Winning in the Age of Bohonomics

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Bohemian X Factor: Bohemians and Future Management of Organizations

Sometimes you hear people say: “That person cannot be lead”. It is very likely that in this case one refers to a slightly bohemian person. Bohemian people are often willful, dissidents, original, differ from ordinary habits, and have many rich ideas. They do not “sit” inside “organization chart” very easily. From the point of management view, they can show themselves be in response “against everything”, with which management team is difficult to get along with. On the other hand, these individuals could have a lot of good ideas and promising novel innovations for different type of organizations.

In societies, there are some evolutionary principles which matter. Especially two evolutionary principles matter. First, there is to be a producer of variety. Secondly, there is a filter of variety. Variability is a key factor of evolution and development. Life is at the transition between order and disorder. This is a critical issue for organizations too. Too structured organization may be problematic, but also too unstructured organization may also be problematic. To manage any kind of organizations, one must pay attention to variability factor.

To be effective, any organization should be composed of different types of people. If your organization is consisting from very similar type of people, it undermines the organization’s efficiency and development capacity. Also productivity of an organization can be much lower than if the organization would have different types of people working in the organization. Rigid group thinking can prevent the organization from implementing changes in the needed operating speed. In this non-optimal case an organization remains inside a comfort zone. No one in this kind of organization is necessarily interested in new development issues and challenges. The members of intellectual elite do not want to work in these kinds of non-dynamic organizations.

Surely it is easy to agree with that all the new challenges and opportunities will live their own lives. These kinds of organizations keep their historical traditions and their good “rituals” and old habits. In this case an organization may become too structured. There are not only “technological lock-ins” but also “social lock-ins”. However, over time, this “rigid structure” management style may become dangerous for an organization, if new ideas and challenges are not seriously discussed inside the organization. Little by little an organization becomes blind to essential changes in their social environments and competitive markets.

How rigid group thinking can be avoided? Perhaps the previously mentioned bohemian people should be taken more seriously? How one should lead them? We know very well that bohemian persons do not like steep hierarchies, nor the rigid line or “silo” organizations. Hierarchical culture, bureaucracy, and rigid organizational boundaries should be avoided, if the intention is to get a Bohemian X Factor serving the organization. Bohemian X Factor helps organizations to take all the real future challenges of change into consideration. Effective change management requires participation of bohemian persons. Dynamics of organizations require that management professionals understand Bohemian X Factor.

Tight authorial orders to bohemian persons do not work in the bohemian organizational culture. In the worst case scenarios of organizations, bohemian people become “mind terrorists” and critical opponents for hierarchical and bureaucratic organization cultures. Wrongly treated bohemians can even attack companies and corporations – in the real life, but also in the social media and in various other Internet environments.

A better mobilization of Bohemian people’s intellectual capital is a very important strategic thing for the organizations of creative class. Often, bohemian people are very goal-oriented. Bohemian people appreciate the creative thinking and real-life problem solving. The active generation of new ideas is important challenge for them. That is why it is important to listen to them carefully. In this case the management emphasizes access to different types of organizations, work cultures and also alternative cultures. The best option would be to have very open mind and also open communication, which is applied for open dialogue and open debate in different social contexts. The variation of opinions matters. Only after these open communicative processes the Bohemian X Factor can get involved in the development of organizations.

“The war for talent.” will not be won without Bohemian X Factor. Thus, a talent management system must be worked into the business strategy and implemented in daily processes throughout the organization as a whole. If bohemian persons are not recognized in business strategies, we can expect problems in the implementation of business strategies. Companies and agencies that engage in talent management are strategic and deliberate in how they attract, select, source, train, develop, retain, promote, and move people through the organization.

It may also be wise to simply delegate new R&D projects to bohemian experts and allow them to perform tasks independently and self-directed. In this case, change management means that leaders find talented people to prepare and implement challenging projects. It might be wise to develop flexible rather than rigid organizational structures, and fast organizations to move on. This approach does not allow firm turfs inside an organization. Leadership role should be a gathering of hot teams and manage these teams.

Already Socrates in ancient Greece taught that the inspiration of poets is an essential form of enthusiasm. Key challenge of bohemian talent management is to produce and keep enthusiasm level as high as possible. If the enthusiasm capital is lost, a lot of intellectual capital is lost inside an organization, but also in a society.


1 Variety
2. Bohemian
3. Talent management
4. Socrates
Vlastos, Gregory (1991). Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
5. Enthusiasm

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