Symbiosis in LOs LO11430

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Sat, 14 Dec 1996 11:24:50 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO11213 --

A lot of good stuff deleted here...

> 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

This comment by Ben qualifies as a great quote. If you don't mind, I
would put it in my Syllabus for the Principles of Management course I'll
be facilitating very soon. I think that the computer and its allies have
brought to us more than speed. In the beginning of the computer era, I
saw companies installing air conditioning systems (to control temperature
and pollution), for the first time! It was not done to protect people,
but to protect the equipment. NOw, since the computers have developed so
much, both humans and machines enjoy the air controlled environment.

Now Ben uses the advances of Information Technology to explain how
information travels in non-hierarchical mode, to improve that the message
will get to its destination in its original form. The formal, traditional
organizational strucutres cannot guarantee the accuracy and speed of
communication necessary in today's environment. For some time now, I have
been discussing the notion that the flatter, team oriented organization
would enjoy a more efficient and effective environment for communications.
I always remember Jay Galbraith's (197?) Designiing Complex Organizations,
where the only complex thing about them was how the handled information to
resolve exceptions (the basis for this book). It was based not only the
premise that the hierarchy had the authority to solve situation, but that
they also had the knowledge.

In those days, I argued that this notion denied (ignored) the fact that
everyone in the organization possessed information of value to the
decision making process. Now, in a more dynamic world, a world that is
learning about cutomers' perception of value, etc., it has become very
obvious that the informal networks are as important or more important than
the formal channels. The authoritarian style of management has been
forced to rethink this notion, given the speed at which competitive forces
move today.

By the way, the discussion about the Return of the Authoritarian Style is
some weird to me, because I have never thought this style has gone any
where! I would say that most of the firms and other institutions, at
least in the U.S., are still under some form of authoritarian style of
management. This is the major source of inspiration for Dilbert!


-- Ivan,


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