Re: Future of HR in LOs LO3599

Duncan Sutherland (
Thu, 2 Nov 1995 09:41:23 -0500

Replying to LO3561 --

Paul wrote:

>I was interested by your experience. One thing struck me- in
>choosing people that would fit in to the organisational culture, you
>may have beeen choosing a broad band of similar people. Were there any areas
>of weakness in the organisation that this created ? I so how was this
>managed ?

There is no question the people that ended up being 'hired' were more or
less aligned, ontologically and epistemologically speaking. However, we
tended to work in fairly small, multi-disciplined teams and, as a result,
we certainly did not suffer from a lack of diverging viewpoints. If your
question is, did we experience 'group think' as a result of our hiring
process, then the answer is: decidedly not (IMNSHO)! I should add that
the business we were in was 'design'. I use the scare quotes because
design, to our way of thinking, encompassed everything from physical
architecture (primarily retail) to branding to product development
consulting to organizational architecture. If there was a single
'weakness' that I could put my finger on, I think that it would be that
the firm _had_ to continually grow in order to ensure a continuous
infusion of fresh ideas.

As an aside, the way we 'hired' was similar to the way we used space. At
least in our U.S. operations, people negotiated with their coworkers for
the amount of space they felt they needed to do their 'minds best work'
(with all due respect to D.N. Perkins' book of the same name). We even
encouraged individuals and teams (although I am a bit uncomfortable using
the latter term because of the way it has been abused in the management
literature) to self-design or co-design their work settings. The
diversity of the people we ended up 'hiring' was mirrored in the diversity
of work settings in evidence! In addition to working as a senior
consultant in organizational architecture, one of my jobs at the firm was
chief infrastructure officer. I can tell you that developing and
supporting an organizational architecture that helped to enable this kind
of 'freewheeling' (learning?) enterprise was a daunting one, indeed!