Blurred boundaries between man and machine, autonomous machines performing tasks and operations, digitization and integration of value chains, human 2.0. etc. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is not only on our front porch but is in our living rooms.
In the last two decades, our world has been a consequence of constant technological transformations never seen before throughout history, disrupting literally every aspect of our human lives and organizational operations. With the current leadership and management practices having been made redundant by the ever-increasing complex dynamics and technological changes, the modern organization's holy grail search for a management and leadership model responsive to the 4IR can be found in the practice of Orgtology.
This essay discusses and describes the practice of Orgotology and how hypothesis 2X is the panacea to challenges posed by 4IR to leaders and managers of 21st organizations. The essay first explores the practice of Orgtology and its underlying theories in the branches of Organamics. and Orgamatics.
It further unknots the theory of inverse duality upon which the hypothesis 2x is premised, proving its importance to the 4IR as well as its significance to the modern 21st organization. The conclusion wraps up with the application of Orgtology practice in the contemporary organization.
Hendrikz (2020), defines Orgtology as the science of organization, whose theories are testable, provable, and falsifiable. In its simplest form, Orgtology refers to the study and understanding of the relationship between the projective and receptive parts of the organization. The study of Orgtology is premised upon the theory of inverse duality which is not a new phenomenon as it can be observed in other various fields of study as well as in nature (Koestler, 1981). As rightly pointed out by Biloslavo (2012). "at the core of all things, there is always a paradox". Biloslavo further defines this paradox as an idea of two opposing thoughts which despite being contradictory are equal. Looking around us it would be difficult not to see the duality that envelopes us as duality can be found in good and evil, concrete and abstract, strategy and operations, global and local, Eros and Thanatos, life and death. (Koestler, 1981). In Orgotology, dualistic thinking is summed up in the Hypotheses 2x and is defined in terms of co-existing opposing complementary forces drawing their resources from the same place instead of two opposing competing forces where one has to displace the other. Hypothesis 2x forms the basis of managing inverse duality in Orgtology and as suggested by Evans, Genadry (1999), Smith, and Lewis (2011), managing dualities is a vital cog of running a successful organization in a world of uncertainties. The Orgotology practice is a guiding tool to managers for identifying oppositional poles, managing, and exploiting them simultaneously.
Pertaining to Fourth Industrial Revolution (Schwab 2015), says, "We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another". The transformation and complexity in organizations will be unparalleled to any other human experience. At the heart of 4IR is the creation of "Smart factories, organizations, and automated systems". Human and machines will be co-workers negotiating and sharing workplace areas together, Peters. (2017, 28). Such an organization requires an elaborate methodology to lead and manage complex relationships. Orgtology creates necessary theories and philosophies to manage such interactions.
Understanding Orgotology Theory.
At the heart of organizational success according to Orgtology is the hypothesis 2x theory a fundamental concept that defines the existence of an organization as the sum of projective and receptive parts operating in sync to form an equilibrium. Hendrikz (2020) states that organizations exist through relations and relationships, through the interaction of activities in an unending cycle of projecting and receiving.
Two major branches of Orgotology are Orgamatics and Organamics.
Orgamatics primarily deals with organizational processes and systems, Hendrikz (2020), which is the mathematical side whilst Organamics deals with X factor of the hypothesis 2x which is the abstract part of the organization. Hypothesis 2x as pointed earlier highlights the inverse duality in the organization as the interaction between projective and receptive parts of organization The inverse duality comes from the fact that both parts draw their resources from the same pot and an increase of resources in one-part results in the decrease of resources in another part. The projective part is considered the masculine part whilst the receptive part is the feminine Hendrikz (2019).
It is a proven fact that every organization needs a strategy to direct its operations, without one it becomes irrelevant to its sponsoring environment whilst at the same time, the strategy must be complemented by operations for its execution, for without operations, the strategy is inconsequential. When an organization focuses on operations without a strategy it becomes an efficient but irrelevant organization. In such a scenario, an organization might be operating at optimum in terms of turning its inputs into outputs but might struggle to find takers for its products because they lack relevance to the market which could have been achieved through strategic positioning of products to market requirements. Strategy without efficient operations, therefore, gives birth to the relevant organization but without financial sustainability because of operational inefficiencies. Finding and creating the equilibrium, therefore, becomes the orgotoligist (practitioner of Orgotology) area of specialty. "Without a strategy, operations will face irrelevance. Without operations, the strategy will have no meaning. They thus form an interdependent whole…." (Hendrikz 2020).
