ArticlePDF Available

Organization as a Challenge. A reflection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.


Abstract and Figures

The discussion of organizations and the best organizational form is a very old one and can be found in nearly all areas of social life. Several authors have tried to describe the concept of organizations in a more comprehensive and reflected manner – an attempt that will not be made in this paper. Here I would like to focus more on the challenges within the system, namely the challenges that arise when the people in the organization (leader and led) become more flexible in acting based on their assumptions what is good for the organization. Three skills are discussed that might be helpful to navigate complex organizational systems and a way is proposed to train one of these skills (reflection).
Content may be subject to copyright.
59Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Jürgen Radel
Organization as a Challenge.
A reection of group dynamic
processes between leader and
The discussion of organizations and the best organizational form is a very old one and can be
found in nearly all areas of social life. Several authors have tried to describe the concept of or-
ganizations in a more comprehensive and reected manner – an attempt that will not be made
in this paper. Here I would like to focus more on the challenges within the system, namely the
challenges that arise when the people in the organization (leader and led) become more exible
in acting based on their assumptions what is good for the organization. Three skills are discussed
that might be helpful to navigate complex organizational systems and a way is proposed to train
one of these skills (reection).
Die Diskussion über ideale Organisationsform ist eine sehr alte und eine, die sich in zahlreiche
Bereiche des sozialen Lebens erstreckt. Viele Autoren haben versucht, das Konzept der Organi-
sation zu beschreiben und Handlungsempfehlungen zu geben. Dies soll hier nur in Ansätzen ge-
tan werden. In diesem Paper soll ein Fokus auf die Herausforderungen im System an sich gelegt
werden. Dort im Speziellen auf das Wechselspiel zwischen Führung und Geführten. In diesem
Zusammenhang werden drei Fähigkeiten kurz dargestellt, die möglicherweise helfen können,
in einer komplexen Organisation zu agieren. Für eine davon (Reexionsfähigkeit) wird ein Vor-
schlag unterbreitet, um diese zu trainieren.
1. The organization
This paper starts with a very brief overview of the development of the term ´organization´ to show
that it changes over time according to the respective zeitgeist, thus making it a metaphor rather
than an objective construct. Holacracy seems to be a metaphor that meets the current zeitgeist
and is illustrated towards the end, providing the basis to discuss employee participation and the
tensions arising between the leader and those led.
The terminology and type of an organization have continually been discussed since Max Weber
reected on the being of an organization and the power within as well as due to it (1922: 122ff.
and 603ff.). Organization as a concept basically covers most areas of our social life, as Perrow
stated: “all important social processes either have their origin in formal organizations or are
strongly mediated by them” (1986: vii).
Jürgen Radel
HTW Berlin
Jürgen Radel
60 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
However, the specic form an organization takes and its discussion are constantly developing (cf.
Kieser et al. 1977/2010: 5; in Voegel 2012: 20f.; Csar 2017: 155). Looking at different concepts, it
becomes quite clear that it is difcult to nd the terminology as in “Organizations are ...”. More of-
ten one can nd metaphors that are descriptions of organizations, such as “Organizations are like
..., followed by more or less appropriate comparisons (Krainz 2011: 122). It seems as if everyone
knows, from an individual point of view, what is meant when we talk about organizations, but for
various reasons it is difcult to agree on the one term, even though organizations aim to stand-
ardize (Clases/Wehner 2015: 36). “Organization” seems to be a construct of our social perception
and thus highly subjective. Even here, it appears to be difcult to agree on one terminology.
The uid terminology drifts alongside social and technological changes a society is confronted
with in a specic decade. One dominant technological driver, also inuencing social behavior, is
industry 4.0 or digitalization. This change brings increased transparency, need for exibility and
the demand to be able to deal with the ambiguity of the (near) future. As a result, organizations
try to be open towards the industrial and organizational elds while, at the same time, taking care
that internal knowledge is securely kept within the boundaries of the organization – to a certain
extent a necessity in order to maintain a competitive advantage. This leads to a transition of the
organization from closed and xed boundaries towards collaborative forms and from an open to
a co-innovative approach (see e.g. Lee/Olson/Trimi 2012: 817).
Together with such a transition, words like ´agile´ and ´scrum´ are used to describe or stress
exibility in the structural design. Especially project management has been inuenced by these
terms. Others attempt to emphasize exibility or an up-to-date approach are made, by adding
release numbers like 2.0, 3.0 or recently 4.0 (Kagermann/Lukas/Wahlster 2011). Much as 4.0, the
internet of things and cyber-technical systems or virtual organizations might be the vision, so far
4.0 has usually not been much more than just a digital renement of existing processes (Radel
2017). Next to the release number, it seems as if creativity is unlimited. In their own meta-study,
Göhring and Niemeier (2016: 5f.) do not even attempt to dene or differentiate between the huge
variety of concepts, among them Agile Organization, Hybrid Organization, Connected Enterpri-
se, Social Business, Enterprise 2.0 (ibd.) or Collaborative Network Organization (Blanc Serrier/
Ducq/Vallespir 2017).
Whatever the concepts might be called, or how much they are inuenced by a zeitgeist, it seems
to be the wish besides or precisely for efciency reasons to distinguish oneself from other
organizations1. Someone from a company with approximately 3.000 employees that would de-
scribe itself as innovative mentioned that “we do not want to be like all the other, old companies.
We do not even have an organizational structure – or let’s say we have one that keeps develo-
ping, but we delete it once a year.” Deleting it really meant pressing the delete button, erasing the
existing structure that had emerged during the past 12 months. Even if this company might not be
1 A statement that is not true in all cases: Sometimes organizations try to mimic each other to become more successful.
This concept, among others, cannot be discussed here but can be found in Walgenbach, Peter and Renate Meyer
(2008): Neoinstitutionalistische Organisationstheorie (Kohlhammer Verlag).
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
61Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
exemplary, several younger companies or start-ups seem to wish for differentiation and praise
self-organized work in new2 organizational forms.
1.1 Holacracy
Even though the original concept was meant in the context of unions (Müller-Jentsch 2008: 261),
the discussion that employees should have more freedom was started with Industrial Democracy
by Webb and Webb (1878). A more recent and popular form that tries to combine freedom and
structure might be the project-oriented organization (Gareis/Hueman 2000: 31ff., for a denition;
a critical analysis can be found in Schuster 2012: 6ff.). Another, even younger organizational form
has sparked interest in recent years, fueled by success stories from Zappos and due to publicly
visible individuals like Ricardo Semmler. They all advocate involving people within or even out-
side the organization and propose concepts like Holacracy, which nowadays sometimes seems
as if it might be the ideal organizational form. It is probably not, but Holacracy might be the next
evolutionary step of a project organization. Within this organizational form hierarchical structure
becomes more exible (cf. Schuster 2012: 10, g. 2), aiming to distribute power within the organi-
zation and moving away from the centralized structure in classical organizations.
