Monday, November 28, 2011

Principle #1. Organization Wholeness

In this and the following posts, I wanted to go over a few of the principles of Management Automation. For the purpose of keeping everything together, I’ll start off by restating the first principle, Organization Wholeness.

The principle of Organization Wholeness stands against the chunky, fragmentary, and self-centered approach to automation. Instead, it promotes a holistic, systematic approach to the entire organization and its environment.

The principle states: “Any organization is an open system created with the intent to perform work in the outside world. Irrelevant to its size and industry, the organization must have different management levels and functional areas, working together to accomplish the organization’s intended purpose.”

There are few key points here that we should pay attention to:

  • The organization is an open system. The open system is a special class of systems studied by General Systems Theory. It doesn’t exist entirely on its own, but must operate in an environment that it relates to.
  • The organization has an intent. This intent is an upper-level goal (or goals) set to drive the organization, usually decided upon by the organization’s founders. However, the organization may also generate goals for itself. Like a person, because it’s fully automated, the organization has self-actualization and its own will.
  • The organization performs work in the outside world. The organization actively interacts with its environment and changes it. The organization’s upper-level goals have to do with objectives outside of the organization, not inside.
  • The organization is composed of interacting elements. The elements of the organization perform different functions and are all interconnected. They work together, and no element is completely self-sufficient.
  • The elements work together toward the overall organizational goal (or goals). The organization is goal-driven. Therefore, its elements must contribute to the upper-level organizational goals. If they don’t contribute, then the organization most likely doesn’t need them.

Now, how do we apply this principle? Remember, we are trying to create a comprehensive system. Therefore, even if your task is to automate a specific part of an organization (a component/subsystem), always consider all formal and informal collaborations it has with the rest of the organization and its surrounding environment. Then, do the following:

  • Define the upper-level goals that drive your subsystem and be clear on how your subsystem will contribute to the overall organizational goals.
  • Define what goals are set inside your subsystem, and which ones are propagated to other subsystems.
  • Define how the supplementary information, required to achieve goals, will flow.
  • Map the scope of your automated subsystem to a created model. Make conscious decisions regarding what you automate and what you do not, and why.
  • Finally, remember that your subsystem will not be the only one out there. Consider all interactions, and plan to put some sort of interfaces in your component/subsystem. Your customers will love you for that! :)

When components are fully integrated with each other, and are not self-centered systems that work for purely individual goals, we can reach comprehensive management automation. Applying the principle of Organization Wholeness brings us closer to C2/GOMA.

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