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The STS approach in the Lowlands:

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1 The STS approach in the Lowlands:
The NEW STS: Advances In Designing Healthy and Innovative Work Systems, Organizations and Networks A workshop sponsored by STS/RT & USI Part Two The STS approach in the Lowlands: Mobilization Human Talent & Productivity Pierre van Amelsvoort ST-Groep Netherlands University of Leuven Geert van Hootegem Prepared Mind Belgium University of Leuven © 2013

2 Session Overview History & Lessons Learned
Theoretical Frame: Interaction Network Two sides of the same coin: Quality of working life = Mobilization of Human Talent & Quality of organizations Concepts: Organisational regimes & Design Principles HOW: Design rules & Change Process

3 History – after Durham (‘60-’70)
3

4 History – after Durham (‘60-’70)
Work structuring and humanizing the workplace Bottom up experiments with job design on department level Ideological started by department head (pioneers) Supported by academic action research Focus on quality of working life (job satisfaction) Despite success, lack of sustainability!

5 Lessons Learned: Lack of Diffusion
Lack of Sustainability

6 Lessons Learned: Lack of Diffusion
Lack of active support management and focus on short term success Isolated: limited design room Bottom up is not enough (neglected law of Newton)! Finite focus on quality of working life (Hidden) Resistance hierarchical levels and support staff Ideological clash ‘soft’ <> ‘hard’ No strategic business need to fundamental change Limited theoretical back bone: try and error, depend on enthusiastic consultants

7 Evolution of Sociotechnical Systems Three Waves
Wave One: 1950’s-1970’s Wave Two: 1970’s-1990’s Wave Three: 1990’s-Present

8 Theoretical Foundations: Lowlands Approach

9 Theoretical Foundations: Lowlands Approach
Prime = understanding, intervening & predicting organizational behavior W. Ross Ashby’s ( ) Law of requisite variety (only variety beats variety) Ulbo de Sitter’s ( ) Interaction network theory Niklas Luhmann’s ( ) Social system theory (complexity reduction) De Sitter’s “toward new factories and offices” (1982): Jump job design to organization design Ideological clash >> theoretical logic: fruitful dialogue and common language Enrich ODevelopment theory (finite attention to develop human competence) with ODesign theory: OD2

10 Social systems theory Social systems are systems of communication to interact Membership with formal expectations and arrangements A system is defined by a boundary between itself and its (infinite complex and chaotic) environment The internal system is selecting only limited amount of external information The criterion for selection is meaning (sense making) Social systems are autopoietically closed: Filtering and processing of external information, Selective in adapting! on what is considered meaningful and what is not 10

11 + - Job satisfaction = quality of working life! Job satisfaction 30 35
70-80% are satisfied Irrespective of culture, country, and job characteristics! Satisfaction is an indicator for acceptance given working conditions Subjective approach: All people share the same basic needs? Acceptance of current situation is not an easy start to change (readiness for change) + Job satisfaction Discovery conflict expetations and reality Acceptance reality - Switch from intrinsic to extrinsic motivation 30 35 40 Age 11

12 Work as an intersection of job demand and interaction
quality control customer family work station teamleader planning intersection A dynamic, objective view Human beings develops needs, motivation and orientation in interaction with his social environment A balanced interaction network is also a productive network 12

13 Working as an interaction network
Result of task division Ideal situation: perfect balance (incl. work-life balance)and no waste All material, information and means on the right place, quality and time Match demand and limited means No disturbance Only one problem: Ideal situation doesn’t exist: interference external interaction partners internal interaction partners F intersection F = family 13

14 Job demand – job control (regulation) (Karasek)
Real life networks interference (job demand) Uncertaincy Lack of (insufficient) material, information , right people and means Unbalance demand and capacity Competitive, conflicting demands Changing demand Custom made demand Human errors Technical disturbance Interference risk is a result of complexity Job control to cope with interference: Productive work Active, challenging work Job demand Job control 14

15 Job demand need Job control
Internal operational job control Task variety Authority-decision latitude Craftsmanship Access to flexible means Information Meaningful purpose, shared direction External operational job control Coordination/deliberations Support team and community Appreciative feedback leader Natural feedback Influence Strategic job control Participation & co-creation: design for reducing interference risk and decrease inference sensibility Learning and continuous improvement Job demand Job control 15

16 learning opportunities
Quality of working life high learning opportunities under-loaded work challenging work Low strain work challenging work Job control boring work over-loaded work Passive, boring work High strain work stress risks low (Karasek) low high Job demands 16

17 Lack of Job Control (illegal) Work arrounds Buffers and hidden waste
Focus on self interest Safety risks Work-life imbalance Early mental retirement Bullwhip effect 17

18 Quality of working life and absenteeism
4,5 7 1,5 1 low Job demand high Passive work High strain work Job control Low strain work Active work high 18