The strategy is the projective masculine part of the organization, whilst operations are the receptive feminine part of the organization. Leadership is responsible for conceiving strategy and is considered a projective part whilst management is considered the receptive part that receives strategy and turns it into operations. Leadership creates chaos, change and is disruptive in nature whilst management brings order. The role of management is therefore to receive from the leadership and implement the strategy through process construct in which a system is designed and work is done. The role of management in the organization according to Orgotology is to improve organizational efficiency through repeating and improving yesterday's performance until the organization has reached optimum levels of converting inputs into outputs without waste. This same inverse duality can be observed in the tussle between innovation and stability. For an organization to keep ahead of the competition they need to constantly innovate and improve on their products thereby constantly bringing change and improvements to their systems, on the other hand, stability and routine are hallmarks of perfection. How innovative the organization must be, will now depend on the market it is operating in as well as how disruptive and innovative are its competitors. For example, Coca-Cola company would focus more on maximizing its operational efficiencies and continue offering its traditional drinks which have been in the market for over a century whilst a cellphone manufacturing company need to be constantly innovating as technology on cell phones has a short life span, sometimes less than a year hence each year they have to have a product that is better than the previous year otherwise their demise would be certain, a scenario apotheosized by Nokia's failure to innovate and transform from first-generation cellphones to smartphones.
There are no two individuals in the universe who are alike and share the same traits and characteristics. Given the same resources, organizational structures, and running similar organizations in the same environment it's most likely that organizations will fare differently and this can be attributed to the human factor, a strong determinant to the success or failure of the organization.
This study of the human factor in the organization as captured as x in the hypothesis 2x is termed Organamics. Organamics which is the second branch in Orgotology is best described as the study of the effect of people's dynamics on organizational functioning Hendrikz (2020).
Whilst Orgamatics seek to create RPO Relevant Performing Organisation, Organamics study seeks to create an understanding of RPI Relevant performing Individual.
Structures and Systems of Organisations in the First to Fourth Industrial Revolution
Each industrial revolution has different organizational structures and systems giving birth to different management and leadership models. During feudalism, command and control were the dominant leadership and management models at playMcGrath (2014) and it heavily influenced leadership and management models in the first industrial revolution in the 18th century which was powered by the steam engine. There was not much of a structure in the organizations then, serve for the church, military, monarchy, and few organized trading organizations. The organizational structure in the first industrial revolution can best be described as "one the family firm craft-shop …..run by a master craftsman with a couple of journeymen, apprentices and family helpers" Judit Kapás (2008 )
The second industrial revolution witnessed the advent of assembly lines and mass production. It ushered in new organizational structures and systems which ensued increased work efficiency which was brought about by assembly lines and division of labor marking the commencement of Fordism as management and leadership model powered by the works of great engineer Taylor.
The third industrial revolution normally touted the digital era saw the emerging power of computing, software, and personal computers Kruger (2017). New management models like ERP, JIT, JIC, Lean management among others were borne by the digital transformation of the organization. Toyotism became the leading management and leadership model adopted throughout Europe and beyond whose legacy is still being felt in today's organizations.
Today 4IR is transforming organizational structures and systems leading to the need for changing management and leadership models to respond to the new organization. The modern organization in the digital era requires not only to develop technological solutions but to build innovative and strong organic systems that are receptive to transformations and willing to experiment and be unceasingly innovating whilst maintaining their relevance (Schiuma 2017). Innovative technologies and artificial intelligence are the bedrock of 4IR in an automated industrial process as observed by Petrillo et al (2018), giving birth to an integrated man-machine environment as a new work model.
According to Shockoe (2020), the 4IR has brought new systems and structures into the organization as depicted in the picture below and Orgotology theory seeks to create appropriate responsive management and leadership models.
Major Challenge Facing Organisations in the 4IR:
The changing roles and nature of work
Kark, Briggs, and Terzioglu, (2020) in the article 'The future of work in technology' observed that, "The proliferation of disruptive technologies is continually reshaping businesses, industries, and markets……… transforming the labor market in general and the technology workforce in particular", to them the most important forces to be redefined in 4IR are, what (work), who (workforce), and where (workplace).
