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Re: The way ahead

May 29, 1997 06:52 PM
by M K Ramadoss

At 05:39 PM 5/29/97 -0400, Einar Adalsteinsson & A.S.B. wrote:
>Hi, folks.
>I had meant to send this article long time ago. It was mentioned this
>winter, but I feel that it should have a place in today's discussion, as it
>is quite an 'eye opener' in my view.
>Take it as it is. I hope that you enjoy it.

        It is very timely that you posted this msg. Here are my comments:


1. Over 30 years ago, management professors looked at the impact of
information technology on organizational structures. Several predicted that
information technology is going to affect organizations so that the
resulting organizations will be very very flat.

2. With increased use of computers, in many organizations, certain kinds of
technical information transmission has cut across the formal lines of
communications in pyramidal organizations. But the bulk of the
administrative and formal communication still follows the traditional
pyramidal lines of flow of information. Also, contrary to the expectations
of the managements professors, we are still to see substantial flattening of
the organizational structures. I think that much of this has to do with the
built-in inertia to change and take risks in making changes.  The risks
include unexpected results for the organization as well as the top managers
personally. It is also possible that time is not yet ripe for such large
scale redoing of the organizational structure. There is also the
contributing factor of power and authority at various levels of management.
What has to happen is perhaps new breed entrepreneurs who start new
businesses are more likely to result in the flat organization and then over
time, the trend may pick up. Even if this happens, it is expected to take
several decades so that old guards are gone the new ones take over.

3. With spiritual organizations, the problem is more complex. On the one
hand we have the head at the top who has the final say on the "spiritual"
message and on the other hand the same person is also the head for all
administrative matters concerning financial decisions. This complicates the
role of the head. Also the in built power that accrues due to access to the
real estate and funds. Giving all that up requires a great person with a lot
of insight and courage.


4. TS has its own unique problems to deal with before any radical change can
be implemented.  The change if to come about, should come from the top down
and not bottom up.

5. Bottom up cannot happen because of the way the set up has evolved over
the last one hundred years and perhaps also due the changes that have been
implemented in the recent decades. Even top down change has its own
problems. The first and greatest hurdle is to get anything of this radical
nature to be accepted by the General Council. Contrary to the wrong belief,
it appears there have been instances where the General Council has shot down
proposals initiated by the President.

6. One of the major issues to be addressed before any radical change is the
question of how the property and money are to be handled. Who is going to
control and how? The control issue is very difficult to address because of
the inherent power involved in the allocation and distribution of resources.

7. TS has the important issue of who is going to provide the direction and
leadership regarding the teachings.

8. The classics were produced during HPB's days and I do not know if all
that she provided to the world has been fully digested yet. So it is very
unlikely that a substantial new information is about to be released to the

9. Is it possible that Krishnaji saw all this flat organizational network
type of set up coming when he dismantled the Order of the Star of the East
and gave his famous "Truth is a Pathless Land" speech? The crux of his
statement was that no organization can lead you to discovery of truth and
there is no formal steps or path to truth. Of course an organization can
perform the mechanical job of publishing and distribution of information.

10. One possible solution for a "Theosophical Organization" with a flat
network structure seems to be a totally new one started from scratch. Such
an organization does not have any of the problems of money and property that
the current TS has to grapple with.

My 2 cents worth rambling!


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