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

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