By Juha Saukkonen
JAMK Senior Lecturer
The development of societies and firms has not only been the magnitude/size of their operations but also the ways they are organized and managed. New organizational forms and structures, new functions and levels of command and control have taken place as a natural part of advancement.
One debate area is: Are we already seeing the end of this era of organization, or will it go on its evolutionary path? So we come to the next important crossroad that can affect the management of resources on society or company (+personal level).
Will future be the one of Lonely Riders or Organisational Human Beings?
The proponents of continuing era of organizations is basing their statement on few key principles:
- Organizing is a natural human act. Our ancestors joined their forces and divided the tasks in order to hunt, cultivate the land etc. A sole human acting alone had little chance of survival.
- People are social by definition. They need a group to belong to, and an organization also offers basic soil for feeling safe
- In an organization you are in constant interaction with others, offering a platform to share, learn and have an impact on others
The ones opting for Lonely Riders believe that people will be increasingly acting in an unit of one. The strong metaphor is taken from good old Wild West films, where John Wayne (originally named Marion Morrison!) rode to the town that was in trouble, cleared the town of “bad boys”, put back his still smoking revolvers and rode into the sunset (to a new town in pain…). How does this relate to the (working) life of the future, then? Potentially, people want to concentrate on “doin’ the right thing” instead of sitting in meetings, writing company-widely distributed memos, filling out forms that keep the bureaucracy alive. On the other hand, the ones having special skills and competences will productize them (and themselves) and sell the expertise to a larger and varying clientele, instead of staying in the payroll of one company alone. “Johnwaynism” may be also be driven by the need to better balance life at work and off. Work harder when private life allows that, then shifting down when necessary.
How do YOU stand in respect to these possible futures on this line between Lonely Riders and Organisations?