Leading and Creating Collaboration in Decentralized Organizations

Partly note to myself, partly note to those readers who don’t abhor a good research paper now and then: This looks interesting, in HBS First Look (of May 29):

Leading and Creating Collaboration in Decentralized Organizations” by Heather M. Caruso and Todd Rogers with Professor Max Bazerman

From the introduction:

Many employees note that, in decentralized organizations, it is harder to deal with other divisions or departments of their organization than it is to negotiate with outside suppliers or customers. In ordinary cases, this intraorganizational coordination failure which can cost substantial sums of money. […]

Often, instances of coordination failure stem from the failure to appropriately structure the organization around the key interdependencies within the organization – whether that suggests organizing by function (e.g., sales, marketing, manufacturing, engineering, etc.), by product group, or by region. Yet, even when organizations are able to design divisions around the appropriate dimensions, there will always be a need to integrate information across the resulting units. We focus this paper on improving information coordination across these organizational units to maximize organizational effectiveness.

While social software is not explicitly mentioned, I think that it has potential for the described kinds of organizational problems and tasks: Effectively supporting an organizational design thinking that envisions emergent, boundary-crossing and adaptive collaboration.

Here’s the full pdf of the article.

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