LOs in Higher Ed LO19954

Dr. Steve Eskow (dreskow@magicnet.net)
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 07:44:53 -0800

Replying to LO19457 --
[Host's Note: Steve writes, "Rick, I found two messages in my Outlook
outbox, unsent. If they are still of interest, here they are." ...Rick]

Dr. Abeles asks:

>1) What is the "organization" that is supposed to be modeled in higher
>education? Does it differ from the generic form found in the corporate
>world and to which Senge's model is being applied? If so, where and if
>not, why?

Those like Drucker who have studied the university's organization rather
than assumed it point to these features, among others:

Power and governance is radically different than the common command and
control power hierarchy of the corporate world.

Leadership by contract as well as tradition shares power with the
knowledge workers: the faculty. Power is drastically diffused: there are
limits and constraints on what the board of trustees and the college
president and administration can do, and substantial control of the major
work of the organization is vested by contgract as well as tradition in
the knowledge workers--in the Faculty Senate (which shares governance with
the administration) and the teaching departments. Thus, the knowledge
workers have substantial control over the curriculum, which , along with
research, is the work of the institution.

Students, too, have a budget of power vested in the student government,
and zones of activity which they control.

Critics have long satirized the "anarchy" of the college organization,
calling it, for example "a collection of fiefdoms united by a common
parking lot."

Students of organization like Drucker see it as the kind of decentering
and decentralizing of the large organization, and the movement of power
from central administration to the knowledge workiers who have actual,
rather than nominal, power, as a corporate model of the future.

Steve Eskow


"Dr. Steve Eskow" <dreskow@magicnet.net>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>