Boundaryless Organization LO22915

AM de Lange (
Wed, 20 Oct 1999 09:31:53 +0200

Replying to LO22902 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Dressler" <> writes:

>When Deming stresses that TQM is not what he had in mind
>and in fact contradicts what he had to say, then this is for me
>a good example of what can happen. At wrote: "And who are
>surprised most -- those who stressed one essentiality while
>not denying the other six."

Greetings Winfried,

It is wonderful how you pick up a seemingly simple sentence such as the
one above. That very sentence had been the result of many hundreds, if not
thousands, of hours of reading and contemplation.

My goal was to find outstanding people all over the academical spectrum
and see how much the seven essentialities of creativity played a role in
their success. In the great majority of cases the person seemed to be
extraordinary sensitive to a certain essentiality (but very seldom to more
than one). In most of these cases the people who became sensitive to that
person's leadership, became followers of that person rather extending his
leadership with their own to greater heights. They became followers rather
than leaders because they did not have the same awareness to the leading
essentiality in that person's life. And as followers with less awareness
of the specific essentiality, they usually distorted the insights of the
very person which they followed.

Obviously, the person would self have not risen to such great heights if
one or more of the remaining six essentialities were still very immature.
However, many of the followers often showed clear immaturity in one or
more of the remaining six essentialities -- another reason why they became
followers rather than leaders themselves. Most interestingly these
followers believed that they were expressing their leader's viewpoints
closely whereas the leader realised that they were actually diverging from
his view points.

Winfried, I must admit that at first this very complex picture was very
confusing to me. But after studying Jan Smuts (the father of holism --
wholeness) once again in great depth, the pattern became clear to me. With
all his insights and accomplishments on wholeness, he could not prevent
the Afrikaner people in the 1948 elections to vote for apartheid -- an
ideology directly opposed to wholeness. He was very surprised at how his
political opponents used his insights, turned them around and used them to
oppose him!

Deming was very sensitive to the essentiality otherness ("quality-
variety"). And like Smuts he also became aware how his followers (would he
not have liked them to be co-leaders in learning rather than followers?)
distorted his viewpoints, even to the extend of using quality to oppose

>May I ask you to expand a little bit on "Ashkenas thinking"?
>What is that boundaryless organization about? Surely
>boundaryless does not mean without boundaries, like
>permeability of a membrane is not no membrane.

Thanks for asking these questions. I had the same questions in my mind.
However, I did not ask them as you did. I rather jumped the gun by
thinking how Ashkenas and Keller in their book may have tried to
articulate the essentiality openness in their book "The Boundaryless
Organization". They used organisational management as the context in which
to do it. Obviously, since they were not aware of my "discovery" of the
seven essentialities of creativity, it is not for me to insist that they
were actually trying to articulate the essentiality openness. Only they
can answer that question. I use the word "discovery" in quotation marks
because each of the seven essentialties was "discovered" many times
previously by other people. My discovery differs from their's in the sense
that I discovered (1) all seven together (2) while searching for patterns
essential to creativity in its deepest sense.

It gives me great fun to go into the library, take up a "ground breaking"
book on any subject and study whether and how the author(s) articulate a
particular essentiality in terms of their subject. It also helps me to
realise just how complex each of the seven essentialities are. For
example, articulating openness in organisational management (like in "The
Boundaryless Organization") is far different from articulating it in
subjects like botany or theology. It reminds me very much of a general
assembly of the UN speaking on a topic important to all member states such
as "peace" or "economic growth". Different cultures (languages, beliefs,
values, goals, histories) are involved, so much so that it seems that the
assembly do not care about the topic ("peace" or "economic growth") at

Thinking about the UN, is that not an organisation which needs to become a
LO in order to succeed with its charter? I wonder how many of you know
that Jan Smuts was the main architect of the UN and its former League of
Nations. I wonder how many of you know that Jan Smuts played such an
outstanding role in the Commonwealth of Nations? I wander what Jan Smuts
would have said about Senge's "ground breaking" work on LOs?

Perhaps one day I shall have to sit down and make extracts of
Smuts' speaches and writings to show just how much he
thought along the lines of Senge's LOs. Here is one in which he
had to qualify his support to the Commonwealth of Nations
during the darkest hours of WW I.
"We are ... a group of nations spread over the whole world....
[but] to attempt to run even the common concerns of that
group of nations by means of a Central Parliament and a
Central Executive is, to my mind, absolutely to court
"We are ... a whole world by ourselves, consisting of many
nations and many states and all sorts of communities ....
not a stationary system but a dynamic and evolving
system, always going forward to new destinies...."

For him the Commonwealth was more than an Empire (Brittish). Empires had
borders which they tried to extend by force and eventually leads to war. A
whole has no boundary except that agreed to by consent since the whole
with anything on its outside forms a greater whole. A whole shows respect
to its own values and loyalty to the values of the greater whole. The
boundary serves only to differentiate between respect and loyalty, but
never to undo values.

Best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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