Many start-ups have come up in the recent times and given the trend, many more are expected to come. Some have grown into big giants and many have vanquished. This article attempts to venture into the analogous relationship of the Organizational dynamics and Quantum Physics and see if some learning from Quantum Physics can be derived for the start-ups and the corporate world.
How is an organization created and how does it grow? An organization is formed when one individual (or association) has a desire/vision of a new product/service to bring to the world and he/she recruits others to help accomplish that goal.
The new product/service embodies the ‘What’ part and the employees/people embody the ‘How’ part of the organization. As the organization grows, it increases its expanse on its product/service offerings and correspondingly hires more people to accomplish the same. When this happens, the ‘What’ part alone does not suffice to bind the organization. And here comes the ‘Why’ part; the “Vision/ Core Values” of the Organization, that provides the compass and binding force to the org.
The ‘Why’ and ‘What’ constitute the Nucleus around which the ‘How (People)’ part is woven. This can be depicted as below:
Seems quite similar to the diagram of an atom with protons and neutrons inside the Nucleus with electron cloud around it. Does the similarity ends here or it goes deeper? Let us explore.
The smallest atom (Hydrogen) is formed with a proton in its nucleus and an electron revolving around it. Quite similar to a newly formed organization (Start-up) with its ‘new product/service’ in the center and the founder (or founding association) revolving around. As we move toward higher elements, neutron gets added to the nucleus and contributes significantly in keeping the atom stable. Since protons are positively charged, there is an incredibly strong repulsive force between all the protons in a nucleus. To counteract this strong repulsive force, neutrons apply an even stronger force called the “Strong Force” on the protons in a nucleus.
Similarly, as the org expands its portfolio, different products/services create strong repulsive force. It is the strong force of Vision/Core Values that binds the product portfolio together. It is the Why part, the ‘Vision/Core Values’ that majorly contributes to the weight of the nucleus of the org, just like neutron does at atomic level.
Wollah!!! There seems to be emerging an analogical mapping of Org components and sub-atomic particles.
- Why ~= Vision/Core Values ~= Neutron
- What ~= Product/Service ~= Protons
- How ~= People ~= Electrons
As the org expands and hires more people, not all employees connects with the Core of the Org to the extent as the founders. Based on their comfort frequency, people self-arrange themselves into orbits or shells. This is analogous the positioning of electrons in the K, L, M…shells in an atom based on the Principal Quantum Number. The shells (both people and electrons) are arranged (from core towards boundary) in the increasing order of the Excitation Energy with the ‘Founders’ in the Ground State. The electrons can jump from lower shell to higher with the excitation from photons (Einstein got Nobel Prize for discovering this). Alike, the people also jump to higher orbits, based on the photonic hit of the internal or external factors. The people who reach the farthest shell are prone to attrition just like the Valence Electrons.
Concluding on what learnings can be derived to successfully manage a growing organization:
- Since the strong force between the Protons (Products/Services) and Neutrons (Vision/Core value) operate at a very small range, the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of the Organization needs to couple very close to form a dense stable nucleus.
The Electrons (People) interact with the Photons (Internal/External disturbances) to jump across to higher unstable orbits. So organization needs to keep tab and insulate the employees from these photonic hits as these can excite people towards higher unstable orbits. And in extreme case, electron (people) might jump out of the atom (Organization) and bond with a different one atom (company).
QUANTUM METAPHOR OF ORGANIZATION THEORY
1. Quantum Physics: A trusted guide for a growing organization
2. Organization and the Wave Particle Duality
3. Radioactive Metamorphosis of Organizations