Organisational Identity LO11482

Mark Feenstra (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 12:00:57 +1200

Replying to LO11440 --

Bob Williams wrote

> What is interesting for me in this thread whether just because human
> activity systems contain purposeful humans, the system itself is
> purposeful. I can think of a number of organisations where the
> individuals have great purpose, and these purposes may even be the same
> (eg to make the organisation be really effective and efficient). Yet from
> an observer's point of view the organisation does not display that
> purpose, and indeed appears to be pursuing goals which none of the
> participants seek.

For me the question of whether the system is purposeful can be usefully
reframed by asking whether purposive systems have the capacity to become
purposeful, and if so under what conditions. My wondering is based on the
dramatic increases in organisational complexity and the potential for new
forms of consciusness to arise. The potential seems important to me as a
result of the idea that perhaps we have reached the top of one of those
evolutionary anthills in terms of human activity systems predicated on the
cooperative intelligence of the particpants. The next evolutionary step
could be up another evolutionary anthill altogether which is predicated on
meta human activity systems based on the collective intelligence of the
whole in addition to the individual intelligence of the participants.

Perhaps, as with individual human beings, there are degrees of
functionality in terms of the relationship between the parts and the whole
which manifest themselves in the continuum between wellness and disease.
In this context I wonder whether an organisational psychiatrist might
diagnose the vast majority of organisations as seriously disturbed...

I wonder what we might learn from ants, bees and geese in terms of the
potential for purposeful organisations?

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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