19 Quality of working life
high available potential traditional utilisation of potential unused potential Regulation capacity Quality of working life is in modern configurations an important issue. In traditional organisations unused potential had lead to lack of involvement. In the flexible and network organisations taks variety and regulation capacity are of great importance to cope with the business demands and to improve quality of working life. low foreman operator managing director production manager supervisor department head 19

20 Quality of working and healthy aging
Malta Denmark Sweden Finland Slovenië Austria United Kingdom Hungary Belgium Luxembourg Netherlands Germany Ireland Cyprus Estland Romania Greece Italie Czechia Spain Portugal Poland France Lithuania Latvia Slovakia Bulgaria

21 Design and quality of organisation(al) health
division executing tasks (PS) separation execute – control (CS) complex interaction network need for central control & standards high interference risk sensibility Unability to cope with interference at the source organization design 21

22 Quality of organization
Stressed organisation Productive, humane organisation High: custom made Business demand uncertaincy Classic bureaucracy Organised anarchy Low: repetitive production Static central control Dynamic local (distributed) control Effective control (regulation) 22

23 Business demand as starting point
2010 War on talent + Efficiency Quality + Flexibility Innovation Service Sustainability 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency 23 23 23

24 Product / service innovation
Price + Quality + Flexibility and time + Product / service innovation Network Regime labour market policies sustainability Price + Quality + Flexibility and time Flexible Regime Price + Quality Quality driven Regime Product variation low high Uncertainty Price Bureaucratic Regime In search of the most effective regime Untill now I only have looked from a business point of view. The reality is more complex, because we alsoo have to deal with labourmarket issues, policies. I hope it is clear that the different strategic choices different organisation models requires. The are 4 different configurations, I wil shar with you: 1234 The changing demands and change of configurations requires workplace innovation, in terms of renewal and development. An other important remark is that not all the different business lines have the same time table. For instance… It is a danger to speak as a fad or mode about productinnovation as the reality for instance just begin with phase 3! 24

25 A whole system approach: Organisational regime
government market technology competitors employer representatives trade unions strategy Interaction network culture people structure systems In stead of a one sided approach workplace innovation need an integral approach of the interpendent domensions as 1234. The different configuration can now be descriped in this four perspectives. 25

26 Bureaucratic regime Principle 1 Simplification
Division of work processes into small taks 26

27 Bureaucratic regime Principle 2 Separation of thinking and doing 27

28 Bureaucratic regime Principle 3 Command and control tree 28

29 Bureaucratic regime worksystem customer 29 Stategic management
Risk management Operational management Financial management Account management People management Service management Information management worksystem customer General management HR management Facilitair management Change management Knowledge management 29

30 Functional concentration of activities & central control illusion
Every department is confronted with total variety and lack of customer focus Departmental focus on control utilization of means Only at central level total overview and illusion of control 30

31 Bureaucratic regime Principle 4 Control by strict rules and procedures
Sorry, It’s not on my work instruction You must a 237/654/9B/654M form sent to department 39 Principle 4 Control by strict rules and procedures 31

32 Bureaucratic regime Structure Culture Specialised tasks
Separate think - do Command and control Central decision making Focus on hierarchical authority Power based Top down Systems People These principles have had consequences for both the culture and people. The culture can be recognised in the habit that people are looking to their boss and copying his behaviour. The position in the chrismas tree is important, and not what you are doing. A lot of symbols reinforce this power based culture. The space of an office, number of windows and the cloths you supposed to wear. People have simple jobs with narow tasks and they perform their jobs with close supervision. There is a lot of criticism about the Tayloristic configuration, but we have to realise that this model has brought us an enormous growth of productivity!! So don’t trow it away to easily. Technics like time and motion studies could still be of great value in the back offices of public services with a mass production business line Simple jobs Narrow tasks Closed supervision Detailed rules & procedures Strictly budget driven 32

33 Quality driven regime Culture Structure
Horizontal coordination and meetings Quality Circles Less hierarchical Reduced power distance Systems People In the quality drive organisation in fact the structure does not change a lot, but to garantee quality the different element of the chain should be in right balance. This is done by meetings and meetings…. People in the workplacesses are involved by quality circles for solving problems. The have learned to analyse and improve the processes. On line process conrol systems are in place to monitor and manage the quality aspects. Also the culture is changed a bit. You may use the frontname of you boss when you speak to eachother. You can also say that the power distance has become smaller. In the job of people we see the integration of the quality control tasks. Employees have regular consulting meetings and are well trained in problemsolving skills. Integration quality control Problem solving skills Consulting meetings On line process control Quality circles 33

34 Shifting business demands
What happens if an organisation as mentioned before has also to cope with flexibility and time pressure? We can predict to regconise the following botlle necks….. 34

