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Navy stories: Behavior versus professional control

W. G. Rowe J. O'Brein M. Rouse
Journal of Management Inquiry. January 1, 2012

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This article proposes contingencies of behavior and professional control. The authors use two autoethnographic accounts to lend support to their theoretically derived propositions that using behavior control, when professional control is expected and appropriate, decreases organizational effectiveness. They argue that the more discrepant the expectations, the more negative will be the effect, especially if the discrepancy persists over time. They suggest that professional control should be employed when intense socialization is present and organization-specific skills have been developed. The autoethnographic accounts are based on lived experiences that occurred in the Canadian Navy while one of the authors was an officer in that navy. The authors argue that the lived experiences help to generalize back to theory—an important step in theory development.