The PEOPLE/HR MANAGER as an ORGANIZATION SPECIALIST

by Orlando S. Zorilla, DPM


This article is an enhancement of a previous one we published in the People Manager. That article was titled, “Organization Management is the Job of the HR/People Manager”. A similar discussion on the subject also appeared in Chapter 4 of the 8th Edition of the PMAP book, “People Management in the 21st Century, where we took the position that the HR/People Manager must be competent in Organization Analysis and Design (OAD). I still maintain that opinion. S/he should be truly an Organization Specialist.



We said in those write ups that an organization can be “viewed as a structured system that integrates human activities affecting the types of inputs and outputs and it is built around three basic components: process, competencies and structure. We now propose some changes to improve the approach to an OAD study. The new framework has five instead of only three organizational components: Anatomy, Physiology, People, Leadership, and Environment, or “APPLE”, for short.


To facilitate our discussion, let us draw a diagram of the modified organizational framework:


Anatomy (Structure)

Physiology (Function/Process)

S t r a t e g y - - --- - - People (Competencies) - - - -- - - - - Jobs (Work)

Leadership Style

Environment



ANATOMY. It is skeletal framework. Similar to a biological system, OAD, deals with the structural aspects of organization. It involves a study of the “architectural” specifications to establish a pattern of relationships among components or parts of the organization. Admittedly it is not easy to study structure separate from function. At best, some guidelines can established to guide employees to some patterned behavior, through skilful preparation of organization charts, job/role descriptions, and formulation of operating policies, reward systems and work processes. Moreover, there is the natural behavior of employees to group themselves in what is known as the “informal” organization.


PHYSIOLOGY. It is process. It involves the study of the functions of the various components of the organization as a living organism. Peter Drucker regard this as organization “engineering” which analysis should precede organization “architecture” (structure), emphasizing that organization is not the end; it is only a means to an end. Organization engineering involves the proper identification of the key activities (processes), or the “building blocks” of organization. It includes an analysis of the management and decision making process, the flow of information, and the interrelationships of key components in the organization. Important, according to Drucker is to distinguish between the different kinds of management: operating management, innovative management and top management and subsequently to determine their proper placement in the organization structure.


PEOPLE. Organizations do not perform; people do. It is the people who convert the company resources into desired results or outputs. To do so, they must have the right skills, for the right jobs, at the right cost, and at the right time. That is the traditional way we view people in business. But, now organizations are starting to regard people as “human capital”, the objective of which is “to place the right people. With the right competencies, in the right roles, that are value-added, at the right time.”Consistent with this new mindset, the Organization Specialist is challenged to design organization structures, policies and work systems that can provide opportunity for people to grow within the organization and work as real partners in business.


LEADERSHIP. The People/HR Manager is often at a dilemma, whether or not s/he should design a flat or tall organization, a team-based or functional structure. S/he knows that the organization must conform with the leadership syle of the boss, who may be an autocratic or a democratic leader. Annabel Beerel wrote an interesting idea about leadership, that “it is identified as an activity that initiates an adaptive process”... And, that “it is achieved by distinguishing adaptive challenges from technical challenges, mobilizing people to tackle problems that the inevitable raises, and holding steady until the adaptive work has been done...” If we follow this definition of leadership, we must build an organization that “requires understanding human beings as living systems that have the capacity to self-organize and learn through ongoing feedback from the system for which they are a part of.”


ENVIRONMENT. Some organizations develop sophisticated “environmental intelligence capability not just a means for averting disasters but also for creating new opportunities,” says Karl Albrecht in his book “The Northbound Train”. The study of the external as well as the internal environment in which the business operates is valuable input to organization design. Critical environments of the organization for study include: customer and competitor environments, economic, technological, social, political, legal and physical environments. We consider environment in building organizations not only for the present but also for the future Albrecht suggests a new thinking process that is exploitive rather than deterministic – from planning to “futuring”. In futuring, the organization “must ride shock waves, exploit trends, manage events, and monitor critical indicators.”


“APPLE”, short for: Anatomy, Physiology, People, Leadership, and Environment. These are the five components of organization we must study and understand to enable us to do a good job as People/HR Organization Specialist.









Orlando S. Zorilla, DPM; is Past President of PMAP Society of Fellows; Co-Author of PMAP books: "People Management of the 21st Century" and "The Moving Train: Integrating Strategy, Organization and People. “










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