An Introduction To Emergent Organizational Development And Change™ (EODC)™

Everything on this site is constantly emerging…

stairs-8443__340

Welcome.

My objective on this site is to create an understanding regarding ’emergent change’, and a framework and platform for Emergent Organizational Development and Change (EODC)™.
Patrick A. Trottier

The strategy to achieve these objectives is to create:

  1. An overall ‘Introduction’ to emergent change and EODC™.
  2. A number of ‘subject write-ups’ relevant to emergent change and EODC™. (see right column)
  3. The basic ‘principles and concepts’ to emergent change and EODC™. (see right column)
  4. An ’emergent vocabulary’ as seen in ‘Key Emergent Phrases / Terms’ (see menu above).
  5. The ‘conditions’ that influence and facilitate the adaptation to and the ability to influence and shape natural, emergent change in people and organizations.
  6.  An applied methodology and approach to EODC™. ( https://goo.gl/7jiOo4 )

My passion in ’emergent change’ started in the mid-90s working with clients that stemmed from financial organizations looking at fast regulatory change and shifting customer service expectations, municipalities that were facing rapid growth migration as well as a huge culture diversity mix in their new citizens, and IT companies that were still experiencing rapid evolution in their technology applications, new challenges within their own organizations and serious competitors rising up almost every day.

During this time, I began to notice that ‘change’ happened every day, that change seemed natural and constant, that change had its ebb and flows. I also observed that the approaches to ‘managing change’  were cumbersome processes of ‘planned change’ or ‘event change’ initiatives focused on the future, or the past, while real change was happening in the present.

I also noticed that the effort to change the organization was some ‘special project’ with a lot of extra effort and fanfare outside of the business of the business itself, and every day work.

Maybe we need to think differently about change?

  • Maybe we have to think differently about change – a different mental and emotional framework.
  • Maybe we have to understand change before we can better influence, move with, or adapt to change.
  • Maybe we need a different vocabulary about change itself. Words influence and convey how we ‘see’ things. How we ‘see’ things is how we create organizational designs. (https://globaltransforming.wordpress.com/key-emergent-phrases-terms/)

This goes to the heart of our work in developing the framework and platform in regards to an Emergent Organizational  Development and Change (EODC)™ approach.

What Is Emergent Organizational Development and Change (EODC)™?

We know that organizations today are facing a significant increase in the rate of change and greater complexities in the issues, opportunities and challenges they face as regional and global growth is demanded.

networking-1

The purpose of Emergent Organizational Development and Change (EODC)™ is to help create the conditions for organizations to conquer the complexities and the rates of change in the 21st Century.

EODC™ can be simply understood as setting up the conditions within an organization so emergent change becomes apparent and influenced more fluidly, naturally and is viewed and experienced as a normal,  continuous, real-time process.

A colleague, Edward Hampton, Managing Member, Performance Perspectives LLC states it well;

“Position OD work on the emergent.  Past OD work has looked to the Past and/or to the Future.  Those were boxes.   The emergent is where Flow operates.   It is where the client lives – and dies.   OD consultants need to work there.”

The Emergent Organizational Development and Change (EODC)™ Platform and Framework is constantly forming and being shaped out of the following theorems, constructs, research and practices of:

  1. The Fundamentals of Organizational Development (Emergent Action Research™ [EAR]).
  2. Chaos Theory. “Out of chaos emerges form.” (P. Trottier, 2017)
  3. Complexity Theory. “Out of complexity emerges simplicity through form.” (P. Trottier, 2017)
  4. Process and Emergent Consultation approaches.
  5. Human Development and Naturalism.
  6. Emergent business structures, systems and processes.
  7. Open, integrated IT/IS system designs, information streams, continuous loop feedback and pattern display interface.