35 uncertaincy Costcutting Market driven Flexibiluty Custom made
New laws Responsibily riscmanagement uncertaincy Evidence/Effect based technology Flexibiluty Custom made Quality Costcutting speed Innovation International competion 35

36 Stressed organisation:
Functional concentration of activities & central control illusion 36

37 Effects………. Slow and high cost communication lines……..
Moeizame communicatie The first field of trouble is the slow or difficult communication. This is a symptom of the internal complexity. To get things done you need 5 to 10 people. People from different departments with different perspectives. You all know the joke if …. 37

38 Complex workflows and a meetings, meetings………….
Effects………. Complex workflows and a meetings, meetings…………. Expensive overhead The complexity is produced by the architecture of our organisations and the choices we once have made in divide the activities in the workflow. 38

39 Complicated cooperation,
Effects………. Complicated cooperation, Suboptimalisation Everbody is working very hard to do their job. But the weak point of the chain can be found between the elements. In organisations unther pressure people tend to fall back in their own team or department. And the law of reducing your own missery occur… This law teach us that to survive in case of trouble you have to report at last as 10 reason why that problems isnt yours but the problem of an other department. 39

40

41 Effects………. Oh, no… they produced it as I designed it………
This slide say enough about the innovationpower…. Oh, no… they produced it as I designed it……… 41

42 Effects………. Control illusion and fingerpointing with hidden elbow room and work arounds……. In the end their is always a solution the BOSS who is working 60 – 80 hours per week and already has two suite cases for all the reports 42

43 Silo’s: long troughput times
Effects………. A succesfull strategy to reduce the need for cooperation is building in silo’s. this strategy effects in long throughput times. Products or dossiers are more waiting in a que than inproduction… Silo’s: long troughput times 43

44 Effects………. Take away responsibilties and simple jobs Powerlessness
Alienation Distrust Helplessness Early mental retirement The lack of regulation capacity and small simple jobs has consequences for peoples behaviour. Taking away the responsibilities of employees resulted in ….. 44

45 Stressed organisation
Complex/lack of communication Untransparent credits and cost Isolated silo’s and hidden waste Slow responsiveness and long throughput times Risk avoiding culture and internal focus High coordination cost (management) Disconnection management and employees Focus on exploitation & Neglect exploration and innovation Unhealthy high strain work and work-life imbalance Business demand Effective control Static central control Dynamic local control Stressed organisation Productive, humane Organised anarchy Classic bureaucracy high low 45

46 46

47 Design principles Focus on first effectiveness second efficiency: added value Respect diversity and reduction of complexity: Focus on custom families (product, market, technology combinations) in stead of task specialization (reduce variety subsystem) Reduce number of transfer points (interference risk) Human scale: Work teams 8 – 12 Working communities 40 Strategic units 200 Self organisation: Increase local control and support and healthy hierachy: horizontal coordination and reduce number of hierarchical layers (decrease interference sensibility) with specific added value Minimal critical specification based on trust and craftsmanship Aligned systems (planning and control, HR practice, technology) Result only work environment Human talent mobilization Direct democracy: Strategic participation/partnership and co-creation Business demand Effective control Static central control Dynamic local control Stressed organisation Productive, humane Organised anarchy Classic bureaucracy high low 47

48 Mmmmmh… complexity… “sooo delicious!?”
48

49 Focus on customer family, market & technology combination
49

50 Reduced organisational complexity: Conditions for local control
The variety of the whole system stays the same. Every unit is confronted with less variety and has customer focus: emotional connection and human feedback mechnanism Departmental focus on control customer flow Local overview and control 50

51 Flexible regime Structure Culture Small units with a whole task
Decentralised control Small central control staff Cross functional teams Focus on business process Management and staff: support and facilitate Trust based control Systems People Multi skilled Self management Teamwork Just in time Result driven: mutual goal setting Flexible work arrangements In the flexible configuration the business line is the base for the organisational building blocks. The building blocks are small units with a whole task in stead of task division. Decentralised conrol is implemented and only a small control staff remained central. Coordination and control take place by cross functional teams. The systems can be characterised by…. These organistions have a culture where everybody is focussed on the whole business line and management en staff support and facilitate the productione processes. The people are multi-skilled, work in self management teams 51

52 Network regime Structure Culture Custom oriented Mini companies
people = business partner Stake holder involvement Mini companies Temporarily structures Networking Strategic partnering People Broad competences Human capital Entrepreneurs Participation in strategic issues Systems In the network coonfiguration mini companies and external partners work together in temporarily structures. The structure as control mechanismn is less powerfull and culture is more and more important to create a whole system in which people are seen as a business partner. Stake holders are involved in the important decision making processes. Employees have developped broad competences and participate in strategic issues. They are the human capital and act as entrepreneurs. Focus on time to market 52

