The division of labor articulates both a balance and tension between process and a workforce’s activation of that process. For a company looking to embed divergent approaches into its operational structure, perhaps a critical assessment not only of complex operational details but of basic assumptions about process and workforce, in general, might be a way to start.
Assessing a company’s underlying assumptions will often lead to a number of basic but important questions that may reveal the level of convergence/divergence that a company is capable of managing: who are we hiring and why; how do we know that our candidate assessment procedures match what we are trying to accomplish; how are we developing our workforce in a manner that adds value not only to our company but to each individual; do we truly know what each individual is capable of producing, or are they limited according to role classifications; are the individuals in our workforce in their appropriate roles, or are their interests and productive potential shifting toward other roles; are their skills better suited to reinforce current projects, or better suited to create and explore new lines of development; how can individuals at every level help us better monitor the slightest changes in the industry; is each departmental task restricting workforce potential, or do our procedures have a built-in capacity to be shaped by the workforce?
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In conclusion, another important thinker who preceded Adam Smith by over a century, Baruch Spinoza, stated in his Ethics that amidst so much talk about the preeminence of mind (or soul) over body, that we do not even know what a body is fully capable of doing. Bringing this statement to our current topic and context, perhaps companies should take this statement in the form of a question: what multiple elements constitute the organizational body, and what is that body truly capable of accomplishing?