The power of reframing !
How do u know if u are seeing the real picture? It is test that managers and leaders often fail. Cluelessness is an every day fact of life, even for many smart people. The problem is not insufficient intellectual wattage but a lack of understanding of what they are up against and what remedies might work. If it was difficult to decipher clues and read signs in the past, its even tougher now . The world is more turbulent and complex then it was fifty ears ago. The stakes are higher and challenges often outpace leader’s cognitive capabilities. Reframing requires an ability to understand and use multiple perspectives, to think about the same thing in more then one way. We introduce four frames 1. 2. 3. 4. Structural Human resource Political Symbolic
Each is distinctive, each coherent and powerful in its own right. Together, they help capture a comprehensive picture of what’s wrong and what might be done.
Virtues and draw backs of organized activity!
The challenge of finding the write way to frame our world has become over whelming in the twenty first century and roiling times. forms of management and organization effective a few years ago are obsolete today, serieyx calls it the organization big bang “the information revolution, the globalization of economies, the proliferation of events that undermine all our certainties, the collapse of the grand ideologies, the arrival of cnn society which transforms us into an immense, planetary village – all these shocks have overturned the rules of the game and suddenly turns yesterdays organizations into antiques”. All too often, however, we experience the darker side. Organizations can frustrate and exploit people. The sarcastic phrase “good enough for government work “reflects wide spread cynicism about the performance of public agencies. The bottom line we are hard pressed to manage organizations so that benefits regularly exceed costs.
The curse of cluelessness!
How do bright people turn out so dim? One theory is that they are to smart for their own good. Feinberg and Tarrant label it the “self destructive intelligence syndrome”. They argue that smart people acts stupid because of personality flaws thing like pride, arrogance, unconscious needs to fail.
The real source of cluelessness is not personality or IQ. It’s in how we think and make sense of the world around us. Vaughan, in trying to explain the challenger space shutter disaster underscored how hard its is for people to surrender their ingrained mental moods. Charan and Useem found that this tendency to see no evil is a common problem in organizational disasters. Psychic prisons prevent managers and leaders from seeing old problems in a new light or finding more promising ways to work on perennial challenges. when they don’t know what to do , they do more of what they know.
Strategies for improving organizations:
1. Modern mythology promises organizations will work splendidly if well managed. Managers are supposed to have the big picture and look out for their organizations overall health and productivity. 2. When managers cannot solve problems they hire consultants, there is a consultant willing to offer assistance at a premium price. 3. When managers and consultants fail, government frequently jumps in with legislation, policies, and regulations.
Managers, consultants, and policy makers draw, formally or otherwise , on a variety of theories in an effort to change or improve organizations. Yet only in the past few decades have social scientist devoted much time or attention to developing ideas about how organizations work. Each tradition claims a scientific foundation. But theories easily become theologies, preaching a single, parochial scripture. Competing gospels present limited versions of reality but expanded prophetic visions of what the future holds, along with a definite set of strategies of reaching the promised land.
Frames and reframing!
In describing frames , we deliberately mix metaphors referring to them as windows, maps, tools, lenses, orientations and perspectives because all of those images capture part of the ecumenical idea we want to convey . As a mental map, a frame is a set of ideas or assumptions u carry in your head. It helps u understand and negotiate a particular territory. Frames are windows on the world of leadership and management. “the world simply cant be made sense of, facts cant be organized, unless u have a mental model to begin with. That theory does not have to be the right one, because you can alter it along the way as information comes in. but u cant begin to learn without some concept that gives you expectations or hypotheses.”(Hamden-turner) Like maps, frames are both windows on a territory and tools for navigation. Every tool has distinctive strengths and limitations. The right tool makes a job easier, but the wrong just gets in the way.
Drawing from sociology and management science, the structural frame emphasizes goals, specialized roles, and formal relationships. Structures commonly depicted by organization charts are designed to fit an organizations environment and technology.
The human resource frame: based particularly on ideas from psychology sees an
organization as much like an extended family, made of individuals with needs, feelings, prejudices, skills, and limitations. From a human resource perspective, the key challenge is to tailor organizations to individuals, to find a way to people to get the job done while feeling good about , what they are doing.
Political frame: it sees organizations as arenas, contests, or jungles. Parochial interests compete
for power and scars resources. Conflict is rampant because of enduring differences in needs, prospective, and life styles among competing individuals and groups. Problems arise when power is concentrated in the wrong places or is so broadly disperse that nothing gets done.
Symbolic frame: the symbolic frame, drawing on social and cultural anthropology, treats
organizations as tribes, theatres or carnivals. it abandons assumptions of rationality more prominent in other frames. It sees organizations as cultures, propelled more by rituals, ceremonies, stories, heroes, and myths then by rules, policies, and managerial authority. Each of the frames has its own image of reality. You may be drawn to one or two frames and repelled by others. Some frames may seem clear and straight forward, while others seem puzzling. but learning to apply all four deepens your appreciation and understanding of organizations. Multi frame thinking requires elastic movement beyond narrow and mechanical approaches for understanding organizations. There are two distinctive ways of approaching management and leadership. One is a rational –technical approach emphasizing certainty and control.
