Some people say that there are learning organisations. Others say that is nonsense: “How can an organisation learn? Only people can learn.”. Some people say that organisations are living organisms. There are others who say that makes no sense.
Art Kleiner, belongs to the group of those who believe that organisations are living organisms which can learn (after all, he was one of the authors of the book “The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook” by Peter Senge and others).
Kleiner, who continuously inspires us with his provocative, reality-based ideas, has just written a very interesting text about organisations as living organisms in the April issue of strategy+business.
Comparing the four systems of an organisation – hierarchical, network, market and clan – to the four systems of the human body – muscular, neural, cardiovascular and endocrine systems – Kleiner emphasises how all systems are intertwined but also how all systems should be addressed individually.
The text is not extensive and should be read in its entirety by anyone interested in these subjects. However, I cannot resist but to leave you with some fabulous quotes.
”management thinkers have largely come to accept the idea that organizations are not machines; they are as unpredictable, unruly, self-organizing, and even sentient as any living beings.”
”although organizations may not literally be alive, when it comes to running and changing them, they might as well be.”
”research on strategy execution, conducted at Booz & Company by Gary Neilson and others, suggests that effective cultural change starts not with rearrangement of the lines of an org chart, but with information flow and networks.“
”Resistance to change occurs not because people fear change, but because they fear the consequences of contradicting the perceived priorities of the core group.“
The last sentence, the most extraordinary one, is closely related to Kleiner’s reflections of who really matters in an organisation.
Nota: Existe aqui uma versão deste texto em português.