Title

Organisational diversity and HACCP enactment: A study of risk within the Australian food industry

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

Professor Alan Brown

Abstract

This thesis examines the diversity management issues that arise from a risk management foray. It enters the organisational world and explores the social consequences of adopting a measure known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or, to use the colloquial term, HACCP. Academically, it provides new knowledge on the tensions and discourse that mediate the response to the enactment. It links metatheory with the social mechanisms that operate within an organisation. It culminates with a theoretical model for the enactment of a HACCP program within a systems framework. Practically it contributes to the understanding of the diversity of applications of what may appear to be a simple measure but in practice has many dimensions.

The expectation behind adopting a risk management intervention is to embed internal controls that manage, rather than eliminate, risk within predefined limits. Conversely diversity is critical to maintaining organisational competitiveness. The management of diversity is a matter of increasing the types of model, methodology and theory as well as the mechanisms for choosing between those types. A strong focus on diversity is the antithesis of the control inherent in a risk management intervention. The presence of both within an organisation presents an interesting conundrum. This study focused on the tensions between a control focus arising from adopting a HACCP program and the need to promote diversity within as the organisation confronts the challenges of a rapidly changing market place.

This study took the unique opportunity to examine the enactment of a HACCP program from its inception as a legislative control tool to it becoming a mainstream assurance tool. It was serendipitous that enactment could be explored at a time of considerable market turbulence and where the effective use of diversity became critical to the survival of the organisation. The research design was based on the case study approach. It explored a series of cases over a tenyear period in an iterative manner. The study first looked at an industry as a whole as it struggled with seismic changes in legislation and market conditions. The focus progressively shifted more closely towards the organisation and its experiences, as it became more aware of the impact of new legislative forces. It culminated in a case study of an organisation that first evaluated then adopted a formal HACCP intervention based on the ISO22000 HACCP standard in response to market pressure. The study used interviews as the key research tool supported by observation and relevant documentation.

Each of the four study phases is reviewed in chronological order and culminates by Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point exposing the constructs that emerged across the cases and phases. The interpretation primarily focussed on actor perceptions to position the enactment of HACCP within organisation management discourse. A hermeneutic phenomenology approach was adopted to construct the interactions arising from the HACCP intervention. The constructs were clarified with the assistance of four established management theories.

The study found that rather than demonstrating uniformity of application the enactment of a HACCP program reflects the prevailing organisational interpretation of the meaning of management. The enactment partially defines the linkage between management practice and perceptions of power, politics, and conflict. It can also impact on the expression of performance. Finally, understanding comes from establishing a structural design in terms of HACCP focussed activity that strikes a balance between no structure and a superstructure. The balance is derived from the organisation’s own level of linkage with its social and technical environment.

LCSH Subject Headings

Edith Cowan University. Faculty of Business and Law -- Dissertations

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (Food safety system)

Food industry and trade -- Australia -- Management

Food industry and trade -- Australia -- Risk management

Dissertations

Access Note

Access to this thesis - the full text is restricted to current ECU staff and students by author's request. Email request to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.

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