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Aspects of Organizational/Business Strategy and Operation

This is a summary-guide to business and organizational activity, at the strategic (corporate) level, at the middle-management level and at the operational level. It summarises how Dooyeweerd's notion and suite of aspects may be applied to business or organizational activity, at these three levels to provide normative guidance. Read each table as indicating the kinds of thing to take into account to (a) seek (b) avoid at each level. The 'Functioning' column indicates how we should and should not function. The 'Repercussions' column indicates the beneficial and detrimental repercussions that might result - note that the stated repercussions are not determined nor guaranteed.

This page is based on three main characteristics of Dooyeweerd's notion of aspects as spheres of meaning and law:

Note that for the early aspects the functioning mentioned is analogical rather than direct; this is indicated by their being in brackets.

Three tables:


At Strategic Level

At this level, we think about the organization as a whole, within its environment.

Aspect Functioning
Good / Bad
Repercussions
Benefit / Detriment
Quantitative
(to do with quantity, amount)
(n/a)
Spatial
(to do with continuous extension, space)
(Position of organization)
Kinematic
(to do with flowing movement)
(Business on the move)
Physical
(to do with energy, fields, mass)
Electric powering
Biotic/Organic
(to do with life functions)
Improve community and national health, and biodiversity /
Pollute and destroy habitat
Healthier future (human & non-human) /
Jeopardised foundations of life
Sensitive/Psychic
(to do with sense, feeling, emotion)
Analytical
(to do with distinguishing )
Differentiation from other similar organizations /
Allowing confusion with others
Public clearly understands what organization stands for /
Public confuses organization with others
Formative
(to do with shaping, achievement: technology, history)
Good strategic planning and meaningful goals /
Lazy strategic planning, poor or meaningless goals
The organization helps shape the world /
The organization makes no difference in the world.
Lingual
(to do with symbol-signification)
Good 'corporate communication' etc. /
Poor, or little, corporate communication
Public, media + external stakeholders understand all aspects of organization /
They either misunderstand aspects of the organization or are unaware of them.
Social
(to do with relationships, roles)
Maintaining good relationships, of mutual respect, with all external stakeholders /
Ignoring relationships and role in society
Relationships esp. with customers will be good /
Customers and public will lose respect for organization
Economic
(to do with frugal use of resources)
Recognising that environmental resources are limited; Installing technologies and techniques and procedures to minimise consumption and destruction of environmental and other external resources (e.g. zero-carbon) /
Allowing organizational activities to squander and destroy these resources
Lean, responsive operation in world, because less dependent on external resources /
Undermining of future generations and being overly-dependent on changes in external resources
Aesthetic
(to do with harmony, delight, fun, style)
Holistic vision that aims at harmony with community, society and environment /
Narrow vision that cares nothing for harmony (see also below)
Greater security and 'comfort' for the organization in the world, and for the world itself /
Conflicts with external world
Juridical
(to do with due, appropriateness)
Strategic corporate responsibility as a citizen of world and of nations (covering both legal and natural justice issues) /
Irresponsibility in the world (going against legal and/or natural justice)
Enhances justice of society, and gains deserved reputation and trust for doing so /
Public and others begin to distrust organization
Ethical
(to do with self-giving love)
Working for others in world, especially the poor who cannot reward in return, and not always for own advantage (See Note 1) /
Seeking only own advantage, especially at expense of others ('competitors', public, environment)
Enhances attitudes in society for good of all, especially the impoverished ones, which might return indirectly in blessing of the organization /
A dog-eat-dog attitude pervades society, to the detriment of all, especially the poor.
Pistic/Faith
(to do with vision, aspiration, commitment, belief)
Commitment to good quality vision and mission, which makes the organization meaningful in the world and even to God /
Lack of organizational vision, or meaningless vision (e.g. self-serving: 'To be the world's top airline of the 21st Century", Transworld Airlines, 1987).
Commitment, meaningfulness and dignity pervades the whole organization, and those outside respect it; 'spirit of the age' can be affected for good /
Aimlessness and loss of direction; 'spirit of the age' can become less healthy

Middle Level

This level is concerned with departments in the organization and the external environment as it is relevant to them.

