As part of our four part series introducing our INQUIRE Agile Evaluation Tool. In our previous post, we considered a variety of metaphors to help us think about organisational dynamics. This post considers what the application of these metaphors can help reveal within organisations. In practice, such dynamics can be ‘revealed’ by using INQUIRE as a means to understand how parts of an organisation actually function.

How Can We Illuminate Organisational Dynamics?

Depending on the vantage point and biases of those seeking to understand, some things will be clearly identifiable and others less so. INQUIRE is a simple approach, in which close observation, analysis and feedback can shine light upon these hidden and un-revealed spots and behaviours.

These organisational ‘blind spots’ can be particularly difficult for organisations to self-identify, since they could be:

  • Behavioural norms (this is the way we do things round here)
  • Non-visible (occurring in locations away from the presence of those trying to understand / survey – e.g. other sites, remote working, on the ‘shop-floor’)
  • Conditional (only present in certain specific circumstances)
  • Cognitive (in the mind, and not present in what is actually said and done)
  • Shadowy (present, but no-one can quite put their finger on it)
  • Unspoken (staff don’t / won’t normally talk about it)
  • Resignation / defeat (a feeling that attempting to change is futile)
  • Boat rocking (if you raise it, there may be real / perceived negative implications).

In our final post in this four-part mini-series, we will briefly explain how INQUIRE provides crucial insights into the way organisations, leadership teams, projects and departments are actually functioning.

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