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Social being an emergent theory of organizational performance


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A prospective design study for organizational performance thinking

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Social being an emergent theory of organizational performance

  1. 1. Page | 1 Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Ontologique Inc. December 2011 “What we are seeing now is the emergence of more effective collective action practices that are decentralized but do not rely on either the price system or a managerial structure for coordination.” Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks It is clear that the domain of human performance is calling out for a major reevaluation. Indeed the accelerating transformations that we are experiencing in the business and social spheres point toward: • a necessary and thoroughgoing shift in the biological roots of human understanding; • a recontextualization of the notion of performance; and, • a language structure-based shift in the perspective of how performance relates to human behavior within organizations. Yet the current business and economic environment is so uncertain that fixing sight on the issue is, in and of itself, an almost intractable problem. Against the backdrop of increasingly chaotic shifts in social relations and interactions there is an exponential growth in the need for people to learn and adapt to new variables in the work environment. These pressures derive from technical, educational, diversity- based, and hierarchical structures and from non-linear processes driving change. This leads to key questions: - How does an organization take stock on a real-time basis of its human capital, and; - How does it orient itself toward human capital optimization in the face of workers subject to exponentially proliferating informational and organizational complexity and overload? To address these issues, we start by examining the prevailing mindset regarding human performance principles and outcomes. We seek to expose the current gaps in performance thinking that we believe are largely unexplored today, and to develop an effective descriptive model or framework by which a new paradigm might be applied, and a new organization-wide awareness brought into existence. Our goal is to define a coherent and comprehensive analytical framework to enable an end-to-end process of analysis, recognition, organizational action/response generation, and evangelization of a new empowering organizational awareness throughout the enterprise. We believe that through observation and analysis of the construction of the individual employee’s mindset and experience, a path to accessing a new and critically necessary level of thinking about systems for human performance can be consistently achieved. Existing models and thought patterns derive from a fixed view of processes and the underlying networks of action they result from; this is the perspective that lies at the heart of current performance approaches. This modeling approach is consistent with a Newtonian/Cartesian, cause-and-effect model of the universe that produces the current state of the art, a pattern of template for thought and action, both on the part of the individual employee, but usually on an enterprise level. We refer to this as the rationalist perspective, and analogically, as a substantially two-dimensional view of human capacity. However, with the accelerating pace of change—the speed of communications networks, the growth of processing resources, and the exponential growth of accumulated human knowledge and data artifacts
  2. 2. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 2 have rendered the old epistemological, ontological and metaphysical models increasingly bereft and incapable of serving as the basis for a performance targeted solutions in the current enterprise. The succeeding models—incorporating whole systems, the science of complexity, and accelerating breakthroughs in understanding of cognitive awareness—have emerged, as phenomena, over the past 50 years, but these models are still viewed and implemented on an ad hoc basis, not as part of the orthodoxy of organizational system and design thinking. Whole systems thinking, and design of the attendant ancillary concepts such as emergence as applied to human productivity, have not been evident in current productivity inquiries or programs. Moreover, the existing design language for development of productivity systems is inadequate to generate a model that can lead toward enhancing productivity in today’s increasingly complex business and social environment. How do we develop thought processes that enable, facilitate and encourage emergence? How do we think this way? We need a model, an initial scaffold upon which to build up toward the higher order design language necessary. What are the vital structures required to consistently spur new cognitive structures, new thought patterns to be able to see an organization more in terms of complex systems, with different laws and assumptions about inter-relationships than is given by the current rationalist approach? To progress along this path, consider the following: 1) We live in a semantic world. Information technology has landed us at a place where semantic processing is providing a substrate for understanding that imbues intelligence in most if not all processes and objects that touch the network. The capacity to construct a semantic sense- making infrastructure around work processes can only now be imagined, as the tools for fulfilling these capacities are as yet too immature. 