STRUCTURING YOUR ORGANIZATION
OUTLINE AND REVIEW (more fully developed in Enlightened Management)
by Robert Campbell
We shall be introducing some very comprehensive new ideas in this seminar, and yet the ideas are at the
same time very old. They are very old because the process of evolution has used them on the planet Earth
for over four billion years. They are new because they have never been fully recognized as valuable tools in
properly structuring a business organization to optimize its Potential, Commitment, and Performance. We will
see that Potential, Commitment, and Performance are three dimensions that are always involved in the
integration of experience.
The three dimensions are involved in the integration of our personal experience because of the way that the
human nervous system has evolved in the biosphere over many millions of years. So these ideas are tried
and true. They have worked to organize our bodies as intelligent human beings capable of learning from our
own experience. Through these three dimensions we have learned how to cope creatively with our ever-
changing environment. And we can use these same three structural dimensions to properly structure our
business organizations. A business organization can be structured to integrate experience creatively in the
same way that a human individual does. A business organization can become a learning organization too. It
can learn how to evolve and adjust to its environment in a balanced and sustainable way.
Think about it. Every business organization is an extension of one person’s creative idea: the person who
started the company. It may have been many years ago, and he or she may have died long ago, and the
organization may have grown into a multi-national conglomerate, but every company, at some point in time,
starts as an idea in the mind of one human being. And in the beginning that person is often the company’s
only employee. But as a company germinates, takes root and grows it soon becomes more than one person
can do. They must hire others, and as numbers increase, they must organize them into groups that perform
specialized tasks that relate constructively to one another. They must structure their growing organization to
do things that they had to do all by themselves when it was a one-person company. So there is a direct link
between how one person integrates their personal experience and how a business organization becomes
structured to integrate the collective experience of all of its employees.
THE UNIVERSAL PATTERN
It is not surprising then that there is a universal pattern to how work becomes structurally delegated in
business organizations of all kinds. This is true whether it is running a construction company, a hotel, a
service of some kind, manufacturing cars, or whatever. All companies are different and yet they all share
common structural elements, although these elements may sometimes be called by different department
names. It is a curious and obvious fact that there are only six kinds of departments or distinct structural
domains of work in any company. This is so in an organization of any kind for that matter. There are only six
domains and there are always six, although they may not always be delegated. Furthermore we sometimes
don’t recognize their boundaries and we tend to confuse their nature. We tend not to focus on them correctly.
They may be listed as follows:
1. All companies have what may be called a Production Department that produces the main product or
service provided by the company. This may be considered the physical work of a company, although in some
kinds of companies, such as management consulting, it may not be very physical. In a manufacturing
company it is the plant and assembly line that physically makes the cars.
2. Every company has a Product Development Department that develops the idea into a practical
plan ready for implementation. It is the Engineering and Design Department that designs the new cars,
together with the methods and equipment necessary to make them. In small companies this department may
first appear in the guise of a maintenance department, for example a garage to maintain equipment in the
case of a construction company. If a construction company becomes very large there may be an Engineering
Department doing structural analysis, developing new construction techniques or even developing specialized
3. Every company has a Sales Department that sells and services the product to the consumer in the
market place. Cars are sold through distributorships throughout the world. Some companies are more sales
oriented than others, but this activity may never be ignored. Sales may be delegated when some companies
are very small, while others may thrive on just a few large clients where a formal sales department is less
important until the size of the company demands it.
4. Every company has a Financial Department to fund the organization, account for its activities, and
attend to its financial needs. The cost of making cars has to be financed and is reflected in their price
structure in a competitive market. Even small companies have Accounting Departments. In large companies
other departments, such as the Production Department, may have accounting activities of their own, in order
to budget for their needs and control costs. As companies grow large the six domains tend to appear again
within each domain.
5. Every company has a Personnel Department or Human Resources Department that attends to
the general needs of acquiring and maintaining an adequate work force, together with supervisory and
management staff. It is initially concerned with ensuring a supply of qualified employees in line with equitable
benefits and acceptable working conditions in a healthy social environment. But as a company becomes large,
it must focus on other issues as well. For example, the problem of properly structuring a company can
become very complex, and it is the job of this department to assess, develop and monitor the company’s
organization structure. This department is usually not delegated to a significant extent until a company
reaches a couple hundred employees or so. Department heads often do their own hiring and other personnel
concerns are assumed to look after themselves. In large companies, however, this department becomes very
important. We will refer to this department of company activity as the Organization domain.
6. Every company has a Marketing Department to identify needs in the market place to which the
company could, should or must respond to in order to thrive. The Marketing Department is completely distinct
from the Sales Department. It is the headlights of the company that allows it to steer a safe course through an
ever-changing landscape. Marketing provides futuristic vision essential to a company’s continued success. It
must clearly evolve product idea direction and guidance for the whole company. It must identify potential
product opportunities and pitfalls consistent with long-term trends. This assessment must be made in the light
of the company’s material, human, and fiscal resources available to turn futuristic vision into practical reality.
The company must have the will and capacity to make a dream come true. In smaller companies, up to
several hundreds of employees, this function is largely undelegated, except in special circumstances. The
chief executive is relied upon to provide overall vision and guidance to the company, relying heavily on his
intuition and personal feel for the marketplace, with input from many sources. But as a company reaches four
complete levels of delegation, about a thousand employees or so (numbers can vary), formal delegation is
demanded by the complexities involved.
