Friday, February 13, 2009

In / one of / my past lives—

actually, more precisely one of my parallel lives—I did a major in Strategic Management.

(An aside: I actually did a Bachelor of Applied Science in Operations Research, but because I could do electives, & because I was in a senior management role—this was in the 90s—it made sense to choose a sequence of management units I was familiar with & could write about with ease.)

(A further aside: I did it by distance education out of Monash University in Victoria. The campus I did it through was situated at Churchill, one of the major disaster areas in the current bushfires. I had to make a couple of trips there for project presentation, etc., & because there was only one flight per day into the nearest airport, I spent some time driving around sightseeing, so I'm familiar with a number of the towns in the area that have been affected.)

Anyway, several of the units dealt with organizational structure, & a couple of those structures—one good, one bad—can be applied to the current bushfire situation.

The good one is an adhocracy, usually brought together for a specific situation; the familiar examples are a Rolling Stones' tour or the making of a movie, but the reconstruction that will follow these bushfires will also be an adhocracy since it will cut across but call upon all three levels of government & the various departments contained in them as well as integrating the not-for-profit charity organizations such as the Red Cross that are so essential to the task.

The bad one is bureaucracy—strict vertical lines of command, people focused on their own particular task rather than the organizational goal—& a prime example of bureaucracy gone mad—bureaucrazy—has just been reported. Centrelink, the Federal department that looks after unemployment & family benefits & pensions etc. & who have been charged with ensuring the distribution of the monetary assistance that the Federal Government announced would immediately go to affected persons, have just sent letters to the destroyed homes of bushfire victims, demanding they prove their identity before they can receive government assistance.


Blogger Geof Huth said...

Strangely, I've been corresponding with a woman who works at Monash University. She was set to chair a session at a professional conference in Austin, Texas, this year, but she just backed out this year. No explanation, not even when I said I hoped the brushfires were not somehow to blame. Wish her well.


4:30 AM  

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