Hypothesis 2X application in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Shaping the future
As alluded to earlier, organizational structure and systems have evolved in parallel with the progression of technology, demanding a shift in how organizations are lead and managed, Sima (2020). The Industrial Revolution as witnessed in the manufacturing sector, evolved shifting the focus from production to productivity, then automation, and now connectivity which has been made possible through the deployment of cyber-physical systems in production processes. From the early days of William Lee in 1589 inventing the knitting machine to this revolution, each revolution led to the replacement of employees' skills by making their tasks easier.
The scientific study of work in the first industrial revolution by great scholars led by Taylor sought ways to standardize and simplify work increasing output. 4IR is feared to have birthed the "End of Work" as work is traditionally known, confounding roles and tasks of employees. The future of work will involve man working alongside the machine. In Orgtology in the field of Orgamatics, we have theory 2P work which helps managers understand what "work" is. In theory 2P Hendrikz (2018) states that
Work is where the rubber meets the road. In a world bound by time, we do all work through a sequence of activities. Some sequences have a definite beginning and end. They are projects. Others repeat a known past, which makes them cyclic processes. There is no other way. Work is either a project or a process. Processes help us to perfect what we did yesterday. Projects help us to do what we have never done before.
Thus the clear description of work is important to managers and leaders in the fourth industrial era. All work that is cyclic/ repetitive can be automated with machines and robots deployed to accomplish it. As is known, machines have a higher rate of efficiency and accuracy than humans thereby reducing errors and increasing productivity. Managers need to identify work that is repetitive in the organization and create a process for it, an activity we call process construct in Orgotology.
Today Alibaba runs an automated world-class warehouse where robots sort and dispatch cargo to various destinations in the world without error. The robots carry cargo with a weight of 3 times more than what humans can carry, having no breaks in the 24-hour day except when they sense that they are low on power and they drive themselves into charging bays to replenish their battery power. This has given the company a competitive edge over rivals. This shows that to be successful managers in the fourth industrial era must harness the power of technology like what their predecessors in the earlier industrial revolutions did and for them to do this well the need to understand the theory 2P of work is of paramount importance.
Source: World Economic Forum
Businesses in the 4IR must adopt intelligent machine automation and non-routine roles must be left AI to perform these daily activities. The design and management of that process must become an integral part of the management role in 4IR. Using an example of the hospitality industry, we will have virtual assistants managing all routine tasks, like taking orders, whilst humans participate in important customer service communication. Food giants like McDonald's have already adopted such technology automating operations where the nature of the task is physical and task setting is transactional.
Task or activities that are cognitive in nature but transactional in settings which are recurring such as, risk reviews, pricing, loan decisions, etc. through use of data and algorithm can be subjected to automated management decision making. This results in superior responsiveness and lowering operational costs as noted by Bucklin, Lehmann, and Little, (1998) a point further endorsed by Oger, Bénaben, Lauras and Montreuil, (2018) that automation of management decisions is highly desirable from a standpoint of both efficiency (productivity) and effectiveness (relevance).Once work has been defined and done it is important for management to be able to measure the results of work and task accomplished. Theory 2E of results in Orgtology helps us understand how to measure results of an activity that is cyclic and receptive and results of a projective activity that has a definite start and end. "An output is the result of a process. when organization defines its activity, sequence, and rules, it creates outputs". Hendrikz (2020.) Whilst output is the measurement metric of the second part of the duality of theory 2E. An outcome as described by Hendrikz (2020). is the response of the sponsoring environment to an output. Simply put output measures efficiency whilst outcome measures effectiveness. In the 4IR the measurement of outputs can be automated and be left to machines whilst effectiveness remains a complex part of management that requires human skills and involvement. An organization needs to focus on both outputs (efficiency) and outcome (relevance) to create a Relevant Performing Organisation RPO. Work analysis through work outcome analysis helps determine activities that organizations should continue or discontinue. Work output analysis can help to identify activities (work) to be done by people, robots, or amalgamation of the two. This will inevitably result in changing of roles and structure of the organization in the 4IR
The shift of Focus: From Technology to Systems.
