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Patterns of Performance

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  • Brian S. Grant
    My background is in human performance improvement and technology, which saw its origins in the behavioral sciences and instructional design for training. I
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 14, 2006
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      My background is in human performance improvement and technology, which saw its origins in the behavioral sciences and instructional design for training. I just returned from one of the key professional conferences of the field (ISPI), where a colleague and I just presented on how organizational communication breakdowns impact performance. There is a fascinating finding which we uncovered in our research which I thought I would share with the group, as well as demonstrate the broad applications available to the discipline of SNA/ONA.

       

      The objective of the presentation, which was entitled Organizational Autism: Communication Disorders of the Organizational Mind, was to gain new perspectives, via the latest findings in neuroscience, on the impact of communication, as well as social capital (which includes networks, norms, and trust) on organizational performance. We coined the term Organizational Autism as an example of a communication disorder which had many parallels to its medical analogue.

       

      In fact, the most striking similarity was in the recent medical research which indicated that the physical cause of the behavioral symptoms associated with autism appeared to stem from the actual neuronal structure of the brain. In autistic brain, they found key regions which possessed a high degree of short-range connections inside that region, but suffered from a deficit of long-range ones connecting the regions together.

       

      Now, I hardly have to point out to this group how the same performance-related issues which arise from silos of excessive bonding (closure) and deficient bridging (brokerage) in organizations. Yet, given our rapidly expanding set of metrics and analysis techniques, it begs the question of whether SNA/ONA may actually have something to offer the area of neuroscience in how to analyze (and hopefully one day repair) these connections.

       

      For one of the many neuroscience articles on the subject, click here. If you are interested in the slides from the presentation, click here (and choose Presentation Slides / Resources), where I've posted them in a forum I set up to further professional discussion on the subject. However, I would love to get the thoughts of this community on this and other parallels between SNA/ONA and other domains.

    • Valdis Krebs
      Sounds interesting Brian. Can you make those materials available to this list without signing up? We did a study in the late 90s with IBM and 15 of their
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 14, 2006
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        Sounds interesting Brian. Can you make those materials available to
        this list without signing up?

        We did a study in the late 90s with IBM and 15 of their clients,
        looking at "adaptive organizations... those that master 'change' well"
        Our findings also point to the need for wide-reaching links -- the
        need to connect clusters of local ties. We had a very high
        correlation, 59%, between organizations who had good results with
        change and also had great awareness of what was happening... sounds
        like common sense, eh?

        Valdis


        On Apr 14, 2006, at 2:52 PM, Brian S. Grant wrote:

        >  The objective of the presentation, which was entitled Organizational
        > Autism: Communication Disorders of the Organizational Mind, was to
        > gain new perspectives, via the latest findings in neuroscience, on the
        > impact of communication, as well as social capital (which includes
        > networks, norms, and trust) on organizational performance. We coined
        > the term Organizational Autism as an example of a communication
        > disorder which had many parallels to its medical analogue.
        >
        >  In fact, the most striking similarity was in the recent medical
        > research which indicated that the physical cause of the behavioral
        > symptoms associated with autism appeared to stem from the actual
        > neuronal structure of the brain. In autistic brain, they found key
        > regions which possessed a high degree of short-range connections
        > inside that region, but suffered from a deficit of long-range ones
        > connecting the regions together.
        >
        >  Now, I hardly have to point out to this group how the same
        > performance-related issues which arise from silos of excessive bonding
        > (closure) and deficient bridging (brokerage) in organizations. Yet,
        > given our rapidly expanding set of metrics and analysis techniques, it
        > begs the question of whether SNA/ONA may actually have something to
        > offer the area of neuroscience in how to analyze (and hopefully one
        > day repair) these connections.
        >
        >  For one of the many neuroscience articles on the subject, click here.
        > If you are interested in the slides from the presentation, click here
        > (and choose Presentation Slides / Resources), where I've posted them
        > in a forum I set up to further professional discussion on the subject.
        > However, I would love to get the thoughts of this community on this
        > and other parallels between SNA/ONA and other domains.
        >
      • Brian S. Grant
        Thanks, Valdis. Here are direct links to the presentation materials: - Presentation Slides: http://www.powersourcesolutions.org/documents/Organizational Autism
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 15, 2006
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          Thanks, Valdis. Here are direct links to the presentation materials:

          - Presentation Slides: http://www.powersourcesolutions.org/documents/Organizational
          Autism Presentation Slides (Viewing).pdf

          - Handouts from Presentation: http://www.powersourcesolutions.org/documents/
          Organizational Autism Handout (Viewing).pdf

          [sorry for not making these into hyperlinks, but this forum's message composer wasn't
          accepting the tags for some reason]

          What really interests me is two fold:

          1) That certain patterns of connections may universally be better performing than others.

          2) SNA/ONA provide a vocabulary to explain why this is so.

