Organisational Structure and Principles

We have, on the other hand, sought to move towards an organization whose master concept is that, “everyone contributes their best for the success of the whole”. This is a deeply interactive, consultative organization where consensus is created not merely through acquiescence to authority or rules (as in a bureaucracy) but through institutionalized dialogue (Habermas, 1991).
Dialogue is defined by the use of influence rather than the exercise of power. The ability to persuade matters more than the position of power (Parsons, 1969).
The ability to persuade depends on a number of factors — knowledge of the issue, commitment to shared goals and proven past effectiveness. Not official position per se. We are inspired here by examples of highly creative corporate giants like 3M, where new recruits are taught to challenge supervisors and are told to learn from tales of innovations that happened in the process (Tetenbaum, 1998).
This is not, thereby, an egalitarian system. There is a hierarchy but not one embedded in permanent offices. It is, rather, based on the consent and perceptions of other members of the organization.
Employees at the junior-most (1-3) levels have direct, unmediated access to those at the senior-most levels (5-6).
We follow the new management ideal that sees the maintenance of “tension within healthy bounds” as the key to any creative and dynamic system (Tetenbaum, 1998).
Greater emphasis is placed on principles rather than rules, which are the hallmark of a bureaucracy. This encourages flexibility and creativity in response to challenges.
This does not mean absence of rules but can still create the danger of intentional or unintentional abuse of flexibility. This demands periodic and rigorous reviews and discussions of the principles to be certain that they accurately capture what is needed and have indeed been truly understood and internalized at all levels.