14. Relationship

{2007/07/16, DI: Remember to may the reconnection to middle age plateau!}

Dependent, independent, interdependent

14.1 Prospects of who and with

« Idea: describe “who” »

Business is a social system, so “what does what” is important. The focus here is primarily on scope of the business accepted by individuals or groups. « Idea: describe “with” »

Since we've expressed a view of business as more than a single person can do alone, it's important to address the relationship with others. “Who” isn't quite enough, because is speaks to parts; “with” suggests interaction between parts.

« Idea: Introduce different who(s) and with associated with different business orientations »

Business orientation Who With
BestResponsible individuals Dependence (as extended capabilities)
BothAccountable roles Independence (as negotiated autonomy)
MorePolycentric roles Interdependence (as clans and allies)

14.2 A "best" orientation relies on responsible individuals with dependent, extended capabilities

« Need to cite an example, first »

« Describe “responsible individuals” »

In a “best” orientation, it should be clear on whose desk “the buck stops here”. In small, proprietor-run businesses, the person with the final say is clear. In a command-and-control military style, this is the person at the top of the hierarchy.

« Describe “dependence (as extended capabilities)” »

In the “best” orientation, decisions are centered on responsible individuals. It is impossible for them, however, to do everything. Thus, the separation between planning and execution becomes important. The relationship between the ultimately responsible individual and others is that the others are extensions of the individual identity.

« Describe why “best” works well in a simple system conception, but not necessarily others »

A single decision-maker makes operations simple.

In a “both” approach, the single decision-maker may be too egocentric, and not look to the specific interests of the customer segment or defined constituents to be served. In these cases, it\'s better to have professional managers, who are less passionate about their own identities.

In a “more” approach, the single decision-maker gets frozen by a single identity. He is limited to what he can offer others, and what he can accept from others.

14.3 A "both" orientation relies on accountable roles operating independently (through negotiated autonomy)

« Need to cite an example, first »

« Describe “accountable roles” »

In the “both” orientation, different people may play a role. Customers may sometimes be given special access, such as a different 1-800 number or line-up, but often they enter by the same door and are then triaged. As an alternative to making an appointment, the first available customer service person is accountable to serve him or her. This requires that every customer service person have equivalent resources and authority.

« Describe “independence (as negotiated autonomy)” »

Representatives serving one customer segment may be largely independent of the other. They should be focused only on customers within their assigned segment, and can't speak for others who serve other segments. They are not quite arms-length independence, but they have a level of autonomy so that they can negotiate conditions that will enable them to properly serve their customer set.

« Describe why “both” works well in a complicated system conception, but not necessarily others »

A “both” approach works in a complicated system conception. If the customer segment or specific constituents are predictable, accountable roles can be assigned to serve them. Providing those accountable roles with the authority and resources to act on behalf of the business gives customers the confidence that they are receiving appropriate treatment. Allowing these roles the autonomy to satisfy their customers reinforces the “both” approach, as it precludes customers from seeking higher authorities or back doors.

The “both” approach doesn't work in a business as a simple system, because the accountability is transparent to final responsibility. The route to the boss is clear, and the final responsibility trumps the accountability.

The “both” approach doesn't work in a business as a complex system, because roles can not be clearly separated from each other. Satisfying a customer may require interacting with a role at a small level, or a broad level requiring almost the full resources of the business.

14.4 A "more" orientation relies on polycentric roles, in interdependent relations (as allies and acquaintances)

« Need to cite an example, first »

« Describe “polycentric roles” »

In a “more” approach, there are many roles, with overlapping authorities and resources. Each role has distinct powers and authorities, some unique and some overlapping with others. To fulfill the request of a customer, individuals in some roles must join with others roles, working ways through conflicts and redundancies in the immediate interest. These roles have both short horizon and long horizon aspects in their relationships. Trust develops between the intermingled roles over a long period of time, and there is an inevitability about dealing with seeing each other again. On the short horizon, however, no individual will want to be taken advantage of, and maintains their identity.

« Describe “interdependence (as clans and allies)” »

Dealing with the varying demands and requests of customers or constituents can not be handled solely by one individual. This may by design, in economizing headcount, or because the range of knowledge and skills is so broad that no ideal single representative could ever fulfill them all. The design of the organization may result in roles that apparently have directly conflicting interests, yet they work together to advance common interests. Some relationships are long-lived, as a clan would be, while others are temporary, as allies on a specific project or mission. Diversity is the strength of this organization, and reducing it to plug-and-play roles would not only work worse, it would probably require more resources.

« Describe why “more” works well in a complex system conception, but not necessarily others »

A “more” approach works with a complex system conception because the multiple perspectives and views are able to reflect and represent the complexity in the customer or constituent situations. « There could be a linkage to requisite variety here, but requisite variety feels like distinct states » The “more” approach in a simple conception of a business would seem like bureaucracy. Too many people with overlapping authorities would have to get involved in even the simplest decision.

The “more” approach in a complex conception of a business would probably surface conflicts about “turf”. When overlapping authorities and resources are a way of life, people work through with it. When one role is given power distinct from the others, they may withdraw and leave a gap.

  • manuscript/relationship.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/08/12 01:11
  • by daviding