The Meta-Organization – A Research and Conceptual Landscape


  1. Okros, A.
  2. Verdon, J.
  3. Chouinard, P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
Governments are increasingly requiring different agencies to work together in demanding circumstances using a whole of government or comprehensive approach. This paper applies a social and human perspective to examine how a meta-organization may be capable of enacting a comprehensive approach. The multi-disciplinary analyses integrate a number of disparate concepts to present speculative hypotheses that may be used to inform future research agendas. The initial section examines the problem space that requires comprehensive approaches with discussion of wicked problems, convergence and assemblage, and the management of the commons. The second major component assesses how agencies can be organized to deal with these issues with comparison of the hierarchical bureaucratic approach to that of professions and complex adaptive systems. The two subsequent sections present the implications for moving from traditional managerial structures to alternate organizational approaches with specific consideration of the human element. The key suggestion presented is that government-led comprehensive approaches likely require setting the conditions to enable the emergence of a constrained complex adaptive system as the appropriate framework to enable meta-organizational effectiveness. Implications for future research are provided in the domains of theory building, modelling and simulation, organizational analyses, lessons learned and professional development.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Organizations;Whole of government;Comprehensive approach;Wicked problems;Convergence;Complex adaptive systems;Organizational culture;Organizational structure;Organizational effectiveness;Leadership;Public administration;Professions;Meta-organization;Technology Investment Fund;Modelling Meta-Organisational Collaboration and Decision Making
Report Number
DRDC-CSS-TR-2011-13 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Jul 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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