Hybrid organizing: towards a new paradigm

Paul Bessems, January 2014

We live in a time where physical production (and consumption), more and more is replaced by digital pro­duction and consumption, especially by the Internet. We live in a time where information and knowledge are the most important production factors. But most of the organization forms we organize our work with were designed in the early twentieth century. They are especially suitable for physical production in large numbers and in a relatively ‘quiet’ and local market. Traditionally we organize our work within companies (make), or we organize it by markets (buy). Institutes are scalable, but no so flexible, and markets are flexible, but often not so scalable. In the context of the twenty-first century we need hybrid organization forms that are scalable and flexible at the same time. Hybrid organizing is a cross, between make and buy, between do it yourself and contracting out, between the institute and the market. Hybrid organizing has a new unit of analyzing and design. If you organize your work via the institute, the unity of thinking is the institute. The institute borders are literally the border of your thinking. With the market, the market transaction is the unity of thinking. The unity of thinking in hybrid organizing is organizing capability. Organizing capability is the meaningful connection between the two smallest organization building blocks: men and means (human and tools). You and your laptop, you have and therefore you are organizing capability. From this smallest building stone, we can build any organization by connecting and disorganize by disconnecting. The question is: why are we going to hybridize work organizations? What is hybrid organizing and where does it work and where not? What are the fundamentals of hybrid organizing, how do hybrid organizations look like? How do hybrid organizations work and why is working smart together so important within the hybrid research field? This whitepaper will answer these questions.

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