2) We live in a deeply intertwined social sphere. Human expression is the root of social construction and the root of all action. These actions can be modeled through relatively simple and discrete approaches, and patterns for directing their manifestation (and the artifacts they produce) are readily mapped to templates that provide comprehensive reference to the organization’s strategic outcomes. 3) We live in a hyper-rational world (or what famed Wall Street quant and theoretical physicist Emmanuel Derman calls pragmamorphism1 .) The world of finance has forced a pervasive approach toward modeling processes within organizations in order to plot performance into rigid mathematical frameworks. Despite fast accumulating evidence about the flaws in these models and the overall approach, the underlying concept that the jagged and unpredictable edges of behavior within organizations can somehow map into an ever-larger efficient market model will only serve to accelerate the dislocation between employee engagement and the organization’s underlying marginal propensity for productivity and innovation. 4) We live in a mirror world. The real world and its digital simulacra are increasingly intertwined. How do we move from measuring discrete informational elements into measuring their real- time emergence—the coming into being of these elements and to enabling a social human- centric perspective in relation to them? How do we synthesize an integrated understanding? 5) We live in a world that faces a major crisis in terms of the critical illiteracies of technology. The basic tools for adding technological literacy have failed to keep pace with technological development itself. New technologies arrive each day; their impact and utility, from a strategic perspective, is increasingly difficult to comprehend, evaluate and implement. 1 Emmanuel Derman, “There is no value in pragmamorphism”, Wired UK, 05 July 11
  3. 3. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 3 6) We live in a world in which the capacity to design and define the ontological basis of the workplace is becoming increasingly important, but effectively unrecognized. The design of digital agency—the capacity to program an individual’s environment in ways that organically optimize his or her capabilities—and to do so in ways that are completely consonant with the emerging desired outcomes of the enterprise. Agent design poses a challenge that must be successfully met; failure to do so will result in an acceleration of the degradation of workforce productivity, as indicated by “employee engagement”. This accelerating deterioration of enterprise organizational capacity to generate an environment that enhances productivity is resulting in a workplace environment becoming more degraded and unworkable, as managers double down on the epistemological concepts whose failure is actually the root cause of the issues we confront. In studying these issues, we can provide a vector toward an emergent set of properties that we characterize as an ontological signaling domain—a domain in which coherent, consistent emergent phenomena can arise. The emergence of these phenomena, facilitated and abetted by a set of signal patterns (ontological distinctions—patterns in actions, thoughts and language) can distinguish these phenomena against the backdrop of the existing enterprise tableau, and provide insight and unprecedented decision support in service to productivity enhancement. Characterizing the Current Situation “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" - T.S. Eliot Let us begin by characterizing the current state of affairs by distinguishing a model of activity streams in use in the modern enterprise. Our point is not specifically to validate this model of activities; rather the point is to focus on how each of these activities is characterized by a particular cognitive-semantic processing network and, more particularly, how these networks become collapsed and indistinct. The collapse of the domains is the first issue we want to address. Once the nature of the collapse is plain to see, the process of addressing solutions becomes possible. We point to a breakdown in the domain of design—in the capacity to develop systems that adequately address the variety of processing and informational requirements that individuals, teams, departments, and indeed entire enterprises face today. Fundamentally, system design manifests by virtue of the unfolding of a design language that is applicable within the domain. What we have observed is that this design domain has failed to adequately address the needs that are at the foundation of any effort to enhance the capacity of an enterprise to perform. Notice that we address capacity to perform at an enterprise level, not the constitutive parts at an individual level; we are working to draw out the fundamental organizational or environmental capacities or aptitudes that provide the substrate for delivering accelerating global performance enhancement over time. Let us start with a transcendent premise: all business leaders are in constant pursuit of enhanced organizational performance. We further categorize the pursuit as “enhanced performance sustained over time”, with minimal additional investment in its maintenance. Achieving this requires addressing the organization’s performance DNA, the fundamental codes from which the organization expresses its capacity to perform. Over time, the organization will, consciously or unconsciously, continue to act in ways that are consistent with the ongoing survival of this performance DNA. If the goal is to interrupt the pattern, then the effort must be undertaken at a fundamental and granular level.
