Saturday, 22 December 2012

Sixth day of Christmas digested: Farsighted Freya

Farsighted Freya likes to look ahead, and at the big picture. Ideally she has a senior role, or at least an advisory one, helping shape strategy in her organisation. Here are some ways she could influence company policy for the better.

Periods of organisational change can have critical effects on employee engagement, which can make the difference between a successful change and one that flounders. Evidence suggests that those who feel they've received the least from the organisation to date are, paradoxically, most suspicious that the change could improve their conditions. Freya could use this as an indicator as to which organisation areas will be less easier to get buy-in from.

Organisations involve a dance between form (directing efforts towards outcomes) and freedom (for individuals to discover, explore and modify activities). When employees are given the latitude to self-manage their work, it's tempting to want to balance this out by monitoring them. This turns out to be a terrible approach, eliciting push-back and counterproductive behaviour from workers who find this warn Freya off it. Perhaps she wants to go the whole hog, and move her organisation towards a non-hierarchical structure. Exciting stuff, but what are the pitfalls? Recent research explores this.

One way in which an organisation finds form is through developing and maintaining an identity - design and aesthetic at Apple, say, or ethical and community-oriented at the cooperative. Freya might be interested in a recent study exploring how identity is formed both by what is remembered and what is forgotten – sometimes deliberately.

Gift: a whistle. Simply to remind her that the long-term health of organisations depends on the willingness of its members to speak out about unsavoury practices. This isn't always easy, so some insights into the conditions that facilitate whistle-blowing may help her shape organisational policy in that direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment