Open Organisation(organizaciones abiertas)
An open organisation is an organisation open to anyone who agrees to abide by its purpose and principles, with complete transparency and clearly defined desicion making structures, ownership patterns, and exchange mechanisms; designed, defined, and refined, by all members as part of a continual transformative process. Source: http://uniteddiversity.com
Intro (es)Por lo general, las organizaciones usan estructuras cerradas para la toma de decisiones, donde los individuos no están obligados a responder por sus acciones, los abusos de poder son difíciles de prevenir y el conocimiento es acaparado. El objetivo de este proyecto es explicar cómo fundar y mantener comunidades transparentes, responsables y verdaderamente participativas. El deseo de contar con organizaciones abiertas radica en un profundo descontento no sólo con las estructuras de poder formales presentes en gobiernos y corporaciones, sino también con las estructuras informales existentes en muchos grupos de activistas y voluntarios. Estas estructuras informales a veces se crean de manera intencional, aunque casi siempre aparecen 'por defecto', y dado su carácter oculto, y a menudo personal, son muy difíciles de desafiar, o incluso de identificar y discutir. Ésta es una de las mayores causas de conflicto en grupos de activistas y voluntarios. Con frecuencia quita mucho tiempo y energía a los ideales perseguidos y a los proyectos emprendidos, y tiene un efecto desmoralizador sobre los grupos en particular y sobre los movimientos en que ellos están involucrados. Organizaciones Abiertas es una de muchas iniciativas que intentan proponer soluciones a este problema, enfocándose en la elaboración de un marco de referencia concreto para la acción.
Intro (en)The structures that organizations typically use for decision-making are closed: individuals are unaccountable, abuses of power are hard to prevent and knowledge is hoarded. The goal of this project is to explain how to set up and maintain transparent, accountable and truly participative communities. The desire for open organizations stems from a widespread dissatisfaction not only with the formal power structures found in governments and corporations, but also with the informal structures found in many voluntary and activist groups. Informal structures are sometimes created intentionally, but more often they appear 'by default'; since they are hidden, and often personal, they are very difficult to challenge, or even to identify and discuss. This is one of the major causes of conflict in activist and volunteer groups. It often takes up a lot of time and energy at the expense of the ideals pursued and projects undertaken, and has a demoralising effect on individual groups and on the movements they are involved in. Open Organizations is one of many initiatives that attempt to propose solutions to this problem. It is focused on elaborating a concrete framework for action.
For more information on Open Organisations check out http://www.open-organizations.org/
Some of their info, available under a Creative Commons License, is placed here for your convenience:
The structures that organizations typically use for decision-making are closed: individuals are unaccountable, abuses of power are hard to prevent and knowledge is hoarded. The goal of this project is to explain how to set up and maintain transparent, accountable and truly participative communities. The desire for open organizations stems from a widespread dissatisfaction not only with the formal power structures found in governments and corporations, but also with the informal structures found in many voluntary and activist groups. Informal structures are sometimes created intentionally, but more often they appear 'by default'; since they are hidden, and often personal, they are very difficult to challenge, or even to identify and discuss. This is one of the major causes of conflict in activist and volunteer groups. It often takes up a lot of time and energy at the expense of the ideals pursued and projects undertaken, and has a demoralising effect on individual groups and on the movements they are involved in. Open Organizations is one of many initiatives that attempt to propose solutions to this problem. It is focused on elaborating a concrete framework for action.
Introduction to Open Organisation'Open Organizations' is the current name for a framework for a functional organizational structure that people can choose to adopt in part or whole when working together. It can also be used to as a tool to analyse other organizations. Open Organizations is in a large part the result of observing and distilling the patterns, or processes, in the functioning of existing organizations. It is developing according to the understanding that theory and practice rely on each other. Core values that this frameworks attempts to embody, and possible formal agreement on those, is being discussed at our openorg-dev mailing list.
