Understanding functions: an organizational culture perspective

Understanding functions: an organizational culture perspective Purpose – This paper aims to discuss the disconnection between the recognized centrality of the functional approach to records management and archives and the actual understanding of functions that scholars, practitioners, and records creators seem to have. It suggests that records professionals should consider functions not in the abstract but in the specific socio‐cultural contexts in which they are enacted. Design/methodology/approach – After analyzing the main theoretical and methodological issues concerning the concept of function and the application of the functional approach, the paper reports some findings of an empirical study of function‐based records classification systems conducted by the author in four different organizations in Europe and North America. Findings – The multiple‐case study research confirmed that the meaning of both function and classification are subject to various interpretations, that a number of non‐functional factors are involved in the creation of function‐based tools, and that records professionals find available explanations of functional methods confusing. The findings also indicate that there is a relationship between organizational cultures and the ways in which business and records processes are perceived and translated into practice. Research limitations/implications – This study provides a number of suggestions that may be used to improve the analysis of functions and business processes for any records management purposes. In particular, it discusses some of the non‐functional and cultural factors that influence the design and implementation of function‐based records classification systems. However, more empirical research is needed in order to broaden our understanding of functions in real‐world organizations. Originality/value – Based on a broad selection of professional literature on the functional approach, this paper presents the original findings of an empirical study that uses qualitative methods to analyze and interpret the data collected. It is hoped that it will inspire more exploratory research of this kind in the records management area. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Records Management Journal Emerald Publishing

Understanding functions: an organizational culture perspective

Records Management Journal, Volume 22 (1): 17 – Mar 23, 2012

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0956-5698
D.O.I.
10.1108/09565691211222072
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to discuss the disconnection between the recognized centrality of the functional approach to records management and archives and the actual understanding of functions that scholars, practitioners, and records creators seem to have. It suggests that records professionals should consider functions not in the abstract but in the specific socio‐cultural contexts in which they are enacted. Design/methodology/approach – After analyzing the main theoretical and methodological issues concerning the concept of function and the application of the functional approach, the paper reports some findings of an empirical study of function‐based records classification systems conducted by the author in four different organizations in Europe and North America. Findings – The multiple‐case study research confirmed that the meaning of both function and classification are subject to various interpretations, that a number of non‐functional factors are involved in the creation of function‐based tools, and that records professionals find available explanations of functional methods confusing. The findings also indicate that there is a relationship between organizational cultures and the ways in which business and records processes are perceived and translated into practice. Research limitations/implications – This study provides a number of suggestions that may be used to improve the analysis of functions and business processes for any records management purposes. In particular, it discusses some of the non‐functional and cultural factors that influence the design and implementation of function‐based records classification systems. However, more empirical research is needed in order to broaden our understanding of functions in real‐world organizations. Originality/value – Based on a broad selection of professional literature on the functional approach, this paper presents the original findings of an empirical study that uses qualitative methods to analyze and interpret the data collected. It is hoped that it will inspire more exploratory research of this kind in the records management area.

Journal

Records Management JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 23, 2012

Keywords: Function; Functional analysis; Records management; Business classification schemes; Organizational culture

References

  • Hofstede never studied culture
    Baskerville, R.F.
  • Functional classification of records and organisational structure
    Henttonen, P.; Kettunen, K.
  • Investigating information culture: a comparative case study research design and methods
    Oliver, G.
  • Recordkeeping in the production of scientific knowledge: an ethnographic study
    Shankar, K.

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