Sunday, February 8, 2009

Organization Interventions

In Learning Organization Interventions and Orientations, I was particularly struck by the "Organizational Ideology" section.  The idea is that the core ideology of an organization (with "maintaining multiplicity of identities and views") will provide stability and learning while working toward the goals of the organization.  The article goes on to say that strong coupling between leaders and all members of the organization creates a greater sharing of information and understanding which can greatly support double-loop learning.  This also results in a more flexible and quicker response from the organization.

I see this as participative leadership or shared-leadership.  I believe that validating the individual identities of each member of the organization, while being explicit on what the "core" identity is in the organization, can result in a united workforce that works together to resolve conflict and keeps the organizational "core" in high esteem

Another aspect of interventions that help enable organizations to manage the exploration/exploitation tension is to create a superordinate organizational identity.  This section was especially intriguing to me as "organizational identity is described as the collective perceptions and beliefs on individuals regarding what are central, distinct, and enduring attributes of the organization."  I feel that our school has defined our central, enduring attributes and the candidates that are interviewed have the opportunity to know those attributes before accepting a position.  I would define these attributes as relational, communicative, concerned with the "whole" child, emphasis on character, spiritual formation, and family relationships.  I also feel that many of the teachers at our school exemplify these same attributes in their personal lives.  "If the individual perceives the attributes of the organization to be similar to the attributes that define themselves (i.e., their self-identity), then their self esteem is tied to the organizational identity."

I have never thought of our school in this way before.  But, I do believe that we enjoy a great deal of cohesion and harmony because the values, beliefs and core attributes are closely aligned.  I know that a faith-based education should include these kinds of attributes and I am thankful that I work in such a school that strives to create this kind of partnership between teachers, parents, students and the community.

In Bill Abernathy's powerpoint, he points out the differences between a bureaucratic organization and an open-network organization.  I like the open-network systems' results in terms of being more durable and more responsive to customers and external changes.  It seems that a sense of "teamwork" can help focus members on what they are there to do (serve customers) as opposed to being caught up in bureaucratic conflict and strife.  I'm sure that open networks have their share of problems, but it seems that conflict needs to be resolved quickly and efficiently if the organization is going to move on toward the goal.  It cannot spend time spinning its' wheels on chaos.

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