Tag Archives: management

Line manager role identity as facilitators of learning


A New Agenda for Organisational Effectiveness?

Earlier this week, I went to a CIPD Knowledge into Practice Seminar and launch of the CIPD book, People & Organisational Development: a new agenda for organisational effectiveness.

The authors argued that the dominant business paradigm of shareholder value is nolonger fit for purpose – we,the public, expect more from companies as “good” citizens. In other words, a return to the stakeholder approach to business and management. Mirroring such changes in the field of HR, they argued that the business-centric approach of the Business Partner model was similarly nolonger appropriate and should be replaced by a more humanistic approach integrating organisational development in to new perspectives on organisational effectiveness. It would be interesting to hear the debate with the CIPDs work on “business savvy” which seems to me to be very focused on the “non-humanist” and “people as assets” perspective.

They proposed a four pronged approach to the required new approach involving

  • language and action – a narrative turn in analysing management practices
  • authenticity and mutuality – acknowledging a two way relationship between the employee and employer. Which itself is highly fluid – as the point was made at the event, as an employee is the offer of enhanced “employability” competences enough of an offer if there is a longer-term job shortage (although this now seems less likely than was thought a few months ago)
  • leadership and management – although what this entailed other than managing people differently and dispersing leadership throughout the organisation wasn’t really clear
  • paradox and ambiguity – as something managers need to be more comfortable dealing with. We could here to approaches like the Cynefin framework or polarity management.
  • What I’m hoping from the book is that we see how these concepts can be operationalised in to [daily] management practice … we shall see

    Innovation as knowing, experience and action?

    These are some very rough initial thoughts that I hope to develop over a couple of posts.

    Building on an earlier post on learning, creativity & innovation summarising

    that (a) innovation occurs through learning and (b) learning is a social/ collaborative process (and so innovation is also a collaborative process)

    it is clear that innovation is about people involved in interactions with an emphasis on action. It is only through doing things together that tacit knowledge can be exchanged. This is not about converting tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge which is probably a bit a of a myth. Rather this is about social interaction for co-creation of knowledge by doing together – so we can’t just be talking about imitation. So innovation is about novelty, co-creating new knowledge within existing interactions or through new and novel connections. As Ekvall noted, there is value in openess, trust, playfulness and humour in work. So the highly intangible assets of an organisation such as its culture are critical here, pointing to how innovation links HR practices and knowledge management. So innovation practices are intensely practical and organisation specific and wide – innovation cannot be concentrated in the R&D unit, new product development functions or a skunkworks

    web/ enterprise 2.0 – mindset and culture

    Interesting post from Penny Edwards here on the recognition that enterprise 2.0 adoption is a mind-set, and therefore, cultural, issue rather than a technology one. In particular, to be truly effective, it requires a different conceptualisation of management as being something focused on motivation, empowerment, support and co-ordination rather than organising, controlling, commanding and (possibly) even leading.

    change management and social media

    An interesting post from Leandro Herrero on change in organisations and the use of social media. He states:

    I was interviewed recently by Sean Dodson at The Guardian and we got talking about social media as a disruptive technology. I hadn’t given the subject much thought at the time, but I have done since. I have no doubt that social media channels – blogs, wikis, social networking sites, etc – can be used to trigger deep and fundamental change inside organisations. They can bypass the hierarchy, boost transparency, stimulate grassroots conversations, identify issues, give the silent a voice, reduce email traffic, trigger action. What’s more, if adopted and championed by those all-important change agents, these tools could help spread the virus of change at lightening speed.

    I would place an emphasis on the word can here as social media tools are just that, tools and mechanisms. As I’ve said before (here and here) its all about the culture – give or take issues of physical proximity and access, anyone can walk up to a CEO (they’re only human and at some point in their lives had their parents buy their underwear for them) and discuss any work issues, however, many/ most organisations have a culture/ norms that do not allow that sort of behaviour. Social media may make such a discussion easier but if the culture and norms do not allow it then it ain’t going to happen whether there’s in-house social media or not.

    Having said that, how much better do you think most organisations would operate if they had an encouraged that openess as a cultural norm?

    People should be people – even when they’re working

    An interesting post here from Idris Mootee on the importance of the passions, skills, attitudes and general humanity of people in creating successful and agile organisations. But then along comes ‘management’ to control, create procedures and rules so that:

    People are seldom encouraged to be themselves, have fun, or seek fulfillment in their jobs. Instead, they are pushed to just do their jobs, and not bringing their true capability to the organization. How often you heard companies say their employees are their most important, this has always been the biggest bullshit

    To be specific, I belive management can and should be a force for good – about mobilising and nurturing resources not control and direct – but so few organisations allow this to happen. Also, so few managers trust colleagues enough for this to happen. I’ve been a company that promoted the rhetoric of empowerment, freedom and creativity, but only if (a) your ideas coincided with their ideas and (b) what was produced matched their vision for what you should produce … incredibly frustrating but I remained passionate about the work. I’ve also worked in a cliche of a 1970s bureaucracy where control was the key management function – also very frustrating but soon I stopped caring, it made me as close to depressed as I ever want to get (not something you could say about the previous example) and I was so glad to leave (in all honesty, starting this blog was part of my recovery strategy from that job).

    One small aspect of Idris’ blogging is that it includes the occassional typo-and therefore, more authentic as someone reflecting on recent experience

    Action Learning 2.0

    A nice quote from one of the many publications coming out of Ashridge Business School on the link between organisational learning and enterprise 2.0:

    Used well, action learning creates a culture of maximum support, maximum challeng, individual responsibility for change, and collective responsibility for learning … It is an approach that is congruent with what has started to happen around web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, social networks and leaderless organisations and is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to develop people and organisations …

    So, Enterprise 2.0 only really starts to make sense (from a managemen/ business perspective) as an enabling infratructure for management and organisational innovation.