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Self-Organisation and its influence on the organisational reality.
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Self-Organisation and its influence on the organisational reality.

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This presentation shows how our understanding of self-organisation and organisational reality is influenced by the history of management when framed in the context of sciences of certainty. I then …

This presentation shows how our understanding of self-organisation and organisational reality is influenced by the history of management when framed in the context of sciences of certainty. I then show how the organisational reality could be understood taken the perspective of sciences of uncertainty. This work is influenced and inspired by the works of Ralph Stacey and many personal observations when training and coaching organisations the empirical process control. This topic was presented during the Agile By Example conference held in Warsaw on October 4-5, 2012 and later during Self-Organisation workshop at ASC Eindhoven (Agile & Software Craftsmanship) on October 18, 2012.

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  • 1. Marcin Czenko Self-OrganisationAnd its influence on the organisational reality.
  • 2. Presented at:
  • 3. Presented at:ASC Eindhoven 18 October 2012
  • 4. "A (good) picture is worth a thousandwords" (emphasis added), but it is still nice toknow what these words are. If you really wantto understand what I wanted to tell in thispresentation, please refer to my blog for amore complete “picture” (blog entry comingsoon).
  • 5. Experience without theory is blind,but theory without experience ismere intellectual play. Immanuel Kant
  • 6. The message:our understanding of self-organisation is deformed by strong attachment to theculture of certainty backed by ill-stated theories of management.
  • 7. As a consequence:• what we do in our organisations with respect to individuals and teams is not necessarily what we think we do;• to better understand what is really happening in our organisations we need to challenge the soundness of the scientific foundations of management;• there is a benefit in acknowledging uncertainty and instead of trying to control uncontrollable, learning how to live with it.
  • 8. Popular context: Agile Teams• Cross-functional• Self-organising• Co-located
  • 9. Arrow of time ?• Can we understand the present by looking to the past ?• I am afraid not. But knowing etymology of some popular terms may help us improve understanding of what we are actually saying. As Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein once said: The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
  • 10. I will therefore:• Re-cap the most significant management approaches driven by the so-called sciences of certainty.• Show what the so-called sciences of uncertainty have to offer and why we should take advantage of it.
  • 11. What is self-organisation ?
  • 12. Is self-organisation only applicable tohumans ?
  • 13. What makes self-organisation ofhumans different any other form ofself-organisation ?
  • 14. Isn’t self-organisation an anarchy or isn’tit just the same as empowerment ?
  • 15. Doesn’t emergence mean that thingsare happening by chance ?
  • 16. PART ISciences of certainty.
  • 17. Three causalities
  • 18. F a = ––– mEfficient causality (Newton): cause and effect relations of a predictive,linear nature easy to express in linear mathematical formula or as ‘if-then’ rules.
  • 19. Efficient causality
  • 20. Formative causality (Kant): thecause of a form is the process offormation itself in which mature versionof the phenomenon is already presentat the beginning and is unfolded throughformative process of maturing.
  • 21. Formative causality
  • 22. Rationalist Causality (Kant): thebody is separated from the reason in away that the body is subject to the fixedlaws of nature but the mind is governedby laws of reason. The reason makespeople free.
  • 23. Rationalist Causality
  • 24. Efficient causalityFormative causality Rationalist Causality
  • 25. The Brain Pinky (Manager)(Developer)
  • 26. Organisations as seen by the sciences of certainty.
  • 27. ReductionismPhenomena can be explained completely interms of other more fundamental phenomena:• the whole could be understood by understanding its parts,• interaction between parts unimportant.
  • 28. Reductionism
  • 29. Systems ThinkingThe organisation is understood not as partsadding to a whole, but as system in which theinteractions between its parts are of primaryimportance.• General Systems Theory• Cybernetics• System Dynamics
  • 30. Systems Thinking
  • 31. Reductionism Systems Thinking Second World War
  • 32. Human motivation• Elton Mayo (1880-1949) and continued by behavioural scientists between 1940-1960.• Values and goals of the group should be aligned with the goals of individual, empowered, members.• Efficiency proportional to trust and confidence in each other in a supportive and harmonious atmosphere.• The leadership has to be accepted by the group.• Captured in motivational rules maintained by the manager.
  • 33. Managerial Capitalism Reductionists or Systems Thinking approach combined with Human Motivation form the essence of the so-called Managerial Capitalism.
  • 34. Efficient Capital MarketsThe price of an asset reflects all relevant information that is available about the intrinsic value of the asset.
  • 35. Since the late1980s...
  • 36. September 15, 2008Collapse of investment capitalism.
  • 37. Why ?
  • 38. People People are not rule-followers. They have theirown goals and objectives and they choose their own actions.
  • 39. Angelo Mozilo George W. BushPhil Gramm Stan ONealAlan Greenspan Wen JiabaoChris Cox David LereahAmerican Consumers John DevaneyHank Paulson Bernie MadoffJoe Cassano Lew RanieriIan McCarthy Burton JablinFrank Raines Fred GoodwinKathleen Corbet Sandy WeillDick Fuld David OddssonMarion and Herb Sandler Jimmy CayneBill ClintonRead more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1877351,00.html#ixzz29eHliSiV
  • 40. The systemic approach is not applicable to humans.