A few concepts EODC™ embraces:

For emergent change to become apparent and continually shaped, an organization needs to create the ‘conditions’ for such to occur, and embrace ideas such as…

  • People are naturally experiential; that is, people create their perceptions, beliefs and assumption through their experiences.
  • Change occurs in ‘real-time’
  • “Out of chaos emerges form” (Trottier, 2017)
  • “Out of complexity emerges simplicity through form” (Trottier, 2017)
  • People are naturally ‘self-organizing agents’.
  • People have a natural curiosity for exploration, discovery and the unknown.
  • People have a natural sense to collaborate more often than not depending on conditions experienced.
  • Change is natural to people depending on the degree of impact, control and influence in how change occurs.
  • Open, integrated IT/IS system designs and information streams are fundamental and integral to emergent change and creating emergent, adaptive, fluid organizations.
  • Emergent Action Research™ (EAR) is a fundamental OD process of EODC™.
  • One must view an organization and a person as a ‘whole, dynamic, systemic system with itself and its environments’.
  • For the most part, natural human attributes related to emergent change and enhanced performance are depleted by our current social norms, organizational structures, systems / process design and work environments.
  • People need to understand change itself, before one can better influence, move with, or adapt to change.

For a larger list of initial EODC™ ‘principles’; (this list is emerging…)
‘Some Basic Principles For An Emergent Organizational Development and Change (EODC)™ Platform’; https://goo.gl/obUkX0

Again, EODC™ can be simply understood as setting up the conditions within an organization so emergent change becomes apparent and influenced more fluidly, naturally and is viewed and experienced as a normal,  continuous, real-time process.

On Change Itself

‘Change is a constant…’
‘Change is natural…’
‘Change changes…’
‘Change exists only in the present…’
‘ Change is experienced differently…’

A few examples:

tumblr_nl2csj8tfd1rbf5cro1_500

giphy

What is ’emergent change’?

“Emergent” and “emergence”  refers to the state of being in continual process, always in transition.

Change itself is a constant with various rates and forms thereof.

“Emergent change is based on the shaping of continuous ‘forms’ by internal and external influencing patterns and determinates. That which emerges may be further shaped into further continually evolving patterns.” (P. Trottier, 1995)

‘Forms’; an arrangement of patterns, attributes and/or elements defined within flexible, porous, adaptable characteristics and parameters. Form lives within a particular functioning condition (a mode) in which something is manifested.
(Note: ‘manifestation’ is important to attend to later on in regards to section on; ‘On Emergence, Form And Purpose‘)

With ‘organizational designs’ we use the term ‘form’ which is more open, flexible and adaptive to changing environments than the traditional term ‘structure’, which we see as more static, inflexible and restrictive to changing environments.

What Are Emergent Organizations?

When we refer to organizations as emergent, we are saying that every facet of organizations such as culture, meaning, technology, social relationships, decision making processes as well as business systems and processes are continually changing, following no exact predefined, prescribed, predictable pattern.  These ‘organizational forms’ are products of constant social negotiation with their internal and eternal environments, influencing patterns and determinates.

By the term ‘form’, we are NOT limiting ‘organizational form’ to such an old term such as ‘structure’. We are talking about ‘a whole system’ which includes behaviors, perceptions, capabilities, norms, finances, policies, practices, technologies, relationships,  environmental influences, systems, structures, compensation , rewards, decision-making processes, power dynamics, and some may call this gestalt an ‘organizational culture’.

“The organization itself, or any of its features, may exhibit temporal regularities. But such temporal regularities are recognizable only by hindsight and at a moment in time, because organizations are always in process; they are never fully formed.” (1.)

“Organizational emergence holds the theory that organizations do not assume that stable structures, systems and processes underpin organizations.“(1.)

Is there ever a need for predictability and standardization?

Yes, it must be noted that some operational forms need to be predictable based on prescribed criteria of standardization and such can be quite appropriate. We can see this in policy that governs liability and regulated procedures as in banking systems, governmental legal mandates and procedures, as well as in insurance systems. Although such mandates, law and policies create structure and forms to standardize process and outcome, elements like mandates, laws and policies can and do themselves emerge and evolve. Ipso facto, when this change occurs the standardized procedures themselves change and evolve.

