Friday, February 21, 2014

Complex Adaptive Systems Change (CASC)

Understanding change within a framework of 
Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS)

Lichtenstein identified a three-stage process of forming complex adaptive systems change (CASC).[i]  Stage 1 is an increased dynamic ordering that is accomplished by drawing energy from the environment.  Any attempt to maintain stability runs counter to using this outside energy that is pushing for change away from the local peak on the fitness landscape.  These frequent pushes away from equilibrium combined with non-proportional transfer across the system can cause infrequent, but very large impacts on the system.  The result is “that the organizational configurations or patterns of behavior that come into being allow the system to achieve its goals, while at the same time, the achievement of goals allows the configuration itself to be reproduced.”[ii] 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Complexity in Organizational Change

Capability building
Clarke and Meldrum examined as a case study four individuals who were involved in a management development program that encourages change leadership.[i]  The organization’s purpose in establishing such a personal development program was not to initiate large-scale planned change, but to build organizational capabilities to move change forward within their area of influence.  Through building this foundation the organization is preparing itself for an increased likelihood of being better positioned when transformative change is needed to meet changes in the environment. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Barriers to organizational change

How can you learn from failure?  Sometimes the failure to learn is a greater barrier to change than resistance itself.

Thorne made a very strong case that success can only be understood and attained through first understanding failure.[i]  This argument is built on learning theory as applied to organizational change.  It also addresses the tendency of researchers and authors to focus on success stories while overlooking examples of failed attempts at organizational change.  However, this still slights the high failure rate of organizational change and the many mentions that are made to the reasons leading to the failures. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Organizational Design – Classification Blending

How should organization models be classified?  Increasingly, in some ways they are becoming more similar than different?

The changing, global economy is even starting to alter the way organizations might be classified.  Traditionally, organizations have been classified by mission and legal structure into three categories: profit, non-profit, and governmental.  Each has a different governance structure and is more often identified by differences than similarities.  However, an open systems viewpoint easily identifies many shared stakeholder groups as well as more internal processes in common than different.  While the revenue model and related mindset are very different (value exchange, voluntary funding, or taxation), they all face similar internal decision-making systems though with different missions and weighting of stakeholders.  Within a long-term perspective, all organizations have volunteer staff (especially in a good economy) regardless of their mission. Leadership faces three challenges in any governance structure: dynamic direction setting, alignment of personal and collective objectives, and individual goal commitment.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Creating shared understanding of future possibilities

A strategic vision is usually thought to be solely future oriented.  Instead, consider creating shared understanding of future possibilities!

The traditional concept of strategic vision is future oriented:
·         A vision provides an organization a forward looking, idealized image of itself.
·         Moves outside the usual assumptions.
·         Concentrates on the end goal, not the means to reach the goal.
·         Followers gain ownership by developing the means (action plan).