dinsdag 18 augustus 2015

Blog 2: Level 1. Leadership in the organizational structure 

In the organizational structure leadership is defined as a role in the organizational hierarchy. It is distinguished from organizational membership, through the major internal boundary.

This is the domain of what Berne (1964) called the responsible leaders. They lead on the basis of their formal position and the sanction and reward power that are associated with that position. This is supported by the organizational constitution, which describes the purpose, boundaries, tasks and procedures in a group.

At this level the task of leadership is to manage the organizational boundaries and processes to fulfil the purpose of the organization. I believe at this level the main focus of leadership should be dealing with three major organizational dilemmas concerning boundaries.

Figure 3. Organizational boundaries and paradoxes

- Paradox 1: You can maximize the reactivity to market - open major external boundary - or the corporate identity – closed major external boundary - but not maximally at the same time.
- Paradox 2: You can maximize delegation - open major internal boundary - or control– closed major internal boundary - but not maximally at the same time.
- Paradox 3: You can maximize the independence- open minor internal boundaries  - or interdependence– closed minor internal boundaries - but not maximally at the same time.

Leadership of organizational structure is like being a D.J.
At this level leadership is like being a D.J. with a boundary mixing panel with three switches. You open or close boundaries depending on the purpose of the organization and the dynamics in the environment.

For example if the organization’s purpose is to produce at maximum efficiency at the same quality level time after time in a stable environment, the major internal and external boundaries and minor boundaries should be more closed. As a consequence the organization will be characterized by a strong corporate identity, with centralized control and independent business units.

Think of a corporation like MacDonald’s, an international company with affiliates all over the world, that has to produce hamburgers in the same way with the same quality everywhere. They have a relatively stable market, and low level work, so they don’t need a lot of innovative input from the market, and they need a clear hierarchical structure to deal with the routine tasks. All the processes are standardized, so there is little need for delegation of leadership to employees.

Another example is an organization whose purpose is to innovate and remain flexible in a fast moving market, like Apple. In that case it is important to be reactive to the market, and keep a more open external boundary, and encourage interdisciplinary cooperation amongst departments through more open minor internal boundaries. To keep the organization stable with this kind of openness it is important that the leadership remains directive and stable, underpinned with clear processes.

Every opening or closing of one boundary effects the opening or closing of the other boundaries. Every organization has to maintain a dynamic balance between open and closed boundaries to serve their purpose at different times. I will write more on this in my upcoming book on organizational transactional analysis – On the edge.

For more information go to : www.intact1.com

maandag 10 augustus 2015

Blog 1 The structure of organizations and leadership
What is an organization?

Transactional analysis offers a comprehensive set of concepts and tools at the organizational level, which offer a systemic view beyond the well-known concepts at individual level.
Within TA, a group is defined as any social aggregation, which has an external boundary and at least one internal boundary (Berne, 1964). The major external boundary distinguishes between members and non-members i.e. between the group and its environment. The major internal boundary distinguishes between two classes of people, the leadership and the membership. Minor internal boundaries distinguish one class of membership from another class. An organization may be considered a more complicated type of group.
Figure 1. Organizational boundaries

Public and private structure
One of the major contributions of Berne (1964) is the recognition that an organization has both a public and a private structure, that operate simultaneously.
The public structure is observable in the leadership and membership boundaries and roles (organizational structure) and through the relationships and dynamics between the individuals that fulfil these roles (intrapersonal structure). This public structure determines the structure of roles and relationships within the organization.
An organization also has a private structure, consisting of interlocking scripts and imagoes. This private structure is determined by the personal wishes, archaic needs and experience of the leadership and the membership. It is visible in the culture of communication in an organization (transactions).
For instance, any organization has a formal structure of roles and hierarchy, which defines the power distribution in an organization. At the same time an informal structure of relationships is at work, which determines the dynamics of influence at work. And underneath all of that, a constellation of transference is at work, profoundly influencing our reactions to leadership, belonging and the culture.
New challenges for leadership
Though this research gave us a good idea of what leaders should do and how they should do it, they didn’t take into account the rapid changes we face today.
We live in an accelerating turbulent world. Increasing complexity, drastically shortened production cycles and lack of resources is forcing us to come up with new answers.
Within leadership there are new and different challenges that require new answers:
  • The complexity and speed of change is such that it the demands on leaders are rapidly outdistancing the capabilities of any single person (Wageman et al., 2008). How can we shift from an individual leadership to a team leadership focus?
  • The boundaries of control are shifting. Where before leadership was focused on distributing resources within the organization, nowadays a lot of the resources for production are outsourced in a network, and outside of direct control of the leaders. How can we shift from a focus on direct supervision to a focus on leading virtual networks?
  • The basis of power is shifting. Where before the most experienced leader rose to the top, nowadays there is a shift towards autonomous workers, where innovative ideas count for more than experience. How can we shift from a focus on sustainable production to a focus on anticipation and innovation?
These challenges indicate a need to shift to a more interdependent and purposeful form of leadership to deal with today’s turbulence. 
Leaders today should be focussing more on creating leadership teams, virtual networks and innovation. The question is: what concepts and tools can we offer to enable this shift?

For more information go to : www.intact1.com