This is the final part of 3 articles about how organisations deal with dilemmas and emergencies:
In this post we have a look at the conclusions of this research…
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Press and balance
The researchers found that there are two primary issues organisations face in such situations. Press and balance:
- Press. This is the pressure or level of urgency the secondary order tensions, paradoxes and dilemmas places on the organisation to respond.
- Balance. This is how equal or not the various secondary order tensions, paradoxes and dilemmas are. If one is more prominent or pressing it can draw the response at the expense of the other issues.
What the researchers found was that different levels of press and balance tended to result in different types of response:
The study looked at the response of the emergency services, police, fire, medical, hospitals, military, government and other agencies and charities to complex situations that required multi-agency solutions to see how they fared.
What they discovered was that the emergency service infrastructures are actually pretty good at designing transcendence responses to these situations. Indeed over 40% of these services’ initial response to such situations is a transcendence response. Selection, segmentation and alternation type responses account for about 50% of the responses to complex situations and a small number of responses were denial (2.26%) and cosmetic (4.84%).
How does your organisation compare to this?
The researchers found that transcendence responses in organisations were significantly more likely when both press and balance were high. Where there was a combination of less press or less balance organisations appear to find this more ambiguous and, as a consequence, were much more likely to formulate an answer to these secondary order tensions, paradoxes and dilemmas with a less than ideal strategic response.
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