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 Thu, 19. Aug. 2021   Alsdorf, Helge

Vacant master thesis seeks to investigate how agile forms of work can be introduced in a municipal enterprise

Modern forms of work seem fundamentally different to traditional structures. While the later feature strict hierarchies with highly bureaucratic processes and pre-defined areas of responsibility, modern forms often rely on small, self-organizing teams. Practices like SCRUM seek to make use of the individual and high qualification of each team member and their desire to be a member of a highly productive team (Cervone, 2011). This leads to a number of benefits such as higher employee satisfaction and greater employee empowerment (Wimmer, 2021). In recent years, new practices such as Spotify Tailoring have increasingly emerged, whereby an organization has been split into new divisions (Salameh & Bass, 2019). In particular, there is a trend toward autonomous teams that manage themselves (Mikalsen et al., 2019).

However, the restructuring of work organization from traditional to modern approaches brings some challenges. Managers, for instance, need to get used to loosening strict instruction and control mechanisms and as they move away from top-down command structures (Maurer, 2017). Employees, on the other hand, face the challenge of increasingly flexible job and tasks descriptions that are difficult to map onto traditional compensation schemes (Eckert, 2018).

Changing the fundamental logic of how work is organized, seems particularly challenging for municipal companies. These are often characterized by highly bureaucratic processes, a strong separation of tasks and work practices between departments and individual employees, and a strict formal hierarchy. To overcome the challenges associated with radical workflow change, the changes must be thoroughly planned, communicated, and reviewed.

This thesis will address these challenges and examine how modern forms of work can be used and transferred in a municipal enterprise. To achieve this, the student working on this thesis should first collect and summarize the basic assumptions of modern forms of work (e.g. employees can organize their tasks themselves; employees are highly motivated to perform their tasks; employees are highly qualified for their tasks). Then, he/she should plan and conduct a quantitative or qualitative study in which the identified assumptions are compared and related to the needs and desires of employees in a municipal organization. The proposed result should then demonstrate how modern forms of work can be transferred and implemented in a municipal organization.

Students who are interested in this master thesis are asked to contact Mr. Helge Alsdorf.

References

Cervone, H. F. (2011). Understanding agile project management methods using Scrum. OCLC Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives, 27(1), 18–22. doi.org/10.1108/10650751111106528

Eckert, R. (2018). Intelligente Echtzeitunternehmen im digitalen Hyperwettbewerb: Multiple Geschäftsmodelle – Hybride Organisationsmodelle – Vernetzte Ökosysteme. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-21759-4

Maurer, A. (Ed.). (2017). Handbuch der Wirtschaftssoziologie. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-531-19907-8

Mikalsen, M., Næsje, M., Reime, E. A., & Solem, A. (2019). Agile Autonomous Teams in Complex Organizations. In R. Hoda (Ed.), Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming – Workshops (Vol. 364, pp. 55–63). Springer International Publishing. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30126-2_7

Salameh, A., & Bass, J. M. (2019). Spotify Tailoring for Promoting Effectiveness in Cross-Functional Autonomous Squads. In R. Hoda (Ed.), Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming – Workshops (Vol. 364, pp. 20–28). Springer International Publishing. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30126-2_3

Wimmer, K. (2021). Holacracy – Die Hierarchie der Kreise Ein Organisationsmodell ohne Chefs? 16.