Connecting the Purpose(s)
The VSM as a Way of Looking at the World and How to Align Visions in Order to Create a Unifying Meta-Purpose
The discussions about the so called „Organizational Purpose“ have reached in recent years a new level – at least in my perception. Of course there always was (and will be) a never ending debate about what the „true“ purpose of an organization might be. I am pretty sure, that it is crucial to distinguish between the imagined/visionary purpose and the results an organization „really“ achieves. The imagined/visionary purpose is here purely a mental projection or a bet on how the future might look like. There is the definition of Stafford Beer who said that the purpose of an organization is what it does – in short POSIWID. This distinction is important, because people often mix up the Purpose of an Organization and its Vision. In this respect I am a great fan of looking at the Imagined Purpose (aka Vision) and Achieved Purpose (aka Production) separately.
For the Reflective Practitioner, who does not only want to understand how the „thing“ works, as an Expert would do, two questions arise: what should one do with the above mentioned distinction in the real world, in a real company with existing constraints? How to deal with the difference of the imagined outcomes and truly achieved goals?
For me and my cognitive biased brain the VSM offers an elegant, plausible and aesthetic way to understand this pseudo-paradox and connect the different functional and systemic (Sub-) Purposes of a System (in the context of the VSM).
Micro Excursion I
Elegance, Plausibility and Aesthetics are not necessarily parameters in a scientific way of thinking. They could promote the distribution of Bullshit and must be treated with greatest skepticism. Nevertheless I use them as indicators, if a solution is simple enough, but not too simple (in order to re-phrase Albert Einstein).
How can the VSM help to connect the different Functional (skill and task related) and the Systemic (VSM-like) Purposes of an Organization?
This question might sound quite academic, but out there in the wild life of business I do see an urging relevance for the topic mentioned in the headline. It needs in economic/social systems an integrated way to connect the Functional Purpose of the different units with the VSM-System-specific responsibilities. It’s about enabling a „Holistic Whole“. The following example might be useful to illustrate the application of the VSM for this matter.
Continues in source: Connecting the Purpose(s) – Intelligente-Organisationen