Yesterday, I was looking for Dave Urich's list of HR Competences (which I found) but in the process came across an article published this month in OD Practitioner, Vol 41, No. 4. Author, Gina Hinrichs in her article Organic Organization Design makes the point that traditional systems models and methods of organization design are based in industrial age concepts and thus are ill-suited for information or knowledge age concepts. This isn't a newly minted point but it does contribute to the adding stream of commentary on it. What I find interesting about it and similar articles is although there's a recognition that the information age ushers in a different paradigm the writing about it is still predominantly North American/western centric – maybe because the information age was ushered in by North American companies
I do wonder whether organization design models are limited by western thinking. Does anyone know of any organization design models coming out of a completely different way of thinking about organizations?
The other thought the article sparked for me – maybe because I'd just read another article, this one on boundary spanning – was that organization design even the organic version is still rooted in thinking of an organization as being an entity – which, of course, it is in legal terms. But I wonder if that has to be the case in design terms. Supposing we thought about organizations in relation to their other stakeholder organizations and designed across the whole network – either in whole or in part? That would achieve both the benefits of boundary spanning and, possibly, the organic-ness aspects of morphing and change in relation to the dynamic interactions. Additionally, involving other stakeholders in one's own organization's design might spark a complementary redesign in their organization leading to more effective processes, clearer understanding on each organization's part to play, and so on.