Reblog:: organizations as complex systems


A system is composed of regularly interacting or interdependent groups of activities that form a whole. A change in one aspect can affect change in other aspects.
Organizations are dynamic, living entities that have been put together to accomplish some type of purpose — they are goal oriented. The number and variety of parts to an organization can be truly astonishing. In an attempt to provide order, the organization establishes many of the rules, roles, and behaviours that individuals will and should follow to maintain their organizations. To a large extent, individuals and groups determine the development of an organization. An organization’s structure, tasks, and methods evolve out of the history of the organization’s transactions with its changing members and environment.

Applied Organizational Communication: Theory and Practice in a Global Environment
By Thomas E. Harris, Thomas E. Harris (Ph. D.), Mark D. Nelson

Enhanced by Zemanta

Do Zombies sleep?:: bankers are ‘kept awake’ by fears of new crisis | Herald Scotland


This shouldn’t come as a great surprise…no, not the fact that bankers have a conscience (the article doesn’t go that far and I doubt the research would have obtained a believable response)!!!

We are ALL worried about the impact of a  “global recession” but banking has been in a cultural crisis for years. Financial and political “mismanagement” led to a financial crisis that, without decisive action, has created a Social crisis.

Now, finding a solution IS something that is worth losing sleep over! But, on the evidence of the last few years the answers will not come from the people who brought us here…at our expense.

Another global recession triggering a catastrophic banking crisis is keeping bankers awake at night, according to a survey of the world’s banking industry from the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI).

The main cause of anxiety is the eurozone crisis, with the shock of a euro collapse liable to hit banks not just in Europe but in all major regions of the world, says CSFI’s annual Banking Banana Skins survey, produced in association with PwC.

via Bankers are ‘kept awake’ by fears of new crisis | Herald Scotland.

Beware Zombie’s in pinstripes!


What do we do when an organisation becomes so complex that it fails to perform the functions for which it was intended…when it is no longer “fit for purpose”?

Well, in nature, it dies and decays or is killed and eaten. This is as it should be in business!

But, as we now know, that isn’t always the case. We have current examples of institutional failure and collapse – but deemed “Too Big To Fail” – being artificially kept alive at escalating and unsustainable expense to you and me!!!. I am, of course, referring specifically to Banks and the Public Sector.

These “Zombie institutions” are as slow as the real deal but they don’t crave your flesh or change physical appearance until in the latter stages. Read more of this post

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties


No matter how you express it, in a dynamic (non-linear) system, that is, by definition complex, “what goes around comes around” – the “feedback loop” – complexity begets complexity until the system reaches breaking point – “critical complexity”.

But the closer the system operates to this point the more fragile and unstable it becomes.

Things can, do, get ugly, painful, dangerous and costly on a variety of levels and the impact is felt across domains.

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties Image by michael.heiss via Flickr A recent blog about procrastination led me to get this off my mind. It has been rattling around in there for some time… Ever had so much going on in your head that you don’t know what to do first? Too many tasks, too little time: which “master” to satisfy? Every issue or task has its own factors to consider: short term effect; long term impact. Assessing cause and effect or imagining problems, leading you to “f … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]

Good Decisions. Bad Outcomes revisited


We can’t entirely avoid outcome-based decisions. Still, we can reduce our reliance on stochastic outcomes. Here are four ways companies can create more-sound reward systems.

1. Change the mind-set. Publicly recognize that rewarding outcomes is a bad idea, particularly for companies that deal in complex and unpredictable environments.

2. Document crucial assumptions. Analyse a manager’s assumptions at the time when the decision takes place. If they are valid but circumstances change, don’t punish her, but don’t reward her, either.

3. Create a standard for good decision making. Making sound assumptions and being explicit about them should be the basic condition for getting a reward. Good decisions are forward-looking, take available information into account, consider all available options, and do not create conflicts of interests.

4. Reward good decisions at the time they’re made. Reinforce smart habits by breaking the link between rewards and outcomes.

The article below is of particular interest to me and my colleagues at Ontonix because it reinforces the approach that we advocate and that is supported by our unique technology.   Business is no longer about linear relationships or processes with the post-industrial resilience suggested by terms like “supply chain”. As was highlighted in this recent blog (video) Eric Berlow: How complexity leads to simplicity, when dealing with the modern [ … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]