Dealing with shadows in OD LO9770

Keith Cowan (72212.51@CompuServe.COM)
05 Sep 96 16:02:45 EDT

Replying to LO9700 -- (Joe Katzman) discusses the role of HR and MIS:

>The more I think about it, the more it occurs to me that the whole shadow
>concept really underpins the way I see both HR and MIS. In my view, both
>are possessed of shadows so large and deep as to imperil the
>organization's future if they are given an independent base of power.
>Instead, my personal preference would be for a small core team as
>troubleshooters and architects when called on, and the rest dispersed
>among and directly responsible to the line managers. That core would be
>the "Training & Learning Department," not "HR". For IT, they'd be
>integrated with other key business executives as part of the "Business
>Processes Group," thus demonstrating quite clearly that the business needs
>and not the technology are in charge.

What Joe is highlighting here is a fundamental schizophrenia regarding the
roles of "line" and "staff" in any organization. Just as it would be
ridiculous to delegate the responsibility for revenue and expense to the
CFO (they are the scorekeepers), it is unfortunate that the practice of
delegating "people things" to HR and "technology things" to MIS has crept
into management systems. Sometimes this happens without any conscious
thought, other times it is just a convenient way of ducking CEO
accountabilities for complex and uninteresting (to them) subjects.

Thanks for introducing this Joe. Now I have a problem with your "Training
& Learning department" - I would like to think there are broader staff
issues than that like quality hiring, career progression, succession
planning, pay and benefits policy...not to mention "knowledge management"!
It might fit in any of the staff buckets: finance as an asset, HR as the
result of training & learning, and MIS as a process manager for much of
the captured organizational knowledge (in the programs and databases).

What are the implications of these issues to the successful progress
towards a systems thinking culture for an organization? Thanks for your
help. Cheers....Keith


Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>