Expertise in the Digital Age – This age is witnessing the arrival of a new organizational system that will increasingly challenge, and ultimately supplant official process. This is the organization of the future. Alvin Toffler, in his celebrated novel ‘Future Shock’, called such an organization ‘Adhocracy’ and Henry Mintzberg in “The Nature of Managerial Work”calls it Adhocracy Structures. Talent is the linking pin. Searching for talent to help build businesses aligns organizational strategic goals to execution. Strategy walks in when talent joins an enterprise.
Each individual, therefore, filled a precisely positioned slot, a fixed position in a mere or less fixed environment. She knew exactly where her department ended and the next began; the lines between organizations and their sub-structures were anchored firmly in place. In joining an organization, the individual accepted a set of fixed obligations in return for a specified set of rewards while bringing in expertise.
These obligations and rewards remained the same over relatively long spans of time. The individual thus stepped into a comparatively permanent web of relationships – not merely with other people (who also tended to remain in their slots for a long time) – but with the organizational framework, the structure, itself.
But just as organizations endure for longer or shorter periods, so, too, does an individual’s relationship with any specific organizational structure. This staff members’ tie to a particular department, division, political party, regiment, club or other such unit has a beginning and an end in time.
The same is true of her membership in informal organizations – cliques, factions, coffee-break groups and the like. Her tie begins when she assumes the obligations of membership by joining or being conscripted into an organization. Her tie ends when she quits or is discharged from it – or when the organization, itself, ceases to be. Expertise is best when it is nurtured and cared for!