"Org Chart" for a Learning Organization

Richard Karash (rkarash@world.std.com)
Sun, 13 Nov 1994 13:18:19 +0001 (EST)

Gezinus, I've been thinking about your question...

To me, when we respond to questions like, "What does the xx organization
look like? What's the chart?" the answer reflects underlying paradigms.

What's the paradigm implicit when this question is answered with an "Org
Chart"? I think the "Org Chart" comes out of the paradigm "Plan, Direct &
Control" since it shows reporting relationships (i.e., the flow of
direction, responsibility, and accountability).

So, from the learning organization paradigm what would we want to see?
This is a harder question... Which relationships do we want to show on a
chart? Probably not reporting relationships.

>From the paradigm of process improvement, the chart is a process map. And
the links which cross department lines show the handoffs from one
function (or group) to another. It shows the interconnections in work
flow and information flow to get the work done. I think this is a partial
answer to your question -- In a learning organization, we would look more
at how things are done than we would look at reporting relationships.

But, the process map is too much about getting the immediate, tangible
work accomplished. And not about how the organization improves it's
processes or how it addresses and improves it's thinking. Could we draw a
"learning chart"? Or would this be too "far out" for 1994/5?

I saw a remarkable org chart from one of my clients recently. This was an
important part of a large oil company. The chart was not hierarchical, but
showed circles for the different functional units. The circles were
arrayed on the paper to show the most important interdependencies, how
much each group *related to* other groups. And, the chart included
external groups (in particular, suppliers). The links did *not* show who
reports to whom.

So, the big question to me is, "What do we want to show on the chart?"

On 9 Nov 1994, Gezinus J. Hidding wrote:

> What does an organization look like that has adopted (or is adopting, if
you will) a "learning organization" model? ... see what the learning
organization might look like, in terms of organization chart.

Richard Karash | (o) 508-879-8301 | Golf * Flying
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