This aim to become more exible and decentralized is nothing new: “Heintel and Kraniz (2015)
already described, towards the end of the 1980s, how the self-organization of project-oriented
teams would be an answer to the crisis of hierarchy. So to speak, Holacracy uses the body of
thought of a project organization and has developed procedural rules for it” (Csar 2007: 156; own
translation). At the same time, it becomes clearer and clearer to the people within the system
that individual responsibility and autonomy have to be exercised – a realization that is not always
positive for the one who understands it: “For the rst time, the human being realizes that nobody
will relieve him from the burden to take responsibility for himself” (Heintel 1995: 288; own trans-
lation). Csar adds that “what seems to be a great idea in theory is only half of the truth in daily
organizational practice. Dealing with contradictions, the permanent balancing of organizational
paradoxes, becomes visible in intra-personal dynamics, not necessarily in rational acts” (Csar
2017: 156; own translation). Aspects of personal dynamics do not vanish due to Holacracy but
remain in the system. Later in this paper (2.1 and 2.2) we are going to focus on the implications of
these aspects for the individuals in the system and discuss their effects in greater detail.
Another perspective on the development of organizations might be provided by the evolution of
systems as described in the TRIZ – theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks or theory
of inventive problem solving – framework developed by Altshuller and Shapiro (1956). Similar to
product development and innovation, organizations are also faced with the need for evolution,
innovation and adaption.3 A brief comparison of system evolution and examples as well as the
relation to organizations is given in table 1 below.
2 Whatever ´new´ means in this context. Some might argue that Holacracy is not new anymore and that ´old´ does not
at the same time automatically mean ´bad´.
3 Both terms can also be a contradiction. The larger organizations grow and the more mature they become, the more
they start to mimic other organizations in the same eld. This topic is covered in Walgenbach, Peter and Renate
Meyer (2008): Neoinstitutionalistische Organisationstheorie (Kohlhammer Verlag).
Jürgen Radel
62 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Table 1: Systems Evolution
Status of
the System Example Organization
immobile A shield that was used in medieval wars, or …
• writings on the wall of a cave
• technology to write onto stone plates / use of a chisel
single joint The next developmental step of the shield led to the
development of armor covering larger parts of the body and
providing some exibility, or …
• paper
• pens
the owner of the
Chainmail armor provided even more exibility, was much
lighter and could be carried as an additional layer of protection,
or …
• typewriter
• printed paper
• letterpress
Division and Matrix
Project Organization
Tissues providing protection from bullets or knives, or …
• eBooks / text processing
• implementation of a “touch bar” instead of keys on a
Connected Enterprise;
Mission-ased Teams;
Collaborative Network
liquid / gas Something that has not been developed yet in the eld of
protection but can be found in touch screens where the screen
can be modied like a canvas. In the future, this might make
keyboards redundant.
not specied yet
eld The transition from a screen to virtual, intangible environments
without boundaries, as can be seen in Augmented Reality
applications that are starting to surface.
not specied yet
Source: adapted from Hentschel, Gundlach and Nähler (2010: 75ff)
As we can see above, the development is neither linear, nor is it possible to clearly distinguish
between the evolutionary steps. Sometimes, it seems unclear what a specic (innovative) ap-
plication in the future might be. Today organizations may have met the developmental phase of
multiple joints, moving towards exibility, while the next evolutionary step remains vague.
If organizations were tools or machines, Holacracy would be the appropriate operating system
(OS) for them (cf. Csar 2017: 156). Unfortunately, the term OS insinuates that it is a ready-made
solution that – once installed – works in each and every organization with a similar efcient out-
come. At the same time, OS also insinuates that it might be the or at least an optimal system that
becomes the market leader: Holacracy as an iOS, Windows or Android for organizations, or like
any other formal structure that is or was proposed for organizations, before or aside Holacracy
(matrix, divisions, etc.). As mentioned above, other authors have tried to cope with the concept
of organizations in a comprehensive and reected manner, an attempt that will not be continued
in this paper. Here I would rather like to focus on the challenges within the system. As Csar has
mentioned, “concepts and frameworks are only as good as the ones who apply them and as good
as the organizational culture from which the subjects can act” (2007: 158). Subjects, however, are
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
63Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
embedded in a framework and confronted with interdependencies in the system, or organization.
This imposes other challenges on three layers:
1. Organization
2. Leader
3. Led (Follower)
All of the above are affected when the organization changes and allows more personal freedom
to take decisions. We have already briey discussed the organization and will now focus on the
decision-making process within it before moving on to the individuals and their specic skills.
2. Democracy and Involvement
Today’s business environment seems to be faster than ever, and it takes more than just one
person to make a high number of decisions at a fast pace. Due to this, employees are getting
more and more involved in the process of decision making, with power thus being distributed
among the led. Democracy and involvement will be discussed rst in this chapter, followed by a
discussion of the changing relationship between leader and led in the second part (2.1). Finally,
the question will be raised which skills might support participation (2.2) and how one specic skill
(reection) can be trained (2.3).
People within organizations would probably agree that overwhelming structure and bureaucracy
can be a problem. Despite the fact that this criticism is typically aimed at public institutions (e.g.
Johnson/Libecap 1994; Easterly 2002), the same might be true for most private businesses as
well. Olsen is probably exaggerating the criticism but poses the question whether bureaucracy
might be an organizational dinosaur that cannot avoid its own agony (2006: 1). On the other hand,
he states that there are several reasons to rediscover the concept of bureaucracy (ibid.: 17f.).
Perrow would agree that there must be rules, especially when complexity rises. When the vari-
ability of personnel, customers and production techniques increases, it is “not possible to allow
personnel to “do their own thing”, no matter how much we might prefer that” (1987: 21).
However, increased exibility, ambiguity and speed create the necessity to distribute decision-
making processes within the organization. Sticking to the metaphor of a computer system with its
OS, it takes a multi-core processor architecture to process tasks at a higher speed. At the same
time, it becomes more and more difcult to use the same procedures and processes in a large
system. Quality managers might disagree, which is correct in an environment where the same
output must be generated in the same quality over a long time. In a world where innovation, am-
biguity and exibility are the basis of successful (service) organizations and decisions, however, it
has become increasingly popular to include the people affected / involved in the decision-making
process. Teams have begun to hire their boss and roles have become more exible. In some
companies, employees have a say regarding their ofce space. Overall, the working environ-
Jürgen Radel
64 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
ment aims to become more human-centered and less patriarchal. Employees and teams are
being “empowered” (Kirkman/Rosen 1999: 59) with the aims to make a team believe that it can
be effective (potency), that it considers its task important (meaningful) and that it experiences a
substantial degree of autonomy and impact (ibd.).
