Trans-disciplinary Workshop – Milan, May 3rd 2012

Organizations and changing process are traditionally based on the classical Physics world view. CSE-Crescendo developed a totally different theory and approach to manage the change, which has the new Quantum view of society as starting point.

A formal organization is not enough

Companies and other groups built formal organizations made up by procedures, systems, organization charts, aiming at managing the collective work of people at best.

A formal organization cannot be comprehensive: a part of work will not be addressed with “procedures” . This unaddressable part might not be imposed from the top, and, consequently, people built it freely and autonomously.

As a result, the so-called “informal organization” develops itself in the gaps (more and more wide) of the formal organization. The informal organization tampers with the formal one: the aggregate of the two organization produces behaviours.

In other words the informal organization produces behaviours inside the formal one. The formal organization is the syntax and the informal one is the semantics of the organization.

In conclusion it is not sufficient design and manage the formal part to manage and change an organization. It is important understanding what is an informal organization and how we can managed it.

The informal organization is made up by…

The informal organization is a community of people. Therefore this organization is made up by a personal and collective dimension. Both dimensions might be studied and described through the pattern of right hemisphere and left hemisphere of the brain.

Personal dimension

Personal dimension is made up by its two complementary parts: cognitive (left cerebral hemisphere) and emotional (right cerebral hemisphere).

The cognitive part is made up by the background of people patterns, metaphors, reasoning and stories. This part is like a screen that selects the more reasonable rationality (from the subjective point of view) among several ones.

Moreover this screen is the language which expressed people rationalities.

Emotional dimension is obviously made up by feelings.

The feelings of a person might not be scientifically described but it is more useful focus our attention on a more complex definition: “That mess of the human heart”.

Community dimension

The community dimension, as the previous one, is made up by relational and cultural dimensions.

Relational dimension describes different kinds of relationship among people such as the conflict and the collaboration. The conflict produces an informal organization that blocks the formal one (like “sands into the gears”). Whereas the cooperation is the best way to make a formal organization working (like “oil into the gears”).

Cultural dimension is made up by common values, “handmade” items and ritual that make clear these values and expressed them in several items. In every social group (as a working group) values were spontaneously born, but they often do not arise and they remain “hidden”. Nevertheless values affect the group in different ways that the management, the technicians and the operators do not know.

The informal organization emerges

Whereas the formal organization is an unchanging mechanism (although complicated) that do not change until somebody will modify it, the informal organization is an “active player” which has its own development trend.

The informal organization is like a stormy, free and wild sea, like a quantum vacuum which might produce everything and just the opposite without any possibility of control and forecast.  The informal organization develops its own dynamics inside the formal organization and it might become sand or oil… Sand that clogs the functioning of the formal organization. Or oil that greases its functioning.

This development does not consider the strategic needs: it set up day by day and it makes the global organization (the formal organization + the informal organization) constantly different.

If the informal organization is left to its autonomous development, it is likely that it will block the formal organization. Furthermore it comes to show, unconsciuosly, a “de facto strategy” perceived by the customers and the stakeholders as the real strategy, leaving the formal one as a bureaucratic and empty value statement.

Now, how can we manage a stormy, free and wild sea?

How to manage the emergence of the informal organization

In order to manage the informal organization, one possible hypothesis is using the traditional management process based on analysis of activities and rational design to identify (to calculate) the best possible organization. Then people put in practice this hypothesis through communication, reason and leadership.

Unfortunately this method is inapplicable for a variety of practical and fundamental reasons.

First of all the overall analysis of informal organizational dimensions is not possible because it put in place fundamental economic and temporal resources which are usually difficult to find.

Although these resources were founded, the organization did not get usable results: at the end of a long analysis process (gathering and processing of data, design of necessary changing interventions), the informal organization, which is autonomous, is certainly changed compared to the analyzed organization. The designed interventions might become useless even counterproductive.

There are also more important reasons which make useless the traditional management process.

The main reason shows the uselessness and the absurdity of the same analysis process of each human system.

Once again it is necessary speak about the quantum Physics which is an “observe” and the observer theory. In practice: each analysis of the informal organization brings its changing. Measuring human system is a quantum operation that does not explain how an organization is made up, but that changes the organization.

When the top management tries to imagine the organization (e.g. climate and training requirement analysis) tehy actually start a changing process of spontaneous organization. The result is not an objective image of the condition of the organization but it is the answer of the spontaneous organization to research incentive.

When I read a climate or training requirement report I read a story told by the spontaneous organization in order to answer to the research and measure incentive. In short the design starts from an artificial vision of the organization.

Moreover the analyzed organization is as a free and wild quantum sea, each attempt of manipulative leadership increases the rule-breaking energy.

A community for the future

We believe that change is difficult due to the “non-management” feature of the informal organization.

Therefore it is necessary a new governance philosophy, described in the meeting, that receive the new attendance requests which were born inside the organization and inside the society. This new philosophy has to overcome the current attempts of realizing this participation.

A new governance philosophy which is able to build real community that design and realize the future.