Sunday, October 18, 2009

The most honest analysis of Corporate Culture / Org Design using the Office


 

So my friend kyle sent me this genius analysis of corporate culture and organizational design.
Check out the PURE AWESOMENESS that is the office according to 'the office' here.

The great thing about this article, besides being hilarious, is how true his observations are and how much he peels back the onion on the underlying possibilities of why things are the way they are.  This is similar to people getting caught up in trying to change corporate culture... when in reality.... what they are fighting against is that way 'By Design'

Selected excerpts from the article: (to do this justice you should follow the link to the entire thing)

The “sociopath” layer comprises the Darwinian/Protestant Ethic will-to-power types who drive an organization to function despite itself. The “clueless” layer is what Whyte called the “Organization Man,” but the archetype inhabiting the middle has evolved a good deal since Whyte wrote his book (in the fifties).  The losers  are not social losers (as in the opposite of “cool”), but people who have struck bad bargains economically – giving up capitalist striving for steady paychecks. I am not making this connection up.
.........
Back then, Whyte was extremely pessimistic. He saw signs that in the struggle for dominance between the sociopaths (whom he admired as the ones actually making the organization effective despite itself) and the middle-management Organization Man, the latter was winning. He was wrong, but not in the way you’d think. The Sociopaths defeated the Organization Men and turned them into The Clueless not by reforming the organization, but by creating a meta-culture of Darwinism in the economy: one based on job-hopping, mergers, acquisitions, layoffs, cataclysmic reorganizations, outsourcing, unforgiving start-up ecosystems, and brutal corporate raiding. In this terrifying meta-world of the Titans, the Organization Man became the Clueless Man. Today, any time an organization grows too brittle, bureaucratic and disconnected from reality, it is simply killed, torn apart and cannibalized, rather than reformed. The result is the modern creative-destructive life cycle of the firm, which I’ll call the MacLeod Life Cycle.
 ........
A sociopath-entrepreneur with an idea recruits just enough losers to kick off the cycle. As it grows it requires a clueless layer to turn it into a controlled reaction rather than a runaway explosion. Eventually, as value hits diminishing returns, both the sociopaths and losers make their exits, and the clueless start to dominate. Eventually, the hollow brittle shell collapses on itself and anything of value is recycled by the sociopaths according to meta-firm logic.
MacLeod’s “Loser” layer had me puzzled for a long time, because I was interpreting it in cultural terms: the kind of person you call a “loser.” While some may be losers in that sense too, they are primarily losers in the economic sense: those who have, for various reasons, made (or been forced to make) a bad economic bargain: they’ve given up some potential for long-term economic liberty (as capitalists) for short-term economic stability. Traded freedom for a paycheck in short. They actually produce, but are not compensated in proportion to the value they create (since their compensation is set by sociopaths operating under conditions of serious moral hazard). They mortgage their lives away, and hope to die before their money runs out. The good news is that losers have two ways out, which we’ll get to later: turning sociopath or turning into bare-minimum performers. The losers destined for cluelessness do not have a choice.

No comments: