Organizational Behavior Research Seminar: Scott Ganz
Georgetown McDonough School of Business
Subcoalition Cluster Analysis: A New Method for Modeling Conflict in Organizations
Date: Tuesday November 28, 2023
Time: 10:30 AM -12:00 PM
Location: Armstrong Building, ARMST 265
Redefining the purpose of the business firm in terms of multiple stakeholders with partially-misaligned objectives also requires adopting behavioral models of firm decision making that envision collective decisions as arising from a political process. However, the renewed interest among managers and management researchers in stakeholder governance has also underscored the shortage of quantitative methods available for studying business firms as political systems. A critical problem for researchers applying coalition-based theories of organizational politics to observational data is that the units of analysis, coined "subcoalitions'' in Cyert and March (1963), are often unobservable. This paper introduces Subcoalition Cluster Analysis (SCA) as a new computational framework for analyzing intra-firm conflict that permits researchers to model groups of heterogeneous actors in terms of a smaller set of representative subcoalitions. We then apply SCA to two cases in which an organization characterized by multiple, partially-inconsistent goals and a diverse group of stakeholders with heterogeneous preferences face a politically-contested decision. In both cases, we first analyze preference data using SCA to identify the subcoalition structure that best characterizes the set of actors in the organization. We then use the SCA output as a dependent variable in an analysis of the predictors of subcoalition membership in the first case and as an independent variable in an analysis of the changing patterns of social influence in the second.