Case Study on Leadership Approach and Self Organization

People basing their leadership approach on the ideas of self-organization, complexity and chaos need to create a container,called “The Bowl“, for their organization that simultaneously provides focus and guidance and the freedom for the people in the organization to self-organize around the critical tasks of the organization. This frees up the people to develop the best solutions and get the work done quickly and effectively. Self-organization alone is likely to lead to fragmentation and a reduced effectiveness in the organization.

This approach, combining the Bowl and self-organization, was developed and used by Richard N. Knowles, Ph.D. at the DuPont Co. Belle, WV plant from 1987 to 1995.

This approach resulted in:

  • 98% reduction in injuries
  • 88% reduction in emissions to the environment
  • 45% improvement in productivity
  • 300% increase in earnings.

Leo Flores, Charis Bartocillo and Vianca Esquivel of the Graduate School of Business of De La Salle University, Manilla, Phillipines wrote this case study (3-12-09) about this work at the Belle Plant and concluded (p. 26-27) that the most effective leadership style was that developed at Belle where the Self-Organizing Leadership style was combined with the “Bowl”. The Bowl is a container for the organization consisting of the vision, mission, expectations, accountability and principles and standards. Within this Bowl the people self-organized to produced extraordinary results.

If you are trying to achieve superior results in your organization, this case study will be of interest to you.