Symbiosis in LOs LO11213
Sun, 1 Dec 1996 22:53:11 -0500

Replying to LO11196 --

In a message dated 96-12-01 22:19:22 EST, Robert Bacal wrote:

> By now tracing chains of chains or clusters as well as clusters of chains
> or clusters, the complex whole may be traced. The unofficial/informal
> structure of an organisation in its day to day actions exhibit this
> complex chain/cluster network and the various types of symbiosis in it.

Forgive what is truly an ignorant question, but could you suggest the
utility of such an analysis--eg. how it could, or better, is used to
improve organizations and org. learning? Thanks.
--- end of quote ---

I'll let At tell you how he sees relationship of the above to LOs.
Nonetheless, I'm more than willing to admit that At's message thrilled me.
What I see in these words is a description of how information/knowledge
can "flow" through an entire organization, allowing concerted action to

The word cluster had particular interest to me as an old DEC VAX/VMS guy,
because a cluster of VMS machines is considered a "network." Modern
networks are interesting beasts, because the more connections there are
the more possible routes information can travel to its destination. This
provides a great deal of redundancy, which actually increases the chances
that a "message" will be delivered to its recipient. Each message may take
an entirely different route, depending on what connections are and aren't
working (or that are or are not bogged down) at any given time. For
instance, the content of this message will be broken down into small
packets, and each packet may travel an entirely different route to Rick's
server, WORLD.STD.COM, and then reassembled on the receiving end. I don't
care that each packet takes a different route; all I care about is that
the message is properly received by Rick's server. (This is a concept that
has been understood and used for years in the telecommunications

Despite the fact that many (most?) organizations still depend on
hierarchical structures, there are -- and will continue to be -- informal
networks that flourish to the point of keeping the organization alive.
Eventually (or hopefully) organizations will begin to see that it is the
informal network that is keeping them alive, and thus make the transition
from our hierarchical and mechanical structures to a network/messaging
system structure.

Networks and messaging systems were designed to move information at high
speeds, which is one of the defining characteristics of survival in the
Information Age. It is more than probably that future organizations will
reflect this, both in theory and in structure.

Benjamin B. Compton

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