The Life-cycle of an Organization?

A lot of people have tried to work out the “life seasons” or “life cycle” of an organization. Do you think the following has any validity?

1. A new idea leads to a new movement
2. The new movement moves towards a centralized administration (either from fear of losing control or hope of a better product).
3. Central administration makes for centralized criticism.
4. Centralized (read: concentrated) criticism leads to secrecy or obstinacy.
5. Secrecy or obstinacy leads to distrust.
6. Distrust leads to abandonment.
7. Abandonment leads to isolation.
8. Isolation leads to a new idea.

2 thoughts on “The Life-cycle of an Organization?

  • May 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I do not think that every organization follows the said pattern. However, to answer your question :), yes, I do think it has validity. The cycle seems to fit in to what I’ve seen around me.
    P.S. My favorite is #8. :)

  • May 13, 2010 at 12:31 am

    These steps are easiest to see in a small and volatile organization like a church, a business, or that hybrid of the two, the parachurch organization. With something like the CIA, we could stipulate that the steps are still there, but because of its power and longevity, you have to skew the graph in order to see them.

    Secrecy or obstinacy are code words that the losers use for for security, PR work, and strong leadership.

    If an organization has enough power, distrust has to be very widespread in order to lead to abandonment. Of course, distrust can lead to something like the Freedom of Information Act, and then we’re back at step 3.

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