In the last blog, we attempted understanding the J-Form of organization better. In today's blog we look at the Silicon Valley style of organization (closer in alignment with the Adhocracy concept) and see how Adhocracy has been leveraged.
The Silicon Valley has been a very dynamic and successful region where rapid innovation and commercialization of fast growing technologies. The majority of the industries in this region are microelectronics, semiconductors, computer networking, and biotechnology. These industries are characterized by frequent reconfiguration and realignment of the firms to survive a constantly changing environment spurred by innovation. There is a large pool of professional experts with known reputations in particular fields that enable the firms to quickly reconstitute their knowledge and skill base in the course of their innovative endeavors. There is high mobility of the labor force that enables not just the culture of hiring and firing, in addition when combined with the professional networks this enables rapid transmission of evolving new knowledge, - this might mostly be tacit though!.
The shared context and industry specific values ensure that the tacit knowledge is not wasted when one shifts form one organization to the other! This inherently encourages the individual to engage actively in this tacit "know-how" that he could leverage for himself. Though regional, this stability is critical to offer the sustaining of collective learning and knowledge creation within and across the firm boundaries.
Now if we were to generalize this Silicon Valley culture in terms of Adhocracy - it could be seen as an organic and adaptive form of organization that fuses the professional expertise with various knowledge and skills into adhoc project teams for solving complex and typically uncertain problems. Careers of these professionals are structured around a series of discrete projects than a firm level growth. This indicates that the organizational boundaries are pretty permeable and allow for the insertion of new ideas and knowledge from outside - through recruitment of new staff into the firm.
The strength of Adhocracy is in being able to reconfigure the knowledge base quickly deal with high technical uncertain problems - this in many ways enable innovation in emerging new industries. They are capable of dynamic learning and radical innovation, however this model is not without its share of challenges - the toughest amongst this is that of knowledge accumulation at an organizational level.