Change cannot be planned, but interventions can. We assist organizations in their development towards a sustainable adaptive organization by means of (self-) research as an intervention method. To this end we use thoughts, ideas and concepts from social complexity theory, chaos theory, philosophy and experiences of daily practice. Our advice is not only drawn from a systems perspective but from a social-complexity perspective. As (re)designers of business processes, this gives us a very different view of organizations, organizing and organizational change. Interaction between employees is a social sense-and-respond process. Therefore, we regard an organization to be a collection of local self-organizing complex sense-and-respond patterns of people working together. This is our field of research and consultancy.
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With a bit of experience in the field I agree with the first paradigm. The theory is correct for organisation to work that way, except for the fact that organisations are made of human individuals. Culture is a vital ingredient for it to function.
In southern Europe and the US there is a higher sence of hierarchy than in Northern Europe, but in all larger organisations information get's filtered before getting sent up to the next management level. Essential information gets lost -is left out- to please upper levels or hide mistakes or fraud.
I prefer to work close to my customers, not only because I am not a hierachy kind of guy, but because information is always complete and consistent. In my perfect world, organisations would only exist where competencies are complementary and can not be combined in a single individual. When required, get in contact with another professional to complete the task at hand.
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I am pleased to see that you can find yourself in the first paradigm. However, you are actually subscribing to the second, ‘new’, paradigm. Why do I say this?
My point is that organizations actually do not work according to the first paradigm. As you work closely with your customers, so do all people in organizations work closely with other people e.g. colleagues, particularly with those whom they think can be trusted. These forms of cooperation, social hierarchies, shapes communicative patterns independent of the formal hierarchy, which are constantly changing. These forms of cooperation, in fact any type of relationship, are based on power differences. Power differences also determine who is included and who is not. Therefore, filtering of information may be a necessity for some; It is a strategy in order to protect yourself and your relative position.
Working together actually happens on one and the same level, because business processes are communicative actions. But different people have different roles with formal powers accordingly. This also means additional formal power differences.
In short; on the one hand, the organization is regarded as a system consisting of subsystems at several levels, on the other hand, what we actually do is working together in self-organizing patterns of communication. This is the ‘new’ paradigm (not new of course, it has always been this way). No individual, including managers, auditors, controllers etc., can function outside a pattern.
I get your statement: “organizations are made of human individuals. Culture is a vital ingredient for it to function”. From the perspective of ‘my’ paradigm I would say that ‘organizations are collections of self organizing, local patterns of interrelating between human individuals’.
Thanks for your response.