An Open Organization is created by carrying out certain defined processes. This is its strength:
1) Decision-makingWithin each working group, decisions are made by rough consensus. This takes place whilst tasks are being worked on and carried out. Otherwise those tasks might never begin or progress. Tasks are adjusted, adapted, expanded and contracted by rough consensus, but they are not interrupted or stopped by decision making about them, they are always ongoing.
Different levels of formality and complexity are possible, but the essence of consensus is that anyone can make a proposal, and anyone can veto any proposal. Silence means assent - if nobody vetoes a proposal or decision then it goes ahead. A proposal or decision can only be stopped by an objection that it would contradict an Open Organization process and/or functional rule and/or that it would endanger the existence of some part or the whole organization.
2) AccountabilityYour working group regularly searches for (possible) effects of its actions on other groups. It adapts its work to prevent adverse effects on others. If your group is told about an adverse effect of its actions on others, your group reacts as if it found the effect. When groups communicate about this, the group that is affected decides what is adverse to it. This makes your group, by choice, accountable to others.
More generally, accountability means that those who are affected by a decision can participate in making that decision. It sets limits to self-management by allowing others who are affected by a project to overrule those who are working on it, and even to cancel the project if a major problem arises. An adverse effect of your group's work might also be when others depend on the success of your work. Conflicts can often be avoided if people are aware of the potential consequences of their own work.
3) TransparencyYour working group regularly publishes, in a readily accessible form, summaries of the work you are doing and of the knowledge gained from that work. This is part of the public ownership of knowledge.
This allows others to recognize interdependencies between you and other groups because they can see what you are doing. People can identify possible consequences of your work (even during its planning stages) and hold your group accountable for its work. Also, you need to know what other groups are doing so that you can understand how their work relates to what you are doing. In the process of accountability, it might be necessary for one group to intervene in the decision-making processes of another group. To do this effectively, it must first understand the work they've done so far and the discussions currently taking place, as well as relevant lessons learned from previous issues. For these reasons, transparency is necessary for accountability.
4) CoordinatingThis task needs to be carried out in each working group. The key tasks are: keeping track of what work is being done by whom, keeping track of any active proposals, and writing regular summaries of what work has been done and why, and of the main discussions taking place. Coordinating work can be done by one person or be shared in different ways within the working group.
5) ExcludingThis is an extraordinary process. If an individual or a whole group repeatedly does not fulfil commitments, the other members of the group or the organization as a whole can exclude that person or group from current tasks.
If a working group seems to be breaking its charter or that of the organization, or if an unforseen problem arises, a process must be formulated and carried out by the organization for examining the issue and resolving the problem. This could result in modification of the group's charter, and possibly even of the organization's charter. The organization can also decide to dissolve the group, or suspend its activities until the problem is resolved. However, in the main, as long as there are no complaints, each working group remains self-managing.
6) Inter-Working Group (IWG) processesIWGs are needed because both the mass of information generated by Working Groups (WGs) in a large organization, and the complexity of the interdependencies, will be enourmous. IWGs:
1) Technically/practicably facilitate WG tasks.
2) Facilitate inter-WG communication and cooperation - routing (and organize) informational ‘traffic’ as needed and/or requested by WGs.
3) Monitor tasks of WGs; facilitate and maintain agreements between them - providing support for keeping collaboration within the scope that WGs initially agreed on.
4) Facilitate breach of agreement complaints resolution and other process-related problems when they occur. Also generally look to uncover and analyse patterns of interactions throughout the organization, identify potential problems and ways that processes can be improved; assist WGs making and carrying out proposals to make those improvements.
5) (Technically) facilitate decision making between WGs when requested.
IWGs are formed on the same basis as any other WG. In addition, in order not to create patterns of power between IWGs and WGs, it is mandatory that all members of IWGs:
a) have past working experience and are current working members of a minimum of one non-Inter WG
b) maintain a defined ratio that applies equally to all IWGs, of IWG work to WG implementation work. A minimun of 1/3 of total working time in non-Inter WG's is the recommended lower limit of this ratio.