Aspect Functioning
Good / Bad
Repercussions
Benefit / Detriment
Quantitative
(to do with quantity, amount)
Spatial
(to do with continuous extension, space)
Kinematic
(to do with flowing movement)
Physical
(to do with energy, fields, mass)
Biotic/Organic
(to do with life functions)
Employee healthcare /
Disregard of employee health
Healthy employees /
Many illnesses among employees
Sensitive/Psychic
(to do with sense, feeling, emotion)
Employee mental health and contentment /
Disregard employee stress and anger
Employees happy /
Angry, resistant or fearful employees
Analytical
(to do with distinguishing )
Clearly identify and objectives and demarcate responsibilities /
Allow employees to remain unsure of their tasks, responsibilities
Employees' motivations are directed at things important to organization /
Employees unsure about tasks and responsibilities, and so unwilling to take initiative
Formative
(to do with shaping, achievement: technology, history)
Good planning, effective structure /
Lax planning, structure that hinders important organizational activity
Effectiveness in achieving organizational aims /
Failure to achieve aims
Lingual
(to do with symbol-signification)
Good internal communication policy, good knowledge sharing, and good I.T. systems /
Lax communication and information channels, lack of knowledge sharing, badly-designed, incompatible I.T. systems
Employees and others clearly understand their areas of responsibility, knowledge becomes effective where needed, and I.T. systems assist work /
The 'Not' of all that
Social
(to do with relationships, roles)
Employees respected; Well-designed roles throughout organization; Plenty of social activity; Good relationship with customers etc. /
Employees treated as mere resources; Roles designed merely for convenience of, or at whim of, senior management; No social activity; Customers etc. treated as mere sources of income
Employees feel secure and valued; Everybody contributes with parity of workload; Friendships among employees; Customers etc. enjoy relating to organization /
Employees alienated; Some overworked, others underworked, some have 'non-jobs'; Conflicts and factions; Customers alienated
Economic
(to do with frugal, careful management of resources)
Continuous careful consideration and management of resources like time, materials, skills, knowledge, goodwill, etc. as well as money /
Wasting money on unnecessary nice-to-have things (when prosperous); Ignoring goodwill; etc.
Good overall performance /
Inability to survive hard times; Staff and others become less productive.
Aesthetic
(to do with harmony, delight, fun)
Orchestrating all the above, seeing how they interact, and ignoring nothing; Ensuring staff have adequate leisure and fun /
Focusing on one factor at the expense of others; Driving staff too hard
All parts and activities of the organisation work well together; the organisation is a good place to work. /
The organisation becomes unbalanced, and is no longer a good place to work.
Juridical
(to do with due, appropriateness)
Ensuring all staff and external stakeholders are given their due; Keeping contracts /
Ignoring rights of some; Illegal and unfair activities
Organisation will be respected. /
Resentment takes hold; Danger of court actions, with much resource wasted on preventing them.
Ethical
(to do with self-giving love)
Being generous to employees; and to community /
Being mean to employees
Goodwill is generated and spreads, which can be harnessed gently. /
Badwill spreads, and resistance.
Pistic/Faith
(to do with vision, aspiration, commitment, belief)
Commitment to a good self-giving vision and working in the light of it / Having no vision, or one that is merely self-serving. Staff and others are proud to be associated with the organisation and work better. /
Staff and others are ashamed of the organisation, and undermine it.

Operational Level

How each aspect of the operational level is meaningful depends on the tasks and processes that go on at that level. However, there are a number of things that might apply to many, if not most, such processes, which we can identify. The table contains some examples. Please use your imagination when using this.

Aspect Functioning
Good / Bad
Repercussions
Benefit / Detriment
Quantitative
(to do with quantity, amount)
Number of people involved in a process / task
-
Spatial
(to do with continuous extension, space)
Where people are who are involved
Kinematic
(to do with flowing movement)
Movement through the process; also movement of resources, people, etc.
Physical
(to do with energy, fields, mass)
Depends on process; e.g. construction industry, chemical industry Effects of physical causal processes
Biotic/Organic
(to do with life functions)
Health functioning Health of those involved
Sensitive/Psychic
(to do with sense, feeling, emotion)
Hearing, seeing, feeling: their importance depends on process
Analytical
(to do with distinguishing )
Alertness. Clear thinking, especially about what is meaningful and what is irrelevant. Unclear thinking or understanding can jeopardize process - especially deliberate obfuscation and hidden agendas (see pistic aspect).
Formative
(to do with shaping, achievement: technology, history)
Plans, goals;
Tools, techniques, technologies
Industry / laziness
Good planning helps process achieve its goals.
So do appropriate tools, techniques and technologies.
Laziness reduces achievement.
Lingual
(to do with symbol-signification)
Communication;
Records, instruction manuals, etc.
Labelling
Communication makes working together possible (social aspect)
Records, etc. help memory, and good instructions can help getting process right.
Labelling helps correct operation or understanding of processes.
Social
(to do with relationships, roles)
Working together
Friendliness / Hostility
Working together achieves more;
Friendliness / hostility affects working together
Economic
(to do with frugal use of resources)
Carefulness / waste
Management / mismanagement
Frugality is a good habit even when resources seem plentiful, because we don't know the future.
Aesthetic
(to do with harmony, delight, fun)
Harmony of the process (a) within itself, (b) with its contexts.
Enjoyment
(a) Some processes fall apart because of conflict or fragmentation.
(b) Processes out of kilter with their social, economic, legal or faith contexts might be killed off.
Do bored operators work badly?
Juridical
(to do with due, appropriateness)
(a) Legal / illegal operations;
(b) Appropriate / inappropriate operations
(a) Illegal operations tend to hinder themselves because of need for secrecy;
(b) Appropriateness (to purpose or context) is motivating.
Ethical
(to do with self-giving love)
Attitude of generosity, openness and trust / Self-centred, self-protective attitude Attitude spreads, especially down from 'the top' and generosity and openness tends to make things run much better and generate trust.
Pistic/Faith
(to do with vision, aspiration, commitment, belief)
Why is this process meaningful or important? Can we believe in it?
Commitment / disloyalty
If people feel the process is important or meaningful, they are more likely to work well and persevere under presssure.
Many projects fail because of disloyalty.


NOTES

Note 1. Ethical aspect of self-giving. Note that we do not advocate generosity without restraint. This aspect plays its role among other aspects such as those of economy. This means that the norm of self-giving is harmonized with those of frugality and justice, and does not negate them. But these other aspects should NOT be used (even surreptitiously) as an excuse to refuse generosity or self-giving.


This page is part of a collection that discusses application of Herman Dooyeweerd's ideas, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.

Written on the Amiga and Protext.

Copyright (c) 2006 Andrew Basden. You may use this material to improve your operations (even resulting in commercial gain), as long as you take all responsibility for using it. You may pass this material on as long as this complete copyright statement is passed on with it.

Created: 28 November 2009 Last updated: 4 December 2009 completed middle. 28 November 2017 entries in operational table, prompted by Breno Perdig√£o (thanks); changed conditions for use; contents.