Youthful Organization

Maintaining Youth of the Organization and Preventing Old Age

“Like people and plants, organizations have a life cycle. They have a green and supple youth, a time of flourishing strength, and a gnarled old age. But organizations differ from people and plants in that their cycle isn’t even approximately predictable.  An organization may go from youth to old age in two or three decades, or it may last for centuries.”  John W. Gardner in 1965 October Issue of  Harper’s.

So keeping an  organization youthful is a top management challenge.

Comparing an organization to an animal in biological terms is useful. But as we see now-a-days, the average productive age of humans has increased and some individuals are running marathon at age 71 at almost with the same time that they recorded at the age of 21, organization can maintain their strength and energy for many many years. There are certain organizations who completed 100 years of their existence and still going strong. Of course there are many examples of company closures and mergers who far outnumber the 100 year old organizations. That is why maintaining a youthful organization that can research the market, develop new products, produce them, sell them and service them with the same vigor as it was doing in its earlier years.
Actively hiring young employees periodically is way for maintaining the youthful organization. The company must be ready to train young people for front line operating jobs, supervisory positions and manager level positions.
One example is,  Starbucks  engaging its supply chain in partnership with LeadersUp, a new workforce intermediary, to increase the hiring of  youth. LeadersUp  offers multiple services: identifying barriers to youth employment across the supply chain, designing employer-led interventions (training, on-the-job mentoring, and organization redesign to create career pathways for opportunity youth), and measuring the return on investment of youth hiring activities.

Crises in a Developing Organization
by Gordon L. LippittWarren H. Schmidt
Harvard Business Review, NOVEMBER 1967

Life Cycle Models of the Organization

The Greiner Model – Larry E. Greiner

Cameron and Whetton Model

Ainsworth – Land Model

Noel Tichy’s Model

Source: Designing Effective Organizations: Traditional and Transformational Views
David K. Banner, T. Elaine Gagné
SAGE, 1995 – Business & Economics – 480 pages

This book on organization theory adopts a distinctive stance. In contrast to the traditional rational approach, it develops a transformational perspective which focuses on the organizational world as a projection of each organizational member’s consciousness. While covering all the basic topics of organization theory, the author’s approach reflects today’s changing management paradigms.

The Effective Organization: Forces and Forms

Magazine: Winter 1991 January 15, 1991
Henry Mintzberg

This article builds a framework and proposes that the effective organization has to solve a jigsaw puzzle with LEGO pieces. The organizations experience forces and it has to redesign itself to survive and prosper under the action of these forces. It is a powerful framework by which to diagnose and deal with the problems organizations face according to the author..

First is the force for direction
Next is the force for efficiency,
Across from the force for efficiency is that for proficiency
Below efficiency is the force for concentration
At the bottom right is the force for innovation
Finally, two forces called catalytic: cooperation and competition.

Forms or Configurations

The entrepreneurial form – direction
The machine form – efficiency,
The professional form – proficiency
The adbocracy form –  concentration
The diversified form – innovation
Ideological and the political forms

Experience shows that the dominant force sometimes dominates to the point of undermining all the others. For example, the quest for efficiency in a machine organization can almost totally suppress the capacity for innovation, while in an adhocracy the need for some modicum of efficiency often gets suppressed. This phenomenon is termed contamination

Each configuration is capable of driving itself out of control. That is to say, each contains the seeds of its own destruction.

Truly effective organizations do not exist in pure form. What keeps a configuration effective is not only the dominance of a single force but also the constraining effects of other forces. This is termed containment.

Combination is a mixture of pureforms.

The authors said in a sample of 123 companies, in just over half the cases—sixty-six, the students felt that a single form fitted best. Twenty-five entrepreneurial, thirteen machine, eleven diversified, nine adhocracy, and eight professional organizations were observed. The rest were termed  combinations—seventeen different ones in all. Diversified machines were the most common (nine), followed by innovative professionals (eight), entrepreneurial professionals (six), and entrepreneurial machines (five).7

Top Management Challenges

This article is part of #AtoZChallenge 2017 for Blogging Posts. My Theme for the Challenge is Top Management Challenges – Full List of Articles
To Know More About A to Z Blogging Challenge