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Anatomy of Agile Enterprise

Janne J. Korhonen

Levels of Governance

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In my previous post, I put forth the general -- and trivial -- idea that the increasing complexity of the strategic context calls for increasingly sophisticated governance models. In the following, I will further develop the notion and outline five levels of governance. The levels both represent the capability maturity of governance and pertain to a normative structural level (i.e. requisite stratum) of the organization. The more advanced the governance capabilities, the larger organizational scope can be encompassed and the greater complexity can be addressed.

The contours outlined below provide a terse, meta-level account of the paradigmatic governance vehicles and primary purpose at each level. The model is, of course, of high generality, yet as such instantiable to a wide variety of aspect-systems (e.g. IT Governance).


I: Incipient

At this level, real governance does not exist, but idiosyncratic activities are guided by fixed target standards for performance. Mutual expectations and responsibilities are informal, and policies and processes still incipient.

II: Ordained

Ordained governance relies on vertical lines of command and standardization for coordination. It aims at optimizing work practices and quality standards and managing deviations from the acceptable limits of performance. Teams are endowed discretion to differentiate services to different customer groups.

III: Connective

Connective governance connects multiple teams across functions to rethink work systems and processes within an operational domain. Key mechanisms include structural means such as formal roles, committees and councils. Policies are set to regulate open-ended, discretionary decision-making and ensure systematic work.

IV: Coordinative

Coordinative governance coordinates functions and projects beyond operational domains to set goals and to devise new systems and structures. This is attained through organization-wide programs and strategic systems (e.g. balanced scorecard, critical success factor analysis, service-level agreements, performance management, profit sharing schemes, etc.). Rules are established to govern policy-making.

V: Collaborative

Collaborative governance integrates organizational functions to a coherent business entity to reshape the business model and establish respective norms. It calls for relational capabilities: informal collaborative relationships, value-based practices and normative controls. Vision guides the establishment of governance rules.

Janne J. Korhonen provides insights into how information technology can be applied strategically to catalyze organizational change and responsiveness. Drawing from both theory and practice, he discusses agile enterprise and its governance.

Janne J. Korhonen

Janne J. Korhonen is an independent business and IT consultant,specializing in enterprise architecture, business process management,service-oriented architecture and pertinent governance models. He has over ten years of experience as an architect and consultant in a variety of extensive and mission-critical IT projects. With strong theoretical underpinnings, his consulting encompasses systemic co-development of business, organization and information technology.

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