Involvement is easy when the structure is clear. According to the TRIZ analogy above, due to
the very clear rules and expectations it is – technically speaking easier to work in a system
of feudalism. The same might be true for bureaucratic systems. The more complex the system
becomes, the higher the degree of freedom, and the more difcult will it be to navigate it and to
predict the impact of one’s actions. The motion of a system with a single joint is quite predictable
as soon as you push it. The more exible it gets, the more difcult it will become to predict cause
and effect.
Increasingly, now, organizations need to adapt rapidly to quickly changing and divergent
circumstances, what Emery and Trist (1965) in their classic article referred to as “turbulent
environments.” Such environments, as the name implies, are unstable and unpredictable,
but the important point is that they are environments that are altered by the very actions
of the organizations attempting to adapt to them. In effect, it is the organizational equi-
valent of the Heisenberg principle in physics. The question for management becomes,
then, how to plan and how to delegate authority for decision making under circumstances
where one cannot predict what will need to be done by those who need to be delegated
to do it. (Eisold 2004: 290)
Holacracy might be a way to empower people and balance structure and freedom at the same
time, but this leads to other issues to be discussed in a later section (2.1). Not all employees like
this specic way of organization and delegation, as illustrated by the “Zappos Exodus”, where
18% of the employees left the company after the new OS had been implemented4 (cf. Gelles
2016; Lam 2016). Due to several (conicting) interests, democracy not meant politically here
– might lead to several issues in an organization. At this point, decision making becomes an ethi-
cal question: Are we following the needs of most people, or those of two thirds of the people?
Involving people in participating in the decision-making process comes with several downsides:
some people will be frustrated when decisions are not made unanimously, which is less likely the
larger the organization becomes: “Many groups and organizations have a ‘difcult’, ‘disturbed’ or
‘impossible’ member whose behavior is regarded as getting in the way of the others’ good work
(Obholzer/Roberts 1994: 130). In addition, the “wisdom of the crowd” is not always true, as Hill
states in his experimental comparison of group performance: “Group performance, however,
was often inferior to that of the best individual in a statistical aggregate and often inferior to the
potential suggested in a statistical pooling model. This research conrms the belief that the per-
formance of one exceptional individual can be superior to that of a committee (Davis 1969rb),
especially if the committee is trying to solve a complex problem and if the committee contains a
number of low-ability members” (1982: 535). It is questionable, however, whether it is possible to
4 Zappos, in the person of Tony Hsieh, would disagree that Holacracy was the reason for that: https://www.fastcompa- (07.08.2017)
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
65Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
nd an “exceptional” individual and promote him or her to the decision-making role. At the same
time, personality seems to impact team performance as well (Barrick/Stewart/Neubert/Mount
Besides continuing the discussion of the organization and its form with all its pros and cons, the
leader and the led the user – should be focused on. These two can design the organization
based on their needs, both iteratively and – in the best case – democratically.
2.1 Leader and Led
Shared decision-making leads to a relationship between leader and led that seems less patriar-
chic than in former times. However, this might cause tensions between those ready to play the
game by the new rules, providing greater speed, variability and increased exibility, and the ones
still trying to maintain the – more predictable and seemingly safe – concentrated form of power.
These tensions and the changed roles are discussed in this sub-chapter, with a focus on difcul-
ties that might arise, among them a leadership vacuum and a leadership paradox.
Regarding number and variety, leadership theories create a similar impression as organizational
theories. The two seem very closely related. As a result, no specic theory shall be addressed
here. As Clases and Wehner have mentioned, the cross-linking of leadership within a system is
on the rise, and it is not sufcient any more to focus on personal leadership actions (Führung-
shandeln). It is becoming more and more relevant to focus on networking and cooperative rela-
tionships (Clases/Wehner 2015: 37).
There seems to be tension in the relationship between the leader and his or her followers since
the leader is often perceived as a ´traitor´, stuck between opposite polarities. The leader either
follows the interests (and orders) of his or her superiors and acts in the interest of the organiza-
tion, or takes care of his or her subordinates. In the rst case, the leader is seen as a traitor of
the subordinates’ individual interests and there is a risk of rejection from their side. In the second
case, at the other end of the continuum, the leader supports the team or an individual and is
regarded as a traitor by the organization. Balancing the needs of both can be extremely difcult
and requires strong situational sensing (cf. Goffee/Jones 2006: 85ff.). The leader has to provide
freedom (empowerment) but at the same time orientation (structure) as well. This can lead to
several issues for personal, structural and cultural aspects of leadership, balancing on cognitive,
social and structural levels (Clases/Wehner 2015: 34). The leader can oppose too much structure
and frustrate the led, while the organization becomes a bureaucratic dinosaur with a paternali-
stic structure. Here the risk emerges that “employees (are being) infantilized since there is little
condence in their capabilities to act autonomously and through self-motivation (Clases/Wehner
2015: 34; own translation). When the leader, on the other hand, tries to provide too much free-
dom, he or she risks not being accepted in their role because the employees are not used to this.
The behavior is outside their experience and they react with rejection, as described by Alinsky
when he tried to give away a ten-dollar bill:
Jürgen Radel
66 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Look, I am holding a ten-dollar bill in my hand. I propose to walk around the Biltmore Ho-
tel, a total of four blocks, and try to give it away. This will certainly be outside of everyone’s
experience. You […] walk behind me and watch the faces of the people I’ll approach. I am
going to go up to them holding out this ten-dollar bill and say, ‘Here, take this.’ My guess is
that everyone will back off, look confused, insulted, or fearful, and want to get away from
this nut fast. From their experience when someone approaches them he is either out to
ask for instructions or to panhandle—particularly the way I’m dressed, no coat or tie. […]
Most of the people responded with shock, confusion, and silence, and they quickened
their pace and sort of walked around me. (Alinsky 1971:86f.)
By providing freedom and behaving outside the experience of the led, there is a risk that the
leader may create a leadership vacuum by, in fact, not leading or not lling the role of a leader,
not acting as an authority as expected by the group. This leadership vacuum is hard to dene
or measure and can best be observed in a Training-Group (T-Group) setting, where the trainer/
consultant (the perceived leader and authority in the room) does not “propose to serve as a lea-
der” (Bradford 1964: 137; in Bradford et al. 1964). Usually other members of the team (T-Group)
start to ll this vacuum by taking on the role of a leader, either consciously or unconsciously.
