Thursday, November 23, 2006

22 MGMT 714 001 Leadership and Organization Assignment01, Metaphor

Companies want to success via the democratic organizational design just like Wikipedia's and Google’s success in taking advantage of Web 2.0.

The analogies between Web 2.0 and democratic organization design are: First, Web 2.0 transits websites from isolated information provider to source of content by using the Web as a platform providing interaction. Just likes the pancake-shaped, democratic organizational design’s emphasis on creating a network of all the company’s employees rather than the pyramid-shaped, hierarchical organizational design's focus mainly on the coercive, top-to-bottom management. Second, Web 2.0 relies on self-motivated knowledge sharing: building new online social networks (communities) amongst the general public, eliminating boundaries and distance and language limitation, empowering the individual, providing an outlet for the voice of voiceless and elevating the amateur to the professionalism and expertise. For example, basing on this principle, in less than 5 years, the total numbers of words in Wikipedia have outnumbered than those in the Encyclopedia Britannica. This characteristic of Web 2.0 is corresponding with the assumptions of the democratic organization design, synergy between individuals can be better utilized, the ideal of equality can be realized and every person can develop multifunctional capabilities that add creative value to the organization.

Multiple voices:
Companies need multiple voices just like people need different friends.

In Confucian Analects, Confucius said, "There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the forthright; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation; these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued:-these are injurious." Just like people need friends, an organization need multiple voices to learn and foster its growth. There is an old Chinese saying, “There is no ending for learning.” We should remember that anyone could be the expert and knowledge comes from the strangest place. This argument conforms to people making friends as well as companies leaders listen to multiple voices. And we might make friends who are injurious just likes failures might happen in an organization. But we should not stopping developing friendship with people, we learn from the experience to judge good and bad. Organizations should create failure-tolerate work environments that invite innovation and learn from mistakes.

Constant Change:
Constant change to an organization is analogous to Darwin’s theory that evolution occurred through natural selection

In Darwin’s theory, evolution is change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations. The basic mechanisms that produce evolutionary change are natural selection and genetic drift. Natural selection is the process by which individual organisms with favorable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. If those traits are heritable, they are passed to the organisms' offspring, with the result that beneficial heritable traits become more common in the next generation. Given enough time, this passive process can result in varied adaptations to changing environmental conditions. For organizations, change has become an organizational norm. Organizations nowadays have to make change time to time to adapt themselves to the evolutionary business environment such as the innovation of technology and globalization. The other similarity between constant change and evolution is that even though organisms’ traits evolutes, they are still composed of cells; Companies’ envisioned future can be changed but their core ideology (core value and core purpose) provides the glue that holds a company together through time. And the core ideology is deeply inherent inside a company. You can not fake it. One might argue that evolution is a time-taking process which can not be a metaphor for constant organizational change. But if it is compared to Earth’s life, the time for the evolution process can actually be explained to be constant change. While this argument seems to be somehow logically, it can not explain planned change. We can born to be humans and not able to choose to become a fish.

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