A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

Organizational Physics

Date: 2017-04-01
Status: release
Tags: structure movement patterns

What are the Physics of Organizations?

I am interested in understand organizational patterns, group behavior, individual behavior, the effect of an environment on both groups and individuals. Both are in a bi-directional relationship with the environment, and thus each-other, constantly exchanging feedback.

Individuals use Resources to generate Outputs.

The result are many competing forces. And thus, many perspectives.

  • Some law has to do with Finances. Revenues. Expenses
  • Employees
  • Policies
  • Competing Companies
  • Market
  • Consumer Expectations
  • Seemingly unrelated innovations or developments
  • Value Streams
  • Business "Verticals"
  • Teams
  • Products
  • Features

Simon Wardley distinguishes between Pioneers, Settlers, Town Planners.

Brian Gilham makes the distinction between being a "Connector" or "Compartment" alizer.

An org can be described as both Objected Oriented, and functional.

Function oriented

Functional groups can be depicted visually as stovepipes - vertical stripes of functional responsibility.

Process oriented

Process orientation is the horizontal movement, often indicating the movement across time as well.

Notably, I find a similarity in Ruby, in thinking about Classes (Models specifically) as Functional responsibilities. Whereas Controllers are cross-cutting concerns that weave together functionality exposes by the Model classes.

In each case, a # can depict this design pattern.

Objects in an organization

Characteristics of objects in an organization

  • can object can be represented in 3D/nD space as a vector (point, direction)
  • each object has a point of origin and a direction. the object may not be at its point of origin. either a car at the plant... or a single road trip... or something more conceptual can represent a difference of state, like a contract, or purchase order with many phases
  • the object can be represented on a line outward in a direction. length changes depending on time. speed changes depending on energy or progress.

An organization is always moving in a direction. It can be moving in many directions at once, and those directions can be additive, and expansive, or they can neutralize or cancel each other out; which appears like little or no desirable movement.

When assessing a given work effort, consider the Outputs, Outcomes, and Impact.

Outputs are immediate deliverables. Phone calls, emails, memos, blog posts, software shipped. What did the person or team produce?

Outcomes are slightly longer term results, based on the outputs. What did the team achieve for the organization?

Impact is the longer term result, based on the Outcomes. What did the organization achieve or provide for its customers?

  • Laws
  • Mandates
  • Objectives
  • Goals (Outputs, Outcomes, Impact)