Evolution toward LO LO5291

Malcolm Burson (mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU)
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 19:54:38 -0500

Replying to LO5234 --

In answer to
>What evolutionary stages, or phases, must an organization
>go through in order to practice learning concepts?

I'd second the comments from others which say, "all of them."

But the situation as you describe is very reminiscent of my own
organization as it trudges fitfully towards the future. The kinds of
"conflict cultural traits" you describe (having a QI position, but keeping
it vacant for "budgetary reasons," e.g.) parallels nicely the kind of
passive-agressive ambiguity of response that I live with every day. For
example, in our present quest to re-think the formal leadership of our
unit (the largest in the organization), we began to move toward formally
recognizing a shared leadership model instead of just replacing the
departed department director. However, the Exec. Dir., after listening
to our mgt. team discussion of the matter, intervened with remarks that
began by reminding us of his commitment to a team approach, but closed
with his non-discussable assertion that he had to have a single director
to report to him. At which point everyone on the team except me made
soothing noises about how of course that was fine with us, and we really
didn't mean what we had said before, and if we did, it was really the same
as what he was saying.

My own increasing conviction is that perhaps there are no evolutionary
processes in the sense of progress along a defineable organizational
continuum or series of developmental stages. Instead, the practise of
learning concepts happens best in small, discrete locations and times
which only the passage of time itself may allow to produce a kind of
alignment that would then become normative for the whole. But I may just
be feeling more than little burnt out by my attempts at major system
change, and would welcome other stories by others who have actually
observed the kind of evolution you describe, and can help the rest of us
see what the pre-conditions for its occurance may be.

Keep us posted!

"Malcolm Burson" <mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU>