Organisational Identity LO11354

Mark Feenstra (
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 12:48:53 +1200

A few days ago I was involved in a conversation between several New
Zealand non-profit organisations who in various ways actively promote
Organisational Learning. We came together with one of our intentions being
to explore what might be possible for OL over the next decade or so and
how we might best cooperate to serve whatever possibility emerged.

During this conversation the question arose as to what the essential
identity of OL is that will survive the life time of the term itself. The
ostensible reason for our interest was to enable us to bring some broader
and more inclusive coherence to the "cause" that OL itself is an aspect of
(or perpaps a partial description for).

Reflecting on this conversation subsequently has led me back into a deeper
question about OL which has to do the question of identity. I have heard
about and played a little with ideas such as instituional memory and
collective consciusness. Now I am coming back around to the aspect of OL
which originally switched my lights on - the potential for organisations
to emerge as self reflective living systems in their own right.

For example a question arises with mission/vision statements & other such
projections as I play with the possibility that an organisation is in fact
a primitive living system with at least the possibility of a "mind of its
own". Currently various stakeholder groups feel at liberty to seek to
impose their views onto "their" organisation. The thinking about inclusive
processes does not yet appear to take seriously the possibility that we
might refer to intelligence of the whole itself.

If one current leap in evolutionary terms is from individual human to
collective forms of consciousness then will the moment arrive when the
organisation itself is able to consciously conceive its own possibilities.
What will this mean for the people who are themselves integral parts (for
some of the time) of the organisation? What will it mean for the
potential of the organisation relative to other stakeholders such as
shareholders and customers? How will such forms of being relate to the
ecology in which they find themselves? Where will they be on the
evolutionary scale in terms of intelligence? What conditions will be most
conducive to the emergence of such levels of being and what will be the
signs of their emergence into actuality?

A flood of questions seems to spill out of this possibility.

The underlying spring seems to rise from trust that a level of
intelligence far greater than human intelligence is at work in life and
that it will be for the best to attempt to cooperate with this
intelligence in whatever ways I can, without in any way abandoning
responsability for my choices.

Warm regards



Mark Feenstra Win Win Group PO Box 99 193 Auckland, New Zealand Ph. 64 9 307 0888 Fax. 64 9 307 0891 Yours for creative action aligned to the well being of the whole

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