The other is a more expensive, artistic conception encouraging flexibility, creativity, and interpretation. The first sees managers as technicians; the second sees them as leaders and artists. There are always alternatives in any managerial quandary. Tragedies occur because managers cannot foresee the issues, are unaware of their choices, or lack the artistry and skill to chart a different course.
Properties of organizations:
1. Organizations are complex: they are populated by people whose behavior is notoriously hard to understand and predict. Interaction among diverse individuals and groups make organizations even more complicated. 2. Organizations are surprisingly: what you expect is often dramatically different from that happens. Taking action in a collective enterprise is like shooting a wobbly cue ball into a large and complex array of self –directed billiard balls. So many balls careen in so many directions that it is impossible to know how things will eventually sort out. 3. Organizations are deceptive. The defy expectations and then camouflage surprises. 4. Organizations are ambiguous: the sum of complexity, unpredictability, and deception is rampant ambiguity. Ambiguity originates from a number of sources. Sometimes information is incomplete or vague. The same information may be interpreted in a variety of ways at the times, ambiguity is deliberately created to hide problems or avoid conflict.
An environment filled with complexity, surprise, deception and ambiguity makes it hard to extract lessons for future action. Yet an increasingly turbulent, rapidly shifting environment requires contemporary organizations to learn better and faster just to survive. A variety of perspectives on organizational learning have emerged, exemplified in the work of Peter Senge(1990)and Barry Oshry(1995). Senge sees a core learning dilemma in organizations “we learn best from our experience, but we never directly experience the consequences of many of our decisions”. It is relatively easy for people to learn when cause and effect are close enough that the connection is easy to see. Senge emphasizes the value of “system maps “. That clarify how a system works. Oshry (1995) makes the same basic point- system blindness is widespread-but emphasizes; cause rooted in asymmetric relationships; between tops and bottoms, vendors and customers, when we are at the apex of an organization. For example, we lose track of what it is like in the middle or at the bottom. We cannot see the system dynamics are producing a “dance of blind reflex”. Both argue that failure to read system dynamics traps us in a cycle of blaming and self-defense.
Coping with ambiguity and complexity:
How do organizations cope with a complex and ambiguous environment? Basically, they try to make it simple. One way is to develop systems and technology to collect and process information. Another is to break complexity into smaller pieces and assign chunks to specialized individuals or units. Still another approach is to higher or develops sophisticated professionals with skills in handling segments of environmental complexity. These and other
methods are all helpful but not always sufficient. Despite organizations best efforts, bad things still happens.
What you expect to see is what u sees:
Solid facts and simple problems in everyday life at work are hard to find. Will reorganization work? What a meeting successful? Why did a consensual decision back fire? Or ability to make sense in complicated and ambiguous situations depends very much on the frames or mental models we bring to the task. Since our interpretations hinge on our expectations, beliefs, and values, are internal world is as important as what is outside-sometimes more so, because we manage to see what we expect and want. The fuzziness of everyday life makes it easy for people to make the world conform to their favored internal maps.
The dilemma of changing versus conserving:
We are caught in a dilemma: holding onto or patterns are ineffective, but developing new mental models entails substantial time and effort. It is also risky; it might lead to analysis paralysis and further erosion of our confidence and effectiveness. This dilemma still exists even if we see no flaws in our current mind- set, because our theories are self-sealing – they block us from seeing our errors.
Common fallacies in organizational diagnosis:
The first and the most common is to blame people. This approach explains everything in terms of individual error. Problems result from bad attitudes, aggressive personalities, neurotic tendencies, stupidity or incompetence. Pin pointing the culprit is comforting. Assigning blames resolves ambiguity, explains mystery, and makes clear what must be done next: punish the guilty targeting individuals while ignoring larger system failures over simplifies the problem and does little to prevent a recurrence. When it is hard to identify a guilty individual, then a second popular alternative is to blame the bureaucracy. Things went haywire because the organization is stifled by rules and red tape-or because it is out of control for lack of clear goals and roles. One or the other explanation almost always applies. A third fallacy attributes problems to a thirst for power. This view sees organization as jungles filled with predators and preys. Victory goes to the more adroit, or the more treacherous. Political games and turf wars cause most organizational problems.
