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AOrganisation is big business. Whether it is of our lives - all those

inboxes and calendars -or how companies are structured, a multi-billion dollar

industry helps to meet this need.

We have more strategies for time management, project management and

self-organisation than at any other time in human history. We are told that we

ought to

organise our company, our home life, our week, our day and even our sleep,

all as a means to becoming more productive. Every week, countless seminars and

workshops take place around the world to tell a paying public that they ought to

structure their lives in order to achieve this.

This rhetoric has also crept into the thinking of business leaders and

entrepreneurs, much to the delight of self-proclaimed perfectionists with the

need to get everything right. The number of business schools and graduates has

massively increased over the past 50 years, essentially teaching people how to

organise well.

BIronically, however, the number of businesses that fail has also steadily

increased. Work-related stress has increased. A large proportion of workers from

all demographics claim to be dissatisfied with the way their work is structured

and the way they are managed.

This begs the question: what has gone wrong? Why is it that on paper the

drive for organisation seems a sure shot for increasing productivity, but in

reality falls well short of what is expected?

CThis has been a problem for a while now. Frederick Taylor was one of the

forefathers of scientific management. Writing in the first half of the 20th

century, he designed a number of principles to improve the efficiency of the

work process, which have since become widespread in modern companies. So the

approach has been around for a while.

DNew research suggests that this obsession with efficiency is misguided.

The problem is not necessarily the management theories or strategies we use to

organise our work; it's the basic assumptions we hold in approaching how we

work. Here it's the assumption that order is a necessary condition for

productivity. This assumption has also fostered the idea that disorder must be

detrimental to organisational productivity. The result is that businesses and

people spend time and money organising themselves for the sake of organising,

rather than actually looking at the end goal and usefulness of such an


EWhat's more, recent studies show that order actually has diminishing

returns. Order does increase productivity to a certain extent, but eventually

the usefulness of the process of organisation, and the benefit it yields, reduce

until the point where any further increase in order reduces productivity. Some

argue that in a business, if the cost of formally structuring something

outweighs the benefit of doing it, then that thing ought not to be formally

structured. Instead, the resources involved can be better used elsewhere.

FIn fact, research shows that, when innovating, the best approach is to

create an environment devoid of structure and hierarchy and enable everyone

involved to engage as one organic group. These environments can lead to new

solutions that, under conventionally structured environments (filled with

bottlenecks in terms of information flow, power structures, rules, and routines)

would never be reached.

GIn recent times companies have slowly started to embrace this

disorganisation. Many of them embrace it in terms of perception ( embracing the

idea of disorder, as opposed to fearing it) and in terms of process (putting

mechanisms in place to reduce structure).

For example, Oticon, a large Danish manufacturer of hearing aids, used what

it called a 'spaghetti' structure in order to reduce the organisation's rigid

hierarchies. This involved scrapping formal job titles and giving staff huge

amounts of ownership over their own time and projects. This approach proved to

be highly successful initially, with clear improvements in worker productivity

in all facets of the business.

In similar fashion, the former chairman of General Electric embraced

disorganisation, putting forward the idea of the 'boundary less' organisation.

Again, it involves breaking down the barriers between different parts of a

company and encouraging virtual collaboration and flexible working. Google and a

number of other tech companies have embraced (at least in part) these kinds of

flexible structures, facilitated by technology and strong company values which

glue people together.

HA word of warning to others thinking of jumping on this bandwagon: the

evidence so far suggests disorder, much like order, also seems to have

diminishing utility, and can also have detrimental effects on performance if

overused. Like order, disorder should be embraced only so far as it is useful.

But we should not fear it - nor venerate one over the other.This research also

shows that we should continually question whether or not our existing

assumptions work.







C这个问题已经出现一段时间了。 Frederick













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