EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS

Effective organizations get good results and survive longer than others in this world of fierce competition and frequent upheavals.  

HOW can they do it?

 

 One key requirement is to ensure a high level of

           RELATIONAL COORDINATION

       

This is effective team work  based on

three essential factors:

      - shared goals between the partners

      - sharing of necessary information

     - mutual respect on all sides

This requires more than technical excellence by individual workers; it requires their careful coordination ( team work).   

All that is "reasonable" but not easy to achieve. "People problems" commonly get in the way.

E.g. Worker A  needs help but does not ask B to explain because A thinks B does not like answering questions and A does not like his "attitude". 

That is why mutual RESPECT among all participants is so important - because it reduces such issues and makes them easier to address.  

A study of Southwest Airlines by Jody Hoffer Gittell shows how they create this culture and work system of Relational Coordination and shows with hard data how they perform better than their rival airlines at various important tasks, including speed of unloading and relaunching each aircraft at the gate (where time is a serious cost factor. 

Ref. Gittell, The Southwest Airlines Way, NY: McGrawHill, 2003

 

FORMAL and INFORMAL ORGanizing

Large organizations usually have a formal structure that prescribes work flows between teams and defines the authority of managers.

In addition informal relationships often develop as members at all levels reach out to others for help they need, back and forth. 

 

Organizational learning  (innovation) creates and requires good  relationships between different units, that may not have formal linkage. Members  innovate and some of those innovations are copied (and sometimes adapted) by other workers in various units.   

 What begins as individual learning becomes organizational learning when these innovations are incorporated into "how we do things here".  

Both formal and informal aspects of organizations must be understood and supported BUT they are often in conflict. Many managers see only the formal side (which gives them their authority) and neglect to support or to utilize the informal networks and the informal leaders.  That is a significant loss to the  organization. 

The opposite problem occurs when managers over-use the informal leaders, encouraging workers to go to them for help, without giving the informal leaders credit for the extra workload.  

 

 More on this and other conflicts in "Both/And Theory" 

 

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