The organization is a community

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The organization is a community
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States

The community is a capitalist tool.

There are four types of community: geographical, instrumental, virtual, and learning;

The geographical community is based on physical location. In the Washington area, Reston and Columbia are examples of planned communities. In New York state, an assembly of 300 people in close geographic proximity can incorporate as a town. As community, 300 people represent an economy of scale similar to an infantry company.

The instrumental community is an assembly of people with a common purpose or mission. A business or not for profit organization is an instrumental community. IBM and the US Army are instrumental communities. The management cadre of ep can be considered an instrumental community

A virtual community is an assembly of people generally defined by boundaries in cyberspace, such as ep and Facebook, as well as an infinite number of smaller assemblies.

The learning community is a term of art, but it is fundamentally an instrumental community that is purposefully self-aware. It may also be a virtual and/or a geographical community, but it is very much instrumental in aspect. The US Army is the best example of a community of communities with characteristics of the geographical, instrumental and virtual community. Since World War II, the Army has been biased towards a learning community, but after its reorganization from the CONARC geographical organization to the Forcecom-Tradoc-Matcom functional organization, the Army has aggressive adopted the characteristics of the learning community. This is characteristic of 5th Wave High Performance.

Civilian commercial organizations have adopted strategies of the learning community essentially to disenfranchise organized labor and the prerogatives of the individual worker while maximizing executive compensation. Deming’s Quality agenda is an example of a strategic initiative which has been employed as a tactic of predatory capitalism. This is characteristic of 3rd Wave High Performance with pretensions of a 5th Wave paradigm.

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Other Views by this Author: Vietnam and the Defeat of the Harvard Business Model | The Leader is an enabler2 | The Points of Light Program | Protocol for Large System Change

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