16 August 2006

An Organization's Model

The title of this post may have misled you into thinking that I'm about to lay out a profoundly structured model for assessing an organization or system. Unfortunately 90% of the world's Managers are still held captive in "the matrix" when it comes to explaining away organizational behavior. Its time we broke free from this, and realize that organizations can never be explained away or brought in line with a structured model. Here I am about to rock your foundation again as I always do, but I believe its my job to free you from the illusive matrix of structured organizational assessment models that blindfold you from the truth of a reality that is far from being structured and organized.

If you work with a set model in mind, you might risk the loss of meaningful information that might be critical to your business. So the first step in setting yourself free from this matrix is to believe that there is more to what meets the eye when you look at a structured model. Top-down analysis has been the traditional method of organizational structures, assessments, and intervention processes. It is indeed natural to approach situations in a linear logical fashion because it is simpler this way. However, a linear approach is no more valid in today's complex environment. Chaos theory is replacing systems thinking with more frequency.

More than chaotic, the new term is "chaordic" taken from the words "chaos" and "order". Everyone hears of how complex the world is today which leads to the idea that systems are not self-correcting once they are formed. Systems thinking is getting more irrelevant by the day because the traditional linear cause-effect framework is simply losing its applicable value. With numerous advances in technology, theory, and the state of the world, systems no longer come back to their main functional origins if things spiral out of control. Traditionalists in management rely on self-correcting systems to come back to their original state if they stray once in a while. This is surely changing with time, due to the inability of managers to bring back their organizations to some original pristine value. Change is exponential in that there is not even a trace left behind.

Chaordic theory however still puports to detect some underlying order in random chaos. The order refered to here though is not a traditional cause-effect scenario. This is precisely why research in Organization Development has been so sparse. There is no way of knowing basic relationships between variables in an organization.
a scary thought but realistic nonetheless. I predict that organizations will have to let go of their precious pretty models that seem to embed all the answers. They are not going to sustain themselves in the future with pure orderly top-down approaches.


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