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Re: [cp] Hierarchy vs networks in orgs (was Examples of ghost town communities)

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  • Fred
    I m not sure what you mean by management becoming redundant. In the sense that it duplicates (or attempts to duplicate) mechanisms already in place it has
    Message 1 of 18 , Dec 8, 2009
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      I'm not sure what you mean by management becoming "redundant." In the sense that it duplicates (or attempts to duplicate) mechanisms already in place it has been redundant for many years now, especially in relation to the performance of people in the workplace.

      The much talked about and wrestled with "shift to knowledge work" was actually a shift in the mix of working activities for many people. All work is some mix of prefigured or "canned" routines and configured or "crafted" responses. For most people for much of the last century, work consisted mainly of prefigured or "canned" routines. Beginning in the 1920s and proceeding apace through the 1980s, the mix of work began to be dominated by configured or "crafted" responses. A great deal of the work that was previously dominated by "canned" routines has been automated, mechanized or off-shored. We are left, then, with a situation in which much of the remaining work and most of the work that matters is performed by people who, by and large, determine for themselves how best to realize the results for which they are accountable. Moreover, in many cases, they report to people who couldn't do their work if their lives depended on it. Yet, all this occurs in the context of the same old hierarchical system of authority that has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. And it ain't gonna go away.

      So, we are stuck as it were with two realities: (1) the nature of work and working - indeed, the locus of control over those two - has undergone a deep and fundamental change and (2) we have with us still a hierarchical system of authority. How then to reconcile the two?

      For my money, the reconciliation point - also the leverage point - is what Peter Drucker called "the practice of management." There is - in all organizations and across all organizations - a practice area known as "management" - and it is at the heart of that shadowy, dimly visible CoP that has as its members those who view themselves as part of the community of managers. For many years now, that community of practice has been focused on codifying and disseminating the practice of management - the neglect of advancing that practice. It is time for that community to shift its focus from capture and dissemination to a focus on advancing the practice.

      If as the evidence suggests, only the employees who perform the work are truly in control of it, how do managers manage in that context? If workers control the work, how do managers obtain useful, valuable results on a reliable, ongoing basis? (I happen to think there are lots of avenues open but that's a matter for a different day because, frankly, it doesn't matter what I think; what matters is what managers think.)

      Is the hierarchy going to go away? No. Nor should it. There are ways to obtain meaningful, valuable contributions from employees in a hierarchical system - and ways that don't impede performance; indeed, they facilitate and support it. But the practice of management will have to undergo a major overhaul before they are widespread. And, last time I looked, it was the members of a CoP who control a practice.

      The issue, then, is how to get managers to reexamine the practice of management.

      Regards,

      Fred Nickols
      Managing Partner
      Distance Consulting, LLC
      nickols@...
      www.nickols.us

      "Assistance at a Distance"



      --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "sam2marshall" <sam@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Hi Fred, Bill & All
      > I'm intrigued that both your posts commented on a need for hierarchy (and I'm inclined to agree).
      >
      > I'm hearing lots of presentations recently about Work2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc. that are advocating flat, networked organizations that make 'management' redundant. Euan Semple's recent blog post is one example I saw recently, though I wouldn't particularly single Euan out in this (http://euansemple.squarespace.com/theobvious/2009/11/8/the-bbc-enterprise-20-and-management-bollocks.html)
      >
      > So I'd be interested on the thoughts of this group about what's going on. Are the Work2.0 folk extolling a new Gen Y sentiment that we've seen work within CoPs and could work more widely? Should we embrace *leadership* but challenge management control?
      >
      > Best
      > Sam
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Well, as the late Peter Drucker pointed out repeatedly over a span of many years, organizations can't function without some kind of authority system and authority systems are inevitably hierarchical in nature. (So, too, in my experience, are people.)
      > >
      > > Fred Nickols
      > > nickols@
    • proudfit_bill
      Drucker as almost always provides some good practical management advice. A CoP of managers on the theme of the practice of management is an excellent idea.
      Message 2 of 18 , Dec 9, 2009
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        Drucker as almost always provides some good practical management advice. A CoP of managers on the theme of the practice of management is an excellent idea. Hierarchy and management will not go away and nor should they. Yes, this is a good and true statement. I believe many managers do want to examine their practice of management. We see much evidence of this in the popular business press.