  • 41. Where can we then search for a validexplanation of self-organisation andemergence ?In the Sciences of Uncertainty.
  • 42. PART IISciences of uncertainty.
  • 43. We (humans) all have brains !
  • 44. Individual, team, and organisation from the perspective of the sciences of uncertainty.
  • 45. Individual
  • 46. Darkness Principle
  • 47. Darkness PrincipleEach element in the system is ignorant of the behaviourof the system as a whole [...] If each element ‘knew’what was happening to the system as a whole, all of thecomplexity would have to be present in that element. K.A. Richardson
  • 48. "A (good) picture is worth a thousandwords" (emphasis added), but it is still nice toknow what these words are. If you really wantto understand what I wanted to tell in thispresentation, please refer to my blog for amore complete “picture” (blog entry comingsoon).
  • 49. Individual’s View Individual
  • 50. Interactions
  • 51. Complex Adaptive Systems
  • 52. Brain
  • 53. Connections Neurones
  • 54. LocalInteractions Individuals *this is weak analogy - there are no boundaries, there is no system, but there are individuals and there are interactions.
  • 55. *) local interactionsdo not respectorganisationalboundaries.
  • 56. Conflict
  • 57. Novelty requires diversity. Diversity will only bring unexpected when differences are respected and conflicts are allowed.If people follow simple rules nothingnovel and creative will emerge from their self-organisation.
  • 58. Diversity• Men, women ?• Values ? Opinions ?• Culture ?
  • 59. Geert Hofstede• widely known Dutch researcher of culture,• during 1978-83, he conducted detailed interviews with hundreds of IBM employees in 53 countries.• developed five dimensions of culture.
  • 60. Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions• Power-distance• Collectivism vs. individualism• Femininity vs. masculinity• Uncertainty avoidance• Long- vs. short-term orientation
  • 61. Diversity and Values.How to increase probability of a successful team ?
  • 62. *too high level of diversity will notstop interactions, but may reducetheir use in achieving our goals.When the differences are radical,collaboration may be impeded.
  • 63. Our values form disjoint sets.
  • 64. *Making sure that everyone sharesthe same set of values might be veryhard to achieve. It may actually lowerthe diversity in some cases.
  • 65. *Again, set-theoretic representation.
  • 66. *This seems to be more realistic.
  • 67. *This set-theoretic semantics wouldindicate there is no single valueaccepted by everyone. This is not theintended semantics of the picturepresented on the previous slide.
  • 68. *This set-theoretic representationgives a more precise semantics.There is a fundamental commonground for collaboration, but enoughdiversity to preserve conflict.
  • 69. *Diverse, but well-founded team hasa better perception of the realitythen any individual member.
  • 70. *Making someone managing such ateam is like obscuring its bright view.
  • 71. Summary
  • 72. What is self-organisation ?Self-organisation simply meansinteractions between parts.
  • 73. But...wasn’t self-organisation alreadypresent in the formative causality ?Yes, but in this self-organisation whatemerges is the developmental patternof the whole, which is alreadyenfolded in the system design. Thus,this self-organisation does not lead tonovel forms, neither does it bringcreativity.
  • 74. The systemic approach is not applicable to humans. Self-organisation framed in formative causality is not appropriate model for human interaction.
  • 75. What makes self-organisation ofhumans different any other form ofself-organisation ?What emerges from self-organisationof non-humans is rarely novel orcreative. This is because people havesoul, free-will, and are different.
  • 76. Isn’t self-organisation an anarchy or isn’tit just the same as empowerment ?No. None of those. See also thepower law.
  • 77. Doesn’t emergence mean that thingsare happening by chance ?No. The opposite is true.Emergence is the result of many localinteractions. It really depends onwhat we are doing and what we arenot doing.
  • 78. Our job is to reassess our management practices in the context of uncertainty sciences.Even though we do not know the outcomes ofour actions we may now at least start thinking about the dynamics of local interactions. We are in charge but no-longer in control !* *) Ralph Stacey
  • 79. 1997Transformative Causality (Prigogine,Илья́ Рома́нович Приго́жин): localinteractions (self-organisation) betweendiverse agents forms population-widepatterns (emergence) while at the sametime being formed by those patterns.
  • 80. Ralph Stacey
  • 81. ?
  • 82. Some of the pictures were used in this presentation without asking for permission. These pictures are:• Pinky and the Brain: http://4iphonewallpapers.com/pinky-and-the-brain-iphone-4-wallpaper.html• Tom and Jerry: http://www.wallpapersfordesk.com/tom-and-jerry-wallpapers-2011.html/tom-and-jerry-wallpapers-2011-5• Immanuel Kant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant• Three Little Pigs: http://www.kidsgen.com/fables_and_fairytales/three_little_pigs.htm• Isaac Newton http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/universe/scientists/isaac_newton
  • 83. Some of the pictures were used in this presentation without asking for permission. These pictures are:• A hammer: http://www.nvtc.ee/e-oppe/Marina/tools/materials.html• Growing Potato: http://www.potato2008.org/en/kids/grow.html• Brain: http://www.how-to-draw-funny-cartoons.com/cartoon-brain.html• Duck of Descartes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism• Lehman Brothers Bonds: http://www.distressed-debt-investing.com/2010/08/advanced-distressed-debt-lesson-double.html
  • 84. Some of the pictures were used in this presentation without asking for permission. These pictures are:• Lord Vader: http://weinterrupt.com/2011/04/little-girl-happily-submits-to-the-dark-side/• Neurone: http://adrianbowyer.blogspot.nl/2010/12/hardwired.html• Илья́ Рома́нович Приго́жин: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine• Book covers: http://www.amazon.co.uk• Ralph Stacey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Douglas_Stacey