New Article: Autonomy vs. Control in the Workplace

Are companies more successful when they implement strict business processes to improve operational efficiency, or are they better off empowering workers to make good business decisions based on their knowledge and experience? That’s the topic of a new white paper published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (my first writing assignment for them).  The answer to the question is, well, both – the challenge is finding the right balance between centralized control and local autonomy.  Sounds easy, right?

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5 thoughts on “New Article: Autonomy vs. Control in the Workplace”

  1. Great paper. Congrats on the gig.
    “the challenge is finding the right balance between centralized control and local autonomy:”
    reminds of Dick Foster’s line from his creative destruction book that the secret is to loosen control without losing control.

  2. I don’t have time to read white papers – can you chop it down to 140 characters for me? Oh, you tried here. 🙂

    I’ll speculate that the vast majority of companies don’t try to find the right balance. They swing back and forth like a pendulum trying to get the best of both approaches. The question is whether that’s worth the organizational energy burned by the constant re-orging.

  3. “empowering workers to make good business decisions based on their knowledge and experience” could cause chaos if strict business processes are not also in place. But… if more businesses would review and evaluate input from the “workers” on a regular basis, these companies would receive some incredibly enlightening advice.Regimented processes usually get in the way of this balance though, causing negative results.

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