        There is a pervasive belief in knowledge management generally and CoP development specifically that says 'exclude management' they will stop what 'we' want to do. I've never quite understood why we would want to exclude management because it seems that most knowledge workers are managers in one way or the other. We seem to want to exclude ourselves. This has its beginnings in the those knowledge management reports that sought to 'reveal the true organization'.

        Knowledge management and CoP research could benefit from looking at historical business practices. I caution on the presumption that the hierarchal system of authority to control work we have seen grow up since the mid 18th century is in some way indicative of the 'thousands of years of hierarchy' that preceded it. The organization of work before the Industrial Revolution was significantly flatter and the relationship between worker, owner, organizer and community were fundamentally different from what came later. Peter Laslett's excellent book, "The world we have lost", is a very good reference on this topic.



        --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > I'm not sure what you mean by management becoming "redundant." In the sense that it duplicates (or attempts to duplicate) mechanisms already in place it has been redundant for many years now, especially in relation to the performance of people in the workplace.
        >
        > The much talked about and wrestled with "shift to knowledge work" was actually a shift in the mix of working activities for many people. All work is some mix of prefigured or "canned" routines and configured or "crafted" responses. For most people for much of the last century, work consisted mainly of prefigured or "canned" routines. Beginning in the 1920s and proceeding apace through the 1980s, the mix of work began to be dominated by configured or "crafted" responses. A great deal of the work that was previously dominated by "canned" routines has been automated, mechanized or off-shored. We are left, then, with a situation in which much of the remaining work and most of the work that matters is performed by people who, by and large, determine for themselves how best to realize the results for which they are accountable. Moreover, in many cases, they report to people who couldn't do their work if their lives depended on it. Yet, all this occurs in the context of the same old hierarchical system of authority that has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. And it ain't gonna go away.
        >
        > So, we are stuck as it were with two realities: (1) the nature of work and working - indeed, the locus of control over those two - has undergone a deep and fundamental change and (2) we have with us still a hierarchical system of authority. How then to reconcile the two?
        >
        > For my money, the reconciliation point - also the leverage point - is what Peter Drucker called "the practice of management." There is - in all organizations and across all organizations - a practice area known as "management" - and it is at the heart of that shadowy, dimly visible CoP that has as its members those who view themselves as part of the community of managers. For many years now, that community of practice has been focused on codifying and disseminating the practice of management - the neglect of advancing that practice. It is time for that community to shift its focus from capture and dissemination to a focus on advancing the practice.
        >
        > If as the evidence suggests, only the employees who perform the work are truly in control of it, how do managers manage in that context? If workers control the work, how do managers obtain useful, valuable results on a reliable, ongoing basis? (I happen to think there are lots of avenues open but that's a matter for a different day because, frankly, it doesn't matter what I think; what matters is what managers think.)
        >
        > Is the hierarchy going to go away? No. Nor should it. There are ways to obtain meaningful, valuable contributions from employees in a hierarchical system - and ways that don't impede performance; indeed, they facilitate and support it. But the practice of management will have to undergo a major overhaul before they are widespread. And, last time I looked, it was the members of a CoP who control a practice.
        >
        > The issue, then, is how to get managers to reexamine the practice of management.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Fred Nickols
        > Managing Partner
        > Distance Consulting, LLC
        > nickols@...
        > www.nickols.us
        >
        > "Assistance at a Distance"
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "sam2marshall" <sam@> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > Hi Fred, Bill & All
        > > I'm intrigued that both your posts commented on a need for hierarchy (and I'm inclined to agree).
        > >
        > > I'm hearing lots of presentations recently about Work2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc. that are advocating flat, networked organizations that make 'management' redundant. Euan Semple's recent blog post is one example I saw recently, though I wouldn't particularly single Euan out in this (http://euansemple.squarespace.com/theobvious/2009/11/8/the-bbc-enterprise-20-and-management-bollocks.html)
        > >
        > > So I'd be interested on the thoughts of this group about what's going on. Are the Work2.0 folk extolling a new Gen Y sentiment that we've seen work within CoPs and could work more widely? Should we embrace *leadership* but challenge management control?
        > >
        > > Best
        > > Sam
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Well, as the late Peter Drucker pointed out repeatedly over a span of many years, organizations can't function without some kind of authority system and authority systems are inevitably hierarchical in nature. (So, too, in my experience, are people.)
        > > >
        > > > Fred Nickols
        > > > nickols@
        >
      • John David Smith
        It seems to me that some of the confusion about communities excluding management or being against hierarchy may be due to the fact that communities of
        Message 3 of 18 , Dec 9, 2009
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          It seems to me that some of the confusion about communities excluding
          management or being "against hierarchy" may be due to the fact that
          communities of practice tend to negotiate local hierarchies based on local
          competence or reputation. Those local hierarchies are somewhat independent
          of the surrounding hierarchical structure. And that's as it should be,
          isn't it? That's what legitimate peripheral participation means: some kind
          of fluidity as we move toward the center, to become recognized as "knowing
          something."

