In industry, “growth” commonly means but one things: to get bigger. Success is equated with size, rationalized as economy of scale, and projected as a national faith through the G.N.P. index. Hollywood, Broadway, General Motors, and more recently the conglomerates are the result. A balloon, as it is blown up, gets bigger–but this is not growth. It is simply expansion. As many a breathless and startled reveler has discovered, bigger is not always better. The capacity of the balloon does not grow, but the capacity is subjected to more and more demands. Expansion could therefore be seen as using more and more of a given capacity. Growth, on the other hand, means increasing the capacity of the system as well as the demands that are made upon it. Partial reorganization of a company would bring about expansion or integration. Expansion occurs when the reorganization causes those parts of the organization that are addressed to increase their demands upon the rest of the system (for example, a work simplification program). Only total reorganization can bring about growth. Only total reorganization can bring about growth. Without growth the forces of differentiation and integration–process and structure–become unresolved conflict, causing fragmentation, empire building, and eventually the decline of the company.
We can therefore differentiate three forms of “orderly” change that can occur within a company:
- The change of integration, which we shall call self-regulation.
- The change of expansion.
- The change of growth.
Philosophers have long been aware that our experience of the world is not simple but complex. A few moments’ reflection will show most people that what we experience, how we experience it, why we experience it, and that we experience at all are different sides or dimension of experience. What we experience gives rise to facts. How we experience gives rise to functions. Why we experience this rather than that gives rise to structure. That we experience at all gives rise to a mystery, related in some way to Will.
February 21st, 2020 ~
Expansion vs. Growth: I have talked with small business owners, mainly in the food industry. Recently, an owner of a beloved bakery told me she has been repeatedly invited to expand her business. She has owned the business for several decades. Early on, it was in the background of her mind to expand. Now, she can’t imagine it. Her footprint is all over the bakery and it just wouldn’t be feasible to replicate this at another location without losing quality. Not to say others haven’t done it. The same goes for pizza making. An owner I know has said the quality of the dough goes down if you can’t thrown the pizzas by hand. When you use machines, it is evident in the quality of the pies. So, maybe many businesses expand when they franchise. But are they really growing their business. What do you think?