We can also see examples of the need for predictability and standardization in automated assembly lines to produce quality products, robotics that work within certain parameters of acceptable criteria of decision-making and behavior, and A/I systems incorporated into business systems and process applications through intelligent agent/ AI algorithms.

corporations

All quite appropriate to achieve such things as economy of scale, management of liability and business strategies.

The question here is: Do traditionally structured organizations of ‘managed control’ fit well with current business environments of rapid change, chaos, uncertainties and the increasing complexity of issues, challenges and opportunities?

 How well can this manage and control…. this  ??
hierarchy                         iir-communication-counts


On Emergence, Form And Purpose

“The manifestation of form is naturally inherent in the processes of ‘emergent change’ .
This is the primaeval nature of emergent change itself” (Patrick A. Trottier, 2016)

“Emergence needs form to manifest purpose.” (Patrick Trottier, Edward Hampton, March, 2017)

“Form continually defines itself as a self-organizing agent, and through such manifests purpose. Without form, the nature of emergent change is to continually strive to manifest and evolve such form and purpose.

These attributes are universal in the inherent nature of emergent change.” (Patrick A. Trottier, 2016)

Lorenz 2 Figure left: The Lorenz system is a system of ordinary differential equations (the Lorenz equations) first studied by Edward Lorenz, 1960s. It is notable for having chaotic solutions for certain parameter values and initial conditions. In particular, the Lorenz attractor is a set of chaotic solutions of the Lorenz system which, when plotted, resemble a butterfly or figure eight form.

Read more: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/management/Bun-Comp/Chaos-Theory.html

As an example, lets take another look at the flow of a stream presented below. The form, flow and change in the water patterns are constantly emerging based on and within the parameters (influential patterns and determinates) of the environment of which it flows through (the river bed, gravity, rocks, wood, etc.) and the composition, temperature and other determinates of the water itself (H2O, 70°F, amount). (parameters; any factor that defines a system, it purpose and determines its performance to that purpose.)

Stream gif

The purpose of the stream’s water flow is based on its current influencing patterns and determinates which shape its form. The purpose of this stream’s form is to drain the water from higher elevations based on gravity (a determinate factor).

This form also creates another purpose which is to create and give life to a healthy, natural ecology of nature along the stream. These two purposes are directly related to the form of the flow and patterns of the water guided by its own composition and its environmental parameters and determinates (the stream bed, gravity, temperature, etc.).

But if one thoughtfully guides and creates a different form to channel that emergent flow of energy and patterns, the purpose is changed. For example if that water goes through a paddle wheel to turn an axis that eventually grinds corn to produce wheat flour, then that novel form of flow within new parameters has a different purpose (to grind wheat into flour).

On Organizational Form, Purpose and Performance.

“Organizations perform exactly like they are designed to perform.” (P. Trottier, sometime in the early 1990s)

It is interesting that the word ‘perform’ is created by the definitions of two words:

  1. ‘per’: ‘by means of’.
  2. ‘form’; ‘a particular mode and form in which something is ‘manifested’, an ability to perform.

How about that!

Thus, how an organization emerges, and what forms it takes, manifests its actual purpose and its performance.

Again, by the term ‘form’, we are NOT limiting ‘organizational form’ to such an old term such as ‘structure’. We are talking about ‘a whole system’ which includes behaviors, perceptions, capabilities, norms, finances, policies, practices, technologies, relationships,  environmental influences, systems, structures, compensation , rewards, decision-making processes, power dynamics, and some may call this gestalt an ‘organizational culture’.

Often times, the actual form of an organization does not emit, or manifest, its desired purpose but does emit its actual purpose.

As an example, a hierarchical form, inherent within itself, has a purpose of control and predictability  (actual purpose) although the desired purpose may call for adaptability, innovation and natural, fluid, emergent change simply because the organization is vesseled in environments that call forth constant, changing patterns. Obviously, the organizational form (actual purpose) does not ‘fit’ with its complex and rapidly changing internal and/or external environments.