They follow the opinion that “every group ha[s] a leader. […] In all probability, others [of the group]
wanted some leadership almost as desperately as he did” (Bradford 1964: 137f.; in Bradford et
al. 1964). At the same time, while leadership is demanded, a group neglects it (or him/her): “‘au-
thority has vanished from the modern world’ [Arendt 1961: 91]. We can no longer agree on stan-
dards, models, values, or any particular version of wisdom. To claim authority today is to engage
immediately the doubts and challenges, conscious as well as unconscious, that one could actu-
ally possess it. [There are] relentless, dogged, and multi-dimensional attempts to undermine it
[authority/leadership]” (Eisold 2004: 289). These attempts are often unconscious; leadership will
be undermined by the followers, who are not prepared to understand and avoid this in advance
(ibid.: 292), leading to a paradoxical situation: followers want authority and decline it at the same
time. Some might argue that in the modern world we are not keen on following a leader and less
dependent on guidance. I would like to challenge this assumption. Especially at times of uncer-
tainty, people want to follow a leader and are less able to participate constructively. Rioch (1971)
uses the biblical metaphor of a shepherd and his ock of sheep to illustrate this. Even though the
image of a sheep does not appeal that much to the followers, Rioch states that all sheep long for
a shepherd to guide them, especially when the ock has gone astray. Taking Eisold’s statement
above into account and complementing it with Rioch’s perspective, the problem here is twofold:
“[The shepherd] may be dressed up in a long cloak and accompanied by a tall staff with a crook
on the end of it or by other formidable symbols of high ofce. But underneath the cloak is one of
the sheep, and not, alas, a member of a more intelligent and more far-seeing species. But the
wish, and sometimes the need, for a leader is so strong that it is almost always possible for one
of the sheep to play the role of shepherd of the ock” (285).
Dealing with such complex, sometimes psychological aspects requires highly skilled leaders and
followers. Neglecting such aspects can be as dangerous for an organization as the presuppositi-
on that people will handle them “somehow”.
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
67Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
2.2 Skills to Participate
The previous chapter dealt with issues that might arise due to a change in the concept of leader-/
followership and its roles, specically the leadership vacuum and paradox. Now the focus shifts
towards skills that might be helpful to work in a more complex and less hierarchical form of or-
ganization. During the chapter it will become clear that it will be difcult to arrive at a conclusion
regarding the true value of all the skills proposed.
Today’s business environment seems unstable and fast-paced, as mentioned several times be-
fore. This leads to problems with traditional, centralized or hierarchical forms of authority. They
“are handicapped. […] Teams working at the boundaries of new tasks or new initiatives need to
be authorized by central authority, regardless of how problematic they may be. But that is not
enough; they also need to know how to receive and accept the delegation of authority, to develop
structures of authorization among their own members, and to interact with other forms of author-
ity” (Eisold 2004: 291). These skills are not easily adopted and most people would probably have
to learn how to meet such demands in a context of increased cooperation. Three skills might be
especially important:
1. situational awareness / reection
2. decision making under uncertainty / risk taking
3. self-directed working
I briey mentioned the situational awareness / sensing abilities above, which are hard to opera-
tionalize in the way meant in a leadership context. Most of the time, the presentation of the skill is
descriptive and narrative, as in Goffee and Jones (2006). Others try to analyze it with a focus on
command and control (Sonnenwald/Pierce 2000) or in a context of safety (Vieweg et. al 2010).
All of these are not particularly useful in the context of this paper. Thus, the situational awareness
skill is highly appreciated but reframed towards reection and discussed in the following chapter
Making high-quality decisions under uncertainty seems to be a skill that is necessary in the or-
ganizational contexts described above. At the same time, this involves taking risks for a decision
that has to be taken. Sometimes this is something that people try to avoid. In an organization
based on distributed power and shared decision making, those employees seem to be the best
t who dare to take risks, but not at all costs and based on sound analysis of the options (gain vs.
loss). Based on this assumption, research on decision making might shed light on employees that
are more or less successful at work. In a recent study, Pachur, Mata and Hertwig (2017) analyzed
attitudes towards risk and decision quality according to age differences. They compared data
for settings where participants could gain something, lose something or were confronted with a
mixed setting of a two-outcome monetary lottery. Overall, the results showed that older adults
(OA) had lower decision-making quality compared to younger adults (YA), but only when it came
to possible loss decisions (509) – a nding that can be explained by the lower cognitive ability
of OA (513) and that might rest on uid abilities to integrate risk and reward into the decision
Jürgen Radel
68 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
process (505). At the same time, due to lower affect levels (513) OA were more likely to choose
a riskier option when they saw the possibility to gain or in mixed scenarios (509). In scenarios
where something could be lost, the decision quality of YA was higher and risk aversion was lower
(515). The ndings can be relevant when discussed in the context of employee decision making in
organizations when they “engage in behavior that bears the chance of losses (e.g. nancial loss,
physical harm) as well as gains (e.g. nancial gain, excitement)” (Josef et al. 2006: 431). Human
Resources Departments could try to hire accordingly, or leaders could try to put together teams
according to different decision-making skills. Unfortunately, the research conducted by Pachur,
Mata and Hertwig involved OA from 63 to 88 years (2017: 506), an age where most of them
would either be retired or close to retirement. Another important aspect not covered by Pachur,
Mata and Hertwig were measures that “integrate the social context, with individual outcomes and
their probabilities depending on another person (Ben-Ner/Halldorsson 2010; Berg/Dickhaut/Mc-
Cabe 1995; Fehr/Fischbacher/Schupp/Rosenbladt/Wagner 2002; Houser/Schunk/Winter 2010;
Lönnqvist/Verkasalo/Walkowitz/Wichardt 2011; Nickel/Vaesen 2012)” (Josef et al. 2016: 432).
Josef et al. try to link personality styles to risk taking in addition to age (life span). Some personal-
ity traits seem to correlate positively with risk taking, like Openness to Experience, Extraversion,
and Sensation Seeking, while others correlate negatively – even if the results show different pat-
terns depending on the measures of personality and tasks for the participants (2016: 433). Over-
all, it does not seem helpful to make a general recommendation how to recruit or train employees
based on their age or personality traits, or according to risk taking or aversion, even if one might
agree that this skill can be important.
Another skill that seems helpful in an organization that is distributing decision-making power to its
individuals is self-directed working. The ideal employee takes decisions and has high self-motiva-
tion in his or her daily work. Locke and Latham (2002) have presented an overview of a “35-year
odyssey” of goal setting and task motivation and have come to the conclusion that “the effects
of goal setting are very reliable. Failures to replicate them are usually due to errors, such as not
matching the goal to the performance measure, not providing feedback, not getting goal com-
mitment, not measuring the person’s personal (self-set) goals, not conveying task knowledge,
setting a performance goal when a specic high-learning goal is required, not setting proximal
goals when the environment is characterized by uncertainty, or not including a sufcient range of
goal difculty levels” (714). All aspects mentioned seem reasonable and many tools are in place
to support leaders and employees in avoiding failure in daily business.
