Monday, April 13, 2009

Organizational Structures

While structural blends or hybrids tend to compose roughly a third of all organizational structures, there is still evidence within the whole to suggest pockets of centralization and decentralization or even hybrids within hybrids that exist. To centralize, decentralize, or perhaps create a hybrid. The following is quite a great analogy. “One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm” (Beckstrom and Brafman , 2008 as cited by Seeds & Khade, 2008).

Seeds and Khade (2008) displayed a chart breaking down the statistics on organizations that were centralized (31%) vs. decentralized (38%) vs. hybrids (31%), and the split was roughly thirds (, p. 4). They believe, however, that the best organizational structure lies in decentralization. When looking closely at hybrids, supposedly the best of both worlds, one could look at e-bay as an example operating with a centralized corporate hub where all major decisions and ideas occur and a decentralized customer approach for which they are famous (Seeds & Khade, 2008). The question of organizational structure is organization and industry-specific in that what works best for some does not create a “one-size-fits-all” to be extrapolated outward to all organizations.

Seeds. D. & Khade, A.S. (2008). Transforming a multi-national corporation from a centralized organization to a decentralized organization. International Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 8, No. 3. Retrieved March 20, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Integrity of Leadership Starts with the Individual

In attempts to answer why executives continue their bent path of organizational destruction even when there are strong leadership development programs in place points directly to individual character; their moral excellence. “The responsibility for organizational integrity must start with the organization’s framework and end with individual accountability” and although raider’s of the organizational ark should “swap their pin stripes for horizontal stripes….legislation alone will not correct corruption” (Barnett, 2002). There is no measure of character with which to grade potential employees and many times strength is determined (or evident to on-lookers) only when fully emerged in hot water. Many organizations have written ethics codes and comply with the legalese of the governmental policies without real “buy in” or understanding by those inside the organization. “We can’t be forced to choose between integrity and profits; rather we must strengthen the relationship between financial performance and social responsibility” (Barnett, 2002). Organizations are learning that their integrity is an evolutional process cultivated through leadership, culture, and values-driven programs. Bureaucratic compliance renders formal peripheral responses but meaningful change comes from within and it happens in informal ways that are organically grown from seed, carefully tended, fertilized, and nurtured. “Doing what is right always come down to the individual. It begins with the most basic leadership skills, supported by the organizational framework. It ends with no less than creating a new corporate culture, by communicating the fundamental principles that the company stands for through stories of leaders doing the right thing” (Barnett, 2002).

Barnett, R. (2002). Character-centered leadership. Leader Values. Retrieved March 25, 2009 from

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Politics of Crime and Corruption

The politics of crime and corruption are flourishing under the globalization regime creating greater landscapes in which to infiltrate and carry out vulpine efforts. If I may answer this generally speaking because as each of these constructs poses the potential for severe damage, it seems that crime and corruption is the most insidious of the three. The puppetmasters of crime and corruption attempt organizational takeovers internally and externally for the root purposes of greed and control and to increase the growing criminal economy. They launder money, evade taxes, practice rogue-banking, cover-up illegal profits and siphon the life out of every legal act. The headlining policy is “don’t ask, don’t tell”. “Law may often be part of the problem of corruption. Too many laws, often by excessive formalism, and vexatious procedures help create corruption (by forcing people to get around them) and weaken attempts to control it. Law diffuses responsibility; investigations and punishment over-dramatize; and the need to distinguish between the legal and illegal creates artificial dichotomies between behavior” (Fitzsimons, 2002). The perpetrators of corruption become trapped in the deviance of rationalization and denial, often capitalizing on “the inherent complexity, ambiguity, and dynamism that pervade organizations” (Anand et. al., 2005, p. 3). The corruption is organizationally generationalized by socializing newcomers into the corrupt practices so as to perpetuate the criminal/corrupt activities. As CEO, my stand to end these activities and behaviors would be simpler to close the organization and to begin again, however, to work with the existing issues at hand to thwart future attempts of corruption and dislodge the current foothold my focus would begin with prevention as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The first step would be to adopt and enforce a new code of ethics and the following four activities will be helpful in creating an environment of prevention: foster awareness among employees; use performance evaluations that go beyond numbers; nurture an ethical environment; and, top management needs to serve as ethical role models (Anand et. al., 2005). In addition to these prior actions, reversing deeply embedded rationalization and socialization is a hugely difficult challenge that may involve public exposure and the involvement of external change agents to be the impetus in recognizing the imperative of change.
Anand, V., Ashforth, B.E. & Joshi, M. (2005). Business as usual: the acceptance and perpetuation of corruption in organizations. Academy of Management Executive; Vol. 19, No. 4. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from
Fitzsimons, P. (2002). The politics of corruption in the 21st century. White paper. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from