In summary there are only these six regions or domains of activity in any company or organization, although
they may not always be delegated. In a one-man company they exist in one man’s mind, and only become
progressively delegated as a company grows. But why are there only six and always six? There is a very good
reason but it is beyond the scope of our current study. It has to do with a universal pattern to the structure of
experience itself, and the pattern keeps recurring in every area of experience, from the level of a single cell to
the evolution of the biosphere. The six domains have a cosmic flavor that lends structure and meaning to all
experience. Then how do the six regions relate to the three dimensions? That question will concern us next.
The six domains relate to one another in polar pairs. In this way they provide conscious insight into the
dynamics of the creative process. There are only three polar pairs that we have called the three dimensions
of experience. They are structured into the anatomy of the human brain. There is no escape from them. We
use them in everything that we do. The human brain is in fact three brains in one.
Our brain has evolved in such a way as to incorporate the brains of the primitive lower vertebrates within it.
This primitive part of the brain is organized separately from the newer part of both hemispheres that has
expanded with the evolution of the higher mammals and especially with man. We owe our intellectual capacity
to the new part of the brain, and our emotional capacity to the old brain.
In recent decades it has become popular knowledge that the two hemispheres of the new brain perform very
different tasks. The left hemisphere is sometimes called the language hemisphere. It has a rational nature
that commits us to patterns of behavior suited to the social situation that we find ourselves in. In other words,
it uses language to relate to our social organization. It is thus the task of the left hemisphere to cope with our
ever-changing circumstances. To put it in Buddhist terms it must deal with the impermanence of experience.
The right hemisphere is intuitive in nature, and mute. It does not think in words and it cannot speak, although
it can understand verbal concepts. It appreciates aesthetics, art, music, and the proportions of space and
time. It determines the spirit in which things are done and it deals in values. It develops themes that provide
direction. Its concepts are intuitive and abstract and it draws on our resources of lifetime experience, and
even upon the collective experience of humanity. There is a universal flavor to our sense of proportion and
aesthetic values that transcends human individuals and that can sometimes span the whole of human
evolution. Intuitive themes can guide human lifetimes, and even the lifetimes of human cultures. In contrast to
the transient left hemisphere, the right hemisphere has an enduring flavor. It tends to be timeless. It has
The third lobe of the brain is less well known, even though it deals in emotions and emotive energy patterns
that play such an important part in our lives. It has been called the primitive part of the brain, because it is
similar in structure to the brains of the reptile and lower mammal. It is an anatomical and physiological fact
that the feelings and emotive patterns of a crocodile and a horse are hard wired into the human “limbic” lobe
of the brain. This lobe is folded inward around the edge or the “limb” of both hemispheres surrounding the
top of the brain stem. It is intimately connected to the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for
generating emotive patterns of behavior with the conscious feedback of emotional energy to both
hemispheres. This primitive lobe, with evolutionary roots going back over 400 million years, gives us access
to an immense range of feelings and emotional patterns that have been explored by our animal ancestors.
These primal emotive patterns fuel our conscious thought processes. In this way the primitive brain anchors
us to our evolutionary roots. It allows us to feel empathy for our natural heritage, to appreciate a sunset or
find amazement in the stars. It allows us to appreciate the feelings of the family pet, or to recall the ancestral
fear of facing a tiger in the wild. We transpose and translate all these feelings and must deal with them to suit
our current social circumstance.
But the new brain has no direct biological controls over the old brain. The three brains are thus required to
live independently within the same house and very often they do not get along together. There is
considerable domestic conflict in our brains. This has prompted some researchers to observe that our human
social dilemma comes from the fact that the huge intellectual capacity of our new brains, that allows us to
build atomic weapons and send rockets to the moon, is harnessed to the emotional capacity of a crocodile
and a horse that is hard-wired into our old brain. Primitive emotions are often unsuitably tailored to our social
circumstance. We only need to reflect briefly on our strife ridden human history, or to glance at yesterday’s
newspaper, to recognize the imbalance between our three brains. There is an element of tragedy that can
afflict any one of us, or the cultures we live in, when the three brains cannot find a suitable balance.
Tragedy can likewise afflict our business organizations when the three structural dimensions get out of
balance. It is therefore of fundamental importance to understand how the three dimensions are comprised
and how they work. In this way we can find out how to properly structure our companies to maintain a
sustainable balance between the three polar dimensions of experience. It follows that the next item on our
agenda is to show how the six domains of company activity relate in polar pairs to provide insight into the
Potential, Commitment and Performance dimensions. We will also show how this compares with the
organization of the three human brains.
THE THREE DIMENSIONS
The Potential Dimension:
Insight into the potential of a company is provided by the polar relationship between the Product Development
and Finance domains. The treasury of a company provides the financial resources essential to developing the
product idea. A company may have all the financial resources in the world at its disposal, but that wealth is
sterile if it has no practical ideas of value to develop for the market place. Conversely, the best ideas in the
world may be sterile if there are not the resources available to develop them. Many a frustrated inventor will
attest to this. Only the polar relationship between these two domains provides insight into the company’s
potential. There is simply no other way to see it.
For example, a relatively small machine shop may have the resources and experience necessary to develop
certain minor parts needed in the manufacture of cars, but it could never find the resources necessary to
manufacture complete cars. And many a successful company has faded away to obscurity through failure to
commit its financial resources to the continued development of new or updated products in line with market
trends and needs. After all, the development of new ideas can be expensive, placing strains on the whole
organization, and it may not pay off for many years. Product development is also out of the public view,
working behind the scenes, and the lack of it is not obvious to the shareholder interested in short term
Likewise, we human beings draw upon our treasury of human experience and learning over the ages. We
access our human resources through wonder. Through a sense of wonder we develop, and modify the
themes, the abstract ideas and the mute creative perceptions that intuitively guide us throughout our lives.
