What does organisational alignment mean, can it be measured and what can you do to improve it?
Dr Floris Burger (Director of CDI Mining) was invited as a guest speaker to the South African Colliery Manager’s Association (SACMA) quarterly meeting that took place in Witbank on 1 November 2019. Floris’ presentation focussed on the concept of internal alignment within mining organisations.
South African mining organisations are facing numerous challenges: volatile commodity prices; policy uncertainty; rising input costs and; increasing and changing stakeholder expectations. In order to successfully address these challenges, each mining organisation needs to respond in a unified, aligned way. The presentation provided feedback of his research that determined the degree of perceived organisational alignment within South African based mining organisations and also the key enablers of organisational alignment.
The key finding regarding perceived organisational alignment was the significant variance between agreed objectives and goals and actual resource allocation.
Whilst the study identified eleven statistically significant enablers of organisational alignment the following three stood out:
1. Organisational Values: Emphasise the importance of intra-organisational value congruence and develop normatively desired behaviour representative of internal and external stakeholders.
2. Stakeholder Voice: Include the on-going identification of all stakeholder groups, market and non-market stakeholders, in the organisation’s strategic management processes and determine stakeholder needs and expectations on a routine basis.
3. Balanced Objectives and Goals: Organisations should firstly adhere to the principle that internal organisational variety (complexity) needs to match the extent of the external variety (complexity) imposed on the organisation. Secondly, they should recognise that “variety” refers to the range and dynamic nature of market and non-market stakeholder needs and expectations. Finally, organisations should develop overall organisational objectives and goals that are most likely to promote joint production.
His closing remarks included that mining organisations in South Africa need to ensure that all legitimate stakeholders are more actively involved in the value creation and trade processes. Organisational alignment needs to be understood as ground-level pragmatism as opposed to lofty moral principles if it is to drive sustainable performance.