What structures determine the true behaviour of an organisation?
We are inspired by great employees. Because they show behaviours that produce very good results ("output"). As systemics, we see the DNA of the organisation in the behaviour of these employees.
Our enthusiasm is not a stroke of luck that stems solely from the individual personality. Rather, the organisational framework is essential. We can diagnose this framework concretely and actively shape it. With the structural picture of the System Model.
OSTO System Model
Let's look at the OSTO System Model from right to left: There are outputs that inspire, they go back to observable behaviour - embodied in the employee previously mentioned. And this behaviour is motivated by the structure of the eight design elements:
The “People” component covers every member of a company or organisation, their talents, qualifications, expectations and needs.
The “Technology” component covers the technical machinery, equipment, building etc. (material resources) and their relationships with each other, i.e. all materials and spatial circumstances. In a further sense, process patents or other stable assets can be considered as technology within the system.
The “Organisational Structure” is the organisational structure and process, that is, the functions, hierarchies, relationships of subordination and control of processes in temporal, spatial and material aspects.
The “Tasks” component is derived from the open nature of organisations. It encompasses the description of the individual tasks arising from customer needs, their division into subtasks in the form of concrete work assignments, expectations of functions, workplaces etc. In this way, processes can be developed to implement and cement changes in organisations.
The “Decision-Making System” describes where, how, by whom, at what level, in which location and with which aids decisions are actually taken. In addition, it describes the methods, processes, rules of play etc. that control decision-making processes. Formally defined decision-making paths are only a portion of the total effective decision-making system.
The information system describes who, when, by whom and with which aids information is – or is not – received, and why this is the case.
The “Reward & Control System” is understood as comprising amplification and attenuation systems of both a material/immaterial and formal/informal nature. What is meant by this are processes that monitor and control human and technical behaviours, results and processes. These include, for example, remuneration structures, the allocation of budgets and assignment of positions, control by KPIs and the unwritten rules of companies such as personal appreciation.
The “Development & Renewal System” of a company helps the organisation retain flexibility, the ability to perform and adapt, and lets it continuously develop in this regard.
If we continue looking at the model from right to left, we see strategies. In the OSTO model, the word "strategies" stands for the values and principles on which these organisations are based. We find them as patterns as a result of the design elements. Here we are on the track of the components of the organisational DNA.
In the next step, we look for the "pattern within the pattern": What goals do I recognise within the strategies? In addition to the diagnosed goals, necessary goals enter the system via the "feedbacks" of the model as an internal concretisation of the Reason for Existing. But do the necessary goals fit the diagnosed goals?
In our entry-level example of inspiring employees, the diagnosed goals will harmonise well with the required goals. We have a consistent, highly effective organisation. Often the reality is different. Especially in mature organisations, shadow goals have established themselves that conflict with the necessary goals. They distract from the Reason for Existing and cause negative results. These shadow goals are nowhere to be found and are often unconscious.
With the structural view of the OSTO System Model, design elements that prevent success, counterproductive strategies and misleading shadow goals can be worked out from empirical observations. This learning process enables a reflective and effective redesign – and thus more moments of enthusiasm among employees and customers.
OSTO Diagnosis of an Organisation in a nutshell