Coordinating work in a global oil company

Coordinating work in a global oil company

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In my Master thesis I have studied a large global oil company. The focus has been the work processes in the organization and how work is coordinated. The research question has been the following: How is work coordinated in the system of work processes? This has been further limited by two research questions; a) How does the standardized descriptions in the work processes affect the job that must be done? What challenges must be dealt with? b) How is interaction coordinated in a complex work process?
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A recurrent theme in the entire thesis has been the balance between the concepts of standardization and flexibility. A common system of the work processes in the organization has led to more standardized operations. The findings in this study have shown that this is perceived as positive because a large and complex organization needs a common basis. However, there is no consensus when it comes to how standardized they should be. This is also where the challenge is to the oil company. How can complex work processes be managed in a simple way? 

In many cases it is difficult to coordinate complex work. Employees would like a combination of standardization and flexibility. The work process for the operational plan is an exception who masters this balancing act. This means that it is possible to standardize the work while retaining flexibility. Furthermore, this also shows that the oil company has multiple challenges they must deal with in the future. 

In the thesis qualitative methods has been used and it can be described as a case study. It is conducted semi-structured interviews with 15 employees in the oil company. The employees belong to two different departments and have a wide range in terms of position. In addition to the interviews, two meetings have been observed. Here the focus has been on the interaction between the staff and how it is communicated in relation to requirements for collaboration in the system for work processes. In addition to interviews and observation secondary data are also collected by the IO center. These have been used extensively as a benchmark for my own collected data. 

 

 

 

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