Change and choice as emergent LO5484
Fri, 9 Feb 1996 22:16:37 -0800

Replying to LO5442 --

Julie wrote...

> - does the river and
> emergence mean total lack of influence over where we go ???

IMHO emergence is not just giving up and being at the mercy of the flow,
but includes having some affect on the flow -- sometimes more, sometimes

It's kind of like canoeing or rafting down a river... The river(biz
environment) takes the vessel(company) 'forward', and we(employees/mgt.)
steer [within the confines of the river(environment)]. Sometimes we are
in fairly placid water and have almost 'total' control over our vessel.
Other times we hit the rapids and our ability to control the boat is
greatly diminished -- here we really go with the flow!

In placid waters we have time to plan, but in the rapids we must all be
adapting very quickly -- without centralized control. [Just-in-time
planning???] Each employee/dept must know what to do(common
vision/mission/goals) and adapt locally, but knowing how his/her
adaptation will affect the whole boat. To use an overused phrase... think
globally, act locally.

We need to find emergence/adaptation in our organizations and use it
wisely -- learn from it and leverage it. We do no need to eliminate it,
like most re-engineers would do! Many mgrs/consultants that see
organizations as machines, see emergent properties[like communities of
practice, informal networks, conversations, knowledge exchange/learning,
etc] just gumming up the works of their perfectly designed aparatus. They
want eliminate the emergent organization with the next tune-up and oil
change to their machine.

Valdis Krebs
Krebs & Associates
Los Angeles, CA

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