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  International Journal of Arts & Sciences, CD-ROM. ISSN: 1944-6934 :: 5(6):259–275 (2012)Copyright c  2012 by UniversityPublications.net FIVE DISCIPLINES CONCERNING THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE Roberto Coto Capella University, USA. Organizational learning covers new theories of organizational design that teach management and employees to come together in the working environment. Organizations need to become  better learners on organizational issues, thus allowing these organizations to learn new disciplines of dynamics of change and to be proactive to changes in culture, technology, racial, and gender diversity. Keywords: M anagement, L earning, O rganizational, V ision, T eams   Introduction Since the early days of classical management!s theories and application, the field has not seen radical changes in management theories. However, more scientific, technological, cultural, and organizational changes could happen in the future. The process of organizational design and learning change is extensive and expensive. However, understanding these theories of dynamics of change will provide flexibility and consciousness to members of the organization. Therefore, today!s organizations have the opportunity to use and apply these disciplines of change to create good learning organizations in the United States. This paper discusses new management disciplines such as systems thinking, personal mastery, shared vision, mental models, and team learning. These new disciplines can help organizations to become learning organizations Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations (1776), described the beginnings of the mechanistic organization. After Adam Smith!s book and theory, other authors published new organizational theories, such as Henry Fayol!s (1949)  Administration Industrial General,  Frederick Taylor!s (1911) The Principles of Scientific Management  ,   Chris Argyris!s (1978) Organizational Learning,  Peter Senge!s (1990) The Fifth Discipline,  and Gareth Morgan!s (1997)  Images of Organizations . Machines and Mechanical Thinking Eli Whitney followed Adam Smith!s praise of the division of labor in 1801 with a public demonstration of mass production, showing how guns could be assembled from piles of interchangeable parts. The proliferation of machines during the industrial revolution in Europe and North America created the concept of mechanized organization. This era prompted the necessity to convince people to adapt to new procedures, techniques, and roles of operators. People became more mechanically inclined to follow routine tasks during work and labor. 259  260  Roberto Coto Organizations that are designed and operated as if they were machines are now usually called bureaucracies. Most organizations are bureaucratized to some degree for the mechanistic mode of thought, which has shaped basic conceptions of functional organizations (Morgan, 1997, p. 13). Consequently, today•s organizations with mechanical thinking should function orderly as machines, but organizational bureaucracies have a high hierarchical structure that it makes harder to control. Although the organization•s set of rules and procedures should control the operation, sometimes the outcomes are unpredictable because the organization depends on many employees. In many cases, employees would like to change the mechanistic thinking of the organization. A number of management theorists have posited methods of managing the  bureaucracy and employees in the modern organization. Two theories are classical management theory and scientific management theory. Classical Management Theory Typical of the classical management theorists were Frenchman Henry Fayol, American F. W. Mooney, and Englishman Col. Lyndall Urwick. They all were interested in problems of practical management and thought to codify their experience of the successful organization for others to follow. The basic thrust of their thinking is captured in the idea that management is a process of  planning, organization, command, coordination, and control. Collectively they set up the basis for many modern management techniques, such as management by objectives (MBO); planning,  programming, budgeting systems (PPBS); and other methods stressing rational planning and control. Each theorist codified his insights, drawing on a combination of military and engineering principles. Scientific Management During the days of the industrial revolution, the foundations of organizations were developed; Frederick Winslow Taylor (1836!1915) wrote a pioneer work called The Principles of Scientific  Management   (1911). This approach was based on looking at human beings as machines, which created the trend for organizations to analyze and standardize work activities. Taylor•s scientific approach called for specific observations and measurement of even the most routine work to find the optimum mode of performance (Morgan, 1997, p. 23). This overview has provided the basis of industrial management theories. However, more variations of management principles have been developed over the years, including self-designing organizations and organizational learning theories. Self-Designing Organizations Acquiring Knowledge The importance of acquiring knowledge can be appreciated by thinking about designers of complex machines in industrial environments or in highly sophisticated engineering labs. Various kinds of knowledge are essential for designing