This paper briefly discuses techniques available to modern managers for solving organizational problems and stresses the need to adopt a wholistic approach while doing so.

The paper also highlights the "4 key dimensions of organisation" i.e. organisational process, design, culture and politics and emphasises that any rational and viable solution has to consider all the key dimensions.

Finally, the revolutionary complementrist approach of "triple loop learning" versus the currently practiced "single loop learning" is examined.


In order to appreciate why organisational problems have grown in complexity one has to go as far back as the second Industrial Revolution. In those days enterprises were family or individual owned. In the early years of the second industrial revolution, very few rules and regulations were in place and enforced by the government, if any at all. Therefore, the industrialists amassed tremendous wealth and power.

The early industrialists could do whatever they wanted within their enterprises. They treated their employees as replaceable machine parts that could easily be discarded once they no longer functioned satisfactorily. Work required little skill while unskilled and uneducated workers were plentiful. They had relatively low levels of aspirations and virtually no social security other than that provided by their families. Therefore, they were willing to work under extremely undesirable conditions to avoid economic destitution.

By the end of World War I things started to change. There were a number of reasons for this transformation, among them: increased education of the work force, increased skills required of the work force as mechanisation increased, increased regulation of working conditions by the government and the "intrusion" of unions into such areas as work conditions, job security and compensation.

Perhaps the most important reason for the transition was the fact that many enterprises could not realize their growth potential even if all the profit they generated was plowed back into them because additional capital required for growth was hard to come by. Consequently, owners either had to constrain their enterprises' growth and retain complete control over them or to go public, thereby relinquishing some ownership and control while generating the required capital.

The survival rate of those enterprises that sought growth rather than control was much higher than those that didn't.

Because of continuing advances in mechanisation, the skills required of workers continued to increase. Workers with the required skills were not as plentiful as those without them. P. 684

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.