Human-Organization Crisis: 
Identification, Response & Recovery
A top-view
 (the page  has been in development since Oct.2004)

 " Organizations inevitably face crises, but few are well prepared  to deal with them".

[Michael Watkins]

  Short e-paper of Adam Maria Gadomski

  A Socio-Cognitive Engineering Approach (SCE),

  HID  and  MIINS  research groups,  FPN dep.


 

   Human-organization crisis is a typical pathology of old, large, especially, not business social-services,  government research, public administration, as well as, regional or international organizations.
All of them are characterized by many the same properties, and their symptoms are well seen from the systemic socio-cognitive perspective.

In general, a crisis of organization causes its own "natural" and frequently "not conscious" response, but the proper recognition and management of the crisis require its external and internal identification, as well as, a complex and "delicate" recovery strategy.

 

 

0. Identification Method:  the TOGA Conceptual Framework

 

The work employs the top conceptualizations, axioms and methodology of the TOGA (Top-down Object-based Goal-oriented Approach)  meta-theory, it means, its top ontology and epistemology. Definitions of basic concepts and modeling frameworks are essential for this research.

 

1.  Identification of an Organization Crisis 

A) Symptoms and critical vulnerable properties of an organization

 The metaphor of  the health care of human body is useful for the initial top-down identification of the problem.

The basic, most easy observable crisis symptom is an inefficacy of organization internal and external decision-making (d-m). In such cases, the declared intentions of decision-makers are not congruent with the measured/observed results of the performed actions.

The second aspect is a lack of congruency between, for instance, "old" organization structures and the possibilities of competencies and responsibility networks in the organization.

The pathologies of an organization grown around the improper flows and allocations of information, knowledge and preferences  in frame of  repetitive networks of inter-dependencies based on the subjective UMP (Universal Management Paradigm). This paradigm is analyzed in the thesis of S.Mazzuca: http://erg4146.casaccia.enea.it/Simona/index.html.

At present, the critical factor of crisis identification is the generic framework of the  ontology of intelligent organization (a meta-ontology), not yet sufficiently precisely defined and investigated. It includes such basic concepts as: organization fundation-goal, functional structure, role,  competence networks, decision-making and ... ethics (1, 2).
Next, going "in deep", necessary "top" definitions and their reciprocal relations are introduced in the TOGA theory as the properties of a formal abstract intelligent organization composed of abstract intelligent agents (entities).

The identification/diagnostis of a concrete organization in crisis, requires a construction of organization-dependent ontologies on  sufficiently detailed (generalization) levels.

An organization ontology has to take under consideration the specific context (constrains), objectives and the type of organization resources  .

An utility of the application of socio-cognitive engineering methods (TOGA) to the diagnosis of organization pathologies and vulnerabilities are briefly illustrated in the ppt presentation (SCEF-2003 Workshop) , and in the Gadomski's paper related to the socio-cognitive  vulnerability identification , CNIP Conference (2006):

B) Crisis taxonomies and top-down crisis modeling

The main factors useful for the organizational crisis taxonomies and  crisis modeling,  are the  following:

  primary cause criteria ( various types of human 
      managerial errors) in human-human, human-computer
      human-
organization interactions;
   -  not-business organization pathologies  related to the      

      formal organization structure and the real role/responsibility

      network;

   -  managerial pathologies (they are caused by human/ 
      cognitive factors ); 
   -  conflicts of interests; hidden implicit preferences of d-m'ers;
   -  inertia of managerial strategies & power distribution;
   -  lost of organization intelligence and  self-consciousness     

      (self-awareness).

All of them can be described in the terms of  the management of information, preferences, knowledge (IPK) and the distribution of organizational information acquisition and executive power.

In the crisis modeling we may distinguish two types of crisis essential  for the sustainable responses of human organizations and for the choice of a minimal-stress recovery strategy, see the CNIP2006, the  presentation on Organization Vulnerability Modeling.


 

  2. Socio-cognitive Pathologies (SCP)

 

Socio-cognitive organization pathologies leading to  organization crises are weakly recognizable for external observers but they are usually well visible by the organization employees. For the reason of the managerial inertia they are neglected by the  organization authorities and their revealing  is usually connected with individual personal  risk, but usually, informal information and opinions circulating between the  organization employers relate to the well cognitively recognizable symptoms of SCP.

 The most serious  organization pathology is possible  to  conceptualize (A.M.Gadomski, 2005) as the triangle composed of reciprocally interacting :

 

ignorance,  arrogance,  power  (IAP).

  From the computational modeling and simulation perspective, using IPK meta-model, we may assume the following short explanations: 

ignorance is considered as the lack of  formally requested knowledge,

- arrogance is based on the  arbitrarily accepted own preferences system (see also  Wikipedia) where the subject opinions are considered better than any other - it can be conscious or not conscious.

- power relates to the access to information and to the possibility of and autonomy in the realization of own decisions.

* The IAP syndrome, if related to the high-level managers, unable  internal  initiatives, neutralizes externally activated  processes  of the organization improvement and resilience. At the end,  it usually leads to different forms of socio-cognitive and socio-economical crises.

* The IAP pathology depends on the individual assessment by managers,  risk and benefits in their decision making . It especially emerges when  managerial personal benefits are possible, and the risk of  decisions, not profitable (wrong) for the organization, may be neglected during its routine functioning.

