Language, of course, conveys subtleties and nuances that express specific and particular meaning - as McLuhan says, "The “right” word is not the one that names the thing but the word that gives the effect of the thing." So I mediatated a while on whether the orientation dimension of organizational effectiveness should be expressed as "inward-outward" or "inner-outer"; the latter won.
According to Google searches on the combinations of "inward/outward orientation" versus "inner/outer orientation," the "wards" have it by two orders of magnitude. That in itself would tend to favour the "ers" in my judgment. But there is a more nuanced consideration.
"Orientation" can refer to an adjustment or adaptation to a new environment, a direction followed, a tendency of thought, or the act or state of alignment in a particular direction. Rather than asking the question of "in which way" is an organization adjusting, or "in which direction" is an organization aligning, I would choose to ask, "where is the location" of the adjustment or alignment? Where are their people's (management and non-management) heads at? Has the organization created an anti-environment that allows them to conceive of themselves (and the effects they create) "in relation" to their total environment - an act that necessitates their people coming out of their own concerns and cognitively locating elsewhere, so that they can reperceive themselves?
I would hazard a guess that, while there may be many organizations with an outward orientation, there are likely precious few, if any, with a predominantly outer orientation. And those are the ones in which I'm interested.
[Technorati tags: organizational effectiveness | orientation | competing values model]