The myth of restructuring

 

Re-structuring and re-organising is probably the most common change management method used in organisations. It is the organisational equivalent of management accounting – moving things to make an impression that things have changed.

managers like to make an impression, and many are prepared to even if it involves complete illusion. The problem with restructuring is twofold.

First organisational structure has much less influence on organisation performance than does organisational culture. uit is the behaviour of

The phenomenon is not new. In the magazine article “Merrill’s Marauders” (Harper’s Magazine, 1957)  Charlton Ogburn described his experiences in the british Army during the  Burma Campaign of World War II thus:

“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend [as a nation] to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.”

If you want to look busy spend your time, and other people’s time doing a restructure. Aside form wasting time and resources (including redundancies, pay rises, consultants fees, etc) it will have the added benefit of making things worse.

On the other hand act professionally, use knowledge accrued by organisation development over 50 years and consider the overall system of work, what is affecting people’s effectiveness and work with them to make things better. It involves everyone, fixes the problems which people are actually experiencing, and is a lot cheaper.

Reading:

Beckhard, R. (1972) Optimizing Team Building Effort, J. Contemporary Business.  1:3,  pp.23-32

MacDonald, J. (1998) Calling a Halt to Mindless Change, Amacom, UK

 

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