In the third industrial revolution, technology became the biggest driver of organizational transformation and success. Organizations adopted technology in their day-to-day operations as it helped to ease the task of the workers and helped management make better data-driven decisions. The integration of technology to operations gave birth to JIT, ERP, among other technologies that were adopted by many manufacturing companies and beyond. In the 4IR there is abundant need to shift focus from just technology to systems as summed up in the suggestion by Klaus Schwab (2016)
"Firstly, we must focus on systems rather than technologies because the important considerations will be on the wide-reaching changes to business, society, and politics rather than technologies for their own sake. …….. otherwise, there is no room for optimism and positive transformation, and society's agency is nullified……. we need to prioritize futures by design rather than default"Knowledge production, management, and ownership as noted by Professor Arthur Mutambara in 2018 during a public lecture at the University of Johannesburg is of paramount importance to the success of 4IR in Africa and beyond. To enable organizations to harness the power of knowledge and systems in the 41R, the Orgotology practice has developed the theory of Orgtelligence known as theory 2I. We use theory 2I to measure the sum of systems intelligence and human intellect within an Organisation Hendrikz(2020). The idea behind the Orgtelligence theory is that Human intelligence must work alongside algorithmic systems intelligence for the success of the organization. Organizational level intelligence is measured using the intelligence of its systems as a measuring barometer. The majority of organizations have no problems in recruiting the right talent with the right knowledge and right intellect but unfortunately, the organizational intelligence is operating at tacit intellect (human) and at the most explicit (record) level with nothing at systems intelligence level. This has created the big-man syndrome in the organizations if the intelligence of the organization is at tacit levels.
In the not-so-distant future, all routine, algorithmic, and organized work will be automated by machines freeing human talent to do creative and strategic work.
Apple is a good example of a company that relied on Steve Jobs tacit knowledge, when the board fired him the company had to recall him back after taking a knock on its profits. His return to his role as CEO, saw the return of the company to profitability though the board was now wise to create implied intelligent systems rather than rely on tacit intelligence. Coca-Cola company has been one of the constantly top performing companies for over a century and its success can be traced to its implied intelligent systems.
Companies that can quickly convert tacit intelligence into implied intelligence have higher probability of replicating themselves as evidence by success of Star-Bucs, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) among others. With the advent of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in 4IR it is those companies that have moved from tacit intelligence to implied intelligence that will be able to take advantage of what the innovative technology is offering
Conclusion: Hypothesis 2X Application in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The future of the organization lies in its ability to redefine its structures, systems, and work. Each industrial revolution had an impact on those three elements (structures, systems, and work.) of the organizations. Any company that does not refine those elements is most likely to suffer the same fate as great companies like Nokia, Kodak, Xerox, Polaroid Hitachi among other great companies that failed to read the changing times. The ability of an organization to make AI and humans co-existent will have a massive effect on Org in all its aspects. The future is not on replacing humans with Ai but on creating an environment where both strive together. Education will have to change and focus more on equipping learners with skills to be abstract thinkers.
The most outstanding impact of the 4IR in organizations is in its ability to drive efficiency. Its handicap is its limitation in driving relevance. AI can create an efficient flow for an innovation-based company such as Apple, but AI cannot create Steve Jobs. Neither can AI dream about going to Mars like Elon Musk. It can certainly help us to get there, but the idea is human. Hendrikz (2021). This means humans are still playing a fundamental role in the organizations in the 4IR. This means there is a need to create a dual existence with AI, this duality must be maintained between AI intelligence cyber-systems optimizing efficiency and humans negotiating relevance with the organizations sponsoring environment.
In this duality, machines run the mathematical repetitive side of Org whilst humans drive vision and relevance. A successful organization in the 4IR is the one that can create and find the equilibrium between AI and Humans and create an augmented workforce. humans thus become the abstract thinkers that redefine the future whilst AI perfectly repeats the past.
Many organizations will need fewer humans and workforce possessing skills that can be done by AI like accountants, bookkeepers, human resources, cashiers, cleaners, etc. would be the first causalities. Those companies that will adopt technology alone without understanding this duality and need to create equilibrium will find themselves failing to produce products aligned to market needs and will struggle with relevance. Those companies that will not adopt technology will find themselves struggling to compete. Orgtology will become the guiding tool to organizations equipping leaders and managers as they navigate the new uncharted territories in the 4IR
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