The Marshall Model
Or to give it its full title: “The Marshall Model of Organisational Evolution” – subtitled “Dreyfus for the Organisation”.
I’ve written elsewhere about how this model came to exist. There’s a White Paper introducing the actual model. And there are some online videos which, if you have the time, explain in some depth the basics of the Marshall Model and how it relates to the core ideas of Rightshifting.
Here I present a brief overview of the Model, to whet your appetite.
The chart below illustrates the complete Marshall Model, as an overlay on the basic Rightshifting (blue) curve:
Simply put, the Model explains how the effectiveness of any knowledge-work organisation is a direct function of the kind of mindset shared collectively by all the folks working in the organisation – managers, executives and employees, all.
effectiveness = f(mindset)
The chart illustrates how these mindsets progress in a series of punctuated equilibria, from least effective (“Adhoc”, steel-blue, left-most slab) through “Analytic” (purple) and “Synergistic” (grey) to most effective (“Chaordic”, green, right-most slab).
The chart also illustrates the “transition zones” interleaved between each mindset (the three orange “walls”). It’s these zones that lie at the heart of the explicative power of the Marshall Model. See e.g. “The Improvement ROI Sawtooth” for the role these zones play in organisations’ attempts to improve – a.k.a. “Rightshift”.
Heterogeneous or Homogeneous?
Some folks question the validity of the model on the premise that organisations do not often have a shared, common, homogeneous mindset. Simply, I suggest that the well-tested idea of cognitive dissonance, when applied to organisations in-toto, make it impossible for organisations to have anything other than a homogenous mindset (with a half-life of around nine months).
The Dreyfus Model of Skills Acquisition – Wikipedia entry
Business Case for Better Software Practices ~ Steve McConnell (pdf)
The Marshall Model of Organisational Evolution (Dreyfus for the Organisation) ~ Falling Blossoms white paper