Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

Developing an Organizational Reference Model by Selecting and Integrating Multiple References

Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

Developing an Organizational Reference Model by Selecting and Integrating Multiple References

Article excerpt


In view of the growing supply of reference models in various domains and in different formats, and the potential benefits to organizations using them, this article proposes to (1) present the theoretical background to the subject, and (2) situate and discuss issues associated with integrating such references. Adopting multiple reference models poses practical problems for organizations as regards where to look for the models, which to adopt, and once selected, how to ensure the references are consistent with each other and suited to the organization's particular features. As a possible avenue to solutions, this text describes the conception of an organization-specific reference model. The model proposed can be constructed by way of an articulated solution based on one or more reference models, which were selected thematically, subjected to adjustments for coherence and interrelationship, matched against the organizational culture, and explicitly formulated.

Keywords: Reference Model, Integration, Organizational Model

1. Introduction

BURLTON (2010) notes that the last decade has witnessed the growth of a series of specific value chain frameworks and reference models that embody a set of best practices for viewing and managing the work of organizations. The purpose of these frameworks is to serve as a starter kit or point of comparison for organizations wanting some consistent means of evaluating themselves against a benchmark.

In addition, the needs of customer relations (LIMSARUN & ANURIT, 2011), of meeting legal requirements, regulations, historical trajectory, and so on, have led to the adoption of references that legitimize - even if only partly - organizations' management capability in the business environment (WILKINSON & DALE, 1999). In this respect, some authors argue that organizations should seek fit among the business environment, their strategies, and the main components of management: people, architecture, routines and culture (ROBERTS, 2005), as a way of achieving better performance or even surviving on the market (ASLAM & SARWAR, 2010).

In the endeavor to orient their decisions, business managers and researchers use modeling constantly to help understand the organization's business and internal communication (SHEHABUDDEEN et al., 1999). In recent years, many organizations have implemented references to guide and improve how they are managed (BERNARDO et al., 2008). These models are "packages" (sets of structured concepts) of guidelines and/or solutions used by other organizations, and are being known in management as "reference models".

Normally organized as a hierarchy of functions, processes and activities, with or without interdependencies, they provide names, descriptions, indicators and other attributes that can be re-utilized. However, these frameworks are not always relevant to the specific nature of the business. They may also use terminologies that clash culturally. Few organizations can expect simply to take such references and apply them unthinkingly or without some evaluation and modification (BURLTON, 2010).

The fact that each model has a specific focus and poses particular needs makes them difficult to manage in isolation. Managers are realizing that managing these models without integrating them can cause a lot of problems (PAGLIUSO et al., 2010). For that reason, one of the present focuses of research in this field is how these reference models can be integrated (FONTES, 2010) for coordinated deployment of all the potential such tools have to offer.

In addition, MATOOK & INDULSKA (2009) highlight the lack of methods for building reference models, pointing out that little literature is available and that most methods are directed to constructing information system reference models, which have particular characteristics not shared by other types.

Given this scenario in the literature, this paper proposes to systemize the theoretical framework associated with reference models, and endeavor to formulate the issues raised by what for organizations is a practical problem as to what models to adopt, and once selected, how to adopt them jointly in a manner suited to the particular features of each organization. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.