A few observations on organizational complexity
|"Rube Goldberg Contraption" - courtesy of Wikipedia.|
- Principle of functional complexity: Every role within an organization has at least one unique function.
Addendum: When there is more than one role with the same function, at least one of them has been further specialized to be unique in context.
- Principle of process complexity: As a consequence of (1), any process involving X roles has at least X steps.
- Principle of departmental complexity: There is no department within an organization that does not have at least one role.
- Principle of predictable complexity: As a consequence of (2) and (3), any process crossing at least X departments has at least X steps.
- FirstPrinciple of irreducible complexity: Any process will break by skipping a single step on the critical path, regardless of whether that step is value-adding or not.
- Second Principle of irreducible complexity: By asking each participant in a process, you will receive X undisputable reasons why a minimum of X steps are on the critical path.
- Third Principle of irreducible complexity: Any proposed change with with no more than X-E steps will result in at least E escalations against whoever raised the idea.
- Principle of complexity preservation: If the escalations E against a change proposal have a total influence greater than whoever proposed the change, the proposal will either be discarded or "adjusted" until the overall complexity is no smaller than before.
- Principle of evolving complexity: The above remain true when a "process optimization" function is added.
- Principle of special cause complexity: Any comparison towards simpler organizations will return to the principles of irreducible complexity.
Addendum: This is also true when comparing the organization with its own history.