Caution, Organizational Behaviors

Merely satisfactory work activities well-executed are better than perfect ones poorly executed...

Avoid creating disrespect for the concept of Organizational Behaviors by paying too little attention to the difficulty and expense of its implementation. Take a lesson from the architects.

Gaston Bachelard, a French scientist, philosopher and poet wrote in his book The Poetics of Space that architects should not just look at the technical side or aesthetics of their creations, but also at how their creations affect the human experience. This led to his concept of Desired Paths: dirt pathways created by people walking across unpaved fields, following their personal line of least resistance. The dirt pathways provide the best estimate of human needs for travel and show where the pavement should be laid.

One view of implementing new work activities is simply to find effective behaviors in R&D that are in most need of support. We calculate where most of the heavy traffic will flow and reinforce these as the major arteries, backfilling side paths as we gain more experience. Support effective behaviors and backfill as necessary.

Any teacher of 7th or 8th grade will tell you: start out tough because you can always relax the rules over time. It’s nearly impossible to go the other way. Freedom & Responsibility means we allow more freedom in work activities once an individual or team shows responsibility. Don’t start with trials of behavioral mechanisms that allow high levels of personal freedom. If the answer to greater R&D effectiveness later turns out to be less freedom (i.e., a hard-assed approach), then you may not be able to backtrack.


More Core Arguments for Organizational Behaviors