Conversations, complexity and business change

For no reason except I was trying to help Shirley figure out the week ahead I started thinking about the value of conversations, specifically using online communities to full effect, as part of a practically-minded ‘complexity’ approach to business. Then I did a Google search on complexity and conversations and came up with Dr Patricia Shaw’s book on the subject, with the following customer recommendation which is a useful starting point for further thought:

At last, recognition that real change doesn’t happen purely because of top-down, management dictats, but is embodied by real people having real conversations that are not structured by clear objectives, goals and processes. Inherently scary for all those who rely on management as a control process in their organisations and change as a corporately-guided process, this instead looks at the informal organisation and how creating spaces for conversations between like-minded change agents can be the most effective.

This veers slightly too far into complexity and informal processes only for me – I believe that a balance is required between formal change and informal conversations, but this is still an important broadening of the discussion on corporate change.

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