reply 1 Termite mounds is a common sight in Sub-Saharan Africa, from the distance it appear fragile, but the structure is as hard as concrete made from the best sand available. Termite mound survives all forms of natural forces such as winds, rain, intense sunlight and other environmental effects. Comparing termite structure to organizational structure is a bit ironical for some organizations, because, termites appeared to be more humane. They have unique teamwork, a hierarchical system as well as a managerial system that carry everyone along.
The World has become chaotic due to rapid population growth and ever increasing connectivity among people, led to some systemic crises such as the ecological, financial, and societal crises (Marion, 2015). Organization must learn to bring both internal and external structural forces together to achieve effective results (Bolman & Deal 2013).
Chaos theory explains how human civilization may either be on the brink of a massive collapse or the formation of a whole new civilization (Marion, 2015). Solansky, Beck, Travis, (2014) on the other hand describe how complex meta-organization forces of destabilizing and stabilizing effect come together to achieve harmony or equilibrium. Complexity theory brings to light notions of nonlinearity, instability, disorder and unpredictability to organizational descriptions (Solansky, Beck, Travis, 2014).
Imagine being responsible for a team of multiple employees within your organization. Each member brings with them their perspectives, personalities, and preferences, as the world become more a global village, issues of diversity and diversity management comes to fore.
Similarly, we look at how distinct piles of earth emerge from an apparently random behavior of termites. These structures somehow attract the attention of other termites and become the focus for sustained building activity, leading to the formation of columns. Columns that form sufficient close together can be joined by arches as the mound structure gradually grows in complexity (Walley & Stubbs 2000 p. 44). This model can be used to bring people together, people of diverse orientation it can as well be used to manage inter-organizational relationships (Solansky, Beck, Travis, 2014).
Termite structure shapes action and their action shapes structure. Termite behavior has unique self-organizing properties that modern organizations can learn. Termites and champions is a story of blind creature instincts, habits, and efficient communication system; a story of a self-organizing process where order emerges out of chaos; a story of well-established management structure (Walley & Stubbs 2000).
What can organizations learn from the “Termite Structure”?
In-house sharing between communities Commitment to be a good neighbor Effective communications Hold regular meeting to share best practice amongst organizational members Duty of care and corporations amongst member Visible recognition and encouragement to inspire and engage other on improvement
One critical structural challenge is how to hold an organization together without holding it back. If a structure is too loose, people go astray, with little sense of what others are doing. But rigid structures stifle flexibility and creativity and encourage people to waste time trying to beat the system (Bolman & Deal 2013, p.72).
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2013). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Marion, B. (2015). How can chaos theory help us toward the emergence of a new civilization? World Future Review, 7(2-3) 213–223. doi:10.1177/1946756715599753
Morgan, G. (2006). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Solansky, T. S., Beck, T.E., Travis, D. (2014).A complexity perspective of a meta-organization team: The role of destabilizing and stabilizing tensions. Human relations, 67(8) 1007–1033. doi:10.1177/0018726713516373
Walley, E.E., Stubbs, M. (2000). Termites and champions: Case comparisons by metaphor. GMI 29, 41-54