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Managing Organisational Ecologies

Watch this space for more details of a new book to be published soon by Routledge New York called Managing Organisational Ecologies (Edited by Keith Alexander and Ilfryn Price). I have been writing for some time now with a friend an eminent Professor of Facilities Management Ilfryn Price, and we have really enjoyed the creative space that links our respective fields of study. Our new thinking has largely taken place in conversational form in a cafe round the corner from Sheffield Business School, not in the academic institution where we work. In fact my view is that ironically universities have little space these days for deep thinking and writing by academics, despite social knowledge construction space increasing in the layout of Universities and their learning centres. The same is true for corporate organisations. The concept of ‘away days’ helps to explain why outside places help…if we think of ‘away’ we might ask away from what? It is often the mental, and cultural/general organisational clutter that exisits in workplaces, and at our workstations, that blocks such creative processes.

Facilities Management you might think, like I did, hasn’t really got much interest for people like me, concerned with learning and personal development! However my colleague Professor Ilfryn Price was originally trained as a geologist,  and I was trained as a zoologist and so we both have a deep understanding of Darwinian thinking, and the evoloution of species. This has created a common language. We have been examining how learning and working are convergent evolutionary trajectories in the knowledge economy. In a recent and separate paper for a leading management journal (we are awaiting reviewers comments on) I examined a ‘quick and dirty’ sketch of the evolution of learning theories, whilst Ilfyn Price examined the history of the office, and some fascinating insight resulted ……In this new book, out soon, all the contributors speak this language of a (new) spatial ecology.  In the mobile dynamics of the world today how does space affect learning and working….? Contributors explore these complex issues and reveal new insights. They include for example facilities specialists from academia, designers, architects, and corporate real estate specialists who work in, and have redesigned some of the most efficient buildings in Europe. Indeed many global companies have been experiementing extensively in recent times with space redesign to explore efficiency and efficacy gains……. Nearly 20 years ago Tom Peters, in Liberation Management, wrote:

In fact, space management may well be the most ignored — and most powerful —tool for inducing culture change, speeding up innovation projects, and enhancing the learning process in far-flung organizations’.

……watch this space for more on these exciting topics!

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