The effects of business models

Harold Jarche has been encouraging us to question the industrial models for business that are still in use. (It's the model stupid, Management is the problem, How our structures shape us). As more people discover the effects of current business models on themselves, their communities and the environment, the impetus and support for change will increase. Meanwhile the proponents and defenders of the "big business", "shareholder wealth" and "corporate greed" models will continue to spin their self-congratulatory story.

The effects created by antiquated (centralized, command & control, top down, hierarchal, short tail) models are very similar to the negative effects of formal instruction on learners. Let's see if you can discover what those similar effects are.

If a model is closed to outside inputs, criticisms and contradictory perspectives, does that have the effect of increasing stability or the effect of inviting disaster?

If a model is providing consistent information from a centralized source, does that have the effect of getting everyone on the same page or silencing the community of diverse contributors?

If a model is generating wealth for shareholders, does that have the effect of enhancing market reputation or increasing public resentment?

If a model presumes to maintain control over "powerless pawns in the system", does that have the effect of structuring effective lines of communication and accountability, or the effect of eviscerating most people's curiosity, confidence, motivation and creativity.

For more about changing models see:

The Long Tail of formal instruction

Moving into the long tail

High performance networks solve the problems

Well marked exits

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  1. Thanks for adding to the conversation, once again. These are excellent questions, which I'll start using right away.

  2. Your very welcome, Harold. I've thought of a few more questions in the past hour.

    If a model treats each employee as an expendable and replaceable part, will all the employees feel they are being treated equally and fairly, or will they feel they are deprived of recognition for their unique contributions?

    If a model enforces policies across the board, will those employees out of compliance deserve punishment for violations or listening for unresolved issues that require a change in policy?

    If a model relies on a immediate supervisor to control subordinates' conduct, will the workers value the attention and immediate availability of guidance or will they experience being micro managed and wait to be told what to do?

    If a model uses committees to develop consensus across different chains of command, will those affected by the committees decisions buy-in to the committees' conclusions or resent the top-down imposition of flawed solutions?