Sunday, March 27, 2011



It has appeared that some organizations have become increasingly dependent upon highly distributed teams or groups that operate in unbounded or open environments (Arrow, McGrath, & Berdahl, 2000). By my own observations, this has further appeared to have especially included virtual teams and cross-cultural components of multi-national organizations. As a result, the risks to those organizations associated with failure to adapt and adequately respond to emerging needs seems to have presented increasingly greater challenges for organizational success. Furthermore, an a priori baseline premise that underlies the survivability of any organization, group, or team has included the idea that none can avoid competition or the errors that necessarily emerge when answering challenges. In the realm of complex, adaptive, and dynamic systems, the natural escalation of opportunities and challenges versus hierarchical, mechanistic decision-making processes has also demonstrated that some traditional, structure-bound organizations have become vulnerable to competitors who have routinely decided and tried to control courses of action (read lead) at the operative level, rather than at the strategic or coordinative levels (Stacey, 1992). Based on the efforts and successful results of these agile competitors, it seems that a compelling need has emerged: to augment traditional decision-making approaches with methods and techniques that allow teams and other work groups to control more efforts at the local, operative level; in order to survive, mitigate loss, respond, and thrive in the presence of similarly structured competitors. This has seemed especially important regarding situations wherein team or group members have possessed the resources and structure to provide for complete answers to the challenges and challengers they have faced. At least one Biblical Scripture seems to have confirmed this concept, by predicting a likely result of adaptive responses: "...  I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some" 1 Cor. 9:20 (New International Version).

Arrow, H., McGrath, J. E., & Berdahl, J. L. (2000). Small groups as complex systems: Formation, coordination, development, and adaptation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Stacey, R. D. (1992). Managing the unknowable: Strategic boundaries between order and chaos in organizations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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