          Communities that don't have enough hierarchy can be flat: there are no
          recognized experts, nobody to thumb your nose at when you're feeling
          irritable. (Conversely, I've seen communities that are TOO hierarchical as
          well -- and rigid in their hierarchical relations.)

          John
          * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
          * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
          * Our book: http://bit.ly/DigitalHabitats by Wenger, White, & Smith
          * "One law for the lion and ox is oppression." - William Blake
        • asif.devji
          Fascinating discussion -- hits at the heart of what a community is and is not -- and why it is so difficult to mesh community culture/organizational culture.
          Message 4 of 18 , Dec 15, 2009
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            Fascinating discussion -- hits at the heart of what a community is and is not -- and why it is so difficult to mesh community culture/organizational culture.

            I'd like to throw in my two cents by referring to the Copenhagen climate change conference currently underway -- the dynamics of which I think provide a spectacular example of community culture and its relationship to organizational culture.

            The protests in the street represent community culture -- individuals on the front line who have self-organized and evolved a 'natural' hierarchy. The community has discussed, negotiated and produced proposals to deal with an organizational problem.

            The delegates in the conference centre represent organizational culture -- individuals distanced from the front line who have been politically ranked according to a pre-existing imposed hierarchy.
            The community leaders arrive with proposals for the organizational leaders...and what happens?

            Community perspectives that challenge political objectives are marginalized and suppressed -- even when those community perspectives hold solutions to organizational problems -- in favour of organizational politics -- even when those politics threaten to damage the organization (not to mention the community) itself.

            This, to me, is a typical dynamic played out in organizational CoPs.

            And for me, the key difference is the type -- rather than the fact -- of hierarchy. Self-organized hierarchies versus institutional hierarchies.

            Another way of saying this is to ask the question: Would a manager who had worked their way up through the ranks be more open to community perspectives than one who had been parachuted in from above?

