague (1949) and the European Defence Community (1953). The main emphasis was on economic co-operation, and the project w
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1.3.1 Europe and the EU

Is there a Europe beyond the EU? This is a question that becomes more and more difficult to answer. It is quite common for example to hear of such or such a country wishing to ‘join Europe’, when what is meant is that they wish to apply to join the EU.

The criteria for joining the EU were laid down in the summit of Copenhagen, 21 and 22 June 1993. Candidates must have reached an institutional stability that guarantees democracy, legality, human rights, and the respect and protection
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1.13 Conclusion

So far we have traversed three kinds of domain in which the study of discourse is relevant. Discourse is often (but not necessarily) interactional and researchers have studied the order and pattern in social interaction. The study of discourse also has important psychological implications for the study of minds, selves and sense-making. Finally, discourse is about social relations, culture, government and politics.

No doubt, as you have been reading some problematic and confusing areas
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1.12 The politics of representation

We turn now to consider Diana as an icon, as the subject of discourse. It could be said that Diana and the many words written about her form a discursive space (Gilbert et al., 1999; Silverstone, 1998). She is the rather enigmatic centre of many competing representations of royalty, femininity, democracy, the family, morality, celebrity, fashion, private versus public life which jostle with each other. Such a discursive space is a place of argument. To use another metaphor, it i
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1.10 Voice and the speaking subject

Discursive practices, as we have seen, order the shape of written and spoken discourse; they order the features which appear and the selection of words and phrases. But these properties are only a small subset of those which govern meaning-making. In this and in the next section we will be more concerned with patterns in the content of discourse and the psychological and sociological implications of those patterns. This will help elaborate further on the notion that language is constru
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1.4.1 Discourse involves work

If discourse is doing something rather than doing nothing, what kinds of things are being done? We can see that Diana's account in Extract 1, like all accounts, constructs a version of social reality. When we talk we have open to us multiple possibilities for characterizing ourselves and events. Indeed, there are many ways Diana could have answered Bashir's first question in the extract above. Any one description competes with a range of alternatives and indeed some of these alternativ
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