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Reframing Organizations, 4 th ed.. Chapter 2 Simple Ideas, Complex Organizations.

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Presentation on theme: "Reframing Organizations, 4 th ed.. Chapter 2 Simple Ideas, Complex Organizations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reframing Organizations, 4 th ed.

2 Chapter 2 Simple Ideas, Complex Organizations

3 Common Fallacies in Organizational Diagnosis Peculiarities of Organizations Organizational Learning Coping with Ambiguity and Complexity

4 Error in Organizations: The Tragedy of 9/11 System Failures Helped Terrorists Succeed Mindset error: defense systems hadnt planned for domestic air attack, even though the possibility had long been recognized (they didnt anticipate a black swan because theyd only seen white ones) Coordination error I: FBI/CIA (terrorists should have been on airport security watch lists) Coordination error II: FAA/NORAD (weak lateral communication hindered the two agencies from working together during the emergency)

5 Error in Organizations: Helen Demarco Osborne announces revitalization plan Demarco and colleagues agree: it cant work but we cant tell him Study to buy time and develop strategy Option B: low benefits at high costs Technical jargon as camouflage Demarco feels frustration, failure

6 Peculiarities of Organizations Organizations are complex Organizations are surprising Organizations are deceptive Organizations are ambiguous

7 Sources of ambiguity Not sure what the problem is Not sure whats going on Not sure (or cant agree) on what we want Dont have the resources we need Not sure whos supposed to do what Not sure how to get what we want Not sure how to know if we succeed or fail

8 Organizational Learning Peter Senge We learn best from experience, but often dont know consequences of our actions System maps Barry Oshry Asymmetric relationships (top – middle – bottom – customer) Dance of blind reflex

9 Systems model for vicious learning cycle

10 Organizational Learning (II) Argyris and Schon Actions to promote learning actually inhibit it Defenses: avoid sensitive issues, tiptoe around taboos Chris Argyris Donald Schon

11 Coping with Ambiguity and Complexity: Friendly Fire in Iraq What you see what you expect -- and what you want US fighter pilots expected enemy helicopters Aerial combat is fighter pilots holy grail Pilots saw what they expected and what they wanted

12 Coping with ambiguity: conserve or change? Advantages of relying on existing frames and routines Protect investment in learning them They make it easier to understand whats happening and what to do about it …but we may misread the situation, take the wrong action, and fail to learn from our errors Change requires time and energy for learning new approaches but is necessary to developing new skills and capacities

13 Common Fallacies in Organizational Diagnosis Blame people Bad attitudes, abrasive personalities, neurotic tendencies, stupidity or incompetence Blame the bureaucracy Organization (a) stifled by rules and red tape, or (b) lack clear goals, procedures and job descriptions Thirst for power Organizations are jungles filled with predators and prey

14 Conclusion Complexity, surprise, deception and ambiguity make organizations hard to understand and manage Narrow frames become rigid fallacies, blocking learning and effectiveness Better ideas and multiple perspectives enhance flexibility and effectiveness


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