Exploring the Functional Universe of Your Organization
The times when a computer had just one function are long gone: Today’s computers are means of communication, time planners, calenders, musical instruments and players, notebooks, filing systems, toys, we use them to get the weather forecast and as our business cards all rolled into one. However, the organizations of the computer age seem to ignore the development: A bank? Economy! A party? Politics! The school? Education!
On the threshold of the ‘next society’, this mono-functional common sense has obviously reached its limits: Banks act as patrons of the arts, churches are still power factors, political administrations have to be economically efficient, and universities are publicly assigned their ‘third mission’. We are on the verge of finding that not only computers but also organizations of the ‘next society’ are multi-functional, and start to wonder what this means for their identity.
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Thus, what functional system is in the center of gravity in your organization? Have the gravitational forces of your organization changed ? Have you explored a new fixed star in your universe? Is your organization about to develop a new identity?
Organizational Structures and Semantics
Imagine a hospital ruled by economic budgets; a bank dominated by micro-politics; a research lab basing their decisions on legal constraints first. Then imagine what happens to an organization whose self-conception is different from the reality of its own decision making processes. What happens if ‘performance does not match target’ in this most fundamental dimension?
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How functional are our organizations?
It is questions like these that mark the next frontier of organizational research and management. Please write to us if you can feel the challenge, too. There is an entire universe to explore.
- Roth, S. (2012), Leaving commonplaces on the commonplace. Cornerstones of a polyphonic market theory, Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 43-52.
- Roth, S. et al. (2010) Editorial: Struktur und Semantik der nächsten Organisation. In Dies. (Hrsg.) Organisation multimedial. Zum polyphonen Programm der nächsten Organisation, Heidelberg, Carl Auer Verlag, S. 5-24.