If risk taking and decision making cannot be solved that easily but at the same time do not pose
that much of a problem, and self-directed working is not that much of an issue either, why do peo-
ple still feel pain in the organization? How come that – as mentioned in the introduction – “many
groups and organizations have a ‘difcult’, ‘disturbed’ or ‘impossible’ member whose behavior is
regarded as getting in the way of the others’ good work[?]” (Obholzer/Roberts 1994: 130). How to
solve the issue with the troublesome individual who disturbs the ideal organization? We probably
cannot answer this question here, but we can propose a way to reect on it and to learn active
participation in the process to make work smoother. By doing so, the organizational form of hier-
archy (Schwarz 2000, in Schuster 2012: 4f.) will nally be questioned or even made redundant.
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
69Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
2.3 ECTA – Learning to Participate
In the previous chapters we may have found a consensus that participation can be supportive in
today’s business environment. At the same time, we might have realized that it is also necessary
for leader and led to develop a specic skill set to navigate this uid environment. Risk taking
and decision making under uncertainty as well as self-directed working can be considered sup-
portive personality skills. But there is still the issue of individuals seen as troublesome”. Next,
therefore, a way is presented how to train the necessary reection skills for connected coopera-
tion to reduce the friction occurring due to leadership vacuum, leadership paradox or seemingly
troublesome individuals.
Situational awareness has only been discussed briey because it seems difcult to operation-
alize in the context of this paper. However, awareness of a situation as described earlier (i.e.,
leadership vacuum or paradox) is extremely important. Consequently, as suggested above, this
skill should be reconsidered here by reframing it as reection (cf. Armutat et al. 2015). Increasing
reection and starting a discussion about what is happening in the organization on a meta-level
can help to make concepts like Holacracy successful. It may also aid individuals in the organiza-
tion with their personal adaption, thus decreasing exodus.
As mentioned above, T-Groups might be a way to train situational sensing abilities but can be
stressful, even overwhelming at times, as group relations conferences are. They are “intended
for mature adults capable of absorbing considerable stress” (Rioch 1971: 264). Using such raw
formats might even be dangerous in existing teams within a business environment. Traditional
training or lecture formats, on the other hand, are usually completely stress-free but not well
suited to start a reection process about roles and unconscious processes. Traditional lectures
usually provide a clear structure and safety to the facilitator / lecturer (cf. Fig. 1). At the same time,
participants are put in a highly passive consumer role, not enabled to reect their own actions in
a given situation.
Jürgen Radel
70 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Figure 1: ECTA Range of training approaches
In-Vivo Cases
Case Study
Emotional Involvement of the individual
Basic Assumption Group
React & Present (Re)act & Reflect
Working Group
Act & Explore
Condensed & Structured vs. Complex and Volatile –
Ability to control the process
and Structured
Complex and
Comfort Zone Facilitator
Comfort Zone Participants
To do so, experience-centered training approaches (ECTA; Schuster/Radel 2017; Schuster/Radel
2016) might be necessary, pushing participants towards a more complex and volatile learning
experience. The Harvard Case Method is one way of doing so. In this approach, the focus shifts
from teacher-centered to participant-centered learning. Most participants feel comfortable with
this way of learning, whereas some facilitators are somehow reluctant to use it. A case discussion
can be an enriching and fascinating experience, but for the inexperienced case teacher it may
also be difcult to structure and lead. A downside in case teaching results from participants talk-
ing about “someone else” in a situation that they can relate to or not. The latter is one of the cru-
cial aspects when choosing a case. Still, to some degree the reection remains supercial and
about “others”. Participants learn by reecting on actions / recommendations based in the story
the case tells. In our work, we (Schuster/Radel) have realized that this reection is not enough
to initiate deeper reection on the system the participants are involved in and how system and
individual are inuencing each other. In a traditional learning setting, participants will not realize
that they are sheep dressed in the cloak of a shepherd and equipped with formidable symbols of
high ofce (Rioch 1971: 285). On the other hand, a group relations conference or T-Group would
be too stressful an experience for the participants and would require considerable effort to organ-
ize such an event.
To ll this gap, besides other techniques, situational in-vivo cases are used, which the partici-
pants uniquely create for this learning context: a number of participants each describe a personal
experience (situation) that has affected them emotionally and is related to the system (employee-
employee; employee-leader; employee-organization). A team of four or ve participants agrees
on one such situation and prepares a performance (anything but a traditional presentation or
lecture; cf. also Schreyögg 1999). By doing so, they create an in-vivo case of this situation. The
next step is similar to the concept of collegial advice that has been described in various forms
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
71Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
(e.g. Rothe-Jokisch 2008; Franz/Kopp 2010). After the performance, the other participants reect
what they have experienced and what their impressions have been by making free associations
about what they have seen. Afterwards, the facilitators provide additional feedback. In a universi-
ty context this can be complemented by theory. In a third step, the group provides feedback to the
observers and reects what they have heard. Usually the deepest reection occurs with the one
person who has provided the case. The whole process takes about 60 to 90 minutes per case.
In this setting, elements of group dynamic experience are used in a way that allows participants
to reach a certain level of reection without being completely exposed. The concept supports
teams in reecting their way of working together and their relation to authorities. When they do
so, the working relationship gets increasingly productive because frictions become transparent
and unconscious bias is made tangible during such an experience.
Besides several positive aspects, there are also difculties with this method: the facilitators have
to be comfortable with this method, which can be highly unstructured, and with the topics that
are presented and that they have to deal with. The facilitators should also be able to dene their
personal comfort zones as illustrated exemplarily in the gure above. The same is important for
the participants. Situational in-vivo cases can be risky in a situation where a group is faced with
strong conicts. When participants are not willing or able to reect, which does happen in com-
plex social situations, the feedback is supercial and has to be complemented by the facilitators,
which in some cases makes the feedback less valuable overall. The term facilitator is consciously
used only in plural here, since it is helpful to work as a team. Discussing this would go beyond
the scope of this paper.
3. Discussion
In the end, it has not been possible to answer the question what the best organizational form
might be. Nor has it been possible to nally dene the skills that are necessary to be successful in
a specic organizational form. What has been discussed are the issues arising when navigating
a system that seems to lack traditional leadership and ways to achieve cooperation.
An operating system itself will not make the user more or less successful. Operating systems
change as organizational forms change over time. In the end, the system of choice might be
inuenced by personal preferences of the authorities who are ultimately responsible for the or-
ganization and who themselves are inuenced by the zeitgeist. Due to this, the author suggests a
shift of focus towards individuals and group processes rather than a more or less persistent focus
on structure and systems or on the training of specic leadership actions. It should become the
main goal to analyze and reect the self-contradiction within organizations to raise “a ‘pausing
question of meaning’ towards everything that we are and do” (Heintel 1995: 290; own translation).
