Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TIMN and the Competing Values Network

For the last few years, I've been thinking about David Ronfeldt's TIMN framework, in which he discusses how four basic forms of human organization—tribes, institutions, markets, and networks—developed and how they are advantaged under different sociotechnical conditions. Lately I've been trying to use TIMN as a way to help me better understand adhocracies, which Toffler introduced as a counterpoint to bureaucracies. To put it loosely, bureaucracies are to institutions as adhocracies are to networks.

Together, these led me to Quinn and Cameron's Competing Values Framework, in which the authors characterize organization culture along the dimensions of stability v. flexibility and internal v external focus. They label the four quadrants Clan, Hierarchy, Market, and Adhocracy—labels that seem very similar to Ronfeldt's Tribes, Institutions, Markets, and Networks.

I emailed Ronfeldt about this, and he courteously revised his 2009 post comparing TIMN with other analysts' tables. This is a resource to which I'll be returning again and again as I develop my own understanding of organizational forms; if you're similarly interested, check it out.