Towards a

Both/And FRAMEWORK

for a Theory of Organization

by
Barry Sugarman
 
 

 

 
 

How can an ORGanization achieve long-term success,

through several phases of radical renewal or

reinvention i.e. dynamic capability?

 

It takes many success factors, plus a lot of luck.

Here we highlight addressing the “Both/And" Factor .

The Both/And Challenge

 

In setting ORG strategy there are key decision points where a crucial choice can be made. It appears there are two main options, BOTH seem necessary but (it appears that) only ONE is possible. How can this dilemma be managed?  

Is it even possible that tackling this challenge (with some re-framing) can yield valuable insight and advantage to an ORG?  

 

Let's first identify some different kinds of these challenges.

Some Both/And Challenges 

   1) Cost and Quality - must they be inversely correlated?

   2) Exploration and Exploitation - can we extend the ORG Life cycle?  What have we learned about Ambidextrous management?

   3) Short-term versus Long-term - Quick results or building major upgrade in productive capacity?

   4) Looking beneath collaboration conflicts to identify deeper but unrecognized issues and opportunities. 

 

1) Cost and Quality - Lean management

The Quality Movement led to Lean Management which gives more of both - but at a serious cost (complete reorganization of the entire production process which also demands New Thinking). 

New challenges follow.

 

2) Extending the ORG Life cycle - Ambidextrous management 

 Renewal. How to manage the relations between new and old generations. Analogy of a brilliant, radical foster child who may grow to take over leadership of the clan or may be thwarted by the "ORG immune system".  

3) Short-term vs. Long-term - managing for quick results or building (delayed) capacity for radical upgrade in functioning as larger ORG's main strategic choice.

Deferred Gratification in the Exec Suite

4) Conflict management at Both/And Interfaces wherever help is needed to improve critical collaboration. May be at any level of the Org. Help "odd couples" (inspired opposites) that could be highly creative if only they could appreciate each other.    

I am proposing that an Org. Theory that can be useful must address this Both/And framework, linked with Org. Learning and Conflict Management. 

That is the topic of my article  

"Dynamic Capability Seen Through a Duality-Paradox Lens:

A Case of Radical Innovation at Microsoft."  

 published in

 Research in Organizational Change & Development,

vol. 22, June 2014 by Emerald. 

DOWNLOAD the full article (pre-pub. ms).