The Irresistible Future of Organizing

Yesterday I read quite an insightful article with the title of this blog entry. Here are some quotes:
“Why do so many people in organizations feel discouraged and fearful about the future? Why does despair only increase as the fads fly by, shorter in duration, more costly in each attempt to improve? Why have the best efforts to create significant and enduring organizational change resulted in so many failures? We, and our organizations, exist in a world of constant evolutionary activity. Why is change so unnatural in human organizations?”

Great question, if the situation was any different, there wouldn’t be any need for Open Change. The author goes on and attributes a lot of the difficulty to our tendency of seeing organisations as automata, as machines. Why do we not view organisations as “being alive” and learn from the self-organisation of life on earth?

“It is time to change the way we think about organizations. Organizations are living systems. All living systems have the capacity to self-organize, to sustain themselves and move toward greater complexity and order as needed. They can respond intelligently to the need for change. They organize (and then reorganize) themselves into adaptive patterns and structures without any externally imposed plan or direction.”

Are todays organisations’ leaders pursuing this direction, or are they controlling machines? Are the staff expecting a solution without engaging – ‘wash me, but don’t get me wet’?

Well, the article is by Margaret Wheatley and is absolutely worth reading. Did I mention it was published in 1996?

Wheatley, Margaret, and Myron Kellner-Rogers, Myron. “The Irresistible Future of Organizing”, July 1996. http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/irresistiblefuture.html.

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About Hans-Jürgen

I am Chief Scientist of Kugler Maag Cie GmbH, an independent, international consulting company, specialising in the improvement of business and product development processes – from analysis, consultancy, and operative implementation to training and coaching. Most customers work in the context of emerging critical systems, such as automotive and transport. These require leading edge techniques to be deployed and organizational readiness for future challenges to be established. I have 35 years of experience in the software determined systems sector. As adjunct Professor, University of Limerick, I was Industry Director of Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, which I helped to establish. Previously I was a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, a director of software product and services companies, and Technical Director of the European Software Institute. I was involved in the design of means for industry-wide competence development in the automotive sector, and I conducted the first independent organizational software development capability assessment in the automotive industry in Germany. In my opinion the key competitive factor of the future will be a personal and organisational ability to embrace rapid change of the ecosystem and to proactively and continuously implement sustainable change. I have an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Dortmund and an M.A. of Trinity College Dublin. In 1986 I was awarded the IFIP Silver Core.
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