Open source and OD

Organizations use a plethora of IT, managerial and  behavioural systems to drive operational  uniformity and create predictability of deliverables. Some of these systems are apparently more coercive (IT) whilst others are more intangible.

Conventional wisdom has it that these systems do get organizations to be effective, even though there are deviations, aberrations and exceptions that need to be managed.

My assumption about organizations is that there are many people who try to beat the systems and/or work around them because of human nature and cultural preference.  Many cultures have educated people that systems do not work as well as relationships or negotiating.

As far the systems themselves,  I see organizations as more and more “open source”. By that I mean that control and command systems just do not have the capabilities to get people to behave/act in the prescribed manner. The real control of what  goes on is dispersed, and/or a matter of good will.  So, some of the formal mechanisms which are in place may never work well any more.

And this needs to be factored into the OD consultant’s value proposition to the client. OD should support adaptation to this new reality, and not get the old model to keep working when it’s falling apart.

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