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Growth Regeneration And Aging

Check us out at Organisations exhibit a similar, though not identical, life-cycle pattern of changes to living organisms. They grow, mature, decline, and eventually pass away. However, there are some differences that require attention. Firstly, the duration of each stage is less precise than that of typical organisms. In human beings, physiological growth reaches its climax at about the age of 25 whereas the growth phase of an organisation can vary to a great extent. Secondly, the mechanics upon which changes are based are different. Living organisms are typical biological machines with their own physics and chemistry, while organisations are not. According to Boulding (1956), organisations are at a higher level of complexity than living organisms. Genetic factors and available resources both influence growth in organisms. Organisms develop from fertilisation to maturity through a programmed or predetermined genetic code, a process termed ontogenic development (Ayres, 1994). Apart from this, it is also necessary that the organism acquire sufficient necessary resources from the environment to sustain its life and remain viable. Although the concept of ontogenic development may not be directly applicable to the growth of real organisations due to the difference in basic constituents and mechanisms (i.e. biological vs. socio-technical), there is a similar idea upon which the description of growth in organisations can be based. Greiner (1972) proposed a growth model that explained the growth in business organisations as a predetermined series of evolution and revolution (Figure 11.2, The five phases of organisational growth (adapted from Greiner, 1972).). In order to grow, the organisation is supposed to pass through a series of identifiable phases or stages of development and crisis, which is similar, to some degree, to the concept of ontogenic development. Thus, it is interesting to see that systems at different levels of complexity (Boulding, 1956) can exhibit a similar pattern of change. This is also consistent with General System Theory, which attempts to unify the bodies of knowledge in various disciplines (Bertalanffy, 1973).
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