Unfortunately, this is a process that has to be organized to avoid that these questions are other-
wise “individually and informally discussed but that the answers fade away and remain without
Jürgen Radel
72 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
impact” (ibd.). The proposal above (2.3) can be a way to organize the process but leaves several
questions unanswered:
there is no empirical research on the skills that might be valuable in a specic organiza-
tional form. It might even be reasonable that skills do not match a specic organization
but only a state of organizational maturity or development;
the balance between structure and freedom has not been discussed. It might be that both
exist simultaneously, as the mentalities in a group being neither good nor bad (French
and Simpson 2010, 1864);
the connection between TRIZ and organizational development has been an attempt to
apply systems development to organizations but this has to be studied in greater depth;
the operationalization of a leadership vacuum or paradox requires further research. Cur-
rently, descriptions of it belong to the realm of anecdotic and descriptive story telling.
the same is true for a leader’s situational sensing or awareness;
nally, ECTA and the situational in-vivo cases seem to be a promising concept, but both
need to be described in greater depth, also to clarify what “deep reection” might be and
how it can be measured.
Alinsky, Saul (1971): Rules for radicals: A pragmatic primer for realistic radicals. Vintage, 2010.
Altshuller, Genrich Saulovich / Shapiro, Rafael Borisovich (1956): Psychology of inventive creativ-
ity. In: Psychology, 6, 37-49.
Armutat, Sascha / Caroli, Tobias / Gärtner, Andreas / Gotwald, Victor W. / Nettlenbusch, San-
dra / Opp Mathias / Pietsch Alike (2015): Schlüsselkompetenz Reexionsfähigkeit Führung-
skräfteentwicklung der Zukunft. DGFP-Praxispapiere, 01/2015.
likationen/2015/DGFP_PraxisPapiere_01_2015_Fuehrungskraefteentwicklung.pdf (13.06.2017)
Barrick, Murray R. / Stewart, Greg L. / Neubert, Mitchell J. / Mount, Michael K. (1998): Relating
member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. In: Journal of
Applied Psychology, 83 (3), 377.
Blanc Serrier, Séverine / Ducq, Yves / Vallespir, Bruno (2017): Networked Companies and a
Typology of Collaborations. In: Enterprise Interoperability: INTEROP‐PGSO Vision, Vol.1. New
York: Wiley, 19-42.
Bradford, Leland P. / Bradford, Leland / Gibb, Jack R. / Benne, Kenneth D. (1964): T-Group theory
and laboratory method; innovation in re-education. New York: Wiley.
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
73Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Clases, Christoph / Wehner, Theo (2015): Erfordernisse und Richtungen für Kooperation und
Vertrauen in der Führung. Neu-Erndung von Führung in Industrie 4.0. In: IM+io Fachzeitschrift
für Innovation, Organisation und Management, 3 (September), 32-37.
Csar, Matthias (2017): Holacracy. In: Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation.‒ Zeitschrift für Ange-
wandte Organisationspsychologie (GIO), 48 (2), 155-58.
Easterly, William (2002): The cartel of good intentions: the problem of bureaucracy in foreign aid.
In: The Journal of Policy Reform, 5 (4), 223-50.
Eisold, Kenneth (2004): Leadership and the creation of authority. In: Cytrynbaum / Noumair
(2004): Group Dynamics, Organisational Irrationality and Social Complexity: Group Relations
Reader 3. Portland: A.K. Rice Institute, 289-302.
Franz, Hans-Werner / Kopp, Ralf (2010): Kollegiale Fallberatung. State of the art und organisa-
tionale Praxis. 2nd ed., Bergisch Gladbach: EHP Verlag Andreas Kohlhage.
French, Robert B. / Simpson, Peter (2010): The ‘work group’: Redressing the balance in Bion’s
Experiences in Groups. In: Human Relations, 63 (12), 1859-1878.
Gareis, Roland / Huemann, Martina (2000): Project management competences in the project-ori-
ented organization. In: The Gower handbook of project management. Aldershot: Gower, 709-721.
Whitepaper at:
Gelles, David (2016): The Zappos Exodus Continues After a Radical Management Experiment.
zappos-exodus-continues/?referer (13.06.2017)
Goffee, Robert / Jones, Gareth (2006): Why should anyone be led by you?: What it takes to be
an authentic leader. Harvard: Harvard Business Press.
Göhring, Martina / Niemeier, Joachim (2016): Studie: Arbeitswelt und Organisation im Wandel.
Esslingen: Centerstage GmbH.
Arbeitswelt_und_Organisation_im_Wandel_centrestage_3-2016.pdf (13.06.2017)
Heintel, Peter (1995): Götterdämmerung. In: Grossmann / Krainz / Oswald (1995): Veränderung
in Organisationen. Wiesbaden: Gabler, 273-292.
Hentschel, Claudia / Gundlach, Carsten / Nähler, Horst Thomas (2010): TRIZ: Innovation mit
System. München: Hanser.
Jürgen Radel
74 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Hill, Gayle W. (1982): Group versus individual performance: Are N+1 heads better than one?. In:
Psychological bulletin, 91 (3), 517.
Johnson, Ronald N. / Libecap, Gary D. (1994): The Problem of Bureaucracy. In: Johnson / Libe-
cap (1994): The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy. Chicago: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 1-11.
Josef, A.K. / Richter, D. / Samanez-Larkin, G.R. / Wagner, G.G. / Hertwig, R. / Mata, R. (2016):
Stability and change in risk-taking propensity across the adult life span. In: Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 111 (3), 430.
Kagermann, Henning / Lukas, Wolf-Dieter / Wahlster, Wolfgang (2011): Industrie 4.0: Mit dem
Internet der Dinge auf dem Weg zur 4. Industriellen Revolution. In: VDI Nachrichten, Nr. 13, 2.
Kirkman, Bradley L. / Rosen, Benson (1999): Beyond self-management: Antecedents and conse-
quences of team empowerment. In: Academy of Management Journal, 42 (1), 58-74.
Krainz, Ewald E. (2011): Leiden an der Organisation. In: Ratheiser / Menschik-Bendele / Krainz /
Burger: Burnout und Prävention: Ein Lesebuch für Ärzte, Peger und Therapeuten. Heidelberg:
Springer, 115-200.
Lam, Bourree (2016): Why Are So Many Zappos Employees Leaving?. https://www.theatlantic.
com/business/archive/2016/01/zappos-holacracy-hierarchy/424173/ (13.06.2017)
Lee, Sang M. / Olson, David L. / Trimi, Silvana (2012): Co-innovation: convergenomics, collabora-
tion, and co-creation for organizational values. In: Management Decision, 50 (5), 817-31.
