Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Organizational Ecology in the High Performance Workplace

Recently I read Workplace By Design by Franklin Becker and Fritz Steele, published in 1995 by Jossey Bass Publishers.  Organizational ecology is a pervasive theme in the book.

Frequently in high-performance building design work architects and designers find themselves looking at the big picture of how the building fits into its setting and environment, various natural and organizaitonal systems, as well inter-relationships of internal space program and building function.    Looking in this way is an ecological way of thinking.  It's also smart business and can increase competitiveness.   Also, designing within the LEED framework, whether certification is pursued, requires looking at building design from a wholistic and ecological viewpoint.   

Thus from many angles organizational ecology is an important aspect to high-performance building and workplace design.  In Workplace by Design, Organizational Ecology is defined by seeing an organization as a living organism with work processes and functions working together within a building setting and physical spaces overlaid with critical systems such as information technology,  mechanical and lighting systems.    Buildings are in themselves business resources and can and should be concieved as fundamental organizational tools to support and promote effective team work and cross discipline interactions.   

To produce high value to an organization, a building or facility must connect to and reinforce the corporate ethos, culture and ultimately it's very DNA.  Seeking a harmony of physical setting, natural resources use, work and technoloogy processes, management style intertwined with organizational philosophy and values is key to creating successful workplaces built to last.  

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