Ming the Mechanic:
To be or not to be chaordic

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 To be or not to be chaordic2003-02-18 23:59
by Flemming Funch

I'm very fond of the chaordic principles that Dee Hock developed. They are principles for growing self-organizating organizations and achieving a fertile balance between chaos and order. Hock created the VISA organization that way. Now, Mitch Ratcliffe has some excellent insights into where that works and doesn't work. And he knows what he's talking about.
I've been at a board retreat of the Chaordic Commons for the past two days. It has been a study in frustration. The whole point of this organization has been to support and disseminate notions developed by Dee Hock that have already proven they can guide the founding of healthy, democratic shared-ownership and self-organizing organizations. The problem with the Commons, unlike the organizations actually using chaordic thinking, is that in every case, successful chaords form to accomplish some goal or profit (in the form of betterness of a situation as well as financial profit) while the Commons has no shared ends except the propagation of chaordic principles.
Now, there's a situation I personally trap myself in from time to time, so I recognize that. If you put even the smartest and most well-intentioned people together, without clearly defining the agenda, and you expect that a unified course of action somehow will emerge amongst them - you will usually fail. I heard Mitch point it out very clearly on the phone the other day. For chaordic principles to work, it requires a shared goal and a shared set of limited resources. We've got to have a very similar outcome in mind, and there will have to be obstacles and a scarcity of resources in our way, for us to be inspired to self-organize. If we don't agree on what needs doing, or we can do it just as well separately, it is unlikely that we choose to become an organization.

None of that, of course, stops specific people, within a larger fuzzy group, from getting together and choosing something to do, and organizing themselves around that. But that's a different thing, I think. Like in Open Space. Interesting groups would form, even if there weren't any overall purpose stated. But then I suppose we'd regard it as several organizations rather than one organization. It won't all become one self-organizing entity unless there's a shared purpose and shared constraints. Hm, still something I don't think I've quite figured out here.

[< Back] [Ming the Mechanic]



Other stories in
2010-07-10 13:01: Strong Elastic Links
2010-07-08 02:27: Truth: superconductivity for scalable networks
2010-06-27 02:28: Be afraid, be very afraid
2008-07-06 23:20: Laws of social networks
2008-06-20 15:40: Peer material production
2008-05-06 13:57: Why can't we stick to our goals?
2008-02-21 21:16: Open social networks
2007-11-08 01:49: The value of connections
2007-11-07 00:51: Diversity counterproductive to social capital?
2007-07-13 23:42: Plan vs Reality

[< Back] [Ming the Mechanic] [PermaLink]? 

Link to this article as: http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000584.htm
Main Page: ming.tv