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Sustaining Organization 5.0

The Flip Side of the Positivist "Culture" Organisational Design Wave

  • Reference to the Bang & Olufsen research by Jakob Krause-Jensen: P. 275-7 
    • "Although we should not forget the good intentions and appreciate the many worthy initiatives that have grown underneath the vast symbolic role of "value-based" Human Resource Management, it is important also to recognise these ambiguities and the confusion they generate - and spell out the totalitarian implications in the dreams of a "corporate religion".
    • "It is one of the most important benefits of long-term, ethnographic investigations to point out not only the profits and social advantages that might come from strategic changes-usually amply justified in the business literature - but also the "cost side" and predicaments, ambiguities, and possible contradictions that follow from such structural transformations.
    • "The freedom to define their own job, the benefits of being afforded corporate resources, and the challenge and creativity involved in working with strategic development were out balanced and overshadowed by the precariousness of working in the exposed position of strategic HR - a liability also indicated by the pace and the extent to which people in the HR Department were fired or chose to move."
  • The role of ethnography in Orgqanisational Design:
    • "I make Kunda's words my own: "I regard this study as far from finished. Each completed sentence represents "a tenuous victory over the infinite complexity of the facts". Such victories are short lived, and the battles must be fought again" (Kunda 1992:240). Ethnographic analysis rarely provides ready-made recommendations by which companies can be restructured. The book is written in the belief that this does not make ethnography irrelevant to organisations: ethnographic research as represented by this book does not supply Bang & Olufsen with a "hammer" by which reality can be rearranged. The "tool" it provides is more like a pair of glasses giving a clearer perspective on particular connections and organisational experiences-and this might be useful when you want to use the hammer the second time around.
This resonates a great deal with the theme of the "Mean Green Meme" that Ken Wilber describes, where well intentioned values of communion, equality and democracy fall into traps of attempting to solve the problems only at that level of culture.