Institutions and individuals aiming at an efficient management for government-financed agricultural R & D in the Netherlands are on a constantly growing scale confronted with problems pertaining to the formulation, implementation and adjustment of the goals which should be achieved through the organization. Those problems are not specifically inherent in agricultural R & D; they tend to surface in all complex labour-organizations. ("Labour"-organizations are here understood to be those organizations whose members are employees; for the sake of brevity, this study and its summary condense the term "complex labour-organizations" simply to "organizations"). The investigation under report tries to extend and deepen the insight into a number of aspects which characterise the goal-problems in such organizations. It first of all lists and discusses the related concepts and findings as published in the literature concerned. Next, it presents some feasible applications of this scrutiny with emphasis on agricultural research in the Netherlands.
Chapter 1 starts with a primary orientation as regards the goal(s) of an organization. An organization is found not to aim at achieving just one given goal. It faces the task of trying to more or less realize the objectives of various groups of stakeholders: purchasers or users of its goods, products or services; suppliers of funds; suppliers of raw materials, base products and several types of other commodities, machinery, equipment; staff and personnel. The organization is generally confronted with other groups of people who can also be called stakeholders; it should, to a certain extent, also take into account the wishes and demands of individuals, groups and other types of organizations whose interests it might harm through actions, laches or non-feasance.
As an organization is thus confronted with a complex range of objectives, wishes and demands - those in society as such, and the ones within its own framework - the desirability of clearly defined descriptions is evident for, on the one hand, values and objectives which are societal and, on the other hand, the individual human needs.
Paragraph 1.2. attempts to analyse and discuss these factors. Dutch society is there shown to have a very wide range of values and objectives indeed, Each individual is, moreover, found to have a large variety of needs; it is noted that those several needs are not of equal intensiveness for all people.
Paragraph 1.3. focuses on the explanations of some concepts which, with reference to goal-problems, are handled frequently. In this context, the interrelation between those concepts are also discussed. In the literature, most of the concepts concerned display their varying meanings. The most important concepts are each nailed down to one single meaning for the subsequent stages of the study under report.
Chapter 2 looks into man's different needs and their relationships. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is discussed, and so is the fact that some human needs to a certain extent are contradictory, plus the fact that man's personal grading of needs is not invariable. Next this chapter pays attention to the genesis of man's evaluative judgments, goals and objectives. Numerous factors are found to play a generative part; some are inherent in the individual, others are environmental. Motivating processes in man appear to be far from being fully explained; theories of motivation are found to be diverse. With reference to environmental influences, and their role in the genesis of man's evaluative judgments cum goals and objectives, the contributions of various societal groupings are briefly indicated.
The book's second chapter also points out the multifarious changes to which Dutch society, and hence its individual members, is being and has been exposed in the present and most recent decades. Accordingly, much uncertainty and doubt is manifest in families, organizations and many other societal relationships as regards appropriate paths to be followed. The overall picture can thus sooner be characterized through "variety and pluriformity of", "discussion and confusion about" and "search for" than through such terms as "consensus about", when the standards for eligible life-style and societal structure and the ways and means to realize goals and objectives are subjected to investigation.
As is demonstrated in chapter 1, there are many different types of persons and groups involved in an organization; each of those tries to serve his, her or their own interest via the organization. Paragraph 3.1. analyses how those interests may be viewed as regards intercorrespondence or conflict; the conclusion is that they Are partially parallel, and partially conflicting. It is suggested that the dynamics of an organization can be understood only if the organization is not exclusively regarded as a unitary whole but also as a configuration of several interested parties which more or less constantly negotiate with each other and even fight one another. Against this background, paragraph 3.1. next distinguishes between holistic theories of organization and behavioural concepts and, also, between structuralfunctional theories and action approach.
There is no uniformity in thinking, as the literature confirms, with regard to the actual or desirable process of goal-setting in organizations.
Some of the most important approaches are discussed in paragraph 3.2. There are authors who, rather implicitly, pose the harmony of employers, and employees' interests; they consider consultation and collaboration to be vital. Others emphatically reckon with the existence of conflicting interests; to those authors, goal-setting is not solely such a process of consultation and collaboration. To them it is particularly also a process in which negotiation, compromise-finding, plus power and fight all play significant parts. others still regard goal-setting chiefly as a process in which, starting from the organization's primary objective, some subgoals and sub-sub-goals should be derived in a logical and consistent manner. In the opinion of some other writers, the determination of the goals of an organization should doubtless be the ultimate stage in a process of strategic planning. Snellen, in particular, emphasizes this point. The process of strategy formulation, which he suggests, is briefly discussed, in line with its successive stages: determination of existing strategies, analysis of the environment, survey of strengths and weaknesses, development of tentative strategies, choice of definitive strategy. Furthermore, this paragraph presents some indications with reference to the process of strategic planning in enterprises that a number of other authors propose.
Paragraph 3.2.3. deals with incremental versus rational-comprehensive planning; this distinction is closely related with the difference between satisficing and optimizing planning. Characteristics of the various approaches are discussed. Merits and demerits are indicated for the incremental and the rational-comprehensive methods of planning. Some attention is devoted to a number of approaches which try to combine attractive features of rational and incremental methods and then avoid their respective drawbacks. Discussed are the chief characteristics and most valuable elements of Etzioni's mixed-scanning approach, Dror's optimal model of public policymaking and the biocybernetic, communicative and process planning.