53 Business demands Structure Systems People Culture Focus on hierarchical authority Power based: Command and control Narrow tasks Simple and routine work Detailed rules and procedures Budget driven Specialisation Division of labour Price Hierarchy Less hierarchical Reduced power distance Integration of quality control Group meetings Quality awareness Quality circles Statistical process control Horizontal meetings Price Quality Transformation process is leading Managers and staff dept. have a supporting and facilitating role Multi-skilling Teamwork Self management Just in time Minimal specification Local differentiation Result driven Business line oriented Small units with a whole task and decentralised control Price Quality Flexibility Customer focussed Human talent is seen as business capital High involvement Partnership Speeding up product innovation process Mini companies Temporal structures Networking Price Quality Flexibility Product innovation 53

54 Bridging the gap: example
Business demands Structure Systems People Culture Specialisation Detailed rules and procedures Narrow tasks Focus on hierarchical authority Price Hierarchy Division of labour Budget driven Simple and routine work Power based: Command and control Horizontal meetings Integration of quality control Less hierarchical Price Quality Statistical process control Quality circles Group meetings Quality awareness Reduced power distance Business line oriented Just in time Multi-skilling Transformation process is leading Price Quality Flexibility Small units with a whole task Minimal specification Local differentiation Teamwork Managers and staff dept. have a supporting and facilitating role and decentralised control Result driven Self management Price Quality Flexibility Product innovation Mini companies High involvement Customer focussed Speeding up product innovation Temporal structures process Partnership Human talent is seen as business capital Networking 54

55 An integral approach Organisational behaviour
Quality of working life involvement Quality of organisation Quality of working relations productivity viability Organisational behaviour structure people systems culture Management of change Conservating mechanism The challenge for innovation the workplace is bridging the gap on 4 pillars people, culture, structure and systems. These 4 pillars are connected together in a metaphor with a robe. We call this an integral approach. A one sided approach will not give the desired results and will give tension on the robe. To get al real innovation of the workplace a transition on all the pillars is need to get results on productivity, involvement and viability. And off course is the length of the gap based on strategic choice which is made on the current and future market demands. Bridging the gap is not only a process of developing organisation concepts, but also a process of change. Rethinking and implementing new organisation concepts, needs also rethinking the strategy of change management. Guiding principles & leadership Strategic choices Ontwerpen & ontwikkelen 55

56 Product / service innovation
Price + Quality + Flexibility and time + Product / service innovation Network Regime labour market policies sustainability Price + Quality + Flexibility and time Flexible Regime Price + Quality Quality driven Regime Product variation low high Uncertainty Price Bureaucratic Regime In search of the most effective regime Untill now I only have looked from a business point of view. The reality is more complex, because we alsoo have to deal with labourmarket issues, policies. I hope it is clear that the different strategic choices different organisation models requires. The are 4 different configurations, I wil shar with you: 1234 The changing demands and change of configurations requires workplace innovation, in terms of renewal and development. An other important remark is that not all the different business lines have the same time table. For instance… It is a danger to speak as a fad or mode about productinnovation as the reality for instance just begin with phase 3! 56

57 Design sequence rules: PCS
From the whole to the parts + macro structure meso micro ‘production’ structure Control structure From the parts to the whole (Information) systems Mission vision goals strategy guiding principles Organisation design 1 2 3 4 5 57

58 Dialogue Self organisation Co-creation
Change as a non-lineair cycle process IV Realising I (explore/ discovering) Diagnosing Common Awareness Dialogue Self organisation Co-creation Education II (Imaging) Visioning Shared Direction III Designing Co-creation Ownership 58

59 Dialogue Self organisation Co-creation
Characteristics of change process Every change process is unique Mixed interventions Design teams Large scale conferences Support self organization and co-creation In-company training and education Open education Iterative approach Mix top down and bottom up Create a common vision, awareness and readiness to change Strategic design: design team of key positions with consultation whole system Operational design: (emergent) co-creation of involved stakeholders IV Realising I Diagnosing III Designing II Visioning Dialogue Self organisation Co-creation Education 59

60 Dialogue in small groups
What have you learned? What is common with the traditional approach (part 1) What are the differences? Futher questions or remarks 60

61 Summary Original STS Lowlands Lowlands Approach Context Objective
Efficiency Repetitive manufacturing Surplus labor market Efficiency, quality, flexibility, innovation Custom made (knowledge work) Future war on talent/ healthy aging; shortage labor market Objective Humanization of work Business demand: Quality of working life Quality of organisation(al) health Quality of working relations Subject Job design (micro level) Organisation design and designing Concepts Open Systems Joint optimalisation social & technical system Bottom up change Design and change as a strategic competing (meaningful-sense making) factor Division of labor: twin structure concept (production & control structure) Education for self organization, co-creation, top-down and bottom-up


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