Wed, 15 Feb 95 07:53:00

Bill Bonnell amplified my analogy wonderfully, thus:
""Although I agree that it is more useful to think of organizations as
phenomena, I have come to adopt the view that they are both process
(emergent) and product (structure, culture, etc.). I find it more useful
to hold both of these viewpoints - when I can - simultaneously, in the
same way I think of rivers; that is, they are water moving from some place
upstream to some place downstream, but they are also the flow of water
past this place here...
Jack Hirschfeld I like a Gershwin tune, how about you?"
In LO102

So we can think of organizations as stocks and flows, accumulations and
rates of change. This is good because now we can begin to quantify them.
We can think of product flowing (production) and accumulating in inventory
and work in process. We can think of people flowing (hires and turnover)
and accumulating in _people being trained_ or _productive workforce_ or
_retires_. We can think of the state of culture and the flows which
change culture. How about $ flowing in and out and accumulating in
receivables, payables and cash."

Yes, this view of the organization as a dynamic system in which all the
elements are in flux is one implication of my comment. My view is that in
addition - and at the same time - the organization itself is a "product", an
entity which is more than the sum of its parts, and which has a role in the
larger context of its environment (just as the "ocean" is an output of the
rivers that feed it, but is also the source of the water which keeps the rivers
flowing, and also has other functions relative to the rest of the globe).

Bill, I have a little difficulty absorbing the $ flow into this view, except as
the goods and services they ultimately buy. In my imagination, money is only
representational, being nothing more than a collection of promises relating to
future delivery of output or performance. In this sense, although money
certainly flows through systems - and has its own organizational form which we
call "the economy" - I cannot grasp money as economic entities, anymore than I
can grasp the notes on a page as music.

Jack Hirschfeld         I like a Gershwin tune, how about you?