Dealing with shadows in OD LO9786

Joe Katzman (
Fri, 6 Sep 96 09:25:03 -0500

Replying to LO9770 --

> 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.

It happens very frequently, and often with the collusion or even outright
support of HR and MIS departments themselves. That's what often makes them
so dangerous.

> 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).

Correct! They do. That's the point.

If quality hiring is not a concern right thoughout the organization, you
have a problem. It won't be a concern unless it's made one. Not delegated,
but treated as the strategic issue it is. Ditto knowledge management,
which niether HR nor MIS are really equipped to deal with effectively.

Succession planning is a top management team function, not HR's. Career
progression is a general management function - again, not something you
send to HR. If people want help with where they are and where they might
go, they should talk to either their manager or the HR specialist of the
department they're in. Frankly, the latter is itself a good indication
that there's a problem somewhere. HR specialists don't disappear in my
model - they just migrate and work under line authority. So benefits, etc.
still gets done, especially if there is (as there should be) a secure,
network-based application to support it.

The training and learning department remains a specialized staff function
in order to offer corporate-wide training, support local training
initiatives with their expertise when called upon, and help with some of
the knowledge management issues by acting as agents and catalysts.

I don't see the problem.

> 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

Considerable. Which is why all areas need to be involved, not just a staff


---------------------------------------------------- Joe Katzman, MBA

Communications And Technology (C.A.T.) Consulting Business Consulting, Internet Training, & Web Design

"The more you know, the more you can imagine." ----------------------------------------------------

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