The Nature of Organizations and the Creation of Order CARDINAL STRITCH UNIVERSITY EDU 575: LEADING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE Dr. Jackson Parker Dr. Robert Davidovich Dr. Kris Hipp
Organizations are About Creating Order Have you ever taken the time to consider: What do I believe about how order in human organizations is formed?
Order: Two Choices Order is inherently not present. Therefore it must be imposed by some outside authority. OR Order is implicit. It emerges naturally through relationships and interactions.
Order Order is inherently not present. This view of order is rooted in classic, Newtonian science.
Newtonian Science Newton’s laws helped create an image of an orderly universe pieced together like cogs in a giant machine. “It was a world in which chance played no part.” (Toffler, 1984, p. xiii) • The Newtonian paradigm of science is referred to as a mechanistic model. • In this model, understanding something requires one to reduce it to its basic parts, with the belief that when the parts are understood, then put back together, one is able to understand the whole, and predict its behavior with certainty. • The reductionist approach has worked remarkably well to create understanding for three centuries and is deeply imbedded not only in our science, but also in our culture, as well as our thinking about organizations; our mental model of “the way the world works”.
It Works Just Like Clockwork Kepler, Descartes, Newton. The clock as the model of the universe. Horace Mann and The King of Prussia. (compulsory ed, graded schools, teacher training and certification, national testing, national curriculum, mandatory kindergarten). Why? To sort and indoctrinate!
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. —Alvin Toffler
Roots of Our Learning Command-and-control (supported by Newtonian Science) has been the basis of organization for three hundred years. The world (from this perspective) would be considered to be governed by linear, mechanical, cause-and-effect relations, with all things being predictable and controllable. 1999, Barab, Cherkes-Julkowski,Swenson, Garrett, Shaw, and Young, Principles of Self-organization: Learning as Participation in Autocatakinetic Systems, The Journal of Learning Sciences
Predictable and Controllable • We manage by separating things into parts, • We believe that influence occurs as a direct result of force exerted from one person to another, • We engage in complex planning for a world that we keep expecting to be predictable, and • We search continually for better methods of objectively perceiving the world. Source: Margaret Wheatley Finding Our Way
Creating Order: Old Perspective Patrick Dolan’s “System in Place”.
Command-and-control • Hierarchy and lines of authority are the “load-bearing” structures • Those above are supposed to know more than those below • Fate of the organization rests on the shoulders of a few key leaders • To maximize control, organization is viewed in isolation of environment
Command-and-control Paradigm Good for: • Productivity • Consistency • Procedures, rules and regulations
Command-and-control Paradigm Strengths; works well with: • Straightforward tasks • Stable environment • Same product time after time
Command-and-control Paradigm Weaknesses: • Difficulty adapting • Bureaucracy • Higher dissatisfaction
Unlearning • Each of us works in organizations designed from Newtonian images of the universe. • We need to stop seeking after the universe of the seventeenth century and begin to explore what has become known to us in the twentieth century. • We need to expand our search for the principles of organization to include what is presently known about the universe. Source: Margaret Wheatley, Finding Our Way
Ilya Prigogine: A (Very) Brief History of Certainty “The Fundamental Laws of Science” … A creation of humans so we could feel more secure in a troubled and untidy world? If the systems of the world (universe) are evolving, shouldn’t the “laws of science” be evolving too? Time is real (Newtonian Physics says it is an illusion peculiar to humans), predictability is an illusion.
LISA RANDALL: HOW MANY DIMENSIONS? Three, plus time? Five, Up, Up, and Away? 10 or 12, but we aren’t built to perceive them? Think about Flatland; read the book, see the movie. Edwin Abbott Abbott, 1884 Or Try the movie 1965, 1982, 2007 Or Really challenge yourself with the movie What The Bleep Do We Know?
Trend: Away From Command-and-Control • Tightly controlled • Command-and-control • Self-organizing • Start-ups • Open-source • Social networks Continuum of Organizational Structure
Directions of Educational Change To: • Hybrid networks and hierarchies • Empowered periphery • Managing ongoing dilemmas • Lightweight, smart, ad hoc infrastructure • Custom fit • Design with expert users From: • Hierarchical structures • Centralized control • Solving discrete problems • Ubiquitous, monolithic infrastructure • One size fits all • Design for average users Source: “Drivers of Change 2006-2016”, Knowledge Works Foundation, Spring 2008
This is different than the kinds of change we have tried to manage in the past … these changes involve problems with complex dynamics – not linear, direct cause/effect relationships.
Changes of this nature require strategies that go beyond “either-or” thinking.
Peter Senge “Schools are not ‘broken’ and in need of fixing. They are a social institution under stress that needs to evolve.”
