R.M.L. van Grunsven MSc


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Describing and assesing characteristics of organizational culture that influence the achievement of asset management objectives.

January 2013

Scientific Supervisor: Drs. J. Enning

Expert Supervisor     : L. J. M. de Laat BSc

Within organizations, there seem to be struggles between different departments and groups that perform asset management activities. General organizational culture theory points out that these struggles could be caused by cultural differences between these groups and departments. By explicitly addressing the cultural aspect, organizations are able to make a quantum leap in the way they are doing things.
Is it possible that asset management can also be improved through a culture oriented approach? This research idea lead to the following main research question: Which characteristics of organizational culture influence the achievement of asset management objectives and how can these be assessed?

Typical asset management activities are related to life cycle delivery of assets, value realization by balancing performance, risk and cost, and achieving cost- effectiveness. Asset management objectives are directly or indirectly related to these activities, determining asset management objective’s typical features. In an asset management context, these features the characteristics of organizational culture relate to. In this research these features of asset management objectives are used for conceptual context setting for asset management organizations in general. When this context is set so single organizations, each organizations asset management objectives will have to be more thoroughly examined.

Organizational culture is a multi-layered facet. The most accessible layer, the explicit culture, represents artifacts that can be heard, seen and felt. The deepest layer holds unconscious basic underlying assumptions that, through repeatedly being proven right, are nonnegotiable and determine the actions of individuals within an organization. The degree, to which one is committed to the organization, is satisfied in performing his or her job and is motivated towards action, is strongly influenced by organizational culture. It is this mechanism that causes organizational culture to influences the achievement of objectives. The strength of this mechanism determines the relative strength of basic underlying assumptions in relation to asset management objectives. 

There are many approaches to the assessment of organizational culture. The approach should be selected by the purpose of the assessment. A culture oriented approach seems to be relatively new to asset management contexts. Performing research in this sense has an exploratory nature, rather than an explanatory one. The purpose is to help organization to understand themselves better and to improve, change or develop, their asset management processes. 

In this research, the aim is to identify positions that support or restrict the achievement of asset management objectives. In general organizational culture, hundreds of dimensions have been proposed by researchers. In this research possible relations between existing dimensions and asset management objectives have been identified. Also new dimensions holding such a relationship are proposed. To test this, a parallel focus group was organized. Each group dealt with several dimensions.
The results indicate that it is possible to reach consensus within a group about positions of assumptions that support and restrict asset management objectives. Within this process the relative strength of a dimension in relation to the achievement asset management objectives was not explicitly addressed. The most important result is that the strength of the approach is in the way it facilitates dialogue. Further research, focusing on specific organizations and addressing the relative strength of dimensions is recommended.

De Thesis kunt u hier bekijken (EN).

De Thesis presentatie kan hier bekeken worden (EN).

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