high-performing organizations, and self-designers should become familiar with concepts and frameworks of these organizations and their designs (Mohrman & Cummings, 1989, p. 47). As engineers and scientists design very complex  Five Disciplines Concerning the Dynamics of Change  261 equipment, such as space shuttle missions, they need to have much detail and accuracy to avoid catastrophic results. Industrially and commercially, engineers design equipment and appliances to provide good results; thus design and testing must be accurate. Likewise, acquiring knowledge is as important to designing organizations as to designing equipment. The difference is that organization designers need to study the fundamental concepts of organization knowledge. Acquiring knowledge involves learning about basic organizational concepts and frameworks. Self-designers need to understand the systemic nature of organizations. This includes how an organization interacts with its environment and how its various internal components can be designed for high performance (Mohrman & Cummings, 1989, p. 47). Mohrman and Cummings conceived of the organization as an open system of inputs and outputs operating within a certain environment Mohrman and Cummings (1989) affirmed that acquiring knowledge can be achieved by self-designers that understand the dynamics of organizations. However, to accomplish these knowledge organizations need to overcome other weaknesses of management, such as empirical learning. Empirical Learning Managers and employees typically are exposed to narrow choices of organizational design based on their limited experiences; this is empirical learning. Therefore, managers tend to develop assumptions resulting in design criteria about the way organizations !should be" (Mohrman & Cummings, 1989, p. 54). Managers working for organizations learn organizational design depending on the infrastructure of that organization and the actual organizational design of that company. Moreover, sometimes managers assume that the existing organizational design is  perfect because they are limited to only what they see; they do not have the opportunity to learn or develop new designs because the environment is driven by empirical knowledge. The most common organizational design used in corporations in the United States is the functional structure or classical management. Classical management concerns problems of  practical management and thought. The basic thrust of this theory is that management is a  process of planning, organization, command, coordination, and control. However, even large corporations have empirical classical organizational designers and empirical managers that  practice old managerial types of functional management. Empirical managers have certain limits because they do not have academic skills, even though years of expertise on the working environment could qualify a person to act as a manager. However, the lack of academics, for example, principles of management theory, influences decision making and results in marginal managerial skills . Without academic exposure, empirical managers develop their practice through years of expertise in the field. Thus, they become practical experts in that environment. However, when these managers are required to show skills such as planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, they have limitations  because they do not have the academic skills and theory. Empirical managers need to be trained to use the basic functional management disciplines and new organizational design disciplines such as empowerment and teamwork. This would help to improve the functional organizational design and structure and would alleviate weakness in  planning, organizing, leading, and controlling functions. Improving classical functional management in organizations could prepare managers to learn and have better decision-making skills when new changes in the environment emerge, such  262  Roberto Coto as new technology, shifting demographics, or increasing employee diversity. All these new changes in the environment break established symmetry. Symmetry Breaking: How Chaos Leads to Creativity  In today!s rapidly changing environment business, organizations must continually create and innovate to succeed. However, when systems are close to adaptive equilibrium, they require major internal changes in order to be creative or even to cope with major random shocks from the environment. This means that innovation is very hard for a business in stable equilibrium (Stacey, 1992, p. 80). However, the changing environment creates new opportunities in today!s organizations, thus organizational changes and innovations are necessary for businesses to move ahead. For example, after many years of stable equilibrium, corporations such as UPS and FedEx have had to spend millions of dollars to incorporate new technologies in their business (Pride & Ferrell, 1997, pp. 16, 41). To be competitive, organizations need to adapt to the latest changes in technology, breaking any stable business equilibrium they may have. The days of the telephone, faxes, letters,  brochures, and flyers are becoming obsolete with the explosion of newer technologies such as the World Wide Web; therefore, satellite communications and Web sites are the dominant ways to transmit data and conduct business today in these organizations. These are the common technologies used today to track down business transactions electronically. According to Stacey (1992, p. 80), "Innovation is very hard in stable equilibrium, no organization will be successful if it does not try to adapt to new innovations and technologies.