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One of the Most Conservative Organizations in the World

If you want to know more about innovation, it is sometimes useful to observe other organizations. To dig into the world of those organizations that are quite the opposite of innovation and learn more about those forces that are required to conserve. And not without a reason...

One of the most conservative organizations is the Roman Catholic Church. It is one of the oldest organizations in the world, and one with a track record of resisting change. One of its main functions could be defined as conserving the interpretation of the bible in a world that is constantly moving “ahead”...

The organization of the Roman catholic church is also one of the most hierarchic. We all know that the pope is the leader of the catholic church. The pope is recently chosen by a committee of cardinals. Cardinals belong to the Episcopate; the Bishops … are as a body (the College of Bishops) the successors of the Apostles [51] and are "constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance." The pope, cardinals, patriarchs, primates, archbishops and metropolitans are all bishops and members of the Catholic episcopate or college of bishops. Bishops are assisted by priests and deacons. Parishes, whether territorial or person-based, within a diocese are normally in the charge of a priest, known as the parish priest or the pastor. Priests may perform many functions not directly connected with ordinary pastoral activity, such as study, research, teaching or office work. They may also be rectors of churches or chaplains of communities or special groups. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church#Hierarchical_constitution_of_the_Church)

There are two main principles that are used to manage this organization. The first is the hierarchic principle and the second is the seniority principle. Both principles support each other. The seniority principle makes that only the older and experienced professionals are able to reach the hierarchy and the hierarchy is where to organization is managed from -- the ministers of governance -- in a centralized manner.

In order to conserve the ideology and to resist changes from the outside world, organizations should use these two principles. It is not said that organization that want to incentive change and innovation should do just the opposite, but you just could give this a thought.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management tools. Have a look at some of our free management tools

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