  4. 4. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 4 (1) Communication channeling Let us first examine the process of managing an individual’s communication stream as he or she processes the daily incoming tide of messages designed to inform, update, notify, query, solicit, schedule, comment, amuse, etc., that reach their individual inbox today. Common characterizations describe people “chained to their inbox”, suffering from “email apnea”i2 -the revealed tendency to literally stop breathing while one attends to this unending wave of “communication.” Clearly, the relationship with the communication process has devolved into something that is increasingly problematic, and technology-only solutions have repeatedly failed to address this issue in a substantive fashion. Here we characterize processes that initially emerged as asynchronous communications. Now, however, the context in which this slurry of communications objects and artifacts are delivered has blurred to virtual indistinction in what experientially is a synchronous stream comprised of asynchronous pieces. Each message must be rapidly filtered through the individual’s processing system and sorted in terms of relationship to sender, group contexts, broader organizational contexts, relative timeliness, marking completion of open items, marking initiation of new open items, correlating business and personal communications, coordinating social expressions and construction of social objects, receiving and filing attachments, etc. This context switching leaves little room for taking a necessary step back to set priorities; it rarely accords opportunities or to make new human or cognitive connections, and it does not support efforts to systematize or deal curatorially or programmatically with the inflow. Compounding the ill-effects of this failure to adequately design systems to enhance or encourage (rather than deter) performance is the challenge that mobile technologies introduce. Mobile, “smart” technologies confer new layers of confusion in terms of trying to deal with expectation of availability and connectedness. Tethered relentlessly to mobile devices of ever-increasing capability, workers have all of the design mistakes of function and perception compounded by miniaturization. The expectations of functionality are expanded, while the capacity to adapt to the constraints the technology imposes are unconsciously minimized. Any approach seeking to ameliorate this situation-- any effort toward generating an adequate design language to rectify it—first needs to address what we refer to as “collapsed domains.” This requires the placement of the actual human activity that is being conducted in bold relief. This against the ever indistinguishable background of noise generated by incompatible thought processes and faulty assumptions about causality and connections rooted in the 17th century human activity must be recognized in the context in which it is carried out; this then provides individuals with the capacity to invent for themselves the means by which they can effectively model personalized solutions for managing communications, as well as development of common templates and resources that at once connect individual resources into the enterprise backbone and provide customization at the workgroup level. 2 Diagnosis: Email apnea, Linda Stone,
  5. 5. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 5 (2) Cooperative channeling Intertwined among the various activities subsumed within the communications stream challenges described above are concerns for the explicit marshaling of resources for collective action. This activity, when studied in aggregate, tends to be considered as collaboration. But that term has been so broadly used and widely misapplied that it is important to begin to tease out the different concerns that are being modeled and observed (from a system design perspective), and to work toward a more productive picture of how human beings actually coordinate efforts in collaborative contexts to deliver meaningful results. While there is no formalism around the study of collaboration, as its applications span a wide swath of human activities, there is a formalized school of study of cooperation, and an orthodoxy that surrounds the instantiation and definition of the cooperative domain. Accordingly, cooperation can be modeled and effectuated in a semantic domain. A set of consistent modes of operation and relationships can be defined within the organizational ontology. On-the-fly generated metadata can be generated within the cooperative domain that will allow for analysis and real-time input for optimization. A performance model thus emerges from the set of distinctions and relationships developed and signaled to each other. Collaborative efforts are registered and moved forward through this communication stream, but there is a whole separate platform and set of context components comprising that collaborative endeavor. Dealing with email becomes a mirror world for collaboration, which it does not replace, but the competing thread impinges on resources, focus and concentration on collaboration-related activities. The ability to collaborate is pushed off to the margin or effectively eliminated; or in the converse, staying in the collaboration game puts the Agent at the risk and expense of keeping up with most current state and change communications via alternative real time channels. All of these distinct domains are collapsed into each other and defined, in the aggregate, as “work." Also, fundamentally, the paradigm enveloping description of how people accumulate and coordinate efforts is entirely based in the rationalist/hierarchical system that is now proving to be so problematic. We assert that no matter how evolved the organization, the first principle a leader invokes in approaching how to assemble a group for cooperative action will be hierarchical. All the organizational structures and enterprise systems that define the operating environment support this approach. All the thought patterns of those who participate in the cooperative process likewise naturally cater to the existing hierarchical authorities, rights and privileges. This