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Tobin Im and Byul Jeon. (2012) An Action System Approach to Public Organizations: The Formation of Informal Organizations. Korea Journal of Public Administration 50(2). 1-33
The purpose of this research is to analyze the action system of a public university cafeteria. Based on in-depth interviews and participant observations, this study reveals how a closed organization in Korean culture is naturally structured and adapts to time constraints and labor pressures brought to bear by the external environment. To be specific, this study tries to find out how informal groups are structured within the formal organizational structure and what the implications of a member`s behavior is in the Korean context, The results are as follow: 1) The organization operates under various environmental restrictions that shape potential behaviors, including the properties of members, the space frame of the cafeteria, and the time pressure to deliver a quick meal. 2) Three teams (a cooking group, a serving group, and a washing group) came into being spontaneously within the organization to enhance business operation efficiency under the above conditions. 3) These informal teams maintain a hierarchical structure, with one member at the head in order to manage conflict as well as to coordinate general business efficiently. It is concluded that it is necessary to consider the characteristics of autonomous organizational structures as well as how these structures are related to the organizational and societal culture when implementing reforms in order for government to strengthen its competitiveness.
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