We begin our examination of the structural frame by discussing its core assumptions, origins, and basic forms. The possibilities for designing an organizations structure are almost limitless, but any design must address to core issues:
1. Describe the major options. 2. Discuss structural imperatives to consider when arranging a particular work setting.
The assumptions of the structural frame are reflected in current approaches to social architecture and organizational design. These assumptions reflect a belief in rationality and a faith that the right formal arrangements minimize problems and maximize performance. Six assumptions under grid the structural frame see the slide
Structural forms and functions:
Dramatic changes in technology and the business environment have rendered old structures obsolete at an unprecedented rate, spooning a new interest in organizational design. Pressures of globalization, competition, technology, customer expectations, work force dynamic, have prompted organizations worldwide to rethink and redesign structural patterns
Basic structural tensions:
Successful organizations imply a variety of methods to coordinate individual and group effort and to link local initiatives with corporation wide goals. They do this in two primary ways: 1. Vertically: through the formal change of command. 2. Latterly: through meeting, comities’, coordinating roles, and network structures.
With vertical coordination, higher levels coordinate and control the work of subordinates through authority, rules, policies, planning, and control systems. Authority: A change of command is a hierarchy of managerial and supervisory strata, each with legitimate power to shape and direct the behavior of those at lower levels. Rules and policies: Rules, policies, standards, and standard operating procedures limit discretion and help insure predictability and uniformity. Rules govern conditions of work and specify standard processes for carrying out tasks, handling personal issues, and relating to the external environment. Once a situation is defined one where a rule applies, the course of action is clear, straight forward, and almost automatic. Planning and control systems: Mintzberg distinguishes to major approaches to control and planning: performance control and action planning.
Performance control: Imposes outcome objectives, for example “increase sales by 10 percent these years.” Without specifying how the results are to be achieved. Performance control measures and motivates, particularly when targets are reasonably clear and measureable. It is less successful when goals are ambiguous, hard to measure, or of dubious relevance. Action planning: Specifies methods and time frames for decisions and actions as in “increase this month’s sales by using a company wide sales pitch. Action planning works best when its easier to assess how a job is done , then to measure whether its objectives where achieved .
Though efficient, vertical coordination is not always effective. Lateral forms of coordination are typically less formalized and more flexible then authority bound systems and rules. They can be simpler and quicker as well. See slides Strengths and weakness of lateral strategies: A formal or informal meeting is a opportunity for dialogue and decision, but it risks squandering and excessive amount of time and energy. A task force fosters creativity and integration around specific problems but often diverts attention from ongoing operation issues. Matrix structures create means of lateral linking and integration but are notorious for creating conflict and confusion. The self-organizing networks bias toward decentralization, teaming, and cross functional, and cross geographical work makes it well attuned to complexity and change. But networks are inherently difficult to control, and evolution produces vipers as well as orchids there is no guarantee that we will like the results.
Structure and restructuring:
Reorganizing, or restructuring, is a powerful but high risk approach to improvement. And organizations structure at any moment represents its resolution of an enduring set of basic tensions or dilemmas.s
Differentiation versus integration: The tension between allocating work and coordinating diverse efforts create a classic dilemma. The more complex a role structure the harder it is to maintain a focused, tightly coupled enterprise. As complexity grows, organizations require more sophisticated-and more costly-coordination strategies. Rules, policies and commands have to be augmented by lateral strategies.
Gap versus overlap:
If key responsibilities are not clearly assigned, important tasks fall through the cracks. Conversely, roles and activities can overlap, creating conflict, wasted effort, and unintended redundancy.
Underuse versus overload:
If employees have too little work, they become bored and get in other peoples way.
Lack of clarity versus lack of creativity:
If employees are unclear about what they are supposed to be doing, they often shape their role around personal preferences instead of organizational goals, frequently leading to problems.
Excessive autonomy versus excessive interdependence:
If the efforts of the individuals or groups are too autonomous, people often feel isolated and unsupported, in contrast, if units and roles are too tightly linked people are distracted from work and waste time on unnecessary coordination.
To loose versus too tight.
A critical structural challenge is how to hold an organization together without holding it back. If structure is too loose people go their own way or get lost, with little sense of what others are doing, structures that are too tight stifle flexibility and cause people to spend much of their time trying to beat the system.
Goalless versus goal bound:
In some situations, few people know what the goals are; in others, people cling to goals long after they have become irrelevant or outmoded.
Irresponsible versus responsible:
If people abdicate their responsibilities, performance suffers. However, adhering too rigidly too policies or procedures can be equally harmful.
Structural configuration responding to structural dilemmas, with an appropriate structural configuration is a recurrent management challenge. Henry Mintzberg and Celly helgesen offered 2 conceptions of structural options.
See slides.or pg 73
A simple structure has only two levels: the strategic apex and operative level. A startup company typically begins with a simple structure the virtues of simple structures are its flexibility and adaptability. One person directs the entire operation.
MacDonald’s is a classic machine bureaucracy. Important decisions are made at the strategic apex: day-to-day operations are controlled by managers and standardize procedure. Unlike simple hierarchies, machine bureaucracy has large support staffs and a sizeable techno structure, with many layers between apex and operating levels.