Leadership Development Strategies

“Creating a global structure provides no benefit unless the team can take advantage of the synergies that exist” (Marr, 2007, p. 3). Organizational effectiveness is built through people and globalization is bringing together people of multiple cultures. Taking advantage of the best that each culture has to offer includes talent scouting for what each region already has at their disposal in regards to existing intellectual capital through its people. When globalization strategies are being put in place, there should be a talent development / leadership training program that can be pipelined out that is flexible enough to fit the needs of each culture and have the component of empowerment. Organization leaders who have already gone through cultural education and training for the region where they are to be deployed should go ahead of the companies infrastructure to begin forging relationships and looking for local talent. Talent development and leadership training should begin at this time to lay the foundation for the organization’s move and this then creates a structure whereby other locals can come in and become involved in the program designated by the organization where they can become involved in talent development and leadership training.
Marr, J.A. (2007). Globalizing the OD function – meeting global and regional needs. Organization Development Journal; Winter 2007, Vol. 25, Iss. 4. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.

Global Leadership Development

Creating a leadership development strategy: In regards to developing a global leadership pipeline, a study was done with a global Fortune 200 company where they were struggling to re-fill many global leadership positions and were in need of creating a systematic way to handle this need. They pulled together 20 senior managers and began to ask questions to understand the challenges involved in developing global leadership. The interviews with the senior managers centered around the following 3 questions: “(1) What are the experiences that will best prepare people for senior management positions?; (2) What skills and behaviors are needed to be successful in a global company?; (3) Is the current practice of leadership development working well, and how can it be changed to make it more effective?” (Connor, 2000, p. 2). The group agreed on several things such as, they needed a systematic way of development; they needed to plan career moves early; they needed to begin to groom people early and give them a multitude of different geographic assignments; they also needed to take more risks when selecting people for positions by pinpointing people early in their careers and begin making plans for development (Connor, 2000). “The executives thought that there was an over-reliance on the marketing department and expatriates as sources of future leaders” (Connor, 2000, p. 2). Their final agreements for leadership development included the agreement to broaden external hiring sources; look for internal talent regardless of the department they were working in currently; and recruit local talent outside of the U.S. (Connor, 2000). The resulting skill-set and capabilities gathered as a result of these interviews, necessary for successful global leadership culminate in the following: must be business savvy; know how to motivate; know how to use their personal influence; act like entrepreneurs; bring global perspective; and, have strong character (Connor, 2000). They then developed an individual development plan for those that were in the global talent pool with the following five sections: list strongest competencies; competencies that need to be developed; personal development actions planned and completed; short and long-term career options; and, willingness to relocate (Connor, 2000). “The final area of work important to a more proactive approach to developing global leaders was making sure that every senior executive and general manager around the world personally accepted responsibility for developing global leaders” (Connor, 2000, p. 7). “To remain competitive, companies must continually develop their people by identifying their very best and preparing them for tomorrow’s global challenges” (Connor, 2000, p. 10)
Connor, J. (2000). Developing the global leaders of tomorrow. Human Resource Management; Summer/Fall 200, Vol. 39, Nos. 2 & 3. Retrieved April 3, 2009 from EBSCOhost Database.