Organization Health Keeping Guide
by Alan P. Brache.
(An essay on the book "How Organizations Work" by Alan P. Brache.)
‛A complex system that works is invariably found
to have evolved from a simple system that works.‛
Every sphere of life requires organization. And every sphere of life can be viewed as a complex system of mutually dependable elements. Whether we take our solar system as an example of this thesis or any enterprise almost everywhere we can observe certain order and system.
In the beginning of his book called ‛How Organizations Work‛ Alan P. Brache uses an extended metaphor comparing organization to human body not by chance. Moreover it’s not accidentally that he speaks about Organization’s wellness the same way as about human health. By writing all these similes he intended to show the reader that an organization is a system with every single element connected to another one just like organs in human body and to keep an organization ‛healthy‛ we should maintain the balance between each element’s function. On the pages of his book Dr. Brache acts like an experienced physician singling out each constituent of organization, describing it and telling us how to keep this element ‛healthy‛.
In the first chapter the author shows the reader the essence of ‛The New Enterprise Model‛ and speaks about changing factors that is variables, which influence the organization work. He singles out three different kinds of variables: external, structural and human. Besides, in this chapter Dr. Brache tells the reader about the key element of any organization, which is performance and mentions possible ways how to enhance it under influence of the variables.
Obviously an organization cannot exist as a locked and ‛frozen‛ system. There is so called ‛industry’s value chain‛, each link of which connects an enterprise to ‛outer world‛. Markets and customers, suppliers, resources providers, competitors, shareholders and other external influences are all the constituents of the ‛industry’s value chain‛ and they are contribute to the work of organization and its performance.
In addition to the ‛industry’s value chain‛ there’s another important element of an organization. It is leadership. Dr. Brache believes that a leader should have ‛passion‛ to manage the company that is to lead it through all the changes and problems.
However no matter how ‛passionate‛ and charismatic leader is each company requires planning and strategy. Strategy is a plan of organization development and organization management designed usually for a long period of time. Leadership and strategy are the drivers in the Enterprise Model by Dr. Brache.
Besides to make strategy work correctly and effectively we need certain mechanisms, another words business processes which are goals, culture, human capabilities, information and knowledge management, structure and issue resolution.
The very first business process mentioned by the author is a goal. Goal being a strategic target is essential and inseparable part of the planning in organization.
The second important business process is culture which can be determined here as a set of norms of behavior. Culture serves to create a certain atmosphere in organization and among people who work there. In this sense it helps to support decision-making authority. It also can contribute to the image of the company because the way meetings with customers are organized is rather important too.
Closer to culture stands another important business process which is called human capabilities. These are mental skills, knowledge, emotional makeup and other things which help to improve performance and contribute to organization success.
Information technology can obviously help people to fulfill their tasks by making managing and storing information easier. Thus information and knowledge management is the next important business process.
Grouping people to fulfill particular task is also effective. It’s called structure/roles business process. Departments are necessary for administrative purposes too.
The last business process which is mentioned by the author is called issue resolution. It includes four factors: accuracy and completeness of information, viability and utility of any methods for issue resolution, the nature and extent of participation and individual and team skills. These four constituents of the issue resolution are the drivers for business process.
Thus all the processes, variables and drivers mentioned above are inseparable parts of Dr. Brache’s ‛New Enterprise Model‛. However we cannot take any of its constituents as a separate one. They are all working together interacting and influencing each other because organization is a ‛living‛ system which reacts to the environment changes and inner variables.
To my mind the research which Dr. Brache has done in his book is not a vivisection and is not just about showing the anatomy of organization but it is true living model of enterprise.
Besides, I believe that Dr. Brache’s book is a theoretical and practical guide together.
First of all, it contains detailed information about every single part of the enterprise model and it can be very valuable for the researches who deal with some theoretical models of business organization.
Secondly Dr. Brache’s book has a great practical value. The enterprise model is not just smacked around part by part but it is said how managers on every level can influence a particular variable to improve performance.
Besides we all know the old truth saying that the more information is in the book the less reader’s desire to read it all. In Dr. Brache’s book there is a lot of useful information but the reader does not feel overwhelmed and stuffed with facts and examples. Thanks to the structure of the book with titles, subtitles and questions which classify and optimize information it is a pleasure to read it. Hence it easy to find required information just opening the right page and that is what makes this book a good piratical guide too.
Despite all the valuable information which is in Dr. Brache’s book I believe that it would be impossible to cover all the topics about organization in one book. I think that considering an enterprise a ‛living organism‛ special attention should be paid also to the links which connect ‛organs‛ in enterprise’s ‛body‛ and processes how they interact. It can be a separate research which together with this book would be a perfect and complete theoretical and practical guide.
In addition to all that has been said above it appears obvious to me that the new enterprise model will be changing in the future due to many external processes for example technical progress which is far more intensive now than it used to be in XX century. I believe that it will invariably evolve from Brache’s ‛New Enterprise Model‛ because it’s working and ‛living‛ system.
Denis O. Svyatun
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