Power and Virtual Organizations LO30061

From: Denham Grey (dgrey@iquest.net)
Date: 04/04/03

Replying to LO30051 --

At de Lange asks:

> Which paradigm does a LO follow -- the "information paradigm"
> or the "knowledge paradigm"?

This polarity may run deeper than the (explicit) information vs. (tacit)
knowledge distinction and involve a whole set of values, beliefs,
assumptions and mental models. One way to group these is to consider
'hard' vs. 'soft' mindsets. Let's explore:

Process driven (engineering?)

* Emphasis on inputs / outputs and efficiency, (faster, better, cheaper)
* Focus on sequence, flows, authority, explicit connections between
activities and roles
* Work is well-defined, everything is measured, concentration on
forecasting and prediction, boundaries are fixed, stable & clear
* Strong processes are found in procurement, warehousing, QC, billing,
receiving, shipping
* Rules rule, coherence is key, workflow is ordained
* Design is a dominant paradigm and re-engineering works! (at least it is

Living the practice (art?)

* Context and empathy is king, a holistic POV is valued
* Self-organization reigns, prediction is down-played
* Concerns are wider than economics and efficiency, e.g. loyalty, customer
relationships, reputation and doing the 'right' thing is key
* Meaning, judgement and sense-making over-rule the rules
* Emergence, agility and experimentation rather than design is the way to
go, follow the flow
* Dialog and distinctions are valued over directives and documentation
* Relationships and communication are key

This distinction is very important when working with ideas, insights,
intuition and knowledge. Quality questions, creative abrasion, situated
cognition, safe spaces, games, metaphor, dialog and analogy are essential
ingredients here. When we operate in a world of tangible objects and
operational systems, strong process, frequent measurements, monitoring
deviations and setting optimal conditions have great advantages.

The key lies in individual identity, belief in the power of measurements
and very different mental models around the 'nature' of the environment
within which we operate. One meeting ground is organizational memory where
(past) records and (current) meaning collide.

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Denham Grey <dgrey@iquest.net>

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