Peter Senge What will cause the diverse innovations needed to lead to a coherent overall pattern of deep change? I believe that the emerging understanding of living systems can guide thinking for the future. (Schools That Learn, p.52)
Order Order is implicit. This view of order is rooted in the understandings developed in the New Sciences (Quantum Physics, Evolutionary Biology, Chaos Theory, Complexity Theory, Neuroscience, Thermodynamics)
One of the most important impacts of New Science understandings is that systems are: Self-organizing
Self-organization • Purpose and principles commonly shared and articulated • Freedom to act within that purpose • Information flow • Self-referencing (new information and feedback referenced against purpose) • Relationships
Self-organization Someone notices something and chooses to be disturbed – referencing that disturbance against why the organization exists.
Self-organization The disturbance created is circulated through the networks of relationships.
Self-organization Meaning is created as the disturbance is referenced against the common purpose. The meaning changes as each individual interacts with it. Eventually the meaning either amplifies or diminishes.
Self-organization If the meaning grows to where the organization cannot ignore it, then adaptive action is possible.
Common Purpose “Purpose and principle, clearly understood and articulated, and commonly shared, are the genetic code of any healthy organization. To the degree that you hold purpose and principles in common among you, you can dispense with command-and-control.” Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of VISA
Wheatley Three conditions of self-organizing Organizations: • Identity • Information • Relationships
Wheatley Identity: The sense-making capacity of the organization • In deciding what to do, a system will refer back to its sense of self. • Every organizing effort needs to begin by exploring and clarifying the intentions and desires of its members. • In a chaotic world, organizational identity needs to be the most stable aspect of the endeavor. Structures and programs come and go, but an organization with a coherent center is able to sustain itself through turbulence because of its clarity about who it is. Source: Finding Our Way
Wheatley Information: The medium of the organization • Complex, living systems thrive in a zone of exquisitely sensitive information processing, on a constantly changing edge between stability and chaos that has been dubbed “the edge of chaos.” In this dynamic region, new information can enter, but the organization retains its identity. Contradicting most efforts to keep organizations at equilibrium, living systems seem to seek this far-from-equilibrium condition to stay alive. • When information is available everywhere, different people see different things. There is a need for many more ears and eyes. • It is information – unplanned, uncontrolled, abundant, superfluous – that creates the conditions for the emergence of fast, well-integrated, effective responses. Source: Finding Our Way
Wheatley Relationships: The pathways of organization • Relationships are the pathway to the intelligence of the organization • Organizations held at equilibrium by well-designed organizational charts die. In self-organizing systems, people need access to everyone; they need to be free to reach anywhere in the organization to accomplish work. • People need opportunities to “bump up” against others in the system, making the unplanned connections that spawn new ventures or better-integrated responses. Source: Finding Our Way
Self-organization Good for: • Close relationship with customer • Value-driven actions • Autonomy and entrepreneurship
Self-organization Strengths: • Adaptive • More open and trusting • More productive and satisfied work force
Self-organization Weaknesses: • Tactical leadership more difficult • Implementation of tactics; programs, projects, improvement (vs. innovation), can be slower and less uniform.
Professional Learning Communities Where does an important form of school improvement fit into this discussion of order?
Building Learning Communities Shift in Scientific World View: Old View: Reality is solid, separate, static, objectively measurable. New View: Reality is emergent, potential, relationships (everything is connected); what you measure, you alter. Teams are too dysfunctional: Collective lowered IQ (Group think). “I’ll tell you what I really think in the parking lot after the meeting.”
Building Learning Communities Creative Organization, Creative Communities -Build bridges between scientific and artistic thinking and communities. -Fissure or split between art and science is both unscientific and inartistic. Both science and art are committed to both: -Vision: Imagining the Dream; to see truths; to grasp the right; to help; to care and love; to understand; to create; to cherish the existence and inevitability of mystery. -Reality: Unrelenting commitment to see/discover/depict reality as it is. Peter Senge (last two slides, “Systems Thinking in Action”, 1995)
Dimensions of a PLC • Shared and Supportive Leadership • Shared Values and Vision • Collective Learning and Application • Shared Personal Practice • Supportive Conditions • Relationships • Structures (Hord, 1997)
Shared and Supportive Leadership Nurturing leadership among staff Shared power, authority and responsibility Broad-based decision-making that reflects commitment and accountability Administrators share power, authority, and decision-making, while promoting and nurturing leadership.
“School Leadership needs to be a broad concept that is separated from person, role, and a discrete set of individual behaviors. It needs to be embedded in the school community as a whole. Such a broadening of the concept of leadership suggests shared responsibility for a shared purpose of community.” --Lambert, 1998, Building Leadership Capacity in Schools
Parallel Leadership in Command & Control ParallelLeadership assumes equivalence of teacher and administrator leadership in school improvement processes to enhance school capacity. PrincipalsTeachers Strategic Leaders Pedagogical Leaders Grounded in the values of: • Mutual trust • Shared directionality • Individual expression --Andrews & Crowther, 2002
Parallel Leadership in a Self –Organizing School • Roles not so clearly assigned (i.e., Pedagogical-teachers v. Strategic-principals) • More staff positions of the school community involved (i.e., aides, custodians, secretaries, clerks, bus drivers). • External community significantly involved (parents, neighborhood, business, advocacy groups, government, etc). • Mutually shared values and vision are even more important