hierarchical organization’s instantiated nature or predisposition is like the involuntary propagation of a neuronal signal from the brain to trigger a pre-programmed autonomic action. Yet, given the accelerating collapse of the rationalist model, this entire process increasingly represents a spasmodic response that becomes less and less constructively responsive to the situation, circumstance, needs or requirements of the agent actually responsible for delivery. The effect, impact and result, consistent with the neurological analogy, is that of an enterprise-wide epilepsy comprised of mini-seizures, occurring in different departments or divisions, at different times, but materially affecting function and productivity in each instance; and cumulatively compromising or crippling enterprise-wide productivity on a systemic level. The clear need is to shift the entire conceptual orientation of the enterprise in terms of how the cooperative domain is viewed. This requires recognition of how current approaches for defining and
  6. 6. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 6 optimizing cooperative processes, built around discrete cause-and-effect modalities actually adversely imposes additional overhead on the system. The desired enterprise system is one where the cooperative impetus is produced and supported through enablement of a low-overhead, highly distributed sensory reception and transmission signaling system. The question is: how do we translate current discrete, disaggregated models into a holistic, coherent semantic model for conducting cooperative activities across social groups that promotes positive emergence and propagation across the enterprise? To illustrate, take the case of workers on a team dealing with asynchronous communication in their cooperative environment. This incoming communication’s metadata, generated in real time by existing enterprise IT systems, contains enough information to contextualize and filter, establish, register, flag by priority, and dictate a comprehensive statement or model of the impact and significance of the communication on the workgroup, its activities, and next prescribed actions. Achieving this level of enterprise awareness and intelligence requires addition of a layer of semantic processing of pre-existing meta-data, to analyze and automate activities in service to lightening the cognitive and mechanical demands placed on the agent/recipient, on a transaction-by-transaction, employee-by-employee basis. Successive generations of technology investments have only served to add to the cognitive overhead required to systematize cooperative processes. The patterns encountered in the modern workplace grow continually more complex and increasingly out of the control of structures implemented, consciously or unconsciously, to reinforce, consciously or not, the concept of “command and control.” The design language for technology solutions in cooperative spaces are no more refined than in the communication space, leading to a growing gap in the ability to build tools that accommodate the demands of the work world that is emerging. The capacity for social expression has grown without commensurate growth in the ability to capture the potential value generated from these networks. New work patterns continuously arise and adapt to “wicked’ problems in the workplace: the challenge of adapting to globalization and multicultural workforces, the challenge of adequately capturing, amplifying and disseminating work products in ways that enable low-overhead transmission of their value. All these situations, and many more, point to a need to reexamine the portfolio of fundamental capacities that the enterprise possesses, and the capacities it seeks to develop as it moves into the future. How do we address these issues in ways that represent progress and a future worthy of the investment of our time and our talents? Only by inverting the productivity telescope—by focusing enterprise support and facilitation on a granular transaction and agent level—can the means for generating an emergent, self-propagating, holistic productivity transformation be created. (3) Content Channeling Let us now turn to the content processing component of the overall equation. Here we refer to artifacts and processes subsumed under search, research, accessing digital or real world artifacts, and the underlying processes currently employed. In the emerging semantic metaverse, we are still using an index card paradigm as a storage, access and retrieval model. Certainly technologies have assisted in the steady application of intelligence to content processing, digitization, and indexing of key content. This has served to enable the appearance of a completely digitized enterprise. However, as discussed previously, the cognitive framing and design mindset are unfortunately enmeshed in the cause-and-
  7. 7. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 7 effect, serial chain-of-creation and custody mode of thinking, yielding a progressively unsatisfactory results in terms of enterprise-wide sharing and accessibility. There are two major dimensions of current content management architectures and practices that reveal critical deficiencies and barriers to value maximization; both derived from the deterministic nature of how content is developed and stored. Enterprise content management (ECM) systems are fundamentally object oriented, with all outputs defined as files, and only object-associated meta-data as required to address storage, retrieval and securitization of that file is aggregated. The semantic and cognitive value and meta-data instantiated in each file and its chain of custody, development and transmission is substantially absent, with ad hoc and non-standardized post-facto tagging or categorization the norm. This missing layer of enterprise awareness, as it relates to the substantive meaning and contextual significance of both intra-file and file based objects over time eliminates substantive strategic maximization of access and utilization by an enterprise-wide potential agent- consumer population. The opportunity for sensory throughput is highly constrained or non-existent. Turning the situation