            Thanks,
            Asif


            --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > I'm not sure what you mean by management becoming "redundant." In the sense that it duplicates (or attempts to duplicate) mechanisms already in place it has been redundant for many years now, especially in relation to the performance of people in the workplace.
            >
            > The much talked about and wrestled with "shift to knowledge work" was actually a shift in the mix of working activities for many people. All work is some mix of prefigured or "canned" routines and configured or "crafted" responses. For most people for much of the last century, work consisted mainly of prefigured or "canned" routines. Beginning in the 1920s and proceeding apace through the 1980s, the mix of work began to be dominated by configured or "crafted" responses. A great deal of the work that was previously dominated by "canned" routines has been automated, mechanized or off-shored. We are left, then, with a situation in which much of the remaining work and most of the work that matters is performed by people who, by and large, determine for themselves how best to realize the results for which they are accountable. Moreover, in many cases, they report to people who couldn't do their work if their lives depended on it. Yet, all this occurs in the context of the same old hierarchical system of authority that has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. And it ain't gonna go away.
            >
            > So, we are stuck as it were with two realities: (1) the nature of work and working - indeed, the locus of control over those two - has undergone a deep and fundamental change and (2) we have with us still a hierarchical system of authority. How then to reconcile the two?
            >
            > For my money, the reconciliation point - also the leverage point - is what Peter Drucker called "the practice of management." There is - in all organizations and across all organizations - a practice area known as "management" - and it is at the heart of that shadowy, dimly visible CoP that has as its members those who view themselves as part of the community of managers. For many years now, that community of practice has been focused on codifying and disseminating the practice of management - the neglect of advancing that practice. It is time for that community to shift its focus from capture and dissemination to a focus on advancing the practice.
            >
            > If as the evidence suggests, only the employees who perform the work are truly in control of it, how do managers manage in that context? If workers control the work, how do managers obtain useful, valuable results on a reliable, ongoing basis? (I happen to think there are lots of avenues open but that's a matter for a different day because, frankly, it doesn't matter what I think; what matters is what managers think.)
            >
            > Is the hierarchy going to go away? No. Nor should it. There are ways to obtain meaningful, valuable contributions from employees in a hierarchical system - and ways that don't impede performance; indeed, they facilitate and support it. But the practice of management will have to undergo a major overhaul before they are widespread. And, last time I looked, it was the members of a CoP who control a practice.
            >
            > The issue, then, is how to get managers to reexamine the practice of management.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Fred Nickols
            > Managing Partner
            > Distance Consulting, LLC
            > nickols@...
            > www.nickols.us
            >
            > "Assistance at a Distance"
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "sam2marshall" <sam@> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > Hi Fred, Bill & All
            > > I'm intrigued that both your posts commented on a need for hierarchy (and I'm inclined to agree).
            > >
            > > I'm hearing lots of presentations recently about Work2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc. that are advocating flat, networked organizations that make 'management' redundant. Euan Semple's recent blog post is one example I saw recently, though I wouldn't particularly single Euan out in this (http://euansemple.squarespace.com/theobvious/2009/11/8/the-bbc-enterprise-20-and-management-bollocks.html)
            > >
            > > So I'd be interested on the thoughts of this group about what's going on. Are the Work2.0 folk extolling a new Gen Y sentiment that we've seen work within CoPs and could work more widely? Should we embrace *leadership* but challenge management control?
            > >
            > > Best
            > > Sam
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Well, as the late Peter Drucker pointed out repeatedly over a span of many years, organizations can't function without some kind of authority system and authority systems are inevitably hierarchical in nature. (So, too, in my experience, are people.)
            > > >
            > > > Fred Nickols
            > > > nickols@
            >
          • fgossieaux
            I like the concept of self-organized hierarchies. This is how the Research Center at NASA Langley organized itself (http://bit.ly/6E4Rin). I agree that you
            Message 5 of 18 , Dec 15, 2009
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              I like the concept of self-organized hierarchies. This is how the Research Center at NASA Langley organized itself (http://bit.ly/6E4Rin).

              I agree that you need some hierarchy/process for knowledge to flow, just as Prof Cohendet suggested in this paper: http://bit.ly/89HuLw.

              Lastly, you may want to check out this research project from MIT where they look at the impact of unstructured communities of fixed processes (http://bit.ly/8tXOwI). There are some other studies along the same lines but I cannot find it just now.

              Francois
              -------------------------------
              Francois Gossieaux
              Partner, Beeline Labs
              e. francois@...
              w. http://www.beelinelabs.com
              b. http://www.emergencemarketing.com
              c. http://www.marketingtwo.net
              p. http://www.cmotwo.com