Eight functional rules
1) CharterAn Open Organization must have a published written charter which sets out how it choses to implement, given its particular circumstances, the processes (and therefore values) which make it an Open Organization. Within the organization, people form Working Groups to take on particular tasks. Each working group must also have a written published charter which must be compatible with the organization's charter. It must define the working group's methods of implementation and measurable goals for its chosen task(s). It must be approved by the organization as a whole.
2) Open participationAnyone can work in the organization if they agree to the organization's charter and have the necessary skills. This means that full advantage is gained from people's available skills and enthusiasm.
Open participation is based on the 'trust first' principle: the underlying premise that people are sociable and want to contribute to society, and should therefore be trusted to do what they undertake to do, knowing that they are accountable for what they do. The 'trust first' attitude is always maintained and calibrated to the circumstances. For example, implementation work may be shared between a number of people when a task is so important that error or wrongdoing might jeopardize the organization. This group of people can consist of experts (see Respect for skill below) and/or peers. Approaches other than 'trust first' are likely to be needed when computer passwords, potentially dangerous tools, etc. are being used.
3) Self-managementThe people in an organization within the working groups, who do or will contribute to implementation work on the different tasks, decide amongst themselves how, what work is to be done in their decision-making
In this way, work is guided and done by those who know it best. It also means that those doing the work, who are immediately affected by working practices, are able to decide on those practices themselves.
4) Best practicesLife is a very functional business: if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. For any particular task, there is usually only a handful of commonly recognized best practices and people with expertise in that task will probably be familiar with all of them (but see diversity) It is easier to seek out best practices if there is public ownership of knowledge.
5) Respect for skillOne kind of knowledge can be gained, for example, by reading a book, or a transcript of a discussion. Another kind, which is usually called 'expertise', 'experience' or 'skill' in a certain activity, must be acquired by working with someone who already has this expertise. To benefit from expertise, we have to first acknowledge it in those who have it and give proportional attention and weight to their views in decision-making.
By doing this we release the full power of everyone's abilities rather than adopting a superficial notion of equality. We grant skilled people a type of power, in proportion to their knowledge, (rather than giving them the right to dominate us or others). Respecting skill not only allows a group to function and solve problems better and more quickly, it also allows those with expertise to teach others by example. Thus, their knowledge is passed on, and can be publicly owned as well.
6) Public ownership of knowledgeThe knowledge produced by an organization, including its internal debates and the lessons learnt from them, must be recorded and maintained in publicly accessible archives, so that people inside and outside the organization, and in future generations, can benefit from it. This history should also be organized and presented in a way that minimises the difficulty of learning from it. This allows knowledge to circulate where it is needed, providing the maximum benefit to the organization and to society. The result is public ownership of knowledge. Both respect for skill and public ownership of knowledge require transparency.
7) DiversityDifferent approaches to carrying out tasks and solving problems can coexist (without hindering one another), and learn from each other. There can be cooperation and collaboration between different working practices. Diversity increases the probability of success in reaching goals and of the discovery of new working practices. Diversity also allows us to challenge and improve the best practices in any speciality.
8) Affirmative termsThe use of only affirmative (positive) terms in describing both goals and ways of working. Defining always what an Open Organization and its Working Groups are for.
Otherwise terms such as 'non-hierarchical' and 'destroying' might be used to define organization and work. The first term is practicably useless and meaningless, as it is impossible to build positive, creative structures and practices, based on the conceptual idea of the negating of a structure. Furthermore, despite the opposite intention of the term 'non-hierarchical', the concept of 'hierarchy' is conceptually entrenched by repeatedly referring to it - even in a negated form. The second term, 'destroying' could not lead to work that furthers the organization's charter.
Impact of Open Source Ideas
The following articles are illustrations of the impact that the underlying ideas and approach behind Open Source/Free Software could have on Society as a whole.
Wide Open: Open source methods and their future potential
The Power of US
Open Source Everywhere
Ming-Marxism, Open Source and New Economy
Open Source, Open Society?
Jamie King's critique of openness as a basis for organisation
The Open Knowledge Foundation Network
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