Locke, Edwin A. / Latham, Gary P. (2002): Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and
task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. In: American Psychologist, 57 (9), 705.
Müller-Jentsch, Walther (2008): “Industrial democracy: Historical development and current chal-
lenges.” Management Revue 19(4): 260-73.
Obholzer, Anton / Roberts, Vega Zagier (1994): The troublesome individual and the troubled in-
stitution. In: Obholzer et al. (1994): The unconscious at work: Individual and organizational stress
in the human services, 129-138.
Olsen, Johan P (2006): Maybe it is time to rediscover bureaucracy. In: Journal of Public Adminis-
tration Research and Theory, 16 (1), 1-24.
Pachur, T. / Mata, R. / Hertwig, R. (2017): Who dares, who errs? Disentangling cognitive and
motivational roots of age differences in decisions under risk. In: Psychological Science, 28 (4),
50 4 -18.
Organization as a Challenge. A reection of group dynamic processes between leader and follower.
75Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Perrow, Charles (1986): Complex organizations: a critical essay. Third ed.. New York: McGraw-
Radel, Jürgen (2016): Digitalisierung in der Weiterbildung durch Video-Fallstudien. In: HR Con-
sulting Review, 7, 26-29. ISSN 2196-0232
Radel, Jürgen (2017): Organizational Change and Industry 4.0 (ID4). A Perspective on Possible
Future Challenges for Human Resources Management. In: Beiträge und Positionen, Hochschule
für Technik und Wirtschaft. Berlin: HTW Berlin.
Rioch, Margaret J. (1971): “All We like Sheep-“ (Isaiah 53:6): Followers and Leaders. In: Psychia-
try, 34 (3), 258-273. DOI: 10.1080/00332747.1971.11023673
Rothe-Jokisch, Lona (2008): Der Beitrag des Beratungsinstruments ‘Kollegiale Fallberatung‘ zur
Praxisentwicklung von Kooperationskreisen Schule-Jugendhilfe. In: Gruppendynamik und Or-
ganisationsberatung, 39 (4), 464-76.
Schreyögg, Georg (1999): Unternehmenstheater: Formen, Erfahrungen, Erfolgreicher Einsatz.
Wiesbaden: Gabler.
Schuster, Roland J. (2012): Schriften zur Interventionswissenschaft – Organisationsform Hierar-
chie. Study by the University of Applied Sciences b Vienna.
Schuster, Roland J. (2015): On teaching leadership intervention science in action - theoretical
background and design of a lecture on leadership. In: Gruppendynamik und Organisationsbera-
tung. Wiesbaden: Springer. DOI 10.1007/s11612-015-0273-7.
Schuster, Roland J. (2016): Einführung in die Didaktik der Selbstorganisation: Didaktisches
Konzept zur Erweiterung der Selbstorganisationskompetenz von Studierenden (systhemia – Sys-
temische Pädagogik series). Hohengehren: Schneider.
Schuster, Roland J. / Radel, Jürgen (2016): Key aspects of an experience-centered teaching
approach (ECTA) to develop emotional intelligence (EI). Konferenzbeitrag, “Development & Ap-
plication of EI”, International Conference on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, 24-25 No-
vember 2016, UAS Salzburg.
Schuster, Roland J. / Radel, Jürgen (2017): A reection of the (Harvard) Case Method from a
group dynamics perspective. Connecting transcendent knowledge with immanent phenomena.
Konferenzbeitrag, “Development & Application of EI”, International Conference on Emotional In-
telligence in Organizations, 24-25 November 2016, UAS Salzburg.
Jürgen Radel
76 Wirtschaft und Management · Band 25 · November 2017
Sonnenwald, Diane H. / Pierce, Linda G. (2000): Information behavior in dynamic group work
contexts: interwoven situational awareness, dense social networks and contested collaboration
in command and control. In: Information Processing & Management, 36 (3), 461-79.
Vieweg, Sarah / Hughes, Amanda L. / Starbird, Kate / Palen, Leysia (2010): Microblogging during
two natural hazards events: what twitter may contribute to situational awareness. In: Proceedings
of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, 1079-88.
Voegel, Sandra Ariane (2012): Organisation im Wandel: Methodologische und methodische Re-
konstruktion der Veränderung von Organisationen und deren Implikationen für geplante organi-
satorische Veränderungen. Dissertation der Universität St. Gallen.
Webb, Sidney / Webb, Beatrice (1897/1902): Industrial democracy, Vol. 2. London, New York:
Longmans, Green and Co. (13.06.2017)
Weber, Max (1922): Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundriss der verstehenden Soziologie. http://
pdf (1.06.2017)
... Organizational form and structure are a trend, influenced by Zeitgeist and the term "organization" is a metaphor (Radel 2017)-an organization in the mind (Armstrong 2005) or a matrix in the mind (Barlett and Ghoshal 1990)-that creates a space for diverse phantasies and projections of its members. Contrary to organizational form, which is fluid, authority and hierarchy have existed ever since God (or whoever/whatever one may believe in) created Earth. ...
... If more decision power is distributed onto individuals, for various reasons, responsibility also shifts, which is the shadow side of participation and is not always well-received by those employees who claim to have more decision making-authority (Radel 2017;Radel and Schuster 2019). Hence, reducing hierarchy comes with several potential issues: ...
Full-text available
Die vorliegende Arbeit ist die Dokumentation des Konzepts eines Teaching Labs, durchgeführt im Rahmen des von der Magistratsabteilung (MA) 23 geförderten Projekts Innovative Didaktik. Die konkret bearbeitete Lehrveranstaltung Projektarbeit Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (Projektarbeit MuA) ist Teil des Bachelorstudiengangs Technisches Vertriebsmanagement (TVM) der Fachhochschule des BFI Wien und findet jeweils im fünften von insgesamt sechs Semestern statt. Das Ziel dieses Teaching Labs ist es, mit Hilfe einer innovativen Didaktik einerseits den Transfer von Inhalten zu verbessern und andererseits durch die Form der Vermittlung, eine Emanzipation der Studierenden zu ermöglichen. Da im hier beschriebenen Teaching Lab auf den emanzipatorischen Aspekt das Augenmerk gelegt wird, wird in Folge die Bezeichnung innovative emanzipatorische Didaktik verwendet. Der Entwurf des hier dokumentierten Konzepts eines Teaching Labs basiert auf Erfahrungen aus bereits durchgeführter Interventionsforschung (u.a. Schuster 2012). Interventionsforschung ist einerseits eine Forschung, die Interventionen verschiedener Art beforscht, und andererseits eine, die selbst Interventionen setzen will (vgl. Krainer/Lerchster 2012: 9). Dementsprechend werden in dieser Arbeit Erfahrungen vorangegangener Interventionsforschung kritisch reflexiv aufgegriffen und darauf aufbauend zukünftige Interventionen entworfen und argumentiert.