Now, let us say that Sr. people are perplexed that their organization, having an organizational form that emits ‘control and power’, is not achieving their desired goals and thus complain that their organization and the people involved are not working well together, are not effectively performing, are dysfunctional to the demands of changing environments, and management does not understand what is happening.

dysfunctional-leadership-row-boat-480x371

Well, EODC™ says that their organization is functioning exactly as it is designed to function and serves its purpose of ‘control becoming dysfunctional’ because there is a big gap in the ‘fit’ between the form which manifests its ‘actual’ purpose and levels of performance and the demands of that organization’s internal and external environments. There is actually a ‘message’ here to management from the performanceresults of this lack of ‘fit’, and this ‘message’ needs to be attended to.

Now, lets say that people working in another organization describe their experience as ‘craziness’, disconnected, stressed-out, and generally dysfunctional, Well, EODC™ says that organization is functioning exactly as it is formed to do and the actual purpose of that organization is explicitly formed to drive people crazy, loose good people, loose customers and be generally dysfunctional -no matter what the desired purpose is, or whatever Sr. Management says or wishes.

business-processes-comic

Thus, the essence of that organization and its actual purpose IS to drive people crazy. It is doing its job as an organization because it has been formed to do that.

As another example of ‘form emits purpose’ is ‘racing cars’. Cars have different types of ‘forms’ and a unique car form defines its purpose. Drag racers have a unique form which emits a unique purpose to race on a quarter mile tack.  A NASCAR  ‘form’ emits a different purpose; to race a different type of race on a 300 – 500 mile track.

A different form manifests a different purpose:

18n8lp0ohq4yjjpg          38ea0d79101f09c535f7ad561a7b54f1

Other types of ‘organizational forms’ manifest the purpose of being more adaptable, natural and fluid. Network forms manifest such a purpose which is much different than the static, traditional hierarchical forms whose purpose is ‘control and predict’.

               NETWORKS PT 7       stergm.sim_.1

Organizations are always shifting to deal with things, and to get things done.

Actually, how we display organizations as hierarchies is not organizational reality at all.

convex-and-concave_jpgblog escher_painting

The Assumed Organization                                                    Reality

The assumed organization – static, predictable, control through structure and where up is up and down is down.

Then, there is organizational reality – moving, unpredictable, chaotic, complex, where up is down and down is across and adaptive, where fluid forms emerge (hopefully).


The Ten Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends for 2016

Intro_3018_Fig-2

From Hierarchies to Networks

The following diagram below is a depiction of trends in organizational concepts of the future.

We agree that the traditional hierarchical silos of the past 150 years do not work well in chaotic, complex worlds no matter how hard management practices try to control that which cannot be controlled. As the world becomes more complex, organizations need to structure themselves more along the lines of interconnected, functionally integrated, collaborative, value-driven network forms  aligned to some amalgamation of reporting and accountability systems.

Organizations need to have the capabilities to create the conditions to continually influence, adapt and organize in line with changing emergent patterns in one’s internal and external environments.

Moving hierarchical, siloed organizations  toward  interconnected, functionally integrated, collaborative, value-driven network forms.

hierarchy Across HierarchyNETWORKS PT 6
Traditional / Current                                           Across / Current                                       Integrated Networks

Through the processes of EODC™, we help traditional, hierarchical, siloed organizations of The Industrial Age move to The Interconnected Age of functionally integrated, collaborative, value-driven network forms aligned to an overall strategic and operational focus, and an amalgamation of reporting and accountability systems.

Through this transformation, EODC™ helps any organization to gain the capability to continually influence, adapt and organize in line with changing emergent patterns in one’s internal and external environments.

 Organizational Alignment And Network Forms

With fluid organizational forms such as emergent, collaborative, value-based networks, there are four main organizational elements and processes that align and connect the organization under the same umbrella:

  1. Emergent Organizational Alignment (EOA)
  2. A Living Culture
  3. Open, Integrated Information Streams
  4. Emergent Action Research


On Emergent Organizational Alignment (EOA) and Emergent Strategies To  Achieve Goals

Emergent Organizational Alignment (EOA) occurs when the organization as a whole system continually translates and transforms  high level strategic goals, objectives and strategies into functionally integrated operational goals, objective and strategies. This EOA process and the integration of strategic and operational goals, objectives and strategies continually aligns the whole organization.