around, the gathering and harvesting of content within a coherent, polydimensional semantic metaverse is critical for integration with the emerging architecture of the semantic web and the Internet of things. Constructing a model of content that supports an emerging enterprise paradigm for accelerating productivity will require inventing approaches that provide real time access to a semantic enterprise- wide transparent substrate revealing all of the enterprise-wide content and intellectual capital assets available. Content is seen as incorporating meta-data reflecting the real-time processes that contributed to its creation—a social meta-text, imbued with a multi-dimensional and faceted context, history and meaning. (4) Programmatic Channeling Now that we have characterized the need for recontextualizing the design patterns for communications, cooperation, and content, we turn to the under-examined issue of what we call programmatic channeling—the enablement of individuals, teams, and other virtual workgroups to develop and invoke control programs over their representative activities. At present, most individuals in an enterprise have minimal control over their environment; setting up filters and agents for routing email is the most sophisticated manifestation of this capacity for a large majority of workers. At the organization level, this concern is generally subsumed under terms such as workflow or portal development; again the concern is for the conditional routing and primitive automated categorization of throughput. Yet the enervation of the enterprise with social means, and the emergent nature of providing productivity platforms for the future points to a new design imperative that will optimize the individual’s cognitive frame, providing seamless melding of personal agency into group-driven activities. Providing an ample set of design patterns to guide the emergence of new forms of programmed intellectual assets that are value-able as property; their structure, flows, computation of valuation, and governance processes, all accounted for by the enterprise, is the target outcome. We characterize Semantic System Design as the meta process for enabling individuals and groups to turn the tables on highly constrained programmatic strictures and limited one-size-fits-all IT infrastructure calibrated exclusively for ROI measurement and financial performance metrics analysis. The emergent organization requires that individuals and groups have the means of production in their hands, and in this case these means are the design and implementation of agent-driven tools, platforms and
  8. 8. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 8 capabilities that allow the low-overhead modeling of organizational behavior. This concept provides the substrate on which intellectual assets are readily generated and captured. Its successful adoption and deployment involves the intentional development of object toolkits that facilitate ready-to-use templates and design patterns for use across the enterprise. Feedback and incentives must be derived from vastly increased autonomy, distributed authority, and reflect these capabilities back into the organization as intellectual capital in near-real-time. Fundamental to realization of these capabilities is the introduction of thought and design patterns that enable a three dimensional mapping and analysis over multiple facets—in space and over time. This poly-dimensional signaling matrix provides the potential for true fidelity resolution of organizational activity and interaction modeling and performance. It promises an unprecedented level of operational freedom in terms of deployment of resources, and real-time response-based channeling of resources to real-time needs and demands. (5) Narrative Channeling Finally we pull all of these tendrils into a central theme—the enablement of true fidelity sensemaking in an organization, and the enablement of a model of sociality and human expression that are the necessary structures for development of a new organizational model for performance. The base principle here is that human expression is the core, atomic unit of knowledge (in the sense of knowledge that contributes to an organization’s portfolio of human capital.) Orienting the management of knowledge around human expression, and building multi-layered, multi-valent systems to support its generation, amplification, dissemination and ultimate translation into myriad different value streams is the fundamental challenge we face in re-contextualizing performance. Social Being, the developmental concept of performance at hand, starts with the study of being in the sense of a human, in the context of “being.” The primary definitional sense of the word Ontology refers to the study of Being; in this sense, being refers to the phenomenon of existence and the capacity to describe that existence. The term ontology has acquired a much more constrained technical sense in the discipline of systems development where an ontology stands for the complete and defined representational continuum within which a set of terms in use makes sense. For the sake of developing a model of human productivity based on the fundamentals of language and expression, we turn attention to the study of ontology insofar as “knowledge lies in the being that situates us in the world, not in reflective representation.” 3 This conceptualization falls in line with our characterization of emergence; that the organization-as-phenomenon situates itself in the world as a function of linguistic structures, and that knowledge is not a function of post-facto representation. Although this can seem tortuous and overly metaphysical, it is part of the process of breaking through the established intellectual constructs around productivity and humans doing, versus humans being. Armed with this new basis for modeling with this derived conception for knowledge, and a definition of ontology oriented toward the study of humans being, the question is: how do we make sense and derive insight into enterprise performance? 3 Terry Winograd, Fernando Flores, Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design (Addison Wesley, 1986), pg. 74.
