The business environment of today is characterised by great risks for organisations as well as for individuals. New principles and ways of working that differ significantly from what was done even as little as a decade ago are required. To keep to traditional stances in the corporate environment may mean that existing competitive advantages may not be enough anymore to ensure success. This also applies to the financial services sector where there is currently a clear shift from a product focus to a client focus. In the light of changes taking place in the financial services sector, it is also necessary to think differently about the mediators (brokers) delivering related services since the delivery channels have also changed due to technological development. Competitive advantages lie in a client and market focus rather than a product focus, and a process focus rather than a functional focus. The client’s voice must be heard and it is possible that a successful person in this focus is different from a successful person in the old focus. For the sake of quality in service delivery and alignment in the same direction, it is necessary for management to have a shared mental model when looking at staff decisions concerning brokers. They must also be aware of their own thoughts about staff within the changing focus and they must realise the impact this can have on their decisions. The main objective of this study is to determine whether the managers under investigation have a shared mental model in terms of success criteria for brokers. In order to do this, it is necessary to first investigate the concepts mental model and shared mental model and the impact they may have in an organisational environment. The Repertory Grid technique was used for data collection. As a result of the wide variety of Repertory Grid techniques, together with the various ways of application, it is essential to be familiar with the techniques and modes of application in order to choose the most suitable technique and application method for a specific study. Kelly’s Personal Construct theory contains the assumptions underlying this technique and it is important for a researcher to be aware of these regardless of whether this is the theory s/he will be using since the underlying assumptions will definitely have an influence on the interpretation of the results. The data was presented as a qualitative description of each manager’s mental model in terms of the successful broker as well as a short description of the person’s construction system regarding success in their business environment. Conclusions were made from a synthesis of the results regarding the extent to which there could be referred to a shared mental model and its possible impact on decisions and efficiency in the work and business environment. The results confirmed that the objectives of this research project were met. It emerged that this management team does not effectively share a mental model and that this may impact negatively on their business decisions. Recommendations were made regarding the change or establishment of a client-focused mental model. Suggestions for future research regarding broker efficiency were also made.
Thesis (MA (Research Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2004.