Being Free within Organizational Structures

Next reboot-session where I am again actually taking notes is “Being Free within Organizational Structures – A conversation on achieving “free working” in a more traditional environment” by Robert Slagter:

Within the existing structures of a larger organization it is not trivial to be a “free worker”, even when the organization embraces the idea.

- goal: insights in how to cope with “old school” structures

- what does being free mean for knowledge workers (e.g. when, where and with whom and how; choose topics that align with passions; use tools that work best for me; …)

- organizations aren’t keen on providing freedom (yes, I know that one’s obvious) & freedom comes at a price (more responsibility; less structure and predictability; less guidance; …)

- Robert says that some people seem to be quite comfortable within their “iron cages“, well, yes, in fact living in walled gardens feels safe.

- Simple model of barriers that prevent people from venturing into a more free kind of working: 1. Myself & the people around me 2. Work setting, organization, technology

Now Robert asks us for our experiences and tricks to deal with these barriers, some topics discussed:

- problems stem in part from an outdated understanding of work

- we also need a new role understanding of leadership

- while the need for coordination of big tasks doesn’t disappear (and organizations will continue to thrive) a more 21C-way of working may appear alongside – flexible ad-hoc value networks, business ecosystems, companyconglomerates, etc.

- to leverage the full potential of your knowledge workers you better design for emergence and adaptivity, ie. allow for heterarchic configurations

For me it’s a different kind of game, as an independent consultant your work is life and life is work (still, work-life balance is a problem sometimes). In fact the line between work and leisure time is blurring, but out of free will. Still, as a freelancer you’re less bound and restricted by a boss (no, multiple clients don’t mean multiple bosses …) and most of the barriers I experience are self-set-up and well-thought out ;)

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2 Responses to “Being Free within Organizational Structures”

  1. An absolute “must read” regarding new organizational forms (= more freedom for knowledge workers in corporations) is Gary Hamel’s latest book. It’s called “The Future of Management”.

    Though the book does not necessarily give managers a how-to book, it definitely advocates for more organization change. After all, how many people do you know in big corporations that enjoy going to work every day? Sad isn’t it…

    Best, Alex

  2. Martin Koser says:

    Alex,

    yes, this is a **really good book**. I like Hamels take on things and still have a draft review in my back-log and todo-list.

    But it’s time-consuming to write an extensive review, need to do it in my time-off ;)

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