I am struggling for a while with some questions. One of the first of them
"What are the living conditions of a LO?"
It is a natural question to consider the whole, the environment and the
organisation itself. Perhaps we have focussed a little bit too long inside
the LO and not have looked at the surroundings.
What is behind that question, what do I have in mind? Well, I was
wondering why there is such a small number of LO's. It seems a rare
species. I have two possible explanations.
1. Like living creatures, it looks as if LO's could survive only either in
a protected reserve, or they have found a special but rare niche. Because
if the breeding ground and the ideal environment of a LO is ordinary and
normal, then the LO should be the normal and common type of organisation.
Is the ordinary environment so harsh that a LO couldn't survive? Well, it
is possible. Let me try to make it clear.
Thanks to the many contributions of At de Lange my eyes opened for the bad
effects of too much introduced energy from outside into a system. If a
system or organisation could not digest the extra energy, it will break
down into many small pieces - an immergence. The main difference between
an immergence and an emergence is that in the first case the organisation
falls apart in many small spreading nuclei, whereas in the latter case an
organisation reorganises itself to a higher form of complexity around one
concentrating nucleus. Think of a Wedgwood tea cup that falls on the tile
floor and of the growing baby around a fertilized egg cell.
So, injects the ordinary environment too much energy in organisations, and
that therefore a constructive emergence is impossible?
One of the sources of too much energy is the avalanche of information, as
is recently discussed here on the list. I once have called this 'the
rifles with information bullets'.
Another source is the pressure of 'making-more-profit-than-before' (it is
even worse in these days, since organisations strive, forced by investors,
to increase the increase of profits). The demolishing affects of this
environmental attitude cannot be highlighted enough. Many, many of the
industrial disasters of the recent years are mainly due to these 'weapons
of mass destruction'. And I am afraid that many more victims are still to
come. One of the main injuries is that long term planning and research is
There are many other pressing energy sources in the environment of
organisations. But I think the above two are the most serious.
Is there an eco system where a LO could live, grow and survive?
2. The second possible reason why LO's are rare.
A LO emerges from an OO (Ordinary Organisation). It is an evolutionary
feature. The phenomenon of evolution is very interesting, but not simple
to comprehend. Evolution in nature is a result, it has no specific goal or
purpose. It happens.
If we look at the evolution of life on earth, we could see for sure that
mammals came later than birds and reptiles. And once there were no
Vertebrata, and once there were mainly plants and hardly any animal. We
could see that this natural evolution has a direction - ever increasing
complexity. So if we think of the evolution of the species LO, we might
come to the conclusion that the time is not yet ripe for this evolutionary
step. Should we patiently wait for the right moment?
Some years ago we had a dialogue on this list on medieval guilds,
comparable with LO's.
And there are other examples of LO's in the past. Does this mean that the
LO was a dead branch in the tree of evolution? The past has learned that a
LO could not survive. Or were these old examples of LO's just some
evolutionary experiments, like there are also many others in nature (for
instance in nearly every main class are species which could fly, or swim;
not only birds, or fishes). It should be, because there is an important
rule in evolution: it repeats itself never.
The main steps in the evolution of life on earth were caused by important
environmental changes. It is very popular in these days even to think of
catastrophic events like impacts of large meteorites. Whatever the event,
there were dramatic changes of the environment in the geological past -
composition of the atmosphere, temperature, position of continents in
respect to climate zones, sea level, salinity of the sea, etc. Important
conditions now on earth which causes an enormous biodiversity are the main
north-south oriented coastlines of continents (and thus passing several
climate zones), the atmospheric free oxygen, and the many mountain chains
with high altitudes. All ideal for many life forms in many places on the
And to combine both possibilities of the rareness of LO's - is this
environment not suitable for the evolutionary step to the birth of the
species LO? Shall we wait anxiously for a dramatic change of the
What doe you think?
Leo D. Minnigh, PhD <email@example.com>
workshops in thinking
Prinses Margrietlaan 7
NL 3136 AM Vlaardingen
+31 (0)10 4746430
leo minnigh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <Richard@Karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>
"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.