Organizational Qui-Vive: An Intermediate Approach to Structuring the Link Between Attention and Action
Since the pioneering work of Simon, several avenues of research have investigated the attention structuring processes in organizations. While the research based directly on Simon's theories focused on the role of management tools in structuring attention, more recent research based on Weick's work has focused on the role of the cognitive processes of the actors rather than tools, emphasizing a particular pattern of action, namely mindfulness. In this study, we re-examine the role of tools in the structuring of attention while recognizing the empowerment of the actors as described by Weick. In doing so, unlike the majority of current research, which focuses on mindfulness, we consider the existence of patterns of actions that are different from mindfulness. An empirical study in hospitals demonstrated a particular pattern of action that we call Organizational Qui-Vive. This pattern consists of an action script, tools that support the script, and processes that channel the attention of the actors. Organizational Qui-Vive is similar in structure to Mindfulness but differs in several respects. It alerts to a specified danger, it brings consciousness into the action using tools prepared in advance and gives meaning to the action through mutual understanding. We compare the two patterns linking attention and action to point out the different structuring processes that respond to different situations. Organizational Qui-Vive is emerging as an intermediate structuring approach that is heavily influenced by the importance of tools, but which nevertheless empowers the actors.
Copyright (c) 2014 Jacques Orvain
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