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  • Doug Belshaw 3:00 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , organisation   

    The architecture of work is metaphorically still a picture of walls defining who is employed and inside and who is unemployed and outside. Who is included and who is excluded. Who “we” are and who “they” are. This way of thinking was acceptable in repetitive work where it was relatively easy to define what needed to be done and by whom as a definition of the quantity of labor and quality of capabilities. In creative, knowledge-based work it is increasingly difficult to know the best mix of people, capabilities and tasks in advance. Interdependence between peers involves, almost by default, crossing boundaries. The walls seem to be in the wrong position or in the way, making work harder to do. What, then, is the use of the organizational theater when it is literally impossible to define the organization before we actually do something?

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:59 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , organisation   

    We are as used to the employer choosing the work objectives as we are used to the teacher choosing the learning objectives. The manager directs the way in which the employee engages with work, and manages the timing and duration of the work. This image of work is easy to grasp because it has been taught at school where the model is the same. We should ask whether the current social construct of jobs is inevitable, or whether it is a social artifact that is over 100 years old, and should be redesigned.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:58 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , organisation,   

    Thinking always clusters. That happens in groups, but more importantly, it happens over time. The movement of thought is sometimes slow and can sometimes even get stuck. A person with an idea worth pursuing will give rise to an interaction chain in time, held together in comparable chains of contributors, lurkers and opponents.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:55 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organisation   

    Creative, entrepreneurial work is very different. The context of work is changing from generic, repetitive practices to contextual, creative practices. The first thing to do is to answer the questions: What are we here for? What should we achieve? What should we do next and with whom? What tools would help us? It is not about generic processes but contextual interaction. Key questions for a knowledge worker have to do with how to do things and what tools to use. This time, the machines, the tools, need to serve the worker. Human beings come first. It is, in fact, a fundamental change because the needed tools may not be available, or even exist, yet.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:54 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organisation   

    The old model companies are ill-equipped for this digital transformation. Mass-production and mass media organizations are still much more prepared to talk to customers than to hear from them, not realizing that one-way communication was just a fleeting accident of technological development. It is not that customers didn’t have needs and reflections they would have liked to communicate.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:51 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , organisation   

    Creative individuals need both independence and interdependence to do their best work. A creative organization thrives on the tension that arises from widely different but complementary abilities and views working with one another in enriching interaction.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:49 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , meetings, organisation   

    In a physical meeting, there are always more or less the wrong people present and the transaction costs are very high. Unlike email, which pushes copies of the same information to people to work on, or edit separately, a wiki pulls people together to work cooperatively, and with very low transaction costs. The aim is a common movement of thought. Email and physical meetings are methods which always exclude. They necessarily always leave people out. A wiki, depending on the topic, the context, and the people taking part, can be inviting and including. The goal is to enable groups to form around shared purposes without preset organizational walls, or rules of engagement.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:47 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organisation   

    Knowledge workers are often put in a position where they have to negotiate some common understanding of what they face. The same event means different things to different people. The context matters: what seems right from one point of view can prove disastrous for everybody in the long run. As Gillian Tett says, very bright people can make very dumb decisions in fragmented environments if the dots are not connected.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:44 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , organisation   

    Problem-based, cooperative work is best expressed organizationally through emergent, responsive communities. The mainstream business approach is still predictive grouping and an ex ante organizational structure. It is typically a process organization designed and controlled by the expert/manager. This is based on the presuppositions that we know (1) all the linkages that are needed beforehand, and (2) what the right sequential order in acting is. Neither of these beliefs is correct any more.

    Esko Kilpi
  • Doug Belshaw 2:43 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , organisation   

    Problem-based work is interaction and exploration both when it comes to defining the problem and when seeking a solution. The exploration is performed most efficiently through transparency and a network process of distributing the cognitive load of the case. People don’t perform job roles or tasks. People participate. You as a manager don’t delegate, you invite! Work is engagement and interaction between interdependent people. People from the whole community/network should have a chance to contribute through voluntary self-organization and at the same time, not sequentially. You design for participation. As many people as possible with applicable and relevant skills should have a chance to connect and contribute. The industrial process was long, sequential and divided. The problem-based work process is short, distributed/parallel and interactive. The process follows three entrepreneurial phases: defining the problem, creating a solution, scaling up the solution.

    Esko Kilpi
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