management, organization, sensemaking

Cooperation at the roots of a renewed organizational world

In two weeks from now I’ll be hosted by SMAU, a large event on technology and innovation at Fiera Milano in Milan, to discuss with some friends how the landscape of business (and society) is rapidly changing. My focus will be to guide participants in recognizing how cooperation lies at the true roots of any human common endeavor. Organizations have grown bigger and more complex, and the process is still under way. Multinational grew into global companies, national States are converging into higher level organizations (like the EU, even though with some difficulties…), and the way we look at organization has not changed that much from the Taylor era. We still think of command and control chains, specialization and division of labor, and we fail to recognize that more complex organizations are not the result of these processes, but the offspring of the desire of human beings to challenge their dependence upon Nature and Uncertainty. For those who might be puzzled by this, I confess I am very much influenced by a German philosopher who analyzed the nature of human beings in the twentieth Century, Arnold Gehlen.

True, cooperation has been found also in other living kinds, animals and plants. We owe so much to the analysis of micro structures of society like a bee hive. However, in such cases cooperation is in itself a product of unconscious processes, awarded by the evolutionary drift like Richard Dawkins would argue. Cooperation in human beings takes a completely different role and meaning, and therefore allows for goals unimagined before.

But that’s not the full story and more reflections are to come. As I would like you to join the event, here is the link to register for it:

You are invited by me, and in case you really can’t join, I’ll be back with my presentation and additional thoughts on this blog next week.

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