Evolution toward LO LO5743

Charles Parry (74150.236@compuserve.com)
20 Feb 96 09:57:32 EST

[Connected arbitrarily to Evolution toward LO LO5381 by your host...]

In an email, If Price (at PewleyFort@eworld.com - I've posted his comments
to the list to invite others in to the exploration) said;

>Companies are not only systems created and controlled by those who manage
them but also self-organising entities that evolve through learning.
Whereas an organism is a creation of natural replicators, genes, an
organisation can be seen as a product of an alternative replicator, the
meme or mental model, acting, like a gene, to preserve itself in an
Evolutionary Stable System. The result is an organisation which self
maintains around a set of unspoken and unwritten rules and assumptions.

>Biological evolution is stimulated by environmental change and
reproductive isolation; the process of punctuated equilibrium . Corporate
innovation shows the same pattern. Innovations in products and processes
occur in groups isolated from prevailing mental norms.

>Successful organic strains possess a genetic capability for adaptation.
Organisations which wish to foster learning can develop an equivalent,
mental capability. Unlike their biological counterparts they can exert
conscious choice and puncture the memetic codes that seek to keep them
stable; the mental models of individuals, and the strategies, paradigms
and unwritten rules at the company level.

>I feel a bit like a peripheral isolate myself for I know similar ideas
are bouncing around on the LO List. I look forward to engaging them and
await any response you choose to make with interest.

If, perhaps you're familiar with the concept of equifinality? So you may
have developed an innovative path to arrive where some others have. The
similarities and differences are both interesting! Steve Cabana & I
recently wrote an article about leadership and authority (Journal of
Quality and Participation) which points out that most organizational
"leaders" are in positions of authority and therefore have strong
constraints on their ability to make change - especially of the type you
refer to here, if I understand you aright - changing the DNA - the
culture, identity (or even the species) of the organization by exerting
*conscious choice*. Perhaps in (large) organizational life DNA refers to
Do Not Adjust?

Another thought. If we took on the age old nature vs nurture discussion
and aimed it at corporations as a genus, what might we delineate as being
on the nature side - as genetically determined behaviors and constraints,
so to speak?


Charles Parry
Specialized Resources International

Charles Parry <74150.236@compuserve.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>