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AN ORGANIZATION IS A “SYSTEM”

“The Organization Wheel” is a work system model that we have developed over time and find particularly easy to apply in an organization development effort. The shape of the model began to evolve in our early work with systems thinking in organization. It took form through a fascination with the Native American Plains Indian People’s “ Medicine Wheel Circle” that represents the universe of change and harmony with everything around us (Storm, 1972). We use The Organization Wheel, referred to in the book as “The Wheel”, in several ways throughout our discussion of The Ten Tasks.

 

  • Alignment With The Environment – This element focuses on the wants, values, and quality criteria of the organization’s major stakeholders. The organization’s competitive position and the quality of its relationships and transactions with the major stakeholders. The dynamics and future trends in the environment and the implications of those trends for the organization (its strategic drivers).

 

  • Clarity of Purpose – This element includes the organization’s defining values, core mission and vision for the future. Its strategic intent in relation to the strategic drivers in its environment and the critical success factors for achieving that intent. Its strategies and plans for achieving its goals, and the qualities of its core products in relation to those strategies and plans.

 

  • Core Technical System – This element covers the input and output requirements of the transformation processes that produce the organization’s core products. It’s technologies and practices for controlling the variance in those processes. The information, knowledge, skills, capabilities, and issue resolution practices required to operate, maintain, manage contingencies and upgrade those process to match the demands and dynamics of the environment.

 

  • Human Organization – This element contains the organization's role structure, processes, boundary locations and network of relationships for accomplishing and supporting the core transformation process, dealing with the environment, supporting the people, and adapting to the future.

 

  • The People – This element includes beliefs, attitudes and values of those who populate the Human System. Their knowledge, skills, and capabilities. Their culture, personalities and diversity. Their career expectations. Their quality of work life expectations. Their support needs.

 

  • The Enabling Support Systems This element contains the organization’s technical and human process support systems. Information systems. Maintenance and supply systems. Systems for developing personal and organizational effectiveness. Access, control and authority allocation processes.

 

  • Performance Measurement System – This element focuses on measurement and assessment of outcomes and behaviors (business, technical and human) in relation to the organization’s defining values, core mission, vision for the future, strategic intent and the strategies and plans for achieving its goals.

 

  • Reward Allocation System – This element addresses the distribution of the benefits of participation among the stakeholders in the enterprise (external and internal). The processes for allocating and distributing those benefits. The relationship between rewards and performance.

 

  • Action Learning – In this element are the processes of applied learning for accomplishment, alignment, integration, continuous improvement, adapting, mastery and renewal.

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