# Moreover, managerial changes are also needed even if stable equilibrium has been reached in organizations. "In the language of scientists, chaos breaks symmetry, and this is an essential step in the emergence of new order# (Stacey, 1992, p. 81). To help organizations to be successful and to adapt innovations in management theories, Casey (1993) has demonstrated different approaches to managing the learning of the entire organization. Managing the Learning of an Entire Organization A new attempt to manage the learning of an organization as a total enterprise emerged in the 1980s with many brave and often massive attempts to take organization culture by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. One stimulus for that was the impact of "excellent books, which led people to believe their organizations, could become excellent if they could only adopt the behaviors found in excellent companies# (Casey, 1993, p. 86). Adopting behaviors from other companies can be beneficial for organizations. However,  people cannot adopt a behavior if they are not sure if they have the background to absorb new modalities or new techniques such as empowerment or teamwork. People cannot be sure if the information they read in a book, journal, or magazine about new organizational change would be adaptable to their organization. For example, if a new organizational program is developed, such as diversity training, managers need to be sure it will work. Reading the information about organizational change in an organizational magazine or journal does not reveal if it would work in a particular organization or environment. Organizations need formal training, seminars,  procedures, and the people to be willing to adopting these programs to be successful. Since the 1980s, organizational culture has gone through many changes; however, culture in organizations can still benefit from innovation. Despite all the movements in organizational  Five Disciplines Concerning the Dynamics of Change  263 change, culture does not change very much at the grassroots level. Demographics and diversity have changed organizational culture; however, the changes are superfluous, filled with many assumptions, and more needs to be done. Jean Newman at the Tavistock Institute has been moved to issue a rather strident warning under the title •When an Organization Needs a Cultural Change. Largely, the assumptions embedded in the popularized versions of cultural change do not reflect what researchers found in applied social science, such as that practiced at the Tavistock Institute, which has learned about human behavior in organizations. (Newman, 1992, as cited in Casey, 1993, p. 87) Specifically, Newman cautioned against assumptions concerning the actual power of organizational leaders, a logical relationship between tasks and culture, and the positive benefits of conformity (Newman, 1992, as cited in Casey, 1993, p. 87). Newmans cautions are valid  because of the relationships between tasks and culture. Although cultural change is possible, organizations face obstacles such as resistance to change and hierarchy issues. Organizational Learning Overcoming the Basic Diseases of Hierarchy In the mid-1970s, the ideas of Argyris and Schön (1974) were beginning to provide an answer to the basic problems of hierarchy. In action science , they were developing a body of theory and method for reflection and inquiry on the reasoning that underlies actions. Moreover, the tools of action science are designed to be effective in organizations, especially in dealing with organizational problems. People trap themselves, according to Argyris and Schön, in •defensive routines that insulate their mental models from examination. Thus, they consequently develop •skilled incompetence, a marvelous oxymoron that Argyris and Schön used to describe most adult learners, who are •highly skillful at protecting themselves from pain and threat posed by learning situations, •but consequently fail to learn how to produce the results they really want (Senge, 1990, p. 182). Argyris and Schöns (1974) observations were based on experiences and studies of organizations that have skilled employees and managers who are smart in dealing with situations of resistance. Eventually these skilled employees become very competent in flipping upside-down the organizations system. For example, old-school managers trying to protect themselves from new and younger managers offer a lot of resistance to new techniques, trainings, and developmental programs. This resistance adversely affects programs such as job seminars,  promotions, diversity, empowerment, and other contemporary programs in the Western organization. Argyriss action science explains the resistance of these managers or employees; they will defend their opposition to change, in what Argyris termed skilled incompetence. However, resistance to change is not essentially learned in working environments. Resistance to change has its basis in human beings upbringings. Fundamentally, humans react to changes according to their early childhood environment; this is more obvious if children grow up in dysfunctional families. Parental teaching and family stability can affect the way people react in early adulthood. Casey (1993) called these entire phenomenon small groups as learning  places.
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