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Workplace : A Behavioral Setting within an Ecological Hierarchy Essay

Booth et al, (2001) suggests that the workplace forms a locus of control in lifestyle behaviors and determinants. The workplace is the closest behavioral setting that can assist in leveraging healthy lifestyle change thus, business leaders should maximise this opportunity to enhance their human capital. According to his model, determinants of behavior include both intra and extra individual factors that must be considered within the ecological hierarchy based on locus of control (internal and external).

Intra-individual factors include the first level of the psychobiologic core which refers to the genetically programmed metabolism and behavior (instinctive, innate values related to survival) as well as early conditioned behavior. Meanwhile, the cultural level includes personal life experiences, as well as self-identity within immediate social and cultural surroundings. The societal level includes roles and relationships, and “acquired” values and beliefs, etc. Enablers of choice include factors commonly identified as barriers or enhancers to change.

Similarly, lifestyle level includes, visible choices that people make in terms of specific behavior (e. g. , physical activity , eating, smoking risks, etc). Conversely, the extra-individual factors also include several inputs. One is the behavioral setting which is the situational context within which behavior takes place, e. g. , the workplace,

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the medical clinic, the home . Proximal leverage points include structures and features that affect the microenvironment for individuals, e. g.

, food stores, family, shopping malls, health care providers, employers. Distal leverage points include the multidimensional factors that pervade all levels and shape behavior, e. g. , health care industry, policy, transportation system, etc. So when managers ( as seen in survey 1) state that practically the health status and functional level of their employees is not their responsibility, they are, in fact, not aligning with the theoretical ecological foundations. 3. 1 Theoretical integration

The proposed health and productivity matrix (Horseman, 2006- unpublished), as seen in table 3, is a conceptual framework, describing the key theoretical variables relating to the argument that health status, and fitness level of the workforce maximizes performance, and is part of the corporate social responsibility . This matrix demonstrates the collaborative relationships between, the balance scorecard perspectives, Aristotle types of causes, ecological framework of human behavior, and four systematic organisational dimensions, ecological hierarchy, and current case studies within this current research.

In further discourse, things can be causes of one another. This means that things can be causing each other reciprocally, as hard work causes fitness, and vice versa. Causes however, do not behave in the same way or function because one cause acts as the beginning of change, and the other acts as the goal. Thus, Aristotle first suggested a reciprocal or circular causality – as a relation of mutual dependence, action, or influence of cause and effect.

Also, Aristotle indicated that the same thing can be the cause of contrary effects – as its presence and absence may result in different outcomes ( Scrunton, 1994). Aristotle marked two modes of causation: proper (prior) causation and accidental (chance) causation. All causes, proper and incidental, can be spoken as potential or as actual, particular or generic. The same language refers to the effects of causes such that generic effects are assigned to generic causes, particular effects to particular causes, and operating causes to actual effects.

It is also essential that ontological causality does not suggest the temporal relation of before and after – between the cause and the effect; that spontaneity (in nature) and chance (in the sphere of moral actions) are among the causes of effects belonging to the efficient causation, and that no incidental, spontaneous, or chance cause can be prior to a proper, real, or underlying cause per se ( Morris,1999). In strategic thinking , “timing is of the essence”. Therefore, Morris (1999), explains that it is important to understand the philosophical arguments about time (temporal) and causality.

There exists a hierarchy on the order (priority) of causes, and these are the: final, efficient, material, and formal (Aquinas), or in restricting all causality to the material and efficient causes or, to the efficient causality (deterministic or chance), or just to regular sequences and correlations of natural phenomena (the natural sciences describe how things happen rather than asks why they happen). In contrast another Philosopher, David Hume ( 1978) argued that it was impossible to know that certain laws of cause and effect always apply, no matter how many times one observes them occurring.

Just because the sun has risen every day since the beginning of the Earth does not mean that it will rise again tomorrow. However, it is impossible to go about one’s life without assuming such connections, and the best that we can do is to maintain an open mind and never presume that we know any laws of causality for certain. This was used as an argument against metaphysics, or ideology and attempts to find theories for everything. Karl Popper ( 1959) claimed that the principle of verification and falsifiability fitted Hume’s ideas on causality.

The deterministic world-view is one in which the universe is nothing more than a chain of events following one after another according to the law of cause and effect. According to incompatibilists holding this worldview there is no such thing as “free will”, and therefore, no such thing as morality. However, compatibilists argue that determinism is compatible with, or even necessary for, free will (Scrunton, 1994). In light of the difficulty philosophers have pointed out in establishing the validity of causal relations, it might seem that the clearest plausible example of causation we have left is our own ability to be the cause of events.

If this is so, then our concept of causation would not prevent seeing ourselves as moral agents (Morris, 1999). Causes are often distinguished into two types: necessary and sufficient. The underlying understanding of the equation used in the balance scorecard literature of Y=F(X). A definition of a necessary cause is, if x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies that x preceded it. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur. A definition of a sufficient cause is, if x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x suggests the presence of y.

