What is the purpose of an organisational structure?
Almost every enterprise consists in the pursuit of a task with insufficient resources. Almost all big tasks require the division of labour. What organisations do is to enable individuals to concentrate on their contribution to the common task without having to know and understand the complexity of all activities and interactions in the rest of the enterprise.
On being imposed in an inherently complex and dynamic environment, organisations start off, at first, at a tolerable level of imperfection. And rather soon in their life, this level becomes worse. Not because their design was bad, but because their rigidity cannot account for the unpredictable developments around them. A period of suffering and resignation ensues, until the situation becomes so intolerable that an organisational re-design is seen as inevitable. An exceptional effort is made to bring the re-creation about like a Phenix out of the ashes, and the cycle can start again.
But what if we stop considering organisations as something that is “designed” on paper and then “implemented” in reality? What if the organisation is just how collaboration “happens”? And what if part of the “happening” of collaboration is that all the time, people intend to change something about how their collaboration is happening, so that new collaboration is constantly emerging and adapting as the result of an ongoing negotiation?
Once you look at it this way, your only focus is to help the negotiation.
The key to the dynamic organisation lies in low opportunity costs of structural development and adaption. We work with our partner Sustainance to enable exactly this: The negotiation of the organisation around activities and contributions which can be adapted to changing needs with just the people involved. Together with strong meta-structures which remain robust in a dynamic setting, your enterprise develops those self-healing capabilities which we all dream of when we claim that, instead of the Taylorist machine, today’s organisations should be designed to the analogy of organisms.