              --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "asif.devji" <asif.devji@...> wrote:
              >
              > Fascinating discussion -- hits at the heart of what a community is and is not -- and why it is so difficult to mesh community culture/organizational culture.
              >
              > I'd like to throw in my two cents by referring to the Copenhagen climate change conference currently underway -- the dynamics of which I think provide a spectacular example of community culture and its relationship to organizational culture.
              >
              > The protests in the street represent community culture -- individuals on the front line who have self-organized and evolved a 'natural' hierarchy. The community has discussed, negotiated and produced proposals to deal with an organizational problem.
              >
              > The delegates in the conference centre represent organizational culture -- individuals distanced from the front line who have been politically ranked according to a pre-existing imposed hierarchy.
              > The community leaders arrive with proposals for the organizational leaders...and what happens?
              >
              > Community perspectives that challenge political objectives are marginalized and suppressed -- even when those community perspectives hold solutions to organizational problems -- in favour of organizational politics -- even when those politics threaten to damage the organization (not to mention the community) itself.
              >
              > This, to me, is a typical dynamic played out in organizational CoPs.
              >
              > And for me, the key difference is the type -- rather than the fact -- of hierarchy. Self-organized hierarchies versus institutional hierarchies.
              >
              > Another way of saying this is to ask the question: Would a manager who had worked their way up through the ranks be more open to community perspectives than one who had been parachuted in from above?
              >
              > Thanks,
              > Asif
              >
              >
              > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > I'm not sure what you mean by management becoming "redundant." In the sense that it duplicates (or attempts to duplicate) mechanisms already in place it has been redundant for many years now, especially in relation to the performance of people in the workplace.
              > >
              > > The much talked about and wrestled with "shift to knowledge work" was actually a shift in the mix of working activities for many people. All work is some mix of prefigured or "canned" routines and configured or "crafted" responses. For most people for much of the last century, work consisted mainly of prefigured or "canned" routines. Beginning in the 1920s and proceeding apace through the 1980s, the mix of work began to be dominated by configured or "crafted" responses. A great deal of the work that was previously dominated by "canned" routines has been automated, mechanized or off-shored. We are left, then, with a situation in which much of the remaining work and most of the work that matters is performed by people who, by and large, determine for themselves how best to realize the results for which they are accountable. Moreover, in many cases, they report to people who couldn't do their work if their lives depended on it. Yet, all this occurs in the context of the same old hierarchical system of authority that has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. And it ain't gonna go away.
              > >
              > > So, we are stuck as it were with two realities: (1) the nature of work and working - indeed, the locus of control over those two - has undergone a deep and fundamental change and (2) we have with us still a hierarchical system of authority. How then to reconcile the two?
              > >
              > > For my money, the reconciliation point - also the leverage point - is what Peter Drucker called "the practice of management." There is - in all organizations and across all organizations - a practice area known as "management" - and it is at the heart of that shadowy, dimly visible CoP that has as its members those who view themselves as part of the community of managers. For many years now, that community of practice has been focused on codifying and disseminating the practice of management - the neglect of advancing that practice. It is time for that community to shift its focus from capture and dissemination to a focus on advancing the practice.
              > >
              > > If as the evidence suggests, only the employees who perform the work are truly in control of it, how do managers manage in that context? If workers control the work, how do managers obtain useful, valuable results on a reliable, ongoing basis? (I happen to think there are lots of avenues open but that's a matter for a different day because, frankly, it doesn't matter what I think; what matters is what managers think.)
              > >
              > > Is the hierarchy going to go away? No. Nor should it. There are ways to obtain meaningful, valuable contributions from employees in a hierarchical system - and ways that don't impede performance; indeed, they facilitate and support it. But the practice of management will have to undergo a major overhaul before they are widespread. And, last time I looked, it was the members of a CoP who control a practice.
              > >
              > > The issue, then, is how to get managers to reexamine the practice of management.
              > >
              > > Regards,
              > >
              > > Fred Nickols
              > > Managing Partner
              > > Distance Consulting, LLC
              > > nickols@
              > > www.nickols.us
              > >
              > > "Assistance at a Distance"
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "sam2marshall" <sam@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Hi Fred, Bill & All
              > > > I'm intrigued that both your posts commented on a need for hierarchy (and I'm inclined to agree).
              > > >
              > > > I'm hearing lots of presentations recently about Work2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc. that are advocating flat, networked organizations that make 'management' redundant. Euan Semple's recent blog post is one example I saw recently, though I wouldn't particularly single Euan out in this (http://euansemple.squarespace.com/theobvious/2009/11/8/the-bbc-enterprise-20-and-management-bollocks.html)
              > > >
              > > > So I'd be interested on the thoughts of this group about what's going on. Are the Work2.0 folk extolling a new Gen Y sentiment that we've seen work within CoPs and could work more widely? Should we embrace *leadership* but challenge management control?
              > > >
              > > > Best
              > > > Sam
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
              > > > >
              > > > > Well, as the late Peter Drucker pointed out repeatedly over a span of many years, organizations can't function without some kind of authority system and authority systems are inevitably hierarchical in nature. (So, too, in my experience, are people.)
              > > > >
              > > > > Fred Nickols
              > > > > nickols@
              > >
              >
            • Asif Devji
              Hi Francois, Thanks for your response on the boards regarding self-organized hierarchies, and for the links. I spent a lot of time studying the Cohendet paper
              Message 6 of 18 , Jan 26, 2010
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                Hi Francois,

