Month: June 2010

Seeing your company as a system

Much-needed guidance on making companies more employee-centered, adaptive, and capable.

Bank failures, health insurance rate hikes, and the troubles of auto manufacturers provide recent examples of the vulnerability of big, fast-changing systems and the ways in which large organizations can careen out of control. No matter how disparate the causes of failure, there is always a common thread: somewhere, somehow, management has let its attention slip. As executives and politicians struggle with regulation and reform, now is an opportune time to reflect on the leading ideas that have shaped what we know about the management of social systems, particularly corporations, and how to stabilize and improve them.

The recognition that a company is a complex social system and a living community has been an underlying theme of leading management thinkers as far back as the early 20th century. Nevertheless, the machine continues to be the dominant metaphor for business leaders, many of whom seek to solve their problems by “pulling levers” or “pushing buttons”: making large-scale changes without a clear feeling for how those changes will affect the collective action of the company…………

Full article at