oracle aide

March 31, 2015

What I learned today: Digital Taylorism and Holacracy

Filed under: Uncategorized — oracleaide @ 11:19 pm

there is increasing evidence that “new forms of bureaucratic control and repetitive tasks have been extended to the information sector”- or Digital Taylorism

Or there is this view – there is a high road and a low road that will be followed:

The high road variant can also be associated with the high-trust, high performance firm. Its main features are: decentralisation, creation of comprehensive tasks, establishment of work groups, promotion of competence development and sharing of knowledge as well as interdepartmental co-operation and integrated product development.

The low road type strive to achieve competitiveness through cost-cutting, which among other things expresses itself in staff reduction or outsourcing. For the internal organisation of work this mode means: organisation of work processes according to value creation aspects, acceleration of the processes through the grouping of individual work tasks and activities into business processes, intensification of work, and a tendency to divide staff into a highly qualified core and a low-qualified periphery that are employed to balance out capacity fluctuations.

The starkest portrait of Work to Come is this one – that the future of work, for many people, will be them strapped to an automated digital workflow, continuously prodded and monitored while doing the tasks that machines cannot yet do well or cheaply enough.

It’s actually not a new idea. As an employee at one of Hsieh’s Las Vegas start-ups pointed out to me during a visit, 18thcentury Caribbean pirates created some of the flattest organizational structures in history — long before the theorists Rensis Likert and Stanley Udy touched on such notions in their foundational works in the 1950s and 1960s. The pirates democratically elected captains and other officers (and had the ability to depose them at any time), shared treasure equally, had extensive welfare plans for injured colleagues, and wrote their own constitutions (“ships’ articles”) to permit people from diverse nationalities, races, and religions to collaborate successfully. Their “circles” were vessel teams. Though members came and went, what happened in one crew stayed with that crew. Transparency was limited to those on the vessel at any given time.

This system existed across nearly all the pirate vessels. Holacracy isn’t that common in today’s organizations, but it’s gaining traction, which makes sense. In an age of transparency, people will grab whatever bits of privacy they can find to experiment without retribution. This is an approach that allows organizations to adaptively support them rather than thwart their efforts.


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