« On self-organization and emergence: #1 - Processes not systems | Main | Seth Godin on bloggin' »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bas Reus

Another great post Chris. It's great to see how self-organization is being explained regarding the informal coalitions framework. Maybe I should order the book ;)

If we take a closer look to the 2nd OD, the organizational design aspect, how do you think the the networked society can fit the framework? How can organizations be designed, or aligned, regarding the new given of mass networking? Or better, how can online collaboration fit the whole framework? And where does it perhaps not fit the framework? Again, maybe I should first order your book ;)

Tom Gibbons

I would like to comment just bit on the concept of self management. I've worked a lot with Dr. Edmund J. Freedberg and his work regarding Activation (see book here - http://www.freedberg.com/ejfibook.html)
and he treats the concept of self management as an individual skill set that can be developed. Interestingly he focuses on the areas of self confidence, self direction and self motivation to generate more effective self management behaviours. It seems there may be some similarities to the 4 areas you describe Chris and I would think all would be important to self management from both an individual and organizational perspective.

I have found Freedberg's work very empowering for individuals but also quite challenging since I think we often say we want more autonomy, power, and such but actually having to live with the consequneces of the different choices you have when you do have those things can be quite difficult.

Chris Rodgers

Hi Bas and Tom. Many thanks for your comments.

Bas, you ask about the networked society and on-line collaboration. Firstly I should say that this topic is not covered in Informal Coalitions, which looks at the internal dynamics of organizations. It’s still a good read, though – or so they tell me!

Now to my thoughts on your question. Given the social complexity of society, the extent to which any planned design for on-line collaboration might be realized in practice would depend wholly on the self-organizing interplay of the myriad of 'local' sense-making interactions. Even where information exchange via 'the net' is widespread and open, I would argue that sense-making conversations - and the dynamics of human interaction that accompany them - can only occur 'locally' (i.e. through one-to-one and 'small group' exchanges). In the same way that Ralph Stacey would argue in relation to the world-wide dissemination of a CEO’s speech (via video or the net, say), any 'broadcast' information, propositions, rules etc can only serve as an invitation for others to engage in there own, local exchanges. And then, whatever emerges - locally and globally - will emerge!

Tom, thanks for the link to Edmund Freeberg’s book. I hadn’t heard of it. There do appear to be a number of common threads, certainly in terms of a belief in people’s potential.

As regards my Unlocking Organizational Talent framework, it is about valuing people as individuals, helping them to enhance their self-worth and enabling them to maximize their contribution to the organization’s success. It begins by identifying their core skills and building on these through training and development, consolidation of new knowledge and skills, and the provision of value-adding information. It focuses on enabling people to become more self-sufficient, take more responsibility for their actions and exert more control over their own output, in terms of cost, quality and quantity. At the same time, it also spurs them to work much more closely with others, in interdependent networks, whilst still encouraging individual initiative and diversity. I make the point that using the framework will only be successful if those in leadership positions (throughout the organization) take time to understand and apply its principles thoroughly; and if they help staff to make sense of its underlying principles and practices in the light of emerging challenges. One thing I would reiterate is that it starts with an individual’s strengths, in the context of their required contribution, and works ‘outwards’ from these in a ‘bespoke’ way. It is not about applying a pre-defined set of competencies.

There are two related posts on this blog that you might find interesting/useful. The first (http://bit.ly/hN1YA) introduces the idea of the Contribution Statement (rather than Job Description) and the second (http://bit.ly/XDjb8) refers to my MMObilizing Commitment framework. The latter is about seeking to create an environment in which people have the motive, means and opportunity to excel. Metaphorically speaking, it's the ‘wall socket’ into which you insert the Unlocking Organizational Talent ‘plug’.

As always, the notion of “success” in relation to the use of these frameworks must be tempered by an acknowledgement of the complex social dynamics of organization, in which managers can act with intention but not be guaranteed of particular outcomes. And, mindful of other points made in this series of conversations on self-organization, these frameworks are only facilitative of some aspects of self-management, they aren’t meant to be comprehensive.

Cheers, Chris

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)