What if the organization is a living system?

Holacracy is described as a new operating system 1 for evolution-powered organizations. It’s a punchy analogy which people understand. What people seem to forget is this: The operating system as a metaphor requires people to execute the programming code, but people aren’t microprocessors. This might seem like playing with words, but metaphors both reflect and influence our thinking. There is always a cost in trying to script people’s behavior. They might decide to withdraw their engagement. What if the organization is a living system, and not a computer?

Notes (added 17 April 2016):
1 HolacracyOne’s web page where Holacracy is described as a new operating system no longer exists. However, a description of Holacracy as “a comprehensive new operating system” can also be found in Brian Robertson’s book on Holacracy. See Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 12.

Related posts:
Book review: Holacracy
Metaphors both reflect and influence our thinking
Language of rules & policies vs. agreements
Self-organization is the real operating system
Emergence is simply what life does
Empowerment is a red herring
Pre-conditions for self-organization
What if the organization is a living system?
Facilitating an Open Space
How to enable and sustain self-organization
TEDxTalk on Open Space Technology

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog. A common theme is his search for better ways of working together.

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