Intent into Effect

Organisations are entities of effect: that is their purpose, and their design. To achieve something defined, be it an act of manufacturing, invention, or change.

What they do, and how they do it, is widely differentiated. But at heart, when we consider the Organisation, we can view it primarily as a system, a structure, of effect, and hence that our decisions on Organisational Design, leadership, process and ultimately value will loop back to it’s ability to to be effective for a set purpose.

Our understanding of how Organisations ‘work’ is held typically within nested constructs: we have created a science and discipline of Organisations and their management, and hence our decisions today are build upon a pyramid of experience and understanding (or dogma, naive adulation and habit, depending upon your point of view). Some of what we do is so embedded that it’s heretical to suggest otherwise (just look at how the notion of ‘remote’ work has challenged the power structures and governance mechanisms of the legacy Organisation).

A Socially Dynamic Organisation is one that is still founded upon the old, but is relatively unconstrained by it, specifically because it has actively fractured some of the bonds (of power, structure, control) that hold it there.

We can consider two themes: the ‘Structures of Organisation’, and the ‘Mechanisms of Effect’.

Historically our structures of Organisation were vertical and Domain based (functions, hierarchy, tied into broader systems of differentiation and even eduction). Today they may be more fluid, interconnected, permeable, and dynamic.

Our Mechanisms of Effect would historically have been grounded in system and process, compliance and control, whereas today that will be supplemented, or indeed replaced by, social co-creation and fluid collaboration, reputation and knowledge economies, dynamic communities and social sense making, as well as distributed models of knowledge and Social Leadership.

All this is relevant at a strategic leadership level (to understand what is the essential purpose of the Organisation (as opposed to being tangled up in it’s legacy manifestation), and to consider the structures and mechanisms that will best be suited to the intent that we hold. And to do so in a way that is relatively unconstrained by the past.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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