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The Cynefin domains and the management functions

October 6, 2010

The four classical management functions are: planning, organizing, directing/leading, and controlling. They are in a rather linear sequence, along with continuous communication and decision making. An interesting idea (and exercise) could be matching these functions with the four Cynefin domains and reflecting on the emerged combinations, which would possibly be very revealing of the specific context. For example, what would you think of a place / system / organization where:

Planning employs complex methods trying to respond to different needs; the organization structure is flexible and complicated to adapt to changes; leadership is emergent and inspirational; and control is performed through a small number of simple and commonly accepted rules?

Planning tries to respond to continuous shifts of global economy; the organization is more or less given, with a lot of outsourcing; leadership very understands the employees’ subtle needs; and control is performed through complicated systems?

Planning is made by experts; the organization structure is rigid; leadership is chaotic; and control is ambiguous and exercised by networks?

Well, I don’t know where the first place is; if someone does, please let me know. The second I think is virtual; it exists in the vision-mission statement of a “supernova” of the new economy. As for the third, I know it perfectly well; it is the “black hole” of the Greek public administration.

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