The Organizational Life Cycle
Like individual people, organizations go through a life cycle. The individual life cycle includes stages such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and ageing. How individuals behave, and what matters most, can be different at each stage of the life cycle. Something similar can be said about organizations. In the earliest stage, organizations are concerned with basic survival needs — e.g., will there be enough money to make payroll. A successful start-up may then act like an adolescent–taking risks. Larger, mature companies, like older adults, tend to be risk-averse and work hard to secure and maintain what they have obtained.
When working in the field of I/O Psychology, you will need to understand the stage of the organizational life cycle that the organization with which you are working happens to be in. The types of assessment you choose, and the recommendations you make, will often be aimed at helping the organization to grow into the next stage in the organizational life cycle. As such, it is important for you to understand the basics of organizational life cycle approaches. You will be exploring this during the current unit’s Discussion.
To participate in this Discussion, please read the following article in the Library:
Rutherford, M. W., Buller, P. F., & McMullen, P. R. (2003). Human resource management problems over the life cycle of small to medium-sized firms. Human Resource Management, 42(4), 321–335.
Once you have read this article, include the following in your post:
- A summary of the organizational life cycle, in your own words, as you understand it. Note there are various theories about the organizational life cycle. The goal of this part of the Discussion is for you to reflect on what you have read, to synthesize the information, and to develop your own personal working understanding of the organizational life cycle, which you then communicate to your classmates for their edification.
- Select one human resource problem outlined in the article. Describe it in detail —when and in what kind of organization it is most likely to arise, what are its effects, and what methods can be used to address this problem?
Please include other references from: Lowman, R. L. (2002). The California school of organizational studies handbook of organizational consulting psychology: A comprehensive guide to skills and techniques. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.