Posted by: nsrupidara | June 19, 2015

Catatan-catatan lama yang tersimpan #2

Ini catatan dari diskusi dengan Prof. John W. Meyer, salah satu bapak teori kelembagaan baru dalam analisis organisasi, di antaranya bersama Scott menjadi figur sentral dalam kubu kelembagaan. Diskusi saya dengan Meyer justru terjadi sebelum saya bertemu Scott, yang mengundang saya. Kebetulan saja Meyer yang saya kontak sejak dari Sydney berada di waktu di mana Scott berada di Canada dan bersedia ditemui. Meyer cukup mengenal Indonesia, sehingga pembicaraan kami justru dimulai dari sedikit hal mengenai pemahamannya tentang Indonesia.

Dari Meyer, saya dikenalkan dengan nama Julia Brandl yang belakangan saya bisa berkenalan secara pribadi saat mengunjungi Univ. of Innsbruck di Austria di akhir 2012. Saya juga dikenalkan dengan nama Hokyu Hwang, yang belakangan juga bisa saya bertemu secara pribadi (bersama pak Marthen Ndoen) di ruang kerjanya di Australian Business School, Univ. of New South Wales (juga bertemu Jaco Loc yang saya kenal namanya dari rekanan yang lain, Prof. Karin Sanders). Nama-nama yang saya katakan saya diperkenalkan dan kemudian bertemu adalah ahli-ahli kelembagaan generasi yang lebih muda, namun semuanya orang-orang brilian di bidangnya. Senang bisa berjumpa dan bertukar pikiran dengan mereka, terutam dengan John Meyer yang pada waktu itu memberikan feedback atas sebuah tulisan saya yang darinya catatan ini dibuat.

Setelah berjumpa di Stanford, 2009, saya sempat bertemu dengan John di Lisbon, Portugal, 2010, saat kami sama-sama menghadiri EGOS Colloquium di Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Saya pernah mengundang Meyer dan Scott untuk bisa berkunjung ke UKSW namun dengan makin menua-nya mereka, mereka memilih selektif untuk melakukan perjalanan antar negara, terutama yang jauh jaraknya seperti ke Indonesia. Ya, bagaimanapun, saya berterima kasih atas momen berjumpa dan belajar dari tokoh besar di kajian kelembagaan seperti Meyer, sekalipun kesempatan itu tidak begitu banyak dan karenanya tidak banyak hal yang bisa dipelajari langsung darinya. Namun, karya-karyanya tentu saja tersedia untuk darinya seseorang bisa belajar tentang pemikiran salah satu founding fathers new institutionalism in organisational analysis ini. God bless you, John.

Notes from the discussion with Prof. John Meyer

HR is a new profession, a pretty recent phenomenon. It’s not well developed yet, even in the US. The book of Frank Dobbin (Harvard), Inventing Equal Opportunity, explains that. The work of Julia Brandl (Vienna School of Economics, Austria; moved to Innsbruck) in Europe also shows this. Her work indicates uncertainty about the authority of/in HR profession.

To study the institutional effects on HR, it is difficult to derive it from the statement of HR people only. People tend to claim that it is his/her own idea. We should be clear when do they get something (idea), where it came from to infer that the idea or model is adopted from other place.

Meyer suggests to look at concrete policies as well. His studies show that formal policies are the best proof/document to trace the words and ideas used are actually the same with ideas developed in other places, not really invented in the place of the actor claimed they develop it themselves. If we look at the data over/across time, we could find where the policies are actually copied from. This would overcome the retrospection problem in researching people statement through interviews (fundamental attribution error), where people claim it is his/her own ideas, although it’s not.

Meyer also suggest to read Translating Organizational Change, edited by Barbara Czarniawska and Gujo Sevon. The papers inside the book are more qualitative, with good attribute interpretive capability.

However, one should bear in mind that what actually happen in personnel management would be different from the policies. It may be very decoupled in practice. The gaps are sometimes very extreme. Meyer gives a few examples of decoupling from his previous studies.

Decoupling, however, could be very natural, rather than strategic, although it has a strategic dimension. This is related to the sense of identity an actor has. Sometime he/she considers his/herself as just a person embedded in local traditions thus behave in such a way to gain legitimacy from his/her own world of traditions. At the other time, he/she sees his/herself as a professional who has to act according to professional norms/standards to get incentive/legitimacy from his/her professional community. This two behaviors may be in conflict one to the other. Thus referring to different source of legitimacy may lead to different, conflicting actions to take. This is a gap, a decoupling.

Decoupling thus may be a stable or durable situation. This would happen if there is divided dominant power and no external source of other legitimacy, so much surveillance available, modernized elite. This could stimulate conflict, and characterizes a dynamic situation that would result in changes.

Dreaming of consistency between the rule/policy and the practice might be a hipocracy. This is endorsed by the logic that people are doing the best way, although it’s not always that way. Decoupling on the other side, allows the ideals to be still inspiring and we are more realistic in viewing the practice. Thus, inconsistency might be a solution, it is not always a problem thus we have to be more careful in viewing this phenomenon.

Check and read Nils Prunsson, The organization of hipocracy, the irrational organization to understand why decoupling might be stable.

Capture

To see whether the context (macro institution) that influence the practice or the agency through policy adoption, we should understanding the flow of ideas. Professionals that are more educated are those that may be influenced more by the context, where ideas are institutionalized. According to Meyer, however, the more an actor espouses agency, the more he becomes isomorphic (to the general accepted ideas). This is very well known explained in de Tocqueville’s statement, “the identity building creates conformity.” Here, autonomy is guaranteed by standardized ideas. Thus agency is more a conformity building process, rather than a deviation from the institutionalized ideas. This implies that institutions creates actors, that expected to be responsible citizens. Thus, we will see a growing similarities, although at the same time we claim to pursue uniqueness. What exists is symbolic uniqueness, but actually very stylist. Uniqueness inside/within social templates (identity of social) which show a lot of standards. Thus variations/uniqueness and similarities/standardized co-exist.

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