Sunday, March 6, 2011

On Disorder in Organizations

I have finished a short series on management at Cognitive Edge. The series addresses complexity, organizations, bureaucracy and knowledge management.  A key tool in working through these topics is the Cynefin Framework with its five domains.

Disorder lies at the center of the framework. I've found that disorder is present in most organizations. Is this a familiar feeling?  Disorder acts like a black hole. We are trapped within it far more frequently then we may realize. It leads to circular arguments, self-referential knowledge and groupthink.  Once trapped, it is hard to fathom a way out. But we can escape.
Like it's physical counterpart, disorder has an edge. There is an event horizon that we can detect. We can, with an appreciation for the complex and the chaotic domains, learn to sense the boundary. I conclude my series with some ideas on how we might find this boundary.

Organizations are complex adaptive systems filled with intentional behaviour. What do we intend to do? That is the critical question in escaping from the edge of disorder.   

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