The intuitive right brain is essential to developing our human potential as individuals. Although the universal
themes that we draw upon may have a timeless quality about them, they nevertheless fund the development
of new ideas that allow us to respond creatively to current circumstances. Abstract concepts and mute
perceptions get tailored in appropriate ways to develop new forms of behavior that meet the social demands
placed upon us. If we pay close attention we can become aware of this process working behind the scenes.
This is why Buddhism places so much stress on meditation to develop our awareness and allow us to access
more fundamental levels of wisdom. There is a sense of wonder associated with our human treasury. We
access it according to how we wonder. This is easily verified. We wonder about something and an idea
suddenly pops into our minds.
The Commitment Dimension:
Insight into the commitment of a company is provided by the polar relationship between the Production and
Organization domains, the latter often being called the Personnel or Human Resources Department. If
anything goes wrong in the production operations of a company one must look into the organization structure
of the whole company. Either something is wrong with the way it is formally structured, or someone is not
properly doing their job. The latter may be resolved by specific instruction or retraining, if the problem is not
too serious, or perhaps people need to be moved to other positions or replaced in their jobs.
Faulty structure is usually more serious, for it builds in conflicts which need not exist, just as surely as a car
will misfire if its pistons are cross-wired. People begin fighting or resisting one another, believing each other to
be the problem, and the root cause of the problem goes undetected. Faulty structure invariably places some
people at a structural disadvantage with respect to others. The communicative tensions in the company
become distorted into a negative atmosphere of mistrust. The tragic part is that the most conscientious and
committed people are likely to become the strongest protagonists when one person is placed at a structural
disadvantage with respect to another. Employee effort becomes wasted or stifled in political maneuvering or
bureaucratic controls that compound the problem. Lifetimes become wasted in frustration at great loss to
everyone concerned, especially the organizations that must depend on the concerted commitment of their
employees. The independent work of each employee should harmonize with the work of all employees in the
organization structure. Employees can resonate with one another if their jobs are structured to clearly meet
mutual needs. Teamwork becomes automatic, not just a catchword.
The best employees in the world will not make a company work properly if its structure is flawed, because
creative insight into the company’s operation is also blocked, especially from the Chief Executive. Without
proper insight into the three structural dimensions the CEO cannot make the required decisions to keep them
in proper creative balance. An organization structure is a communications machine and it will function or
malfunction according to the way it is structured, despite the best efforts of everyone to the contrary. One
cannot overstate the importance of well-balanced employee commitment to the successful operation of a
Likewise we human beings have insight into our commitment dimension through the polar relationship
between Production and Organization. The behavioral products that we process are dependent upon
language, so the commitment dimension is thus the province of the left brain, or the language hemisphere.
We use language to explicitly formulate a course of action through conscious reason, and we commit
ourselves to behave accordingly. We consciously observe and justify a course of action to ourselves, even if
we are quite spontaneous. Our behavior relates to our social organization, or at least to the way we perceive
our social circumstance to be organized. Very often it is our perception of our social organization that is
flawed. All of us tend to have faulty worldviews to some extent. We tend to confine ourselves to blind dogmatic
beliefs of many kinds. So the human commitment dimension depends upon how we produce or process
language in polar relation to our social organization as human beings in a global community.
Humans are a unique species, since we are virtually helpless from birth until we begin to understand speech.
Every technique of behavior that we learn from childhood is largely dependent upon language. We must
consciously commit ourselves to everything that we learn.
At the same time, our behavior is guided and directed by the right brain intuitive hemisphere that develops
conceptual themes and abstract plans and yet those themes and long-term plans must be translated into
specific techniques of behavior. This can be compared to manufacturing cars where the conceptual design
and plan for making the car must be translated into specific physical action in order to produce each car, all
with a similar design theme consistent with science and technology.
The Performance Dimension:
Insight into the performance dimension of a company depends upon the polar relationship between Sales
and Marketing. A chart showing sales performance rising or falling from one year to the next really has
nothing to say about the performance of the company, much less the performance of the Sales Department.
For example, a company making typewriters twenty years ago might have noticed its sales falling month by
month. If they interpreted this as a failure of the Sales Department to get to the customer, or a failure of the
Production Department to produce quality machines in a cost effective way, or a failure of Engineering to
design better typewriters, they would be wrong. They should already have had some Marketing input to tell
them that the personal computer was beginning to make serious inroads into their business and they had
better get into the computer business quickly or lose their business. But lets say the company has already
begun making computers and their sales were steadily rising by 10% a year. This may look very rosy on the
surface, until one investigates the market. Computer sales generally may have been rising at 200% a year or
more when the PC began to take off. So a good-looking sales chart was really a poor performance and the
company should have been looking into the reasons why. The point is that insight into overall company
performance can only be seen through the polar relationship between Sales and Marketing and that
Marketing is not a sales activity at all. It is a vital activity of market assessment completely independent of
Some companies use Marketing extensively to ensure themselves of a large market share by being the first
to offer a product. For example the 3M company has traditionally sought out new ideas of value to meet
needs previously ignored. They developed Scotch Tape decades ago, then magic tape that is more
transparent, then double-sided tapes for hanging pictures, then more specialized adhesives for “Post-It”
notes that you can stick on anything temporarily, and so on. They are targeting global markets for low cost
items that sell by the billions. Their performance reflects in the polar relationship between Sales and
Marketing. They are the leading company in the market areas they target and they have avoided entering
markets that are already excessively competitive.
