Nov 5, 2003

On emerging Organizational Structures

My post on ISTT

The last century was dominated by the thinking of organization as
machines and view of organizational processes as mechanistic process
(where the job of the employees was to "manage" only, and terms
like "Value chains" originated - organizational metaphors )

This way of looking at organization still permeates our thinking
today, but there are emerging a new type of organizational system
that do not follow these models.

The question I want to ask is, do you think these reflect a
fundamental shift to how organizations are understood and managed ,
and point to a new age...or do you think these are only exceptions
and the organizational structures that the majority of us work and
make meaning for our lives will remain unchanged ?

<< The following links and text courtesy Dr. Madhukar Shukla
Gautam >>

Visa International:

(in fact, I will also recommend that you explore the
site - it is pretty interesting - and is founded by Dee Hock, the
founder and CEO emeritus of Visa International... another article on
Dee Hock can be found at Fast Company )

Mondragon Community:
A $5bn cooperative in Basque country (Spain), with 120 different
companies, 42,000 employees, which runs its own schools, colleges,
banks, credit unions, etc. since last 50 years.
(this last link has many links on articles/ resources on Mondragon)

To the best of my knowledge, one of the first companies to adapt this
perspective was Toyota, in their production systems (we call it JIT,
Kanban, etc. nowadays - focus on its efficiency, while forgetting its
foundations). Taichi Ohno, who designed the Toyota Production System
(in a book by the same name - wrote):

"A business organisation is like a human body. The human body
contains autonomic nerves that work without regards to human wishes
and motor nerves that react to human commaand to control muscles. The
human body has an amazing structure and operation; the fine balance
and precision with which body parts are accommodated in the overall
design are even more marvellous...

At Toyota, we began to think about how to install an autonomic
nervous system in our own rapidly growing business organisation. In
our production plant, an autonomic nerve means making judgements
autonomously at the lowest level; for example, when to stop
production, what sequence to follow in making parts, or when overtime
is necessary to produce the required amount.

These decision can be made by factory workers themselves, without
having to consult the production control or engineering departments
that correspond to the brain in the human body. The plant should be a
place where such judgements can be made by workers autonomously."

Needless to say (and I might as well admit:0))... that underlying
these, there is an ideological/value dimension (viz, business is a
part of society/communnity, and not the otherway round; that wealth
can be created in more comprehensive ways other than making just
profit/dividends, etc.)... In case, you are intereted in exploring
this perspective, check out:
and then
and then
etc. etc.