Chapter 3 ultimately reviews the problem of stakeholders-participation. Various considerations lead us to the opinion that, in principle, it is desirable that all groups of stakeholders can participate in establishing the goals of an organization. An analysis is made in terms of the organization's need to maintain its proficient and adroit performance, and whether that may be considered as a factor which inhibits employees participation. It is concluded that the need to maintain, or increase, an organization's proficient performance on the one hand inhibits and, on the other, rather stimulates implementation of active participation of employees. Next, the strains between democracy and technocracy are discussed. Various ways and means to ease them are indicated, though relativation of those possibilities is necessary. The conclusion is that concretization of the ideal of expert, and at the same time democratic, policy-making in organizations remains, for a number of reasons, a difficult task that can only partly be fulfilled.
To accomplish goals and objectives, individual persons and groups are noted to adopt divergent ways of approach. Same of them exclusively or mainly opt for the model of harmony or "order", others handle the conflict approach. Which model is preferable ? Paragraph 4.1. deals with that question. First of all it mentions the major aspects of each model, and the differences between the two models. It is pointed out that in the contradistinction between order- and conflict-model an appreciable number of heterogeneous elements, and partly inexact differentiations, are involved: establishment interests versus mankind's welfare; one-track specialists versus critical intellectuals; maintenance of the status-quo versus breakthrough(s); cooperation versus fight.
Each of these "opposites" is briefly and critically considered. One of the conclusions is that some individual strategy or other is not all the time the most suitable one to achieve goals or objectives. It certainly depends on the conditions or circumstances of a given situation, which strategy or approach should preferably be chosen. Sometimes that should be collaboration, sometimes fight. Sometimes it should be a middle course in terms of: contrasting views being jointly analysed and discussed in order to generate consensus, negotiations and deliberations aiming at feasible compromise.
Paragraph 4.2. focuses on the vital question of what should be the optimal system of management to achieve the organization's and the employees' goals. Several streams in organization theory have each offered, and still offer, a different reply to that question. Accordingly, the salient points in those theory-streams are established and elucidated; particularly those in the classical theory of management, human-relations approach, revisionism, socio-technical approach, planning theory and systems approach. With reference to this survey, we hold the opinion that the system of management of an organization can only be effective if it at least generates the most favourable conditions to deal adequately with: the needs of, and developments in, the environment; the needs, capacities and potentials of the people within the organization; the nature of the organization's production processes.
The problem of an optimal system of management is reviewed against that background. First, the relation between environment and management-system is investigated. It is then found that various types of environment can be discerned and, also, that the contingency theory emphasizes that the characteristics and structure of an organizational entity should depend on the nature of the environment which is relevant for that entity. Accordingly, an organization which must function in a heterogeneous and shifting environment will need a system of management other than that required for an organization whose environment is fairly homogeneous and stable.
Next, the relations between the needs of employees and the management-system are discussed. Several aspects of the work-orientation of employees are described. One of the conclusions is that, with regard to this orientation, employees display specific differences and that thus, among employees, partially divergent wishes are observable as regards the system of management. Further attention is paid to the relation between the organization's processes of production and its system of management. An organization must deal with processes different in nature. It is found that for a routine process, a management-system is needed that is rather different from that called upon to efficiently run a process characterized by variation and by the desirability of creative contributions on the part of staff and personnel.
Based on these findings, and upon a discussion of results obtained through several investigations, we draw the conclusion that not one specific system of management can be considered as the ideal one, but that it depends on the very conditions and circumstances of a given situation, which system of management would be the most effective. It is furthermore indicated, for a
range of situations, which characteristics of the system of management should preferably occur in each of those situations.
The final chapter presents considerations and suggestions with regard to the further development of the planning and management of Dutch agricultural research. They are partly based on the findings in previous chapters and partly on the author's personal views and evaluative analyses.
Essential elements in the considerations and suggestions are: intensification of strategic planning; promotion of internal and external democratization; expansion of opportunities for processes of consultation, deliberation and negotiation between and among stakeholders; promotion of decentralized decision-making which retains the organization's higher levels'facilities of survey, stimulation and management by exception; intensification of rationality in decision- making; greater flexibility and better problemorientation throughout the organization; improvement in consulting and coordinating work at various levels within the organization.
Pertinent recommendations include: periodic drafting of a strategic plan for agricultural R & D; alertness in regard to creation of study groups and committees for policy preparation; evolution of a network of programadvisory committees whose membership should chiefly consist of external stakeholders; evolution of a matrix organization; generation of arrangements promoting expedient, reliable and open supply of information among the respective groups and levels within the organization; evolution of methods and criteria contributing to systemized and objectivated decision-making at the organization's various levels.
The closing chapter furthermore sketches some vital elements in a feasible concretization of the process of strategic planning, along with the body of the strategic plan; it also describes the matrix organization and the system for program-advisory committees and (ad hoc) committees for policy-preparation. This part of the investigation concerns proposals which, in recent years, have partly been tested in the practice of Dutch agricultural R & D. Finally it is pointed out that a successful implementation of the suggested improvements calls for joint and permanent action by all concerned.