Formal and Informal Organization

Plodding through the existing organization in terms of seeking to determine what happens next can be soul-destroying occupation. Reading the reports is rather like listening to a confessional. In many companies a high proportion of document flows still terminate in dead ends. The individual trying to create value, opportunities and new ventures may find the corporate game has many snakes and few ladders.

The organization to work on is the one which operates in practice as opposed to what ought to or is thought to happen. The official or formal view, as set out in organizational chart, may not reflect what happens on the ground. In view of the inefficiencies of the bureaucracy, various people find informal ways to cut corners.

One quick and crude way of determining what the flow of work  ought to be is to create a series of open environments, in which there is relatively free access to information and most departmental constraints are removed, and then watch and wait. When left to themselves, people that have been focused upon the customer are likely to establish whatever network linkages and relationships, and to follow whatever paths, best enable them to respond to customer requirements. The informal organization that emerges could become the basis for redesigning the formal organization.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact Asif J. Mir.

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