structure is designed to maximize efficiency, for example, the firm may lack the flexibility needed to react quickly to exploit new opportunities. In times where transformation is increasingly becoming the status quo in many organizations, lots of leaders and teams are looking for methods, tools and models to help cope with complexity and which match to the new agile corporate culture.In these turbulent times, traditional organizational forms that emphasize top-down control, centralization and up-front planning are said to be ill-suited. Currently, new agile organizational forms that shift innovation, empowerment and collaboration from the margins to the core of the firm are promoted as novel solutions to such problems. Yet, their potential remains fiercely disputed. Proponents see the new agile forms as a solution for all troubles associated with traditional organizing. BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR NEW FORMS OF ORGANISATION MAKE ORGANIZATIONS MORE AGILE: This principle´s overall goal is to fulfill the need of today’s businesses to operate in an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. Being able to seize emerging opportunities by reacting flexible and fast enough to re-organize as needed on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, new organizational forms embrace modularity: Dynamic teams – be it “circle”, “pods” or “cabals” – that continuously pop out and disappear as soon as they have fulfilled their purpose are the structure.. EMPOWERMENT: Teams are largely let to design and govern themselves as they think is best given their purpose. By radically empowering individuals and teams to self-organize and self-manage, such organizations respond to the current need for work environments that enable “whole” individuals to unfold their creative potential. COLLABORATION: They seek to create a work environment in which people can engage in joint efforts, share a common goal, and work together towards turning this goal into reality. As collaboration requires people to dynamically switch between different roles that evolve themselves, a more contextual approach to leadership is common in the new organizational forms – it is a responsibility of certain roles far more than of the individuals that enact them.
Together these three principles attempt to build organizations that are both more innovative and more resilient. Yet, leaders need to deal with multiple challenges in order to successfully integrate them in large, mature organizations. Essentially all debates about new organizational forms have to do with the key tension at the heart of every organization: the need to become ambidextrous in order to balance the paradoxical demands of exploration and exploitation – the age-old tension. Rather than applying new organizational forms to the organization as a whole, big businesses are therefore better off choosing those elements that might help them improve exploration without putting exploitation at risk.
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- Winter '20
- Management, Organizational Structure