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Organizational Life Cycle

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Introducing the organisation life-cycle:

The question is: do organisations themselves go through predictable phases of growth and change? Can they tailor their strategies accordingly, to compete effectively? One of the key aspects of strategic renewal, is the life-cycle concept of the organisation. The various practices of organisations, are not maintained throughout this cycle, but are said to change over time. It would appear, therefore, that management problems and principles are rooted in time. The concept of decentralisation, for example, can have meaning for describing corporate practices at one time period but loses it's descriptive power at another.

Organizations go through different life-cycles just like people do. For example, people go through infancy, child-hood and early-teenage phases that are characterized by lots of rapid growth. People in these phases often do whatever it takes just to stay alive, for example, eating, seeking shelter and sleeping. Often, these people tend to make impulsive, highly reactive decisions based on whatever is going on around them at the moment. Start-up organizations are like this, too. Often, founders of the organization or program and its various members have to do whatever is necessary just to stay in business. Leaders make highly reactive, seat-of-the-pants decisions. They fear taking the time to slow down and do planning.

In our comparison of organizations and programs to people, we note that, as people continue to mature, they begin to understand more about the world and themselves. Over time, they develop a certain kind of wisdom that sees them through many of the challenges in life and work. They learn to plan and to use a certain amount of discipline to carry through on those plans. They learn to manage themselves. To survive well into the future, organizations and programs must be able to do this, as well. Experienced leaders have learned to recognize



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