Re: Chas. Handy "Beyond Certainty" LO2767
Tue, 12 Sep 1995 15:00:04 -0500

Replying to LO2745 --

John O'Neill wrote:

>Much of the "redundancy" in headquarters, and organisations in general, is
>providing the depth of expertise for the organisation to cope with
>uncertainty and novel situations. Management initiatives that aim to
>simply increase productivity by reducing headcount are effective if the
>world doesn't change and all situations can be handled by routine
>procedures. Unfortunately I don't think this is the case even in the
>manufacturing industry any more.


Speaking organizationly, you can cut fat, but at some point you begin to
cut muscle, and then bone, and maybe even brain. And that brain-power
sesrves as a critical resource in a knowledge / information related
enterprise, just as the muscle-power serves the traditional manufacturing
operation (if there is such a thing anymore).

So a critical question, in an environment rife with 'uncertainty and novel
situations' becomes how much surplus or slack or currently un-used
brain-power should an organization carry? And when we never know just how
much extra power we will need (and in the case of knowledge / information
/ reasoning-power who actually has it) -- does that mean organizations
have to keep everyone forever? You may be able to use a 'temporary
worker' for those 'routine procedures', but what about the un-routine

Michael Ayers        (612) 733-5690      FAX (612) 737-7718
IT Education Svcs/3M Center 224-2NE-02/PO Box 33224/St Paul MN 55133-3224
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