18 May 2008

Meet the Participants!

It is with great pleasure, and a certain amount of relief, that I can announce that I have engaged the last of my five participant organizations. Together, they span the range of organizations according to the ways in which most people tend to slice, dice, segregate, and categorize them. One of the great things about the research observations to date is that, when viewed through a Valence Theory lens, the conventional thinking along the lines of conventional organizational taxonomies seems to break down. Large organizations share commonalities with small organizations; for-profit and not-for-profit line up in certain unexpected ways. There are uncommon commonalities between relatively young, and relatively old, organizations. All in all, my participants so far have provided me with a wealth of very cool stuff - and I'm not even into rigorous analysis yet!

I'd like to introduce them to you. A couple have agreed to allow their identities to be revealed, but for the sake of discretion, I will leave them all confidential in this venue. Alphabetically, then:

Organization A is a very large, well-established organization. It is one of the Fortune 50 companies, and (loosely described to preserve the confidentiality of their identity) involved with Information and Computer Technology.

Organization F is, relatively speaking, closer to being a start-up. They've been in existence for a little over four years, delivering a business-to-business service via the web. Technically, they are out of the true start-up phase. They are, however, very small, with the entire organization being able to fit into one large room. Interestingly, they are just about at the cusp of transitioning from having a start-up mentality characteristic of an entrepreneurship to dealing with the growing pains of becoming a company that is isomorphic with its larger corporate brethren.

Organization I is a very small, social justice Non-Governmental Organization that is explicitly run according to feminist principles. Of all of my participant organizations, I would say that Organization I is the closest to being almost completely consistent with a UCaPP world. In fact, during my conversations with individual participants at Organization I, they were pleasantly surprised that my description of a balanced Valence Theory organization described them so well.

Organization M is a ministry of a provincial government in Canada. I have yet to speak with any participants (they are the most recent to join the club), but I am keenly looking forward to my conversations with this organization's members. Of course I have certain expectations, but I am looking forward to being surprised - as I have been in unexpected ways with all my other participants.

Finally, there is Organization U. Organization U is a medium size, for-profit corporation in the marketing, advertising, and public relations field. It's based in New York City, which one might consider to be the heart of the capitalist world. It is part of a large, global conglomerate, so there is a strong focus - one might say, imperative - on making its profit numbers quarter over quarter, year over year. And, of the organizations I've engaged with so far, it, like Organization I, is very consistent with what I would expect a UCaPP organization to be.

So I've been able to engage with both public and private sector organizations, very large and very small. I have well-established, old organizations and one that is quite young. I have both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and one that is still undergoing a complete cultural transformation from being strongly BAH to being strongly UCaPP, with all the ensuing disruption, adventure, challenges, and discoveries that go along with it.

What a fantastic and exciting group of organizations with which I have been so privileged to engage. I am tremendously grateful to those individuals who made the introductions, and those within the organizations that took up my request to participate.

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