  9. 9. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 9 In this model, we use sensemaking to denote the process of in-the-world emergence of sense—of holistic understanding in context of physical and social awareness--in a way in which the prevailing context completely and ultimately determines meaning. Meaning is a function of how the world occurs in that local, emergent context. This view makes sensemaking is a fundamentally different type of phenomenon than how it has typically been conceived of in the domain of organizational thinking, design thinking, and in the language of technical development. Sense-the instantaneous construction of meaning from text (content, no matter its form) and context (categorized by metadata, but certainly not the metadata in and of itself) can be shaped by system principles that enable distinct new cognitive and semantic modes to shape action on a moment-by-moment basis. Thus the organization’s prescribed meta-narrative (its own story about itself, its capacities, resources, etc.) becomes the scaffolding (framework) for the unfolding of activities and behaviors that produce and embody value. At the same time, the real-time construction of this narrative, and the set of relations that contributed to its construction, can be fed back into the enterprise’s “brain” instantaneously, enabling constant analysis leading to optimization of the organization’s dynamic structure as it senses and responds to its environment in real time. A Framework for Resource Design and Deployment “My prediction is that in the coming years our biggest surprises -- the ones that aren't predicted -- will be the result some new method of large scale social interactions. While we will get good at predicting the next advance of technological innovation, we won't get very good at predicting what happens with the hive mind. And exploring the hive mind -- the thousands of ways in which we can connect and reconnect ourselves -- will be the chief activity of our civilization in the near term. If I am right then we'll have to get better at believing in the impossible.” - Kevin Kelly, The Technium We started our exploration by turning the issues of optimizing human performance in an organizational context around, focusing initially on the individual employee/agent-and then out through progressively larger organizational structures. The enterprise as derivative aggregation or product of cumulative individual agent perspectives produces a holographic projection that contains information about all functioning parts and components comprising the whole. This view of the enterprise is focused on the use and fielding of resources down to the individual agent level of support. In this context, “resources” refers to all technical platforms (inclusive of their specification and standardization), governance structures necessary to facilitate adequate and context specific appropriate support, and human resources and cooperative structures that will produce accountability and emergence, in productivity, innovation and collaboration. Presently, the enterprise is oriented around fielding systems (information technology, management structures, performance monitoring systems, etc.) that primarily serve control structures, accumulating data on past events (trailing indicators) which then in turn filter this information through successive reductive layers until a strategic (i.e., top-level) determination can be made about the course of action. This strategic imitative signaling is then funneled back down through the organization, with all the attendant loss of fidelity and immediate relevance, as a result of the instantiated latency of enterprise response. Our emphasis on emergence derives from interposition of ideas drawn from complexity science and biology. But attempting to address new cognitive and logical approaches to monitoring, management and structured response poses a virtually insurmountable challenge to today’s enterprises.
