Research Methodology

The research approach is currently based on assembling all published and direct interview references to any of the 30 organisational design Principles/Practices categories for each case study company.

In the interest in bringing an rigourous and scientific approach to this work, I am currently looking to design the future research methodology based on "Qualitative Comparative Analysis" (causally explaining outcomes, non-variance based), or possibly on "General Morphological Analysis". 

The Research Questions

There are two primary Research Questions, concerning first the "collective dimension", and secondly the "individual dimension".

1. The first question is whether organizational design has directionality - is there an "arrow" of progress in how human economic endeavour and collaboration is moving forward on a generational basis?

In other words...Are our organizational capabilites evolving over the generations?

The research scope is the gather data on the explicit organizational principles and practices, and primarily (though not exclusively) looks at companies of 100 or more people.

2. The second Research Question asks to what extent Organisational Design influences individual growth. Growth can be a vast and vague definition, but for this research, it specifically relates to the Lectica scale of complexity of thinking.

The Research Question...Is There A Trend?

From the four main structures found across the range of life-cycles, sectors and sizes of companies....

towards a "Web" of responsibilities:

The Ten Differentiators of Organization 5.0 Identified Through The Case Studies

  1. Greater drive through purpose
  2. More efficient distribution of power
  3. Open / continuous learning
  4. Better use of talent
  5. Less energy wasted in propping up the ego
  6. Less energy wasted in compliance and meetings
  7. Better sensing, awareness
  8. More granular and timely decision making
  9. More agile
  10. Alignment with evolutionary purpose

The Research Approach

The research approach is to chart what each case study company does across three levels:
  1. Principles
    • Distilling to the most fundamental beliefs and value
  2. Methodologies
    • Semi-structured guidelines on implementation 
  3. Tools
    • Technologies (Intranets, market places etc.) that enable the ways of working

Why start with "Principles"? 

Management science has seen many waves of development: 
  • business process reengineering, TQM, Kaizen, lean manufacturing, JIT
  • best-in-class practices - "Good to Great"
  • systems thinking
  • organizational learning
  • values and culture leadership
  • to...what next? 

The case studies have shown to what extent they make very explicit their principles of collaboration.

In the research work for Organization 5.0, the interest is incontinuing the journey of each of the above waves, and defining an Organizaton 5.0 as one which starts out with an explicit negotiation and agreement on its collaboration principles.

Working from principles can be seen as a developmental journey on working on the "What" to the "How" the "Why" (where the "why" addresses the principles). 

This is the same type of developmental journey that individuals take, as represented by the Lectica tools, shown on the left hand image (  

Further Notes on The Research Approach
  • The research conviction is to be as "inclusive" as possible, in terms of striving to maintain an awareness of the inter-relatedness of every dimension in Organizational Development. 
  • Specialization should not be at the sacrifice of "isolation" in the analysis and reasoning.
  • With special interest in: 
    • Applying the language of Integral Theory
    • Using adult developmental psychology models
    • Exploring how developmental stages impact conflict resolution, dialogue and perspective-taking/perspective seeking in organizations

An influential quote on my preparation for the research methodology is below from the Economist Schumpeter

"In search of rigour"

"But do these corporate hagiographies prove anything? The gurus routinely ignore such basic precautions as providing a control group. Five years after “In Search of Excellence” appeared, a third of its ballyhooed companies were in trouble. Andrew Henderson of the University of Texas has recently subjected “excellence studies” to rigorous statistical analysis. He concludes that luck is just as plausible an explanation of their success as excellence.

The third irritating habit is the flogging of management tools off the back of numbered lists or facile principles. Mr Covey reinforces his eight habits with various diagnostic devices such as “the XQ test” (which measures organisational efficiency much as an IQ test measures intelligence). Consultancies like to tell their clients that the key to success lies in “customer-relationship management” and then sell tools to improve it.

But most of these rules are nothing more than wet fingers in the wind. Gurus preach the virtues of “core competences”. But in the developing world many highly diversified companies are sweeping all before them. Customer-relationship management is all about learning about and from your clients. But Henry Ford pointed out that if he had listened to his customers he would have built a better horse and buggy.

Which points to the most irritating thing of all about management gurus: that their failures only serve to stoke demand for their services. If management could indeed be reduced to a few simple principles, then we would have no need for management thinkers. But the very fact that it defies easy solutions, leaving managers in a perpetual state of angst, means that there will always be demand for books like Mr Covey's."