In previous blogs I have written about stages of innovation (Blog 7), of change (Blog 9) and, in my separate series of company blogs, about childhood (PIF Blog 1). Now I am capturing what I have written in the past about stages of organisations - and linking them to ego states.
In Hay (1990) I wrote that “Stewart & Maxon (1988) point out that organisations experience patterns of growth and transition; from small beginnings and innovation they progress to a size where they must introduce systems and structures, and then on to an integrated stage which is characterised by decentralisation and emphasis on personal leadership at all levels. I would argue that there is yet another stage that is beginning to take effect; that of community.” (p.163). I then added a list showing Stewart & Maxon’s descriptors of the three stages they had identified, with a fourth column containing my equivalents for the community stage.
Based on an original version by Stewart & Maxon, 1988: Community: added
In Hay (1993) I added a diagram and linked the stages to ego states, explaining that the pioneering stage attracts people who operate mostly from Child “with all the innate energy and creativity that each real child has and that only some of us seem to retain into adulthood. Leadership seems relatively easy, with most interactions being Natural Child-Natural Child.” (p.16).
It is hard for an organisation to grow without someone taking care of routine tasks, so the system stage means that people are brought in to add efficiency to the enthusiasm; these systems people are characterised by the use of Parent as they introduce rules and procedure manuals. “Leadership now tends to focus on Controlling Parent-Adapted Child interactions. In more paternalistic organisations, it may instead be Nurturing Parent-Natural Child.” (p.16).
The systems may overwhelm the creativity so that innovation ceases, people leave, or spend their time finding their way around the system. To survive, more people are brought in to mediate between the pioneers and the systems people. I described these as typically Personnel, Human Resources or Employee Relations and wrote that they help managers recognise the emotional needs of the employees, and the employees to accept the wisdom and experience of the managers. At the time, I suggested that these would operate from mainly Adult ego state; nowadays I would be referring to that as Functional Adult to make the point that I am describing behaviours here and not whether someone is in the here-and-now. I am also tempted to point out nowadays that some HR professionals might come across as Nurturing Parent, telling the managerial Controlling Parent not to be so hard on the ‘children’.
In terms of the additional stage that I added, I saw that as needing the shift from one ego state per person mode, creating a three-person symbiosis, into an organisational culture where everyone is enabled, and expected, to use all of their ego states. I pointed out that in my diagram the size of the organisation is shown as reducing at this stage. This is because people do not feel that they are in a true community if the numbers are too large – Gore-Tex work on the basis of no more than 200 people (Rhodes, 1982); Semco in Brazil reached a similar conclusion (Semler, 1993).
Finally, below is my latest version – published in Hay (2012) and renamed so that it provides two donkey bridges: 4 words beginning with C and 4 with E!
Hay, Julie (1990) Managerial Competences or Managerial Characteristics? Management Education and Development 21:5 305-315
Hay, Julie (1993) Creating Community: The Task of Leadership Leadership and Organization Development Journal 14:7 12-17
Hay, Julie (2012) Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA 2nd edit Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Rhodes, Lucien (1982) The Un-Manager https://www.inc.com/magazine/19820801/5178.html accessed 24 April 2018
Semler, Ricardo (1993) Maverick, London: Century
Stewart, Andrew & Maxon, Jim (1988) Management succession during organisational change. Paper presented at the Association of Management Education and Development.
© 2018 Julie Hay
Julie is a fan of open access publishing so feel free to reproduce any of these blogs as long as you still attribute it to her.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.