The key is to have continuous, open feedback systems and the capability to be able to effectively shift one’s assumptions, beliefs and perceptions, as well as one’s goals as new information emerges from both internal and external environments.

In addition, strategies to achieve goals are always emerging as things change along the implementation process, thus emergent feedback systems and EAR continually facilitates the shaping of strategies to help the achievement of any goal.

mintzberg-emergent-strategy-model

On Strategic Drift     

Descriptions;

“Strategic drift is a critical concept within the realms of Strategic Management. Strategic drift usually occurs when organizations are unable to keep pace with the changes that happen in their immediate environment which in turn leads to their slow and gradual demise.”

Strategic drift occurs when strategies fail to address the strategic position of the organization and  performance deteriorates. It occurs when a company, even one that has enjoyed considerable success, responds far too slowly to changes in the external environment and continues with the strategy that once served it very well. Also, when companies base their development on cultural and historical influences and on their past …
strategicdriftarticle-140723093644-phpapp02

Simply, strategic drift occurs when strategic planning strategies become ‘locked in’ and organizations are unable to deal with emergent change.


Statements Of Business Purposes Manifesting Higher Purposes, Intention
and EODC™ (vs. Traditional Mission, Vision Statements)

underconstruction.jpeg in process …


IT / IS As A Function Of Human Information Processing, Emergent Change and EODC™

underconstruction.jpeg in process…

Closing Remarks

A methodology and an applied approach to EODC™ will emerge from:

  1. The basic ‘principles and concepts’ to emergent change and EODC™,
  2. The ‘conditions’ that influence and facilitate emergent change in people and organizations, and
  3. The theorems, constructs, research and practices mentioned above.

Stay tuned….

OK, coming to an end here…

For more detailed information and description regarding certain aspects of EODC™, please explore the list of write-ups along the right column of these pages, especially the link to; https://globaltransforming.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/emergence-in-organizations/.

This list will continue to expand as we explore and put ‘ideas to pen’ in regards to certain critical elements and conditions deemed necessary for organizations to continually emerge into novel ‘forms’ of organizational diversity needed for the 21st Century.

In line with the spirit of emergence itself, the ideas, thoughts and write-ups within this forum will also continually emerge.

I have trademarked Emergent Organizational Development and Change (EODC)™ soley to protect its integrity. I do not want what happened to OD in its dilution where OD became anything and everything in the 1990s.

All comments, ideas, challenges, and diversity of thought are welcomed.

I hope you have gotten something out of this post.

I also welcome you to join me in this quest.

I am still learning.

About EODC™ 

Through the processes of EODC™, we help traditional, hierarchical, siloed organizations of The Industrial Age move to The Interconnected Age of functionally integrated, collaborative, value-driven network forms aligned to an overall strategic and operational focus, and an amalgamation of reporting and accountability systems.

Through this transformation, EODC™ helps any organization to gain the capability to continually influence, adapt and organize in line with changing emergent patterns in one’s internal and external environments.

Reference
1. (Baskerville, R., Travis, J., and Truex, D.P. Systems without method: The impact of new technologies on information systems development projects. In K.E. Kendall, K. Lyytinen, and J.I. DeGross, Eds., Transactions on the Impact of Computer Supported Technologies in Information Systems Development. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1992.)

2 Responses to An Introduction To Emergent Organizational Development And Change™ (EODC)™

  1. Ms Zoraida Bilson. says:

    I find this website to be informative- unique- innovative- and even entertaining. The concepts and ideas presented have been really worth my time spent. EODC seems to be ’emerging’ as a singular and creative process for so many organizations – large and small……congrats !

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Zoraida. Your words mean very, very much to me. It is risky to ‘put one’s ideas out there’ as an accumulation of 40 years of thought and practice. We all need encouragement and, for one, I certainly do. To all those who explore the ‘unknown’, I salute you.

      Thank you Zoraida… very much appreciated…

      Patrick

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