Copy-Paste Governance

Copy-paste governance approach does not work. This approach refers to an attempt to replicate the governance approach from one context to another. In the organisational context, this means copying/mimicking a governance pattern of another organisation.

Organisational governance patterns are evolutionary; they are outcomes of micro transformations performed by the organisation over numbers of years. They are representative of the social and technical structures as well as the evolution journey of that organisation.

Organisational governance is the historical record of the organisation evolution; it a combination of persistence and maturity of each part of the organisation over time. Thus simply copying governance pattern of an organisation in time to another organisation does not produce the same results.

Organisations are complex socio-technical organisms, and applying externally conceived governance patterns would mean that all of the parts that make up organisation would need to go through a transformation on a maturity curve that was followed by the organisation from which governance pattern being copied.

A case for Governance Foundation

Across all industries, organisations use oversight as the primary method of leadership and stewardship, and this approach is well defined by oversight governance. In summary oversight governance means that all of the corrective actions are applied post specific events; it’s a reactive command and control approach. This approach works when the central command has ample experience to deal with issues as they arise. When things get too complicated, this approach leads to failure, in best cases, adding to the command experience and allowing a clean to restart.

Across all industries, the old way of helping organisations mature is not scaling; this is primarily due to the level of complexity that has evolved in social and technical layers of organisations. Tried and tested societal patterns for managing change are tested as socio-technical complexity increases. Existing models are complex and primarily used as an oversight stewardship approach, usually as a reaction to the organisation in need of help. The situation further complicated by barriers for knowledge sharing.

A better approach would be to provide a governance foundation as a form of a scaffold for new organisations so that as they evolve, they unlock and leverage parts of the framework that matches their maturity. This approach would provide a mechanism that would minimise routine transformations that are influence organisations of today.

Furthermore, this approach would provide a method of sharing and leveraging knowledge across organisations, as well as provide a central holistic knowledge area for contributors to focus their attention without creating unnecessary deviations. At the same time providing a platform for sharing patterns and maintaining the visibility of contribution by the authors.