Enlightened organizing

This is a post in my organizing ”between and beyond” series. The post is part of my exploration of deeper generative orders for organizing.  Other posts are here.

Organizing assumptions
Organizing is based on many different assumptions and beliefs. A dominating one is the positivist belief in a rationally structured world that can be known and acted on by individuals who are capable of rational action and rational language. Technical rationality has been given a key role as a thought style and mode of inquiry. There are, however, other possible beliefs. One example is Dian Marie Hosking’s enlightened organizing, which is relational rather than rational.

Enlightened organizing
Enlightened organizing is based on openness, light structures, and presence:1

  • Openness – A relational view suggests that dialogue offers an alternative to rational action and fixed structures. In dialogue, the emphasis is on ways of relating that open space for co-emergence and improvisation. Dialogue is an open and curious way of relating characterized by:
    • Listening, questioning, and being present.
    • Suspension of one’s certainties and assumptions.
    • Reflexive attention to the ongoing process.
  • Light structures – The idea is to provide enough, but not too much, structure. Light structuring makes space for being in the now. It invites and supports open and coherent unfolding. Structuring is light when it has multiple and variable forms, rather than some singular and stable hierarchy.
  • Presence – Implicit in openness and light structuring is being present in the now. Nowness, listening, and action are connected. Listening is embodied participation. It’s an aspect of participatory thought. Sensing and being with allows space for action. This is not simply a technique graspable by the rational mind.

1 Dian Marie Hosking, Organizing a Buddhist Way. See Peter Case and Hugo Letiche (editors), Belief and Organization (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), Chapter 5, pp. 69–89.


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