  10. 10. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 10 Given that we seek to define a new paradigm for optimization of human expression (as a correlate of productivity and engagement), and posit the expansion of natural enterprise sociality as the primary driver of economic activity; then, we need to instantiate in-the-moment oriented, real-time processing structures that we refer to as True Fidelity Architecture. True Fidelity Architecture: - Serves as the polydimensional framework for the firm’s values and strategic orientation. It provides a frame of reference for aligning behaviors with relevant, real-time performance indices. - Creates a signaling mesh network that provides an enterprise-wide sensor membrane that registers and reflects the enterprise’s standing state in terms of actual and potential capacity to perform, to ground and inform firm leadership. - Provides an agent-centric reference scale for evaluating performance objects that are monitored and optimized for individual and group concerns. This approach shifts the focus of performance inquiry from an IT platform-centric perspective to one that enables the enterprise to address performance on a meta-performance level—with disparate performance indicators aggregated from myriad, often untapped data sources, to comprise a comprehensive multi-faceted understanding the agents’ current state, readiness, effectiveness, engagement, and capability. - Represents a new perspective on enterprise operational and social data processing oriented around real-time processes, and driven by semantically-enriched scenario-based planning that allows managers to pull together all of the threads of processes—the communications, cooperation, content, narrative, and programmatic functions—into a single coherent picture that will optimize performance against the background of enterprise goals and strategic outcomes. Clearly, this architecture is at once a major challenge in terms of its contrast with all the prevailing organizational structures and orientations; however, it also synthesizes much of the current thinking about complex system design and implementation in service to enterprise-wide productivity enhancement. Given the ever-present bias toward action and results, what does the implementation of such a plan look like? Framing the Solution Design Domain “We might already be beyond the age of speed, by moving into the age of real-time. The move towards real-time is one way out of the world of speed.” -Ivan Illich Social Being and Human Intelligence comprise a developmental method for creation of a new paradigm for relating to human performance within the enterprise. It is an immersive and emergent process— there is no fixed outcome; but rather a series of interlocking steps that can be addressed and intertwined to arrive at the organizational outcome that adequately characterizes the enterprise’s optimizable capacity: its ability to reliably and sustainably deliver its strategic outcomes, and accelerate its appreciation of human capital assets. We characterize such an enterprise as being polyvalent— capable of instantaneously forming powerful, sustainable bonds that enable it to achieve the work at hand, with minimal overhead while maximizing the potential capability of the organization at any point.
  11. 11. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 11 This method is comprised of the following components: Signaling ontology. Throughout this paper we have referred to ontology in its initial definition: the study of being—“the basic terms and relations comprising the vocabulary of a topic area, as well as the rules for combining terms and relations to define extensions to that vocabulary.” A “signaling ontology,” references the set of meanings and relationships derivable from human activity, from the interaction within the enterprise, and from context of the agents' positions and responsibilities. We have posited a design ontology in which the focus is on activity-generated signals, the components of which are expressions of the agent’s state of being and productive function, as woven into the narrative of cooperative effort, and reflective of organizational definitions (purpose, values, strategic outcomes, etc.). The value is to arrive at and maintain definitional consistency and coherence of interpretation of activity and cooperation artifacts. Through this process, the signaling ontology becomes an enterprise substrate for monitoring of performance, and the concept of channeling becomes the mode in which multi-dimensional performance is measured. Social and Cooperative Literacy. The proliferation of new tools and capabilities to generate and amplify communication/expression across the Internet and throughout the enterprise has given rise to an array of new skills and talents required to manage exponential volumes of information and associated response or interaction. These skills represent a fundamental new literacy, akin to reading, writing, and basic numeracy. Additionally, a set of cross-disciplinary studies have revealed the evolutionary benefit of cooperation insofar as cooperation feeds back into evolution of the collaborative itself. This process has been termed co-evolution. Both this new digital era literacy and current theories of cooperation must be instantiated within the enterprise, in order to facilitate the emergence of human intelligence and enhancement of human productivity.4 Ecologizing. We use the term ecologizing to describe the “at-once” characterization of the totality of relationships within an environment. We ecologize by approaching the set of relationships between the agents –the explicit and implicit connections and interrelationships that produce a narrative within the enterprise environment, and define the boundaries and necessary cooperative and co-evolutionary processes, and the set of environmental variables judged to be key to cooperation and productivity. Characterizing this process points to a semantic network defined as the initial state of the totality, and within it the set of agents, roles and definitions, rules, governance