                Thanks for your response on the boards regarding self-organized hierarchies, and for the links.

                I spent a lot of time studying the Cohendet paper over the holidays -- found it quite useful. Wanted to formulate a useful response for the discussion boards, but I'm still wrestling with the concept of self-organized hierarchies (or communities) within institutionally-imposed hierarchies (or communities).

                Trying to think about the idea visually -- -- what would this dynamic look like in a Cmap or an organigram or a network flow?

                I also really liked Cohendet's focus on cognitive distance (btwn communities) and/versus cognitive dissonance (destabilization as a motivator for learning).

                So I wanted to let you to know that your contribution was appreciated, and that it's having ripple effects :-)

                If I do make any more headway on this, I'd certainly like to request your feedback on what I come up with.

                Thanks,
                Asif




                ________________________________
                From: fgossieaux <francois@...>
                To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tue, December 15, 2009 1:06:25 PM
                Subject: Re: [cp] Hierarchy vs networks in orgs (was Examples of ghost town communities)


                I like the concept of self-organized hierarchies. This is how the Research Center at NASA Langley organized itself (http://bit.ly/6E4Rin).

                I agree that you need some hierarchy/process for knowledge to flow, just as Prof Cohendet suggested in this paper: http://bit.ly/89HuLw.

                Lastly, you may want to check out this research project from MIT where they look at the impact of unstructured communities of fixed processes (http://bit.ly/8tXOwI). There are some other studies along the same lines but I cannot find it just now.

                Francois
                ------------ --------- --------- -
                Francois Gossieaux
                Partner, Beeline Labs
                e. francois@beelinelab s.com
                w. http://www.beelinelabs.com
                b. http://www.emergenc emarketing. com
                c. http://www.marketingtwo.net
                p. http://www.cmotwo. com

