Thursday, March 13, 2014

CREATIVITY in DESIGN ORGANIZATIONS




Creativity in a Design Organization result from several factors, such as The Quality of Leadership, Structures of Authority and Responsibility, Work Culture, Work Climate and Specialization or Core Competence of the organizations.

A Convener of the Design Organization is normally the prime leader of the unit. A Formal authority to lead an organization is acquired by virtue of the capacity to reimburse or compensate people who work for the organization. Besides the capacity to compensate a person in a position or office (associated with expertise, skill, or experience) also gets a formal authority. However, something more than such a formal authority is required to lead a design organization. Some degree of Technical mastery that derives from superior knowledge, expertise, skill, experience, etc. is required. Similarly a leader must also have certain Personality attributes such as: age, sex, race, charisma, bearing, determination, will power, appearance, height, weight, etc. Formal authority, Technical mastery, and Personality attributes, all together constitute the Qualities of Leadership in an organization.

‘Leadership is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members,’ a person in a position or office of authority, such as a President or a chairperson.

Leaders, who lack any of these features, try to make it up by other means. Formal authority can be procured by having a financier partner or associate, or an official appointment. Technical mastery can be secured by hiring technically qualified associates or employees. Personality attributes can be compensated by having an indirect or remote mode of management.


Quality of leadership must vary according to the nature of work in the organization, but nominally it is the quality of leadership that defines the work style of the organization. To achieve the first object, organizations separate out the domain of leadership for the functioning of the organization from the domain of leadership required to handle a project. The second fact requires a leader to be as versatile as the project demands.


Organizations that handle highly variable situations or non-repeating projects need a very Radical leader. On the other hand organizations with routine projects will function well under a Methodical leader. An Autocratic leader overrides the situational differences and imposes a preconceived style. The autocratic leader expects complete obedience. Such a leadership is works well for projects that are critical in time, resources and extent. A Democratic leader would rather mould the situation, so that it can be handled within the ambience of the personal (leadership) qualities. Employees get full support, status and due recognition, and as a result show responsible behaviour and self-discipline. Democratic leaders are ideal for projects involving large user base. A Bohemian leader develops a style to suit the situation on hand, and are often very useful in tackling continuously variable situations. A Custodial leader has extra ordinary economic resources so makes employees dependent on the organization with security and benefits. The resulting performance is barely adequate.




Authority and Responsibility in Organizations

Leadership in organization is recognised in terms of authority and responsibility. Authority refers to the right or prerogative of requiring action over others, or simply a right to command, whereas, Responsibility means being ready for the consequences of application of authority. A leader passes on a part of the authority to selected subordinates, and makes them responsible for their actions. By sharing the responsibility a leader strengthens the ultimate authority.

A leader establishes a rational link between the authority and responsibility. Leaders create a well-balanced structure of authority and responsibility within their organization through selective participation of subordinates. A logical and transparent relationship between authority and responsibility motivates other subordinates to belong to the process.

Members of the organization take on responsibilities as an assignment, as a perceived duty, as something to reimburse the favours or the compensations, as a share of power or prestige, or as a compulsion. Such responsibilities unless accompanied by adequate handout or recognition of the authority, causes unpredictable responses.

A complex organization will have many layers of leaders, not only with specific responsibility and authority but also with a unique leadership quality. To provide a unified structure to these diverse qualities, and manage them dispassionately, a coordinator or manager is required. A coordinator's job is to dispense the authorities and responsibilities in a formal and ceremonial manner. A coordinator or the manager usually has the power to hire, fire or favour any subordinate. Frequently initiators or conveners of the organizations hire competent people to manage an organization, but to devise it qualities of leadership are required. ‘Managers are people who do things right, but leaders are people who do the right thing’- Warren Bennis, ‘On Becoming a Leader’.



