Patterns of Organizational Life

The patterns of organizational life are those of communication, relationship and behaviour. This is the material that already exists within the organization: it is the fabric of organizational life. These day-to-day processes are the elements of organizational life that are so commonplace we pay them little heed when we are thinking of change. When we think of change we tend to think change demands something big, new and different. We overlook the potential inherent in existing organizational patterns of interaction. To affect the patterns we affect the processes inherent in, formative of and consequent to the patterns. These are processes of conversation, connection, relating, sense-making, imagination, emotions and attention. Interestingly, this way of considering organizations and organizational change leads us well away from the familiar organizational undue concern about what goes on within people – their personality – encouraging instead a much less familiar focus on what happens between people – their relationships.

1) Conversation

Conversation is so endemic to organizational life we hardly notice it. Yet it is important, for it is in conversation and other forms of interaction that we recreate or change our organization. Conversation is a source of micro-diversity in the organizational system. The quality of conversation within an organization can be seen to run on a continuum from repetitive to transformational. Transformational conversation ...

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