                --- In com-prac@yahoogroup s.com, "asif.devji" <asif.devji@ ...> wrote:
                >
                > Fascinating discussion -- hits at the heart of what a community is and is not -- and why it is so difficult to mesh community culture/organizatio nal culture.
                >
                > I'd like to throw in my two cents by referring to the Copenhagen climate change conference currently underway -- the dynamics of which I think provide a spectacular example of community culture and its relationship to organizational culture.
                >
                > The protests in the street represent community culture -- individuals on the front line who have self-organized and evolved a 'natural' hierarchy. The community has discussed, negotiated and produced proposals to deal with an organizational problem.
                >
                > The delegates in the conference centre represent organizational culture -- individuals distanced from the front line who have been politically ranked according to a pre-existing imposed hierarchy.
                > The community leaders arrive with proposals for the organizational leaders...and what happens?
                >
                > Community perspectives that challenge political objectives are marginalized and suppressed -- even when those community perspectives hold solutions to organizational problems -- in favour of organizational politics -- even when those politics threaten to damage the organization (not to mention the community) itself.
                >
                > This, to me, is a typical dynamic played out in organizational CoPs.
                >
                > And for me, the key difference is the type -- rather than the fact -- of hierarchy. Self-organized hierarchies versus institutional hierarchies.
                >
                > Another way of saying this is to ask the question: Would a manager who had worked their way up through the ranks be more open to community perspectives than one who had been parachuted in from above?
                >
                > Thanks,
                > Asif
                >
                >
                > --- In com-prac@yahoogroup s.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > > I'm not sure what you mean by management becoming "redundant." In the sense that it duplicates (or attempts to duplicate) mechanisms already in place it has been redundant for many years now, especially in relation to the performance of people in the workplace.
                > >
                > > The much talked about and wrestled with "shift to knowledge work" was actually a shift in the mix of working activities for many people. All work is some mix of prefigured or "canned" routines and configured or "crafted" responses. For most people for much of the last century, work consisted mainly of prefigured or "canned" routines. Beginning in the 1920s and proceeding apace through the 1980s, the mix of work began to be dominated by configured or "crafted" responses. A great deal of the work that was previously dominated by "canned" routines has been automated, mechanized or off-shored. We are left, then, with a situation in which much of the remaining work and most of the work that matters is performed by people who, by and large, determine for themselves how best to realize the results for which they are accountable. Moreover, in many cases, they report to people who couldn't do their work if their lives depended on it. Yet, all this
                occurs in the context of the same old hierarchical system of authority that has been with us for thousands and thousands of years. And it ain't gonna go away.
                > >
                > > So, we are stuck as it were with two realities: (1) the nature of work and working - indeed, the locus of control over those two - has undergone a deep and fundamental change and (2) we have with us still a hierarchical system of authority. How then to reconcile the two?
                > >
                > > For my money, the reconciliation point - also the leverage point - is what Peter Drucker called "the practice of management." There is - in all organizations and across all organizations - a practice area known as "management" - and it is at the heart of that shadowy, dimly visible CoP that has as its members those who view themselves as part of the community of managers. For many years now, that community of practice has been focused on codifying and disseminating the practice of management - the neglect of advancing that practice. It is time for that community to shift its focus from capture and dissemination to a focus on advancing the practice.
                > >
                > > If as the evidence suggests, only the employees who perform the work are truly in control of it, how do managers manage in that context? If workers control the work, how do managers obtain useful, valuable results on a reliable, ongoing basis? (I happen to think there are lots of avenues open but that's a matter for a different day because, frankly, it doesn't matter what I think; what matters is what managers think.)
                > >
                > > Is the hierarchy going to go away? No. Nor should it. There are ways to obtain meaningful, valuable contributions from employees in a hierarchical system - and ways that don't impede performance; indeed, they facilitate and support it. But the practice of management will have to undergo a major overhaul before they are widespread. And, last time I looked, it was the members of a CoP who control a practice.
                > >
                > > The issue, then, is how to get managers to reexamine the practice of management.
                > >
                > > Regards,
                > >
                > > Fred Nickols
                > > Managing Partner
                > > Distance Consulting, LLC
                > > nickols@
                > > www.nickols. us
                > >
                > > "Assistance at a Distance"
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In com-prac@yahoogroup s.com, "sam2marshall" <sam@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Hi Fred, Bill & All
                > > > I'm intrigued that both your posts commented on a need for hierarchy (and I'm inclined to agree).
                > > >
                > > > I'm hearing lots of presentations recently about Work2.0, Enterprise 2.0 etc. that are advocating flat, networked organizations that make 'management' redundant. Euan Semple's recent blog post is one example I saw recently, though I wouldn't particularly single Euan out in this (http://euansemple. squarespace. com/theobvious/ 2009/11/8/ the-bbc-enterpri se-20-and- management- bollocks. html)
                > > >
                > > > So I'd be interested on the thoughts of this group about what's going on. Are the Work2.0 folk extolling a new Gen Y sentiment that we've seen work within CoPs and could work more widely? Should we embrace *leadership* but challenge management control?
                > > >
                > > > Best
                > > > Sam
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > --- In com-prac@yahoogroup s.com, "Fred" <nickols@> wrote:
                > > > >
                > > > > Well, as the late Peter Drucker pointed out repeatedly over a span of many years, organizations can't function without some kind of authority system and authority systems are inevitably hierarchical in nature. (So, too, in my experience, are people.)
                > > > >
                > > > > Fred Nickols
                > > > > nickols@
                > >
                >







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