However, another cause z may alternatively cause y or some other cause w may prevent cause x from producing result y. Thus, the presence of y does not imply the presence of x nor does the presence of x necessarily imply the result y. Therefore, Kaplan and Norton (2003), have successfully integrated both necessary and sufficient causation in their latest generation of the balance scorecard, using strategy maps. J. L. Mackie (1974) argues that usual talk of “cause”, in fact, refers to INUS conditions (insufficient and non-redundant parts of unnecessary but sufficient causes).

For example; consider the short circuit as a cause of the house burning down. Consider the collection of events, the short circuit, the proximity of flammable material, and the absence of firefighters. Considered together these are unnecessary but sufficient to the house’s destruction (since many other collection of events certainly could have destroyed the house). Within this collection,,the short circuit is an insufficient but non-redundant part (since the short circuit by itself would not cause the fire, but the fire will not happen without it).

So the short circuit is an INUS cause of the house burning down ( Scrunton, 1994) . Causality in science (which is pertinent to the health productivity link of this research), is another cause for discourse. Many scientists in a variety of fields disagree that experiments are necessary to determine causality. For example, the link between smoking and lung cancer is considered proven by health agencies of the United States government, but experimental methods (for example, randomized controlled trials) were not used to establish that link.

This view has been controversial. In addition, many philosophers are beginning to turn to more relativized notions of causality. Rather than providing a theory of causality in total, they opt to provide a theory of causality in biology or causality in physics (Moore, 1999). As seen in the literature review , it was Aristotle, who clearly stated that there is a hierarchy of causation: material cause leads to the formal cause, leading to the efficient cause, and eventually to the final cause.

It is this hierarchy which provides the theoretical foundation and logic to the strategic mapping relationships, as seen in the four perspectives of the balance scorecard , as seen in figure 5, In the literature review of this thesis the causation hierarchy also reflects, the cause and effect relationship of the perspectives. The learning and growth perspective (formal cause) contributes to the internal business perspective customer perspective (material cause), leading into the internal customer value perspective ( efficient cause), and finally contributing to the financial perspective ( final cause) of the balance scorecard.

This forms the basis of the theoretical integration. The Formal Cause tells us what a thing is, that any thing is determined by the definition, form, pattern, essence, whole, synthesis, or archetype. This type of cause reflects the learning and growth perspective of the balance scorecard and is aligned with the organisational dimension of culture. The logic being that without learning and growth an organisation will lose it’s essence. The learning and growth perspective asks the question ; to achieve our vision and mission, how will we sustain our ability to improve?

Without a learning and growth culture the organisation would not evolve and be aligned with environmental challenges- this would compromise the existence of the organization as it would not be able to survive without learning and growth. The Material Cause is that from which a thing comes into existence as from its parts, constituents, substratum or materials. This type of cause reflects the internal business process perspective of the balanced scorecard, which is linked with the process of organisational dimension.

The logic being that the internal business processes are the building blocks that infiltrate the organisation’s strategy throughout the operational, tactical and strategic levels of the organisation, and through which change is facilitated in the entire the organisation via processes. The internal business process perspective concerns the question of : in order to satisfy customers and stakeholders, what activities does the organization need to excel at? Without having a systematic toolbox of various methodologies to address internal process problems, the organisation would become very inefficient.

Most balance scorecard problems are due to implementation issues. The Efficient Cause is that from which the change or the ending of the change first starts. It identifies ‘what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed’ and so suggests all sorts of agents, nonliving or living, acting as the sources of change or movement or rest. This type of cause reflects the customer perspective of the balance scorecard, the logic being , customers are the change drivers of an organisation, as the customer needs are the drivers of change.

The customer perspective is concerned withs the question : to achieve our mission how should the organization appear to customers? An efficient organisation designs its structure around customers needs, as a paramount priority. The customers act as agents of change as an organisation learns how to design for the customer’s changing need, becoming a more environmentally responsive, cascading, and flexible organisation. The Final Cause is that for the sake of which a thing exists, or is done – including both purposeful and instrumental actions.

The final cause, or telos, is the purpose, or end, that something is supposed to serve; or it is that from which, and that to which, the change is for. This type of cause reflects the bottom line, the financial perspective of the balance scorecard associated with the political dimension of the organisation. The logic being if you can’t get the financial balance sheet showing profitability, then the existence of organisation will be compromised.

The financial perspective asks the question – to succeed financially how should we appear to our stakeholders. Without positive financial performance the existence of an organisation is compromised significantly. Alignment of resources need to be fairly distributed throughout the organization, so as to promote fairness and avoid conflict, see table 3. . The criticism about the balance scorecard being based on a linear cause and effect value chain, instead of a systematic cause and effect value chain has been a cause of great discussion among critics.

With this criticism brings a great opportunity for future research in suggesting a new value proposition of the cause and effect relationships within a systematic framework. One such framework is derived from the work of Flood (1999) which integrates the four dimensions of an organisation, namely: design, process, culture, and politics dimensions. With each dimensions there is a question assigned to address underlying system issues related to the balance scorecard, as seen in the literature review.

These questions provide further assessment to what exact methodologies address each perspective at given times. Using this framework integrated with the logic of causation, and the scorecard perspectives insures a systematic approach to the balance scorecard application and control. The table 3 below supports these concepts and aligns cause, with perspective and organisation dimension. This table 3, will be the basis around which the argument of a systematic value chain will be built as compared with the linear models currently vogue in many companies.

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