Do we have the know-how to create fun and prosperous workplaces?
There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of blogs out here in the blogoshere on HR, on psychology, on positive development, on management, on productivity, on running your business. We don’t really need another one, particularly one dedicated to the esoteric features of HR, running an organization, choosing a career, and making your way in the business world. Or do we?
Serious ideas for fun and prosperous workplaces
This blog is intended for people who are fairly serious about the people-side of a business, who read widely, and yet are practical and look for ideas-turned-into-method that they can use in contemporary workplaces.
The good, the true, the better and the possible
The blog is biased towards the emerging field of ‘positive organizational scholarship’, which is not to be confused with positive thinking or positivism. 20th century thinking assumes that the person at the top is all-knowing and all-seeing. The ‘commander’ defines the direction and the ‘ground that we should capture’. Our task is to follow and implement.
Positive organizational scholarship abandons that idea. No one is capable of defining direction and by the time we have defined it, it is too late. The opportunity has passed.
The task of 21st century organizations is to be nimble, flexible and resilient – ready to move quickly and defining our objectives on the move. It is what we have always done. We just acknowledge it now.
The task of management scholars is to describe how we do this and to help us talk and think more clearly about what we are doing. This blog is about that emerging conversation.
How are organizations nimble? How can we describe them? And what are the advantages of talking about them more articulately?
I write this blog from a small town in England, United Kingdom. Olney is on the Great Ouse which flows across several counties. About 8000 souls live here and we are in the Milton Keynes, Bedford, Northampton triangle. We are in commuting distance of London and the Midlands and all the international airports in the south.
I am a work & organizational psychologist by training and I moved here two years ago after a joint career in university teaching and HR consulting. I am used to creating large HR systems for very competitive organizations and central critical organizations.
In the last two years, I have been shifting my work into social media – meaning blogs, Facebook, etc. I run a small private company, Rooi Limited. We are interested in the virtual world as a collaborative resource. How can we and do we, use social media to work with other people to explore activities of interest to us?
Strengthening organizations, communities and economies
As we are work & organizational psychologists, we tend to work in the economic space. Our first project was Olney100, a social network for the town of Olney. It had as its byline – Talking to neighbors over our horizon. That is the general principle of our work. We use virtual communities to talk to people who are at the 2nd or 3rd degree of connectedness – the friends of our friends. By using the virtual world as we once used the telephone, we are able to strengthen organizations, communities and economies.
More communication, cheaply
This is a straightforward goal and we often feel we could do just as much without the internet. We could. The internet just makes connecting faster and easier. It is economical, in other words. It allows us to connect more for very little cost.
More ad hoc fun and profitable projects
We are not just saving money either. The trace left on the internet ‘captures data’ and allows us to position ourselves relative to other people more easily. We can form a flock, in other words. Like birds we can soar and swoop together without colliding. In addition to our successful journey, we can journey with others.
More invitations, more possibilities
And like birds, when we are on the internet, we are high up. We can see further. We can dream bigger. We find new destinations. The world from the internet is both bigger and smaller. We see further and see people beckoning us to join them.
Complexity theorists, who have read this far, will be recognizing the concepts I am using. I hope theorists will find this interface between theory and practice useful. My intention is to talk to people who are running organizations beginning with the organization of one, otherwise known as ‘my career’. I will be adding practical heuristics though, and I would love your comments on whether I have represented ideas about complexity accurately.
What is happening on this blog now
This blog has been running for just over a year and there is lot of material here. I will be re-organizing it during the next few months. I am also writing a science fiction account of a company called Xoozya. Xoozya is run in a strictly bottom-up fashion. It has few rules and as yet, as a newcomer to Xoozya, I am not quite sure what business it is in! It is my experiment to see how far I can fashion an organization that has extremely permeable boundaries. Always happy to have comments.
Thanks for stopping by and reading so far!
Olney, May 2009