Marketing must be interpreted in terms of necessary modifications in the Organization structure and, if viable,
then into Product Development. But it is marketing that continually evaluates the market, searching for
opportunities and pitfalls. Marketing does the initial feasibility studies, market surveys, and long-term
projections to insure that the company has the financial, material and human resources available to fund new
developments over the time span required, thus insuring that the undertaking will be a success. In larger
companies there may be a marketing activity within the Sales Department as well, or indeed within other
departments also, but Marketing as it relates to the whole company is a distinctly separate function that
provides long-term direction and vision to the whole company. Insight into the performance dimension of the
whole company is provided by the polarity between Marketing and Sales. There is no other way to realistically
assess a company’s performance.
Likewise, insight into the human performance dimension depends upon a polar insight between the same two
domains translated in the context of human evolution. The Marketing domain is represented by the autonomic
nervous system. We perceive need in the natural and social environment emotionally and this emotional
feeling is fed back via ascending connections through the primitive part of the brain into our consciousness.
The patterned energies involved fuel our thought processes. The intuitive brain begins wondering about
appropriate ideas along the lines of accepted themes and these become translated by the left-brain into
specific forms of behavior. The human Marketing domain is the feeling of need perceived in the context of
our capacity to respond.
The patterned energy required to implement behavioral patterns is also fueled via the primitive brain through
its direct connections with descending tracts to the autonomic nervous system. This reverse direction
feeding back to the autonomic nervous system in response to emotional need is associated with the Sales
domain. So this latter fueling of explicit behavior is provided by emotional feedback from Sales as cycles of
activity repeat and are experienced as suitably meeting the perceived needs of the social and natural
marketplace. We seek emotive balance between perceived emotional needs and our emotive responses. We
are biologically structured to have a polar insight into the degree of disparity or balance between these two
domains associated with the primitive part of our brain. This allows us to assess our human performance.
THE FIRST STRUCTURAL CONSTRAINT
When we try to apply these fundamental observations and ideas to properly structuring a business
organization, a very basic structural principle becomes immediately apparent. The six domains of company
activity must always be delegated separately. We may call this basic principle the first structural constraint.
Why must the domains be delegated separately? Because it they aren’t, then polar insight into the three
dimensions becomes lost and distorted. For example, let us suppose that Marketing becomes delegated to
Sales. Is it then the responsibility of the Sales manager to provide overall insight into the company’s long-term
direction? Can the Sales manager tell the CEO what to do regarding making organizational changes and
developing new product themes years in advance of their readiness for the market? No Sales Manager would
presume to do so, but will instead reinterpret the role of Marketing within a sales context relating to existing
products. Even that much will be heavily biased toward the Sales department. The result is that the company
will be left without overall Marketing direction and vision, and other departments will begin to resent the
special position of Sales with respect to Marketing. The Product Development domain will wither and the
organization will stagnate. If the company is large, the CEO will find himself unable to assess the long-term
complexities of global markets by himself.
What happens if the Product Development (or Engineering) function is delegated to the Production Manager?
After all the two are related. Sometimes there may be production problems that can be solved by a design
modification. But is the Production Manager now responsible for developing new products and giving long-
term direction to the company? Can he institute the necessary organizational changes? Does the Personnel
Department become subservient to him too? Will Marketing report to him so as to guide the development of
new product lines? And will Sales report to him with sales projections needed to schedule production? And
how about Finance? Will Finance have to bow to his wishes too, in order to fund product development so that
the organization can keep pace with change? The CEO would soon find himself out of a job, automatically
replaced by the Production Manager. It’s no laughing matter. There are cases where it has happened at great
upset to everyone concerned. The Production Manager may be seen as a regular genius but the distorted
communicative forces in the company will tend to automatically propel him to the top.
What happens if the Organization or Personnel domain is delegated to Finance, as sometimes happens. They
can both be seen as a general office administration kind of job and may be grouped together on this basis.
Finance, of course, becomes delegated long before the Personnel function as a company grows, and is
therefore larger and seen as more important initially. But then the Financial Manager becomes responsible for
screening every employee hired by other departments and for establishing equitable pay rates. Is this not
likely to breed animosity and distrust? And as the company becomes large and organizational analysis
becomes essential to develop a coherent organization, does this vitally important task fall to the Financial
Manager too? Is he qualified to make the right decisions without balanced feedback and input from other
departments? Of course he isn’t. The CEO is again bypassed when it comes to making important
organizational decisions. The whole company can be derailed. The CEO and the whole company are left to
operate blind. That’s what happens when insight into the three dimensions is lost. A company operates blind,
Various other scenarios could be explored to show that the six domains should always be delegated
separately in order to maintain insight into the three dimensions. As some of the six domains begin to break
out within the larger domains as a company grows, they should again be delegated separately. For example,
within the Production domain in a large company, such as a car manufacturer, there will be a sophisticated
maintenance activity which may employ many engineers. It would be a mistake to include this group within the
Engineering Department concerned primarily with Product Development for the whole company. This
unnecessarily complicates communications and makes Production subservient to Engineering. Furthermore
maintenance of its own facilities becomes beyond the control of the Production Department and it can no
longer be held responsible for its results. Likewise there will be a Finance group concerned with cost
accounting and budgeting within the Production Department, and it would be equally fatal to make this group
responsible to the Financial Manager of the whole company. The latter has no practical insight into production
costs or budgeting needs. Sometimes the Purchasing and Warehousing Departments of companies are made
responsible to Finance, supposedly in order to control the purse strings or avoid corruption. But are
accountants more trustworthy than engineers responsible for production? And how can Production be held
responsible for their activities when Finance has control of their material needs. One might as well turn over
control of the company’s bank accounts to the Production Manager and make the Financial Manager beg for
money to do his job.