Its operating core is large relative to its structural parts, particularly the techno structure. Few managerial levels exist between the strategic apex and operating levels, creating a flat and decentralized profile. Though producing many be, these arrangements leads to problem of coordination and equality control. A professional bureaucracy responds slowly to external change. Professional bureaucracies regularly stumble when they try to exercise greater over control over the operating core.
In this structure the bulk of the work is done in quasi-autonomous units. Each division serves a distinct market and supports its own functional units.
It is a loose, flexible-renewing organic form tied together mostly through lateral means. Such structures are most often found in conditions of turbulence and rapid change.
Helgesens web of inclusion:
Helgesen coined the expression “web of inclusion” to describe an architectural form more circular then hierarchical. The web builds from the center out. Its architect works much like a spider. Spinning new thread of connections and reinforcing existing strands. The webs center and periphery are interconnected: action in one place ripples across the entire configuration, forming “an interconnected cosmic web in which the threads of all forces and events form an in separable net of endlessly, mutually conditioned relations.
See pg 84
Organizing groups and teams:
Much of the works in large organizations are now done in groups or teams. When these units work well , they elevate the performance of ordinary individuals to extra ordinary heights. When team malfunctions, as to often happens, they erode the potential contributions of most talented members. what determines how well groups perform ? the performance of a small group depends heavily on structure. A key ingredient of a top performing team is a effective patterns of roles and relationships focused on attaining common goals.
Tasks and linkages in small groups:
Simple tasks with basic structures-clearly defined roles, elementary forms of interdependence, and coordination by plan or command. more complicated projects generally require more complex forms: flexible roles, reciprocal interdependence, and coordination through lateral relationships and mutual feedback,
1. One boss arrangement; one person has authority over others. Information and decision flows from the top. Group members offer information to and communicate primarily with official leader rather than one other. Although this arrangement is efficient and fast, it works best with a relatively simple and straight forward task. 2. Dual authority: two individuals are given responsibility over a specific area of the groups work. Information and decision flows through them. This arrangement works when a task is
divisible; it reduces the span of control, allowing the person in charge to concentrated on mission, strategy, or relationships’ with higher-ups. 3. Simple hierarchy: with a middle manager who reports to the boss and in turn supervises and communicates with others. This arrangement is used extensively at the white house. It treats the president to focus on mission and external relations while leaving operational details to the chief of staff. 4. Circle network: where information and decision flow sequentially from group members to each other. Each can add to or modify to whatever comes around. This configuration is more egalitarian and simplifies communications,. 5. All channel network or star network; this design is similar to the Helgesens web of inclusion. It creates multiple connections so that each person can talk to anyone else. Information flows freely ; decisions require touching multiple bases, creating effective team work requires a design of roles and relationships well suited to the situation .
See page 103 and 105 .
People and organizations:
Everyone knows that organizations can be alienating, dehumanizing, and frustrating. Such conditions waste talent, destroy lives, and motivate people to pull out or fight back, devoting much of their time and effort to beating the system. The human resources frame offers another possibility: an organization can also be energized, productive and mutually rewarding.
See the slides. Personality and organization:
Mcgregor, cris argrys also saw a basic conflict between human personality and how organizations were typically structured and managed. Argrys argued that people have basic “self-actualization trends”. Like Mc gregor , argrys felt organizations often treated workers like Childs rather than adults-a view expressed in the Charlie chaplains 1936 film , modern times. Argrys saw personstructure conflict built into traditional principles of organizational design and managenment. Argrys argued that employees inevitably look for ways to respond to these frustrations , he identified six possibilities See the slide or go to page 121 .
Human capacity and new employment contract:
The symbiotic relationship btw organizations and individuals has evolved in response to changes in the needs and capabilities of both. “free: means giving components(work units and people) that are autonomous and able to respond to problems and opportunities in market segments. Fast: means having the capability to assess and respond quickly to these situations. Facile: means being able to change thinking practices and established routines in the light of new information or developments” Handy sees organizations adopting a “shamrock” form, with three clusters of people: 1. A core group of managers and professionals with skills and capacities critical to the enterprise. 2. The basic workforce” increasingly working part-time or in shifts to provide the necessary flexibility”. 3. A “ contractual fringe “ of people who do work that can be done more cheaply by outsiders.
Learn and mean: more benefits than costs?
The advantages of a smaller , more flexible workforce seem compelling : lower costs, higher efficiency , and greater ability to respond to business cycle fluctuations. Downsizing works best when a combination of new technology and smarter management produces significant productivity gains, making it possible for fewer people to do more. Yet even when downsizing works, it risks trading short term gains for long term decay. Downsizing and outsourcing also have a corrosive effect on employee motivation and commitment. Rest see the slides.