The concept of a Global Organization is still an elusive phenomenon. A truly Global Organization, in my opinion, is one whose inherent structures, practices and cultures are all-inclusive (race or gender notwithstanding), all-encompassing, encyclopedic, non-polarized, trusting and organic towards the realization of a noble purpose; not one in competition for a niche market or resource without regard to the concept of humanity and a social, moral compass.
I left Nigeria for Canada in August 2015 to acquire specialized knowledge in nation-building and organizational development. This allowed me to have passed through some of the finest institutions and organizations in the world. Consequently, I offer some perspectives based on the interactions with these organizations or institutions as well as emerging paradigms premised upon prevailing evolutionary world-view and human consciousness written about in scholarly works. In the works of Frederic Laloux (Frederic, 2014), the major organizational paradigms (which form the governing operating principles of most organizations today) that have resulted from different stages of human development include the Impulsive, the Conformist, the Achievement and the Pluralistic paradigms among others. From personal experiences, the two dominant models being practiced in the organizations and institutions have interacted with are the Conformist and the Achievement Paradigms. These paradigms are further discussed as follows with personal encounters.
In specific terms, the Conformist organizational paradigm orchestrated the concept of states and civilization. Organizations operating with the Conformist model are fundamentally ethnocentric, racial, outdated, and bureaucratic in which human ego and value are perceived in the light of a generally acceptable way of conduct. This mirrors the operating model of most organizations today. Conformist dominated organizations seek to establish predictable processes and therefore are usually inflexible to changing paradigms or trends. Typical examples of such organizations are the Catholic and Anglican Churches. This is also prevalent in some long-established organizations. Participatory management is entirely absent in a conforming organization. The belief is that workers are generally lazy and dishonest and therefore require controls and instructions to perform optimally. There is a complete separation of planning [happens at the top] and execution [happens at the bottom]. The planning body is entirely unaware and ignorant about implementation details at the execution floor. The other common denominator in Conforming organizations is the social concept of “Us versus them.” This is further ridden with suspicious factions and the use of deception as the overriding means of control and restoring trust.
On the other hand, the Achievement paradigm emphasizes effectiveness without regard to morals or socially acceptable norms. It is essentially a materialistic and competitive organizational paradigm governed by the idea that the achievement of future goals is what truly makes life meaningful and blissful irrespective of the accompanying consequences. The dark implications of Achievement paradigm include a deep level of greed – individually and collectively, pervasive politics, human-worth degradation, heightened in-fighting, wars, and the thoughtless exploitation of the earth resources. This paradigm measures success in terms of money and recognition with no purposeful living. However, it brought about some possibilities regarding the concept of a Global organization. More, importantly, innovation has been elevated to an order of magnitude previously inconceivable in terms of process and project initiatives. Several operational strategies and techniques have been developed to catalyze innovative efforts. In terms of leadership, participatory management is slightly encouraged strategically with a focus on talents with incentives such as bonuses and stock options to drive the actualization of organizational objectives. Due to leaders’ fear of surrendering control, however, this paradigm is overwhelmed with restricted information flow, unrealistic and fictitious forecasts, stress-ridden product development cycles, unreliable products, shocking staff-turnover rate. The need to be seen as competent and composed is priced over doubts, dreams, vulnerability, and challenging the status quo.
The unpleasant implications of the Conformist mindset are replete in the organizations in my network. These organizations are very rigid with long-held practices and processes that have worked in the past but failed to realize that those paradigms are no longer effective with the current state of human consciousness. The leaders in these organizations continuously operate with anachronistic principles and make strategic decisions in silos without the active participation of their people. For example, in a particular organization I worked with previously, a leader whose management approach [intimidating and myopic approaches] was utterly alien to the team was replaced by another. The new leader was a fresh management graduate whose understanding of leading an effective modern-day global team was absolutely green but brought in singularly by the top-management without the active involvement of all concerned stakeholders. This new leader was grossly incompetent, cunny, child-like, and dishonest, who consistently belittle and condemn people, especially when they are struggling. This unilateral decision negatively affected the productivity of the team and led to the ultimate withdrawal of most of the team members. Majority of the team members either moved to a different business unit within the organization or left the organization.
The other consequence of the Conforming or Achieving thinking in these organizations is the symbiotic relationship between the leaders and their people. This symbiotic relationship is dangerous in the sense that it victimizes people with the illusion of power. Leaders control and win the loyalty of their people with the promise of career advancement as long as the people follow their leadings unchallenged and always protect their image without mistakes. Problems begin to arise when people start to challenge their ideas or make mistakes that threaten their perception. A particular incidence that readily comes to mind happened during a product playback that a colleague gave to some high-level executives. Unfortunately, the fellow omitted an essential feature of the product in the pitch, and immediately, his manager pointed out his mistake and rebuked him vehemently in the presence of the executives. The manager only cared about his reputation even at the cost of demeaning the psychological well-being of his people. This kind of character is not sustainable for an organization to have a global impact in this present dispensation. Consistently, I am confronted with similar evidence such as this that show that it’s impossible to lead with impact without being a good person deep down. Even if you’re very good at what you do, it won’t be sustainable. It’s just a matter of time as one of the implications of leadership is that it exposes a leader’s character.
Restricted information flow is another peril in these organizations. Information regarding products strategic directions is usually limited to the executives and a few select people who are in the good books of the executives [and who they also believe possess the commitment to drive products execution without challenging their decisions or possibly people who look like them and speak the same language]. The interacting consequence of this is that products release cycle becomes stressful and commitment starved [from estranged disloyal factions who were once part of the inner caucus but now left out in the know of critical information] due to late dissemination of information necessary for adequate work estimation and execution. The resulting impact is the release of products with very low reliability and consumer appeal. This is cardinally a problem of trust.
Based on the drawbacks in the other paradigms, there is a need for a shift towards a truly global revolutionary model whose genius rests solidly on its overreaching ability to elevate groups of people to discover a meaningful and satisfying purpose in the workplace devoid of prevailing inimical organizational structures, practices, cultures and assumptions. The new imperative is a paradigm that would bring about astonishing breakthroughs [obtained not by technology] with far-reaching impacts orchestrated by its amplifying concept of unraveling human wholeness and deep-rooted potentials.