Academic journal article Organization Development Journal

The Challenge of Simultaneous Management and Creativity

Academic journal article Organization Development Journal

The Challenge of Simultaneous Management and Creativity

Article excerpt

Structured Abstract

Title: The Challenge of Simultaneous Management and Creativity

Background: A literary review of John Kotter's article, "Change Faster. How to Build Adaptive Genius in Your Organization" published in the November 2012 issue of The Harvard Business Review, pages 44-58.

Manuscript Type - Practitioner Paper Article Type - Literary Review

Purpose: This reviews a proposal by John Kotter that asserts that the traditional business hierarchy shares governance with a networked group of volunteers who identify opportunities and initiate the organizational changes to exploit them. This paper investigates the challenges facing implementation of such a system.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper briefly cites two recent biology findings concerning homeostatic governance before performing a literary review of Kotter's new proposal that modifies his past work. Employee motivation is central to the proposal's viability. The author uses Daniel Pink's criteria of evoking employee motivation to guide implementation efforts. The author concludes by linking the biological studies to the evolution of emerging matrixed systems of business organization.

Findings: The paper provides empirical insights into the implementation challenges that Kotter's proposal does not address. The author finds that Kotter's "volunteer army" will be challenged to maintain motivation. The executive hierarchy must modify its mindset from that of "controllers" to "enablers."

Research limitations/implications: This paper does not claim new research. It uses the existing research of Daniel Pink and Steve Denning to guide the implementation of the system Kotter proposes.

Practical implications: In the rapidly evolving, globalized business world, virtual networks are playing an increasingly important role. Kotter's proposal makes a big leap forward by suggesting that a virtual network be granted co-governance authority. This paper addresses concerns in making that giant leap, and speculates about the end of the era of hierarchical governance.

Social implications: Power relationships are a key element in social dynamics. The powerful are known for their reluctance to yield, yet Kotter's proposal requires senior executives to cede half of their power to a virtual network of employees extending down to the lowest ranks of the power hierarchy. Kotter's proposal also demands that the powersharing network consist of volunteers with little or no compensation for the additional responsibilities they undertake. Such actions have broad and deep impacts on its participant's social interactions in both their personal and professional lives.

Originality/value: This paper anticipates a logical next-step in the role of virtual networks in effecting crucial business decisions. Its value is in the issues it raises to assure success of these networks, particularly among volunteer teams.

Keywords: John Kotter, Leading Change, corporate governance, hierarchy, guiding coalition, volunteer

This spring I wrote an article on group brainstorming that put systems of creativity in my mind. In this paper, I share a little of my subsequent reading and concentrate on a bold proposal by John Kotter. He concludes that business must shift from its current managerial paradigm to one of two coexisting governing systems. This paper outlines Kotter's proposal, offers some critique, and it fills in a few crucial details.

Gina Kolata (2012) wrote an article about science's increasing attention to DNA "junk" matter (para 2). Since Watson and Crick identified the double helix structure of the DNA, attention has focused on the 23 pairs of chromosomes in our genes that create the specialized cells in our bodies. The 90-95% of the nucleic DNA that is not in our chromosomes, known as microbial DNA, was considered nothing more than "junk matter." Recent findings, however, have found that the microbial DNA plays a key role in managing the timing of chromosomal activity. …

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