I his legendary article, “Organizational design, fashion or fit?”, Henry Mintzberg described the interaction between the external environments and organizational structure – and how organizations must adapt their structure to handle environmental pressure.
As explained by Dave Snowden, an increasing number of industries are facing complex and dynamic environments, which according to Mintzberg would drive organizations towards adhocratic structures with a high degree of decentralization and coordination based on mutual adjustment.
Mintzberg and Snowden – coming from very different backgrounds – seem to have reached the same conclusion. When enviroments turn complex and dynamic, organizations need to respond by reflecting this complexity and dynamism in their structure.
However, many organizations seem to retain hierarchical and bureaucratical structures, based on the need for economies of scale and managable spans of control
Networking and involvement are powerful tools by which organizations can benefit from the strengths of adhocracy – while at the same time retaining the formal structure required.
How good is your organization at stimulating networking and involvement?