Surely the point should be made. The First Structural Constraint requires that each of the six domains of
Company activity should always be delegated separately. Nature has somehow been intelligent enough to
follow this simple rule in evolving the organization of the human nervous system. It has done it even in the
organization of a single cell, as well as in the whole biosphere.
THE UNIVERSAL HIERARCHY
There is a second structural constraint that is related to the first. It recognizes and acknowledges that there
are four fundamental levels in a universal hierarchy associated with organizations of all kinds. Each of these
levels involves a completely different kind of work such that direction is implicitly given from the top down. The
hierarchy of a company is not an arbitrary matter of making some people “boss” over others according to
favorite whims of the CEO. We all intuitively know this, and yet just how this universal hierarchy operates is an
elusive matter. We will begin by stating just what the four level universal hierarchy is, and then we will proceed
1. Managerial Work gives form to Idea and direction to Knowledge.
2. Administrative Work gives form to Knowledge and direction to Routine.
3. Supervisory Work gives form to Routine and direction to function.
4. Functional Work gives form to material and direction to itself.
The universal hierarchy can also be represented in a general way as follows:
Idea -> Knowledge -> Routine -> Form
One is entitled to ask, “How can we know that this is a universal hierarchy?” Consider any simple activity, such
as using a potter’s wheel to make a clay pot. We first have an Idea of the shape of the pot that we want to
make. This Idea gives implicit direction to our Knowledge of how a potter’s wheel works, so we prepare the
right amount of clay and place it on the turntable. This Knowledge gives implicit direction to the Routine of
activity that we must undertake and we begin to pump the treadle with our foot and mould the clay with our
hands as it spins on the turntable. This Routine of activity implicitly gives direction to the physical Form of the
pot. There is visual feedback, of course. One sees that the form matches the idea as the pot is finished. If one
checks any number of activities, they will find that this same hierarchical pattern is always present.
For a deeper reason we may look again at the human nervous system. It is commonly understood that ideas
entertained in the brain are associated with patterns of electronic activity in the neurons or nerve cells of the
brain. But there is knowledge implicit in how the nerve cells of the brain are interconnected down through the
spinal column and out to the muscles that move the body. This knowledge is apparent to us and we are aware
of how to use it. We had to learn how, one agonizing step at a time as a child. It was a hard struggle in early
childhood, but gradually we learned how to sit up, stand and walk. In the process the neurological pattern of
inter-connections was completed. An Idea of how we want to act thus gives direction to the Knowledge implicit
in how nerve cells are interconnected. This Knowledge in turn gives instructions to certain muscles to act in
concert to carry out a Routine. This Routine of muscular activity animates the physical Form of the body in a
specific pattern of behavior. Idea - Knowledge - Routine - Form. It can be shown that the nervous system is
specifically organized this way, synapse by synapse. So it is little wonder that the hierarchy is universal when it
is always at work to produce any number of behavioral patterns in the body.
FOUR LEVELS OF DELEGATION
The four levels of work in a company are progressively delegated as a company grows. It was also so in the
evolution of the biosphere, and it is helpful to contrast a business organization to natural processes. We will
therefore follow the delegation of the four levels in the global enterprise of evolution in parallel with the
successive levels of delegation in a company. Delegation in a company begins at the bottom, as we know,
and works back up through the hierarchy as the demands of growth dictate. It has been a similar pattern in
the biosphere also.
The Functional Level of Work:
As a company gets started, the founder is often required to do everything at first. Let’s call him Somsit, and
let us suppose he has started a small shop to repair old motorcycles for resale. Somsit fixes the motorcycles
himself and displays them for sale. He accepts payment and orders spare parts for more repairs. He doesn’t
have much accounting to do because he doesn’t have to pay taxes at first. Because he is in a good location,
and he has a good reputation, people come to his shop. He gradually collects a number of old motorcycles
that he rebuilds for resale.
Somsit is a hard worker and he does so well at this that many people come to him when they want to trade in
their old bike. He no longer has time to handle all his business, but he has a younger brother who is a good
mechanic so he gives him a job, then he later hires a couple more mechanics who are also good workers. He
keeps his shop well organized and stocked with parts, and his wife has begun to keep track of expenses. As
his business flourishes he has to enlarge his shop on the family land and he does a nice job of it, with a long
row of reconditioned bikes for sale out front, and a big sign overhead. He spends most of his time buying and
selling now, while a small group of mechanics refurbishes old bikes for resale, as well as keeping up a repair
business. Soon he gets a dealership for selling new bikes and he adds a showroom to the family property,
which is fortunately well located and large. A younger sister is attractive and bright, so he enlists her to help
selling new bikes. Another sister has just finished a school for business training and is helping with the books.
Things are going quite well and the whole family is pleased.
All of this work is functional in character, although it has already started to break out into separate domains of
activity, with repair/service and accounting functions as well as sales work. Sales remains the main Production
activity of the little company. Somsit doesn’t do much actual physical work any more, but his job is still
functional in character. He is in direct contact with all of his employees. He freely gives each of them direct
instructions on what and how to do things, although his brother helps to guide the repair and service work in
the shop. Somsit is filling the role of a functional level chief. He relies on his own feel for the market, he does
all hiring himself, and he determines what technical equipment and facilities are needed to do the work, so
these other domains remain undelegated.
Somsit’s little company started out a bit like a bacterial cell, when he was all alone, but as it grew we can think
of it as a simple plant, such as algae. Somsit has the company blueprint in his mind. He is like the nucleus
that contains the genes, and out in the cytoplasm surrounding him are little organelles that are procuring,
repairing, selling, and accounting. Plants were the first level of eukaryotic organic life to appear in the
biosphere. They were the first level of organized multi-cellular life.