structures, and boundary conditions that will enable definition and refinement of the signaling ontology. iRationality. We use this term in contrast to the hyper-rationality we observe in the current environment that attempts to rationally quantify everything in an organization, in order to normalize it against an efficient market model as the pervasive substrate for capital valuation; and by derivation, the valuation for all value-related activities in the enterprise. We are proposing a counter-notion— iRationality—which refers to operations in the context of a significantly more complex plane. iRationality enables a new rationalization of value through the interposition of the value of intellectual capital in the enterprise. It addresses the pragmamorphism that sits at the epistemological heart of how markets and 4 See Howard Rheingold, Writing, Reading, and Social Media Literacy, Harvard Business Review, October 22, 2008 and Towards a literacy of cooperation YFL/Toward%20a%20literacy%20of%20cooperation.cmap
  12. 12. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 12 business theory is constructed. The iRational coefficient serves as a sustainability counter-weight to the strategic vector posed by slavish devotion to concepts such as return on net assets; a devotion that will argue for eventually squeezing all sustainable intellectual value from the enterprise by continually failing to invest in an infrastructure that optimizes human performance. Covalanescence. Social Being, at its core, derives from the associative bonding that reflects an emergent world. Earlier we discussed a perspective of the enterprise in terms of its ability to manifest particular characteristics that might not otherwise be explained by the organization’s explicit structure. We look at some of the “anomalous” characteristics of water including the fundamental strength of the covalent bond between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms. These result from the fundamental simplicity of the structure that gives rise to it; and in turn, the capacity to form structures that are not observed in other similar molecules. Likewise, from a simple semantic definition of an agent in an organization and a simple means of conduction of expression, a set of behaviors that manifest and repeat become as steady and reliable as the bonding of water molecules, providing a set of compelling and unique capabilities (e.g., cohesion and adhesion) that again could not otherwise be explained by the mere external study of surface structures and conditions. The ability to build strong bonds based on a primitive template, to define a set of realizable organizational performance capacities that extend beyond the obvious is of the essence in creating an emergent organization. Poly-phasic facilitation. Finally, we use a method for modeling and capturing the facilitation process that renders a poly-dimensional space—the four dimensions of physical, social, semantic, and temporal interactions, and their inter-relationships, interpositions and mutli-dimensional metadata. This mapping process enables realization of the true fidelity of enterprise productivity, and is the capture medium for the signaling ontology that emerges. We have developed this prospective method and propose to undertake a study to demonstrate how these concepts manifest within an organization. The root of the research study is the development of design principles and the establishment of a set of design patterns that would represent the various components described within. The meta-method for testing and capturing this information is the aforementioned “poly-phasic” facilitation method that would provide the structure, process, and mode of capture for results. As a result, it is necessary to develop and apply this tool to be able to understand how the method will be instantiated and the results from its use captured and analyzed. References 1. Enterprise Coordination on the Internet, Charles Petrie, Future Internet 2011, 3, Pgs. 49-66 2. A naturalistic approach to the theory of the firm: The role of cooperation and cultural evolution, Cordes, et al, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 68 (2008) 125–139 3. Theory and History of Ontology from a Philosophical Perspective, Raul Corazzon, 4. Mirror Worlds, David Gelernter, Oxford Press, 1991 5. A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, et al, Oxford University Press, 1977 6. In the Age of the Smart Machine, Shoshanna Zuboff, Harvard U. Press, 1988 7. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language, John Searle, Cambridge U. Press, 1969 8. Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design, Terry Winograd & Fernando Flores, Addison-Wesley, 1986 9. Superdistribution, Brad Cox, Addison-Wesley, 1996 10. The Wealth of Networks, Yochai Benkler, Yale University Press, 2006
  13. 13. Social Being: An Emergent Theory of Organizational Performance Page | 13 11. The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Stewart Kauffman, Oxford U. Press, 1993 12. Emergence: The Connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software, Steven Johnson, Scribner, 2001 13. The Social Life of Information, John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid, Harvard Business School Press, 2000 14. The Laws of the Web: Patterns in the Ecology of Information, Bernardo A. Huberman, MIT Press, 2002 15. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, Kevin Kelly, Addison-Wesley, 1995 16. The Tree of Knowledge, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, Shambhala, 1987 17. Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger, Times Books, 2007 18. On Intelligence, Jeff Hawkins, Owl Books, Henry Holt & Co., 2004 19. Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become, Peter Morvillle, O’Reilly, 2005 20. The Evolution of Cooperation, David Axelrod, Basic Books, 1984 21. Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity Marc Augé, Verso, 1995 22. The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy of Personal Information, Oscar H. Gandy, Jr., Westview, 1993