juxtaposition as a binding element in #organisationdesign

Black and white

Chaos and ordening

Up and down

In and out

Rich and poor

Left and right

Grouped and dispersed

Quite a few words get their meaning in juxtaposition. Standing alone they have a meaning, but together with their counter party the meaning increases. New dimensions are added. In a sense the opposite pairs  are inseparably connected and by that bond they reinforce each others meaning. Good and bad.

In organisation there is an aversion towards juxtaposition. The norm is uniformity. Organisations tend to have their own mono culture, based on its assumed DNA. That culture is also a way to distinguish itself from the environment and other organisations.  Although the politically correct diversity is embraced, most of the time it are shades of the same color. Organisation are held together by a joint sense of purpose, or by a fascination for products or by the stability provided by an effective bureaucracy or  by the common believe that greed is good (and allowed) or by an interest in science and innovation or by the drive to care for the less fortunate in this world.

Organisation seldom allow for the benefit of the juxtaposition, the reinforcing power of two opposite ideas. It seems impossible and feels unnatural, crazy and bizarre, against every logic of organisation design.

But it could be interesting to challenge this aversion to juxtaposition. Can an organisation exist that is both open an closed? Can a company be global and local? Can an organisation be big and small? Can managers allow for unity and fractions. Would it not be interesting to follow both a centralised and a decentralised strategy? Can it be one while being schizophrenic?

In many aspects of life we see juxtaposition as interesting and even beautiful. In organisation there might also be room to allow for and embrace opposite sites, not to divide, but to bind, with some surprising beauty (and certainly not boring) as an outcome.

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