Work Culture and Work Climate

Each organization has its own distinctive Work Culture. The work culture is a historical formation. Culture results from the revered formal and informal systems of past. It is a combination of the collective history, continua of leadership, residual effects of events and crises, and the physical spread of the organization in the society. This results in traditions, routines, taboos, pride, prejudices, etc. that permeate in every organization. The cultural setting of the organization impacts the behaviour of its members.

The Work Climate results from the recent working of the organization. A climate reflects the quality of current leadership. An organizational climate is directly related to the leadership and management style of the leader, based on the values, attributes, skills, and actions, as well as the priorities of the leader. It is seen as the empathy the organization creates in its members, clients and collaborators. An individual or a short term leader cannot easily create or change the culture because it very deep rooted. Culture influences the characteristics of the climate by its effect on the actions and thought processes of the leader. A leader can hope to mould the work culture by improvisation of the work climate.


Specialization or core competence of the organizations

Organizations come into being with specific aims. All organizations intend to specialize in tasks that are analogous to their aims. But specialization is acquired through repetition of opportunities. Specialization leads to an economy in the operations. It also upgrades the organization's capacity to deal with larger or complex tasks. Specialization, is perceived as an innovative activity, that causes enough synergies, to make the organization behave like a self-correcting or continuously adjusting biological entity. An Autocratic leader may stimulate an organization towards an acute specialization in only one or few fields, whereas a Bohemian leader may dissipate the energy and de-focus the goals of the organization. A Democratic leader will continuously review and revise the aims of the organization, and plan the resources, to make the organizations creative.


Creativity in Organizations

Organizations thrive on new ideas, concepts, innovations, etc. A creative environment comes about by many factors. There should be teamwork spirit, willingness to help each other, commitment and dedication to assigned tasks, trust with fellow workers. Personnel should have access to appropriate resources, including facilities, equipment, information, funds, and people. If work is challenging or tasks are intriguing than there is an attraction to handle it. Staff members should have some control on tasks they carry out and freedom in deciding how to accomplish a task. A manager or leader who sets clear goals and is able to communicate well with subordinates, encourages creativity. Existence of defined and surprise rewards encourages creative efforts. A collaborative atmosphere sets in, when the staff shares the vision and goals of the organization.
In any well knit organization, creativity comes about, through several layers of activities, carried out by individuals with many different talents and personality traits. ‘It operates like a relay race, but the participants have no idea who will take over, at which level and when’. Often the racers have no idea, whether they were running forward or backward, i.e. towards or away from the finish line or goal.

Organizations become and remain creative when roles that personnel are required to play, are very definite. Where there is a knowledgeable and visible structure, one knows who is going to take over at what time and at which level. A creative idea or concept will be accommodated, supported and carried through, if necessary, by even changing the goals of the organization. The leaders of such organization are sensitive, and have a ready mechanism to improvise the goals of their organization on a continuing basis.

Creativity fails to spread in an organization because there is:
         1       Fear of ridicule.
         2       Fear of theft of idea (loss of authorship or patent)
         3       Lack of time
         4       Lack of competence to further the idea
         5       Lack of power and resources to further the idea
         6       Lack of buyers / takers of different ideas
         7       Lack of compensation


In organizations where obnoxious quality control checks, evaluations, secret reportage, etc. abound, personnel come under pressure and become sterile. Promotions other than on qualitative criteria, allocation of resources other than on needs based assessments, Recognition of wrong members, delayed or inadequate compensation, etc. are some other factors that vitiate the working of an organization.

A good leader makes the personnel realize that real measure of creativity is in the gains or advantage an organization gets. This is a difficult proposition, as it requires a very high degree of transparency in accounting and auditing processes. Everyone must clearly realize what an effort will cost, and how much benefit the organization will get out of it. Creativity is both a personal and group pursuit. A personal innovation must have confirmation of the larger group, and the group’s achievement must remain impersonal.

Creativity is not in specialization (capacity to excel in limited fields) nor in generalization (capacity to handle many different situations) in any field. Specialization means being proficient, to consistently sustain the technical superiority, whereas Generalization means being efficient or productive, but not at the cost of quality.



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