An organic cell is a chemical factory of immense complexity, and algae, fungi, slime molds and lichens were
the first plant cells to explore the form and function of the kind of cells destined to constitute all higher forms of
life. Algae cells come in all shapes and sizes, from microscopic to giant single cells a meter long. But then they
began to work cooperatively and combine into multi-cellular creatures. Within the plant kingdom, multi-cellular
plants can be called a move to a supervisory level of delegation, but with respect to the enterprise of all life on
the planet, they remain at the functional level of delegation. The levels begin to break out within each level,
and this is most noticeable at the functional level of work. The move to multi-celled plants was still concerned
with working out the functional tasks of various cell types. The giant club moss and horsetails developed
vascular systems essential to support their huge size. When they became extinct these developments
remained vital to later generations of complex plants, such as trees with roots, trunk and top.
Let’s say that Somsit comes into an inheritance. He’s a lucky fellow and a well-to-do uncle left him several
plots of land in Bangkok, and also some money. So he decides to expand into the car business. He has the
land and money, so he builds another garage to repair used cars for resale and begins doing exactly what he
did with motorcycles. He hires more mechanics to repair cars as well as salesmen to sell them. He advertises
in newspapers and on the radio now, but he still keeps direct functional control of his whole organization,
although he has assigned a sub-level of functional control to his brother, who now guides all the repair work.
Somsit’s business is booming and he is enjoying the action. The morale among his workers is good and he
treats them well. Then he builds a new showroom and obtains a new car dealership. New cells are being
added to his business and Sales is clearly the predominant Production activity. The repair function takes its
place as a Product Development activity. He has several sales people now, and his accounting staff has
increased. He begins a small car rental section also, and he now does body work. His company has become a
multi-celled organism, still at the functional level of organization. Somsit has delegated sub-levels of functional
control, but is still directly in touch with his whole organization and remains primarily concerned with directing
the functional tasks that his employees perform. He has become very busy, however.
Delegation began at the Supervisory level of work in the biosphere long before evolution at the functional
level in plants progressed through four sub-levels to explore the many kinds of plants that we see today. The
biosphere, however is an immense enterprise operating on a time scale of four billion years, so we will have to
take that into account when comparing it to Somsit’s humble endeavors. Somsit is nevertheless a man with a
vision. He is on the move. So was the biosphere when the invertebrate animals came on the scene.
The Supervisory Level of Work:
In sharp contrast to the plants that explored the primary forms and Functional tasks of the cell, the
invertebrate animals explored forms of sensing their environment and making motor responses to it. They
developed sensory-response mechanisms. They were concerned with Routines of activity as integrated multi-
cellular creatures. They learned to see, hear, taste, smell and feel. And they learned how to move about in a
great many ways, using their senses to steer them. At first the invertebrates were plant-like creatures like
sponges, but they soon began to move about freely. Jellyfish, flatworms and roundworms came, then
segmented worms that later developed legs that allowed centipedes to colonize the land. The arthropods
developed specialized body segments, which led to myriads of insects, perhaps as many as 20 million species
of them alive today. The cephalopods, such as the squid and octopus, together with the mollusks, remained
unsegmented. Huge varieties of insects took to flight and underwent metamorphosis. Some of them later
developed into intelligent colonies with specialized functions delegated to various members of the colony. We
are all generally familiar with the specialized organization of bee, ant and termite colonies. On the other hand,
the giant squid and octopus developed into quite intelligent individuals that lead solitary and rather aggressive
One thing held in common by all species on higher levels of delegation than plants, is that they cannot store
energy for themselves. Animals need to eat plants or other animals that eat plants. Energy from the sun is the
currency of exchange for all living creatures in the biosphere and yet only plants have a capacity to store it in
the chemical bonds of sugar. The rest of us, on higher levels of delegation, are all dependent on plants for
our energy needs.
Likewise the higher levels in every company are dependent on feedback from the functional level of work that
produces the physical form of its product and sells it in the market. So in a very fundamental sense plants are
concerned with the most basic task cycles of living cells, whereas the invertebrate animals are concerned with
employing and integrating those tasks into another level of activity.
Insects, for instance, require a higher level of sensory coherence that spans space and time. They relate to
an extended perception of their movements through space, integrated over a period of time in a meaningful
way. Bees, for example, are actively concerned about how they physically collect food and commit their
resources to maintain product cycles of more bees. Their survival depends up it, and they collect their pollen
and honey from an extended area around their hive. Plants are not actively concerned with how their
resources are gathered or committed to their own product cycles. This level of sentience is not delegated to
But lets get back to Somsit. He’s been up to big things. He has started a branch dealership on one of his
inherited plots of land on the other side of Bangkok. He doesn’t have a big showroom at first, just a small
sales office and a small service garage, with a row of shiny new cars out in front. He has used cars on display
as well. He has land to spare. He sells at bargain prices, depending on high turnover to generate profit on
small profit margins. He requires his customers to drive to his other garage for major repairs. For a bargain
they don’t mind, since major repairs aren’t likely with a new car. The recession doesn’t scare him either. He
has some resources behind him now, and has begun to do some of his own financing for trusted customers.
And it’s going well too. He has also expanded his rental car business to the new lot, and rents some trucks as
Somsit no longer has time to devote to functional level work. He has delegated that to various sales chiefs,
maintenance foremen, and accounting chiefs, all reporting directly to him. He focuses on Supervisory level
work now, and that is concerned with how to commit and schedule his resources to maintain a continuous
product flow. His focus has shifted from task cycles to product cycles. He has to shift people and cars around
quite a bit as the demand shifts from one area to another. And with major expenditures for a steady stream of
new cars, he has to carefully schedule his cash flow. He has hired a very good accountant to help him.
