Monthly Archives: January 2012



The border and the interaction at the border are  important and defining parts of an organisation.

These interactions are part of larger chains of interactions. That is one of the characteristics of our current society with interwoven streams of specialised activities.

Where does the entity of organizing begin and where does it end? Is it about the big picture or the small?

A mixed and complex picture that needs appropriate organisation design, that provides answers and spacious solutions and starts with asking the right questions. Design that recognises the fact that defining the unit of organisation is fluid and fuzzy, sometimes.




An organisation borders with a diverse environment of various other organisations, individuals, entities and spheres.

The border of an organisation is de facto multiform, because the other side varies.

Although the organisation might want to build uniformity, for al kinds of reasons. The experience of the border will nevertheless vary, because of the variations on the outside.

Although the defined brand-image (a form of border) might be rolled-out in a global uniform way, the actual experience will differ between clients, geography, the services and products exchanged. There may be a kind of unity in atmosphere, but assuming a standard interface (and one image) is foolish and certainly myopic.

So in reality there is no blank sheet to design the organisation on.


Organisation can be seen a single object. The outside border is the defining border.

There are inside borders but they are less relevant in the definition of the whole.

There might nevertheless become a moment when the inside division becomes more and more relevant.  Even to the extent that the one becomes two. Apparently, the size of one became too big to remain meaningful.

And this story can be told vice versa.

Not only the shape of the area of interaction matters, also what is actually exchanged and in what form matters.

Packages, separate streams or waves?

The characteristics of the exchange have an impact on the design of an organisation. Or put differently, the design can allow certain forms of exchange or inhibit them.

Practically, do organisation really design for meaningful interaction or just for logistical economies?

Looking at the area of interaction, as part of the border, we can see two ideas for its creation.

Is it an area formed by the implicit space where the border lines are shaped to allow for the common space?

Or is is created as being a kind of overlay over de existing border?

Why does this matter? Because it has consequences for the governance, the spirit, the rules of engagement of the interaction. To what extent do the various spheres of influence  dominate the interaction?