Full-text available
The aim of the paper is to show how the combination of the (Harvard) case method (HCM) and the group dynamics approach (GDa) can be beneficial for students, teachers and teaching institutions. The benefits and risks of both methods are critically reflected. To provide orientation, a synopsis of the (Harvard) case method is presented and compared with aspects of the group dynamics approach.
Full-text available
Even if information technology (IT) is considered to be the key driver for the full implementation of cyber-physical systems that characterize the next industrial revolution, the importance of human resources is constantly highlighted. [1] Human resources management (HRM) might be able to support the transition to ID4 and help organizations as well as individuals to cope with the change. Within this paper Activity Theory will be used as a framework to briefly describe the impact on HRM and to draw focussed conclusions for further research and organizational activities.
Full-text available
Diese Arbeit reflektiert die Organisationsform Hierarchie und die Stellung von Projektmanagement innerhalb dieser Organisationsform. Zuerst wird Hierarchie als Organisationsform dargelegt, danach wird argumentiert, welche Aspekte von Organisation durch Projektmanagement abgedeckt werden. Als Schluss werden Möglichkeiten einer sinnvollen Einbettung von Projektmanagement in die Organisationsform Hierarchie diskutiert. The working paper reflects on the organizational form hierarchy and the role of project management within hierarchical organization. At first hierarchy is explained accordingly project management and its impact on organization is argued. Finally a reasonable embedding of project management within hierarchy is discussed.
Full-text available
The intention of this article is to explore and develop Wilfred Bion’s theory of groups, and to contribute to its wider application across the social sciences. Bion suggested that groups operate simultaneously in two strictly contrasting ways, based on distinctive mental states, which he called ‘basic-assumption mentality’ and ‘work-group mentality’. He believed that these mentalities determine a group’s capacity to achieve its purposes. However, the development of these ideas has tended to focus on the regressive tendency in group functioning — on basic-assumption mentality. This article attempts to redress the balance by ascribing equal importance to the notion of work-group mentality. First, it extends Bion’s framework, developing the concept of the ‘work group’ in parallel with the ‘basic assumptions’; second, it considers the dynamic relationship between these two mentalities, in order, finally, to explore the application of Bion’s ideas via a case example.
The notion of interoperability is only relevant when there is some degree of networking or collaboration between companies. This chapter presents the main types of network in order to infer, in fine, the type of interoperability needed in each particular case. The forms of collaboration between networked companies may be varied, but they all at least involve organization of the partners' activities in a manner which specifies the roles of each participant and the rules by which to run the network. This type of organization is called Collaborative Network Organization and can take several forms: strategic alliance; integrated logistics management; network enterprise; and virtual organizations and clusters. When a practical community uses information networks as well as most of the practices and tools of virtual communities, it becomes a Professional Virtual Community. This chapter proposes a classification of the various types of collaboration that is organized along two axes: long-term strategic collaborations and project-oriented collaborations.
We separate for the first time the roles of cognitive and motivational factors in shaping age differences in decision making under risk. Younger and older adults completed gain, loss, and mixed-domain choice problems as well as measures of cognitive functioning and affect. The older adults’ decision quality was lower than the younger adults’ in the loss domain, and this age difference was attributable to the older adults’ lower cognitive abilities. In addition, the older adults chose the more risky option more often than the younger adults in the gain and mixed domains; this difference in risk aversion was attributable to less pronounced negative affect among the older adults. Computational modeling with a hierarchical Bayesian implementation of cumulative prospect theory revealed that the older adults had higher response noise and more optimistic decision weights for gains than did the younger adults. Moreover, the older adults showed no loss aversion, a finding that supports a positivity-focus (rather than a loss-prevention) view of motivational reorientation in older age.
Can risk-taking propensity be thought of as a trait that captures individual differences across domains, measures, and time? Studying stability in risk-taking propensities across the lifespan can help to answer such questions by uncovering parallel, or divergent, trajectories across domains and measures. We contribute to this effort by using data from respondents aged 18 to 85 in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) and by examining (1) differential stability, (2) mean-level differences, and (3) individual-level changes in self- reported general (N = 44,076) and domain-specific (N =11,903) risk-taking propensities across adulthood. In addition, we investigate (4) the correspondence between cross-sectional trajectories of self-report and behavioral measures of social (trust game; N = 646) and nonsocial (monetary gamble; N = 433) risk taking. The results suggest that risk-taking propensity can be understood as a trait with moderate stability. Results show reliable mean- level differences across the lifespan, with risk-taking propensities typically decreasing with age, although significant variation emerges across domains and individuals. Interestingly, the mean-level trajectory for behavioral measures of social and nonsocial risk taking was similar to those obtained from self-reported risk, despite small correlations between task behavior and self-reports. Individual-level analyses suggest a link between changes in risk-taking propensities both across domains and in relation to changes in some of the Big Five personality traits. Overall, these results raise important questions concerning the role of common processes or events that shape the lifespan development of risk-taking across domains as well as other major personality facets.
(SharedIt: This paper describes theoretical concepts of leadership with a focus on emotions within organizations. According to the ‘Jonah’ sequence in the movie “Master and Commander” (Weir, Master and Commander. The far side of the world. Twentieth Century Fox. DVD, 2003), leadership is interpreted by using psychodynamic concepts. This paper argues that the movie sequence serves as a starting point for teaching leadership by discussing students’ viewpoints, including their affective reaction to the sequence, accompanied by the lecturers’ psychodynamic interpretation. Furthermore, this paper uses a didactic concept, developed from the field of intervention science, to teach leadership to students by using actual emotions from within the student group. Therefore, the ‘Jonah’ movie sequence is used as the nucleus of the process, allowing the instructor to start at the dissociated (transcendent) position of ‘someone else there and then.’ During the teaching process, the lecturer facilitates exploration of the associated (immanent) position of ‘me (individual student)/the group (of students) here and now’. The teaching is designed as a ‘journey into immanent reflection of leadership,’ facilitated by the lecturer. The increased ability to spot, discuss and reflect emotions within the context of organizations is the outcome of this ‘learning by experience’.
We examined the antecedents, consequences, and mediational role of team empowerment using 111 work teams in four organizations. The results indicated that the actions of external leaders, the production/service responsibilities given to teams, team-based human resources policies, and the social structure of teams all worked to enhance employee team empowerment experiences. More empowered teams were also more productive and proactive than less empowered teams and had higher levels of customer service, job satisfaction, and organizational and team commitment.[ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]