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"WORKS That Work"
AARON LEE GIVAN, Ph.D., email@example.com
Copyright. 2005. Aaron Givan.
All rights reserved.
GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION (GATE)
Assessment and Planning Resources
Evaluation (Metavoice Systems Modeling)
Syllabus Development--Doctoral Level Classes only
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AARON GIVAN, Ph.D.
(Copyright. 2005. Aaron Givan. All rights reserved.)
STRUCTURE AND DYNAMICS IN ORGANIZATIONS
One way to think about organizations and the functional modes necessary to make them operate is to use a naturalistic or organic approach--enough structure, like the skeleton system of the human body to support the organizational patterns [as imaged in an organizational chart by the entities named in the chart, for example] so they do not fall apart, but also, enough flexibility within the structure to allow for movement [as indicated by the connecting lines showing the relationships among the entities named within the chart]--rather like the muscle and ligaments of the human body.
The structure-dynamics relationship for human organizations can be modeled using a number of natural-organic examples from nature: for example, the leader-worker pattern in bee colonies or the various kinds of ant colonies that have been found. Individual gifts and preferences within humans can come close to the assigned functions of individual groups within these organic organizations; combining individual gifts can foster the completion of group interests/goals.
The added dimension for a human organization is the power of choice of the individuals within the structure--more rigid or more flexible, as the case may be--to work within the normal give-and-take ranges of the existing organization at any given moment. The introduction of a crisis/problem variable within the normal "activities of daily operation" (ADO) can solicit several kinds of response that demonstrate the power of individual choice:
1. Empirical needs assessment that is process and thing oriented: like a fire in an aircraft that needs immediate response by-the-numbers--rather like the larger guard ants standing guard over the workers as they do their work. In such an instance there is strong structure established by the SOP's for such situations and very defined, expected responses that still require the element of human choice.
2. Appreciative inquiry that is person and group oriented: this emphasizes the continuation of what is working and building on those elements. The group's awareness of its own functioning helps guide and facilitate the health and growth of the group with permissions and protections within the group for members to help one another define the operating rules as ADO functions are processed in the moment.
For teaching purposes and purposes of analysis and model building, more simple elements are considered within any study of an organization--for example, models like management by walking around, theory X and theory Y, and the like.
One place to begin in such modeling studies is to understand the structure-behavior patterns within each individual within the organization; this can be done, for example, by using the MBTI type inventories suggested as part of this class and by keeping notebooks for the analysis of such patterns for the groups within which you work. A comparison of the findings from correlated studies of such notebook records can show suggestive models and ways of teaching and assessing ADO patterns.
At another level, rehearsing responses to the analyzed patterns as a group experience--talking it over together through whatever means--can allow for the more complex patterns that are present due to the power of choice and the need to maintain one's identity. How these dynamics work out becomes the acting operating dynamics in actual play in the moment.
At this point, the structure-dynamics dance among the players in the organization is compound and complex: compound in that the lines of movement within the named entities within the organizational chart have vibrancy--they are not static; complex in that the named entities are interacting in multiple ways with one another all at once at any given moment.
It's a wonder that a large organization can function at all; yet that is the beauty of human groups--they are compound-complex entities and, for me, living-organic creations...
Again, one way to think about organizations and the functional modes necessary to make them operate is to use a naturalistic approach--enough structure, like the skeleton system of the human body to support the organizational patterns [as imaged in an organizational chart by the entities named in the chart, for example] so they do not fall apart, but also, enough flexibility within the structure to allow for movement [as indicated by the connecting lines showing the relationships among the entities named within the chart]--rather like the muscle and ligaments of the human body.
The key for successful operations is the achievement of some kind of balance between the structure of an organization and the movements/dynamics within the structure...
Can you give examples of this balance and the tensions that go with it within your organization?