Wednesday | 30. October 2019

Organizational Constraints: Macromedia Professor conducts Research in Silicon Valley

Since 2016, Macromedia Professor Dr. Timo Becker has been working on the project “Organizational Constraints in the Media and Technology Industries”. He is joined by the University of San Francisco’s Professor Keith Hunter Ph.D. Both Professors will continue to further their joint research in Silicon Valley.

What factors impede employees from performing their job in the best manor possible? This is a  question of ‘organizational constraint’. For the second time, Prof. Dr. Timo Becker and Prof. Keith Hunter Ph.D. approached executives of leading technology and media companies, such as: Google, Facebook, Ideo, Tesla, Western Digital, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Red Hat, to collect data on the matter.

What are Organizational Constraints?

Organizational constraints are factors in the workplace that prevent employees from performing their job in the best way possible. If an employee is not performing as is expected, executives often chalk it up to a lack of qualification or motivation; however, Becker and Hunter’s study has revealed that there may be more to it. According to their new model of organizational constraints, inadequate work material or lack of information from superiors are also influential factors. Interviews conducted with Silicon Valley executives (Narrative Inquiry) were juxtaposed with the statements of roughly 250 employees who filled out a questionnaire about the same topic (Qualtrics).

Corporate Culture in Silicon Valley - Cockaigne with limitations

Silicon Valley is an excellent location for research as it is known around the world for its employee-friendly culture, with common benefits including free food, leisure activities, and childcare. Professors Becker and Hunter have found through their research that the dream-like working atmosphere came with a handful of ‘negative’ factors. They found that high workload and fiscal responsibility of the individual in the absence of support and information from the supervisor were common complaints from employees.

Interestingly, there was one factor that Becker and Hunter experienced as a recurrent theme in all interviews: the lament over too many time-consuming meetings. Respondents perceive meetings as extreme time-wasters, that also failed to meet the main goal of better informing employees. A certainly interesting result not only for US companies ... 

Find out more about study programs on the Freiburg Campus here.

(IMH, Translation by Rosie Hall)


Prof. Dr. Timo Becker (Macromedia University) and Prof. Keith Hunter PhD (University of San Francisco)

Prof. Dr. Timo Becker (Left) and Prof. Keith Hunter Ph.D. (Right) conduct joint research on "Organizational Constraints in the Media and Technology Industries".

Black Board with Keywords

The two researchers interviewed executives from technology and media companies in Silicon Valley, including Facebook.

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