Organization and Formations

This is Part 4 of The Logic of Organizational Transformation: A 5-Part Series. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

The worst kind of misconception about transformation is that there’s only transformation.

But the truth is, the life of an organization is a series of micro and macro formations.

The goal of those formations is not to achieve perfect efficiency, but to design the environment that enables the unfolding, developing, and legitimization of new formations.

Transformation is just one of many types of formations that an organization undergoes.

An organization undergoes reformation, transformation, and deformation.

Figure 7: Three types of formations

So there are three formations, not just transformation.

Figure 8: The formation cycles

An organization undergoes reformation to address non-existential challenges. It’s a little bit like renovation. Disney is easily an example of that.

The organization undergoes transformation to evolve and survive in new environments, often by exploration. Apple and Netflix are the most obvious examples of succeeding by transforming themselves to face new challenges with new businesses and markets.

The organization undergoes deformation to deal with existential crisis. If we look at companies like Nokia or Blackberry after iPhone, it’s probably not hard to find clues to their deformations.

Part 5 coming soon.


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