Somsit is running a dynamic operation, and is still very much at the controls. He knows everyone in his
organization well, and still double checks on all new employees that his functional chiefs want to hire. He has
established simple and fair wage policies. Having delegated most of his functional level work, Somsit has
more time to consider the future of his business carefully. He devotes more time to Marketing needs. He gets
around more and sees what others are doing. He gets a lot of input from the company that sponsors his
dealership and he keeps in close touch with them. They are happy with his performance. Nevertheless Somsit
has bigger ideas. He begins plans to build a large new showroom and garage at the new location and has
stepped up his advertising.
The Administrative Level of Work:
Before Somsit has even finalized plans for his new showroom and garage, the sponsor approaches him with
another proposal. The economic downturn has cut deeply into car sales generally, even though Somsit has
been able to move against the trend through his sales policy of high turnover at low margins of profit. His
sales people don’t waste time negotiating with customers. His sales staff is minimal and they spend all their
time writing up orders. Somsit simply offers a rock bottom price at the outset. Customers have come to know
this. People travel long distances to buy cars from Somsit. He has acquired quite a reputation. They know
they don’t have to shop around for the best price. And since he was the first to start this policy he already
has the high turnover, so nobody else can compete with him.
However, the sponsor has two other dealerships in serious financial trouble, one in Chiang Mai, and one in
Phuket. The sponsor is willing to assist Somsit financially if he will take them over. He jumps at the chance. It’s
a bargain opportunity and he has nothing to lose. And he has other ideas. Phuket and Chiang Mai are tourist
destinations. They present great opportunities for his rental business. Using some leverage through his
sponsor he gets car rental concessions at the airports. The rental business boosts his new cars sales and
provides him with a steady trickle of used cars as well. He even helps his competition by supplying cars to
another rental agency. It’s all good for business. Somsit knows what he’s doing.
But Somsit hasn’t got enough time for scheduling the day-to-day commitment of his resources any more. He
must delegate most of this supervisory work that focuses on product cycles. He promotes his best Sales,
Service, Maintenance, and Accounting chiefs to supervisory positions with functional chiefs reporting to them.
He also appoints a Leasing Supervisor, responsible for car leasing and for implementing the expansion of this
business to other locations. More important, he establishes a Sales Policy supervisor to monitor and further
develop his policy of high turnover at rock bottom prices. This has become the essence of his Product
Development domain now. It was just an idea that he started when things were much simpler and he could
keep track of them easily. Now he needs someone to continually monitor and evolve this policy. His company
has become a sales oriented organization and he wants to keep it that way.
Somsit’s primary concern has turned to expanding and refining the facilities, systems and infrastructure of his
whole organization. This concern with integrating the knowledge of how to develop, maintain and organize his
company requires that specific plans be formulated and implemented at the Administrative level of work. This
requires an expanded conceptual grasp. His horizons have expanded. His ideas are becoming more
extended in both space and time. He is rapidly becoming a national, not a local company. He is concerned
with safely committing his resources on a much longer time span than product cycles associated with the
turnover of cars. His concerns have graduated from product cycles to the company’s facilities themselves,
including the systems and organization required to operate and further develop them. These matters used to
fall into line by themselves, but not any more. They take most of his time.
He employs a Personnel Officer for the first time. He will work at the Supervisory level screening new
employees, maintaining employee records, implementing salary schedules, and so on. Somsit also begins
delegating some Marketing work on an intermittent basis. He needs to know the feasibility of opening new
leasing outlets in other cities. And he has begun thinking about an equipment leasing business also. With the
economic crash, there is a lot of used equipment available very cheap, and there is still a lot of construction
work proceeding in places like Phuket. He needs more Marketing input in order to make wise decisions. His
organization is beginning to flesh out into the six domains of activity in a modest way.
Evolutionary delegation in the biosphere moved on to the administrative level with the appearance of the
vertebrates. The first vertebrates were the primitive fish, eels, rays and sharks, but they soon took to land
with amphibian varieties that developed into a host of reptilian species over a period of two hundred million
years. The reptiles and dinosaurs became extinct to make way for succeeding waves of mammals and birds.
Each successive wave of delegation produced refinements on more sentient levels of the evolutionary
It wasn’t just a spinal column that distinguished the vertebrates, but also an autonomic nervous system that
evolved together with cerebral hemispheres. Emotive patterns of behavior, fueled by autonomic activity, could
reflect in the conscious awareness provided by the hemispheres of the brain. The hemispheres are like a
movie screen onto which experience is emotively projected. These animals became conscious of their
patterned product cycles of behavior. They operated at a more sentient level of delegation. When the
amphibians moved to land this patterned activity became fixed upon a common skeletal arrangement with
only four limbs and a standard arrangement of internal organs. Crocodiles, horses and humans all have the
same number of joints in four limbs, and come fitted with two eyes, two nostrils, one tongue, one heart, two
lungs, a stomach, intestines and so on. There is much greater similarity between vertebrate species than
there is between invertebrate species.
The broad diversity of invertebrate body plans is reorganized in the vertebrates to reflect on experience in a
similar way. By doing so patterned behaviors of the reptiles and lower mammals become accessible to the
higher mammals with larger new brains. The energy patterns of primitive behavioral products can be
modulated and modified by the higher mammals to suit a wide range of circumstances. The higher mammals,
such as dogs or chimpanzees, can express a range of emotional responses tailored to suit the situation.
