Redefining organizational boundaries : building an aware and agile organization by enabling new social interactions
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
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Today's world is characterized by great turbulence and uncertainty. Rapid and discontinuous changes in technologies, regulation, competition, and demand are increasingly becoming the rule. Information is rapidly rendered inaccurate or obsolete by new information, and strategic opportunities arise and disappear quickly. The complexity of the external environment, and the associated unpredictability, place a premium on fast decision making and organizational flexibility to adapt quickly. Policymakers as well as business decision makers are struggling to keep pace with these new challenges. As the scientific and mechanical view of the world is not appropriate for such complex environments, new methods are required. To this end, we explore emerging fields, such as complexity theory and complex adaptive systems, to offer new approaches to address the fundamental dilemma of flexibility versus efficiency. Furthermore, we argue that policymakers can learn from the private sector and leverage new management concepts to become more effective. A key lesson is that organizations need to tap the passion and spirit of their employees. Clearly, technology will play a central role in redefining decision and policy making. We discuss how new web based social technologies will revolutionize organizations and enable new ways to channel collective intelligence of its employees. Such technologies have virtually eliminated transaction costs and made group forming easy and costless. We propose a framework to leverage the power of new social technologies.(cont.) We argue that organizations need to redefine their boundaries and make them more permeable. This will enable more interactions with the external environment which will provide the required background information, especially early warning signs, to let the appropriate changes emerge inside an organization based on loosely connected elements. By sensing external triggers early, organizations can initiate internal changes guided by motivated and passionate employees. We have applied relevant portions of the proposed framework to a Fortune 50 company to test our ideas. We also highlight the need for adaptive policies to deal with the turbulent environment and outline specific recommendations for policymakers and agencies accordingly. These recommendations offer new ground for building flexible yet efficient organizations.
Thesis (S.M. in Technology and Policy)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, Technology and Policy Program, 2009.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 117-125).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division., Technology and Policy Program.