          For me this is tantamount to discovering calculus. While throwing a ball may be common
          sense, it still takes calculus in order to accurately describe why its arc and distance occur
          the way they do, considering all the factors acting in the system. The ability to
          mathmatically describe, analyze and compute common sense is the foundations of a hard
          science which other domains could utilize.

          - Brian

          --- In ona-prac@yahoogroups.com, Valdis Krebs <valdis@...> wrote:
          >
          > Sounds interesting Brian. Can you make those materials available to
          > this list without signing up?
          >
          > We did a study in the late 90s with IBM and 15 of their clients,
          > looking at "adaptive organizations... those that master 'change' well"
          > Our findings also point to the need for wide-reaching links -- the
          > need to connect clusters of local ties. We had a very high
          > correlation, 59%, between organizations who had good results with
          > change and also had great awareness of what was happening... sounds
          > like common sense, eh?
          >
          > Valdis
          >
          >
          > On Apr 14, 2006, at 2:52 PM, Brian S. Grant wrote:
          >
          > >  The objective of the presentation, which was entitled Organizational
          > > Autism: Communication Disorders of the Organizational Mind, was to
          > > gain new perspectives, via the latest findings in neuroscience, on the
          > > impact of communication, as well as social capital (which includes
          > > networks, norms, and trust) on organizational performance. We coined
          > > the term Organizational Autism as an example of a communication
          > > disorder which had many parallels to its medical analogue.
          > >
          > >  In fact, the most striking similarity was in the recent medical
          > > research which indicated that the physical cause of the behavioral
          > > symptoms associated with autism appeared to stem from the actual
          > > neuronal structure of the brain. In autistic brain, they found key
          > > regions which possessed a high degree of short-range connections
          > > inside that region, but suffered from a deficit of long-range ones
          > > connecting the regions together.
          > >
          > >  Now, I hardly have to point out to this group how the same
          > > performance-related issues which arise from silos of excessive bonding
          > > (closure) and deficient bridging (brokerage) in organizations. Yet,
          > > given our rapidly expanding set of metrics and analysis techniques, it
          > > begs the question of whether SNA/ONA may actually have something to
          > > offer the area of neuroscience in how to analyze (and hopefully one
          > > day repair) these connections.
          > >
          > >  For one of the many neuroscience articles on the subject, click here.
          > > If you are interested in the slides from the presentation, click here
          > > (and choose Presentation Slides / Resources), where I've posted them
          > > in a forum I set up to further professional discussion on the subject.
          > > However, I would love to get the thoughts of this community on this
          > > and other parallels between SNA/ONA and other domains.
          > >
          >
        • Giancarlo Oriani
          Brain is one of the most interesting metaphor for the innovative organization: see for an empirical case the danish company Oticon and its worldwide famous
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 18, 2006
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            Brain is one of the most interesting metaphor for the innovative organization: see for an empirical case the danish company Oticon and its worldwide famous "spaghetti organisation". Therefore: thank you so much for this paper, very stimulating. And please, let us know further development ...
            Regards
            Giancarlo
            ----- Original Message -----
            Sent: Friday, April 14, 2006 8:52 PM
            Subject: [ona-prac] Patterns of Performance

            My background is in human performance improvement and technology, which saw its origins in the behavioral sciences and instructional design for training. I just returned from one of the key professional conferences of the field (ISPI), where a colleague and I just presented on how organizational communication breakdowns impact performance. There is a fascinating finding which we uncovered in our research which I thought I would share with the group, as well as demonstrate the broad applications available to the discipline of SNA/ONA.

            The objective of the presentation, which was entitled Organizational Autism: Communication Disorders of the Organizational Mind, was to gain new perspectives, via the latest findings in neuroscience, on the impact of communication, as well as social capital (which includes networks, norms, and trust) on organizational performance. We coined the term Organizational Autism as an example of a communication disorder which had many parallels to its medical analogue.

            In fact, the most striking similarity was in the recent medical research which indicated that the physical cause of the behavioral symptoms associated with autism appeared to stem from the actual neuronal structure of the brain. In autistic brain, they found key regions which possessed a high degree of short-range connections inside that region, but suffered from a deficit of long-range ones connecting the regions together.

            Now, I hardly have to point out to this group how the same performance-related issues which arise from silos of excessive bonding (closure) and deficient bridging (brokerage) in organizations. Yet, given our rapidly expanding set of metrics and analysis techniques, it begs the question of whether SNA/ONA may actually have something to offer the area of neuroscience in how to analyze (and hopefully one day repair) these connections.

            For one of the many neuroscience articles on the subject, click here. If you are interested in the slides from the presentation, click here (and choose Presentation Slides / Resources), where I've posted them in a forum I set up to further professional discussion on the subject. However, I would love to get the thoughts of this community on this and other parallels between SNA/ONA and other domains.

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