 

  "In the lack of  possible payoff, the main meta-objective of a public administration decision-maker is the minimization of his/her personal risk"  [prof. George Ridman]


 

 

 

For the reason of the human bounded rationality (Herbert Simon), the  triangle of Ignorance,  Arrogance and Power also is closely related to such not business factors as: cultural, ethics and emotive/emotional.

The IAP pathology development is a slow at first, and increases with time. It causes socio-cognitive organization vulnerability. Therefore a  proper periodical socio-cognitive organization scanning and early diagnosis are essential for the identification of  the IAP symptoms and for the application of a sustainable prevention(*) or recovery strategy.

 

References: Socio-cognitive Pathologies: Intelligence and Manipulation in Managerial Decision-making, Adam M. Gadomski (in editing, 2007). See also the stuff of the CRESCO-SOC-COG project.

----------------

(*) Prevention means to stop or cancel something whilst it's going on before it can cause losses.

   3. Sustainable Response and Recovery 
        Strategies  (SRRS)

   A real organization response on its own crisis and the strategies of recovery which could be efficient, can be strongly different. 
The main difficulty relies on the harmonization of internal initiatives with external support of  resilient interventions, internal socio-cognitive resistance/
inertion, and with strategic, operational and tactic motivation management.

 

   A) Key meta-properties of SRRS:

 

     -  Human factors (socio-cognitive)

     -  Organizational and business factors

     -  Socio-political and economic factors

     -  Policy making style: internal and  external pressing/interventions
    

     In particular:

      -  Autocratic and democratic  initiatives  principles

      -  Motivation building and motivation  management; role of a

        leadership.

   B)  The main SRRS types:

                         -  Alfa Strategy

                         -  Beta Strategy

                         -  Gamma Strategy

                         -  Pseudo Strategy

   All above strategies apply the generic organization model ( meta-model) based on  three TOGA's frameworks: UMP, IPK Paradigms (URP) and  SPG Approach (UDP), together.
* The SRRS strategies are specified on a meta-management level, therefore they do not depend on specific objectives/mission/design-goal of organizations.
* They rather depend on the concrete diagnosis of the type of organization pathology, its relation to the range of possible threats , and after they follow the TOGA top-down specialization and decomposition methodology up to the levels of details sufficient for activation of the available recovery knowledge.

* The SRRS strategies include: recognition of organization lifecycle, preventive interventions, and application of the Precautionary Principle.

In particular, they require the  monitoring of: autonomy, responsibility, transparency and sustainability (ARTS) of the managers,  where:

 

 -  autonomy enables self-regulations and self-correction initiatives,

.-  responsibility provides effective decision-making frameworks,

    it includes the professional IPK, and the definition of roles network

 -  transparency provides information about the state of organizational

    IPK, enables individual comprehension of the organization

    preferences,  and (if property realized) leads to the reinforcement  of

    the employees motivations

 -  sustainability is related to the cognitive and organizational bases

    of motivation management aspects, such as cultural and ethical

    factors, and to the possible conflicts of interests between the

    organization and its employees.

 

    Lifecycle:framework of a Generic Human-Organization Crisis  

 

  SCP  Development  --> Internal Vulnerability& Threats Identification(IAP)

    --> SRRS (ARTS)

 

For a consultation or  a cooperation proposal, or  for more information  on the SRRS strategies send e-mail  (with "Subject: Organization crisis:...")


Definition of  a meta-crisis:   It is the crisis of  crisis recovery management .

 

       Remarks

        The conceptualization and methodological frameworks

       employed for crisis management (as an event) incorporate  the

       management/supervision of its numerous  factors, organization

       components and properties.

       Therefore socio-cognitive crisis modeling and management

       include such concepts as: threat, vulnerabilities, risk, danger, 

       safety, robustness, motivation  and many others, which usually

       are analyzed in their independent groups. The TOGA meta-theory

       framework enables their successive  top-down

       introduction/definition , specialization  and decomposition to such

       level of their observability and measurability which gives the

       possibility of goal-oriented effective interventions.

      

       More information on this approach ( from not always congruent

       perspectives) is included in the  papers referenced below.

        . 


  

  Some References

 

 - The Nature of Crises, 2001, Bonita Neff
  - Definition of decision-making, 1997, A.M:Gadomski, 

 -  Cognitive decision-making,  A.M:Gadomski, 

 -  Organization Vulnerability, ppt , 2006,  A.M:Gadomski, 
 -  Assessing Your Organization's Crisis Response Plans: Harvard 
    Business Online ,
  - Essential top properties of a human organization represented
    by  an abstract personoids' organization framework (ENEA's paper)
  - Organizational Crisis Management: Planning for Crises
  - Navigating toward tomorrows
  -Your Crisis Response Plan: The Ten Effective  Elements.
 -  HBSP Titles on: Organization
      ... on Organizational Change; Andersen Consulting - EMEAI: Reorganization 
     for Revitalization; ...Assessing Your Organization's Crisis Response Plans;
  
 -    IL DECISION MAKING: DALLE ORGANIZZAZIONI UMANE ALLE
      NUOVE ORGANIZZAZIONI ARTIFICIALI INTELLIGENTI , 2002, ENEA's pages
  

   ...


  Results of the Google search


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For the citation purposes: A.M.Gadomski, Human-Organization Crisis: Identification, Response & Recovery. e-Paper on MKEM Server, ENEA, since Oct.,2004:  http://erg4146.casaccia/.enea.gad-crisis.htm  (last  updating: 5 June 2008)

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Since: 10/10/04 16:27:27