Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heterachy - Worth Ruminating Over.......

Ross Dawson has made available a wonderful article from the Journal of People and Strategy. It is part of their perspective series where and invited author publishes a paper, thought or idea and then invited peers are comment, agree, reject or philosiphise over the authors perspective and writing.

The article deals with an arguement for Heterachy as essential for understanding organisations and the impacts that networks have had in these organisations. This is in line with my thinking on Ecologies, Context and Beliefs which I believe also impact the heterarchy of an organisation.

Stephenson maintains " Heterarchies are collaborative endeavors whereby organizations are networked together. Organizations are depicted as yellow, layered silos and the collective and combined activity of the network is the blue network shown in the middle." See diagram.

My take on this is to understand the complexities of our fuedal management system (heirachy) and then seek to understand why, social networking software and the resultant connection it inspires, continues to erode these heirachies based on exposure, overlaps, multiplicity, divergence, sense-making and funnily enough, shared outcomes!

I speak about the software or the tool because it has engendered/enhanced the connection of individuals and continues to make this world a smaller connected place and on this basis, the ruthlessness being applied by society to corporate openness and transparency, is bringing the once protectionist and fuedal systems undone (re: CEO salaries, financial accountability, re-regulation, pay for performance etc.

This not merely theory IMHO, but theory into practice. As some would know I am completing my masters in KM and Business Information studies and this has fascinated me from day one.

How does it impact us as L&D professionals? By understanding the Heterarchy that exists in your organisation, you open up an opportunity for a viral approach to learning. Of course the learning has to be well structured thought out and effective, but you create the viral demand on the basis that you understand the silos in each area of the busines but you also understand how the silos are connected. That the learning has common benefit for each of the learners in the heterarchy is a no brainer but certainly this concept of heterarchy is well worth considering as part of the Learning and Development professionals business assessment.

Well worth ruminating over.....

(Many thanks to my colleague Ryan Tracey for the posts and tweets on this subject)

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