Examining Collegiality and Social Justice in Academia and the Private Sector: An Exploratory Symlog Analysis


This research compares the perceptions of the private sector, high-technology employees to the perceptions of university faculty members regarding organizational culture, social justice and collegiality concepts. The SYMLOG assessment technique was used to record the perceptions of respondents to four different concepts of organizational culture, two different aspects of social justice and two measures of collegiality. Comparative findings of gender differences across the eight concepts raise key organizational culture, legal, measurement, governance, and social policy issues for academia and high tech organizations. The development of a conceptual framework to guide future research and a blueprint to discuss desired organizational change are highlighted.

Introduction and Purpose of the Research

The purpose of the present exploratory research study was to examine the perceptions of organizational members with respect to organizational culture, social justice, and collegiality concepts in both academic and privatesector organizational settings. All three concepts are key internal, contextual variables that have an influence in determining organizational effectiveness (Pettigrew, 1979; Collins & Porras, 1994; Drucker, 1994; Luthans, 2011). Since perceptions often guide behaviour in organizations, we will use the SYMLOG measurement system to explore the relationships between the perceptions of respondents in two different organizational settings to these three concepts and organizational effectiveness

In social interacting systems (Bales, 1999), individuals are often assessed by others not on the basis of who they are, but, rather, by the perception of what they seem to be; not on the basis of what they say, but, rather, how they are heard; and, most importantly, not on the basis of what they intend, but, rather, by their actual effect on others (SYMLOG Consulting Group, 2012). In light of these realities, the present authors chose to incorporate in the present study a measurement system ideally suited for easily and accurately measuring and displaying perceptions that greatly influence how people respond to individual persons, to each other in a group, and to organizations and their products and services. This measurement system is known as SYMLOG, which is the only method that provides a research-based universal standard (most effective profile or mep) against which to measure multiple levels of interaction so as to systematically and simultaneously improve leadership, teamwork, and organizational effectiveness.

While a greater explanation of the SYMLOG measurement system is provided later in this paper, a Field Diagram depicting average ratings of wellknown leaders and other famous personalities is provided in Figure A to help the reader “calibrate” the SYMLOG psychological space. Relative perceived dominance of the persons rated (U-D dimension) is reflected in the size of the image circles for a particular personality. Larger circles represent more dominant personalities and smaller circles represent more submissive personalities. Figure A reflects the perception of values shown by famous people as rated by a random selection of adult students in North America, and it illustrates how perceptions of different people vary considerably. The reader’s own perceptions of these famous personalities may not agree with the exact placement of images from these students’ ratings. However, Figure A should provide an intuitive feel for the SYMLOG space and the authors doubt that many persons would disagree with the placement of images on the Positive versus Negative sides of the diagram.

Moreover, if the images in Figure A were of persons from an actual organization, the implications for the persons outside of the PF quadrant of the diagram are huge with respect to individual coaching and counselling, leadership training and development, team development, strategic planning, and human resource development – all of which are just a few of the many applications and uses for the SYMLOG measurement system. According to the SYMLOG Consulting Group, SYMLOG has been used in over sixty countries in 17 different languages to provide integrated solutions to complex problems of social interaction (SYMLOG Consulting Group, 2012).

The presentation of this empirical study continues as follows. We begin with an overview of the research concerning organizational culture, social justice, and collegiality, and their relationship to organizational effectiveness. We then provide an overview of the SYMLOG measurement system we used to gather perceptions of eight concepts related to organizational culture, social justice and collegiality from members of the academic and private business sectors. Next, we provide an analysis and discussion of the results, future research and current organizational applications. We then propose a model for future research that should shed additional light on the complex interrelationships and provide new practical applications for organizations.

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