The Perils Of Analyzing Organizational Ineffectiveness

Organizational ineffectiveness is not a straight-forward metric; but it is a checkpoint worth having against the organizational goals and the pace of achieving them. A strictly pragmatic point of view is required for key result areas to be marked out so that systemic inefficiencies and practices are rooted out. Checking for factors and contributors to organizational ineffectiveness before they become too costly to the sustainability of the business is an effective negative criterion for evaluating success, in addition to the routine checklist such as organizational effectiveness, ROI, and market capitalization.

In check for organizational ineffectiveness, leaders and business owners shape together a policy for sustainability – the strength to contend with business cycles, the contingency plan for when macroeconomic factors cause widespread disruption, and a list of ideas for bringing the organization back on its feet.

By analyzing organizational ineffectiveness, critical thinkers are able to find areas of effort that do not produce optimum results, and are therefore not worth their space on the to-do list. But labelling something as ineffective and trying to find a new model of working is easier said than done. Without the requisite research and effort, this routine can turn into a loop of trial and error – and this isn’t an effective way to establish organizational processes and best practices either.

You might also be interested to read: Building A Robust Organizational Resilience

Organizational ineffectiveness analysis is like the white space on a page – having it in place makes the factors of effectiveness come out better. By commodifying organizational ineffectiveness and addressing it, businesses make space for:

Sustainability when the business scales up: Examining ineffectiveness makes it possible to examine avenues for developing sideways or dipping into related products and services that improve customer experience

Pivots or organizational redesign if needed: The dynamic business environment requires businesses to think on their feet and make decisions that affect the course of the business within tight constraints. Out-of-the-box thinking is more effective when business leaders already know what hasn’t worked in the past.

Strategic planning: Planning is empty but for specific metrics and figures of merit being tracked at regular intervals. Both the performance of individuals and effectiveness of processes can offer insights into strategic planning, which can then lend itself to the identification of organizational ineffectiveness.

Creating a holistic organizational culture: Sustainability, resilience, and tensile strength to weather long-term change are desirable qualities for an organization and its workforce to develop. They cannot be merely hinted at. It is a commitment to be made overtly and reinforced with time. These qualities have to be practiced in the day-to-day so that they become a way of living in the world of work. That means exemplifying these strengths to one another, going the extra mile to support one another among teams, and being ready to ask and give out help. A culture of “looking out for one another” starts with the managers and percolates to the managed teams.

The same tenets of handling organization ineffectiveness are outlined slightly differently by another example of a stalwart organization, Bain & Company. They list out Strategy, Metrics, Commitment, Behaviors, and Culture as their recipe for ensuring that they stay effective.

Closer to home in India’s world of work, employee engagement is a critical way in which employers brace to deal with challenging work environments and constraints. By paying attention to what employees find motivating, what takes away from their productivity, and the factors that make up their effectiveness. India Inc. focuses on helping them find a positive work environment, effective management practices, and leadership that brings out the best in them. While these efforts are most obvious in the IT sector of India, the HR departments of several other sectors are not far behind. The focus lies on providing growth opportunities, thoughtful grievance redressal channels, and a productive, engaging leadership under which employees can appreciate their workplace experience. These efforts are trained towards employee satisfaction. Engaged employees are more loyal and committed to the goals of the organization they identify with, and this is how India Inc. tries to reach a productive resolution to organizational ineffectiveness.

Dealing with organizational ineffectiveness in small steps

In the day to day, Indian corporates are getting more pragmatic and intentional in combating organizational ineffectiveness. From the grassroot-level of employees all the way up to the executives, here are some of the measures they take up:

Prioritize: All teams and managers know that while the agenda for the month or week is high, there are only 2-3 items of great significance. Prioritizing tasks and gathering agreement on these important tasks helps focus stay in place.

Delegate: Dissipation of energy is one of the prime reasons for organizational ineffectiveness. Great managers are those who create ownership among team members for specific tasks or job families, don’t look back. Responsibility and accountability are clearly delineated.

Multitask less, focus more: The workforce knows better than to believe they can get everything done. Instead, they spend quality time getting a good quality job done rather than fire on multiple cylinders and hope for the best. This way, time is not wasted in gathering and re-gathering lost momentum.

Second chances: Given the different skills levels, psychological make-up, and personalities of the workforce, the way they handle mistakes and failure vary. One way of quelling organizational ineffectiveness without getting into a loop of rejection, firing, or attrition is to help the workforce handle outcomes that do not pan out as expected. A critical role for managers is to help their teams move past negativity and failure so that they have the heart (and the muscle) to try again. Not every leader has the skill and ability to support employees through bad outcomes, help them delve to the root cause of failure, and adjust their processes. This is a skill worth building.

Trust in numbers: Benchmarking starts with being brutally honest. Assigning a number to the quality of each finished job is the beginning of pinpointing organizational ineffectiveness. This way, looking back on past performance is a mere remembrance of a set of opinions or perceptions but a record set in clear, hard facts.

With supposedly plain and simple rules of thumb, it is possible to rein in organizational ineffectiveness and bring valuable behaviors of the workforce to the fore. When these behaviors become a way of life at the workplace, delivering valuable results devoid of wastage becomes a real possibility.


  • The death spiral of organizational ineffectiveness| Glocal Thinking| José Miguel Bolívar| September 2nd, 2021
  • Employee Engagement in India: Organizational Effectiveness, People, and Performance in IT Companies| Handbook of Research on the Role of Human Factors in IT Project Management|Jitendra Singh Tomar| 2020
  • Organizational effectiveness: the X factor for company success||Devon Maloney|17th June 2019

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