They can show anger, affection, sorrow, distrust, and a whole spectrum of human-like emotions unknown to a
crocodile, or a cow. This capacity to modulate emotions gives them the capacity to tailor behavioral products
to suit a variety of circumstances.
Companies produce patterns of products too. When Somsit was repairing and selling motorcycles himself, his
range was very limited. He was anchored to one spot, doing the same thing over and over, like a plant. Then
he started selling new motorcycles, then used cars, then new ones, then leasing cars, then a second outlet.
The patterns of his activities explored a range of related diversity, like the invertebrates. As he moves to
become a national company with many outlets, the capacity of his company to tailor its activities is much
enhanced to meet specific needs in different circumstances, much like a developing mammal. This needs to
be qualified. His company’s capacity is enhanced, so long as Somsit doesn’t make any fundamental structural
errors. So far Somsit has displayed a rare gift for avoiding serious organizational flaws.
The Managerial Level of Work:
In the ordinary usage of terms Somsit would have been called a Manager long ago. But we are investing
these words with special structural significance here. Recall that Managerial work gives form to Idea, and
implicit direction to Knowledge. Somsit eventually gets his company organized on a national level, with many
sales and leasing outlets all over the country. The sheer size of his organization has demanded that he
delegate work at the Administrative level in most of his departments. Sales, Leasing, and Service; are
divisions of the Production Domain in his sales oriented company. Forecasting is of vital importance to
accurately scheduling and budgeting his entire operation and it is essentially a Sales domain in a sales
oriented company. Sales Policy is a Product Development domain that creates sales packages at rock bottom
prices to maximize turnover. Finance, Personnel, and Marketing speak for themselves. His duties now resolve
themselves into maintaining a creative balance between these six inputs in polar pairs, while his
administrative level subordinates actively continue to develop and maintain the infrastructure of the company.
Oddly enough, Somsit still maintains the small motorcycle shop that he started out with years before. In a
sense he has gone full circle. The six domains that he started out integrating in his own mind have now all
been delegated. But the inputs that he gets back from the polar relationships structured into his organization
still require him to balance them creatively in his own mind.
Humans have evolved into the managerial level of work in the biosphere. Just as there is only one CEO in a
business organization, there is only one species of human being on the planet. We humans have evolved
large new brains riding over and around our primitive brain that is much the same in organization and extent
in all the higher mammals. We reflect on our emotive experience in much the same way as a dog, an
elephant, or a seal. We just do it with a larger new brain. We have climbed up the ladder through the plants,
the invertebrates and the vertebrates to our place at the top of the universal hierarchy and it is surely
obvious that we have come to dominate the planet as a species. We may well destroy it before we learn how
to respond creatively and constructively to the trust placed in us. But just what is it that distinguishes us so
much from our animal brothers? What is it that gives us such power over our environment? How is it that we
can manage the creation of such powerful ideas?
Language gives us the power. Other species may be able to communicate to some extent also. They may
even be more intuitive about the immediate environment than we are. But humans have evolved a language
that allows us to deal with the whole of experience in abstraction. We can assign words to elements of
experience and use the words to plan and create. We have graduated from blind dependence upon genetic
biological evolution. Genes can’t determine the meaning in words. We have to learn meaning. We humans
are really born the dumbest of creatures. We are helpless until we learn to understand speech, and then we
use language to learn virtually everything. As language dependent creatures required to explicitly formulate
our own behavior, we also create our own social and economic organizations. We structure this commitment
The evolution of language has also split the workings of our new brain. While the left hemisphere has
become the province of the commitment dimension, the right hemisphere has become a complementary
intuitive tool for the development of mute ideas funded by universal themes. Our human potential is accessed
through the wonder of timeless creative values. These values transcend our birth and our death. They are
our ultimate reality.
We also still remain anchored to our primitive roots in the biosphere through our performance dimension. It is
these primary energies that fuel our creative actions and that also become modified in the process. We may
be fueled by raw emotions, but we are required to intuitively tailor them into socially acceptable behavioral
products. We have thus become socially responsible for our own evolution through how we make our
We find ourselves at the managerial level of the universal hierarchy in the biosphere. We have an
unparalleled capacity for creative Idea that gives implicit direction to Knowledge, Routine and Form. It is only
at this managerial level in the hierarchy that the six domains become fully delegated.
THE SECOND STRUCTURAL CONSTRAINT
The first structural constraint requires that each of the six domains be delegated separately. The Production
domain may be broken into various Production areas or sections but they should each relate to a Product
Development domain. The point of importance is that insight into the three dimensions must be maintained to
avoid serious structural problems that will affect the commitment and erode the potential and performance of
the whole company. There is some flexibility allowed as to how to do this.
The second structural constraint requires that delegation should proceed in discreet levels of responsibility
and authority. The first level is always associated with Functional task cycles, and this level gives specific
physical direction to itself. Place this nut on that bolt; dig a hole there; make this wooden table; repair that
motorcycle; balance the ledger; sell that car; draw these plans. Basic skills are assumed and people may
require a level of training, but the work is always functional in a physical way relating to the end product of a
At the functional level there may be sub-levels of delegation if there are large numbers of people or a variety
of skills involved. For example building a road may require a succession of crews such as clearing and
grading, building bridges, spreading and compacting fill, laying asphalt, and final landscaping and cleanup.
Each of these successive crews will have a functional foreman giving specific directions, and they in turn will
receive specific functional instructions from a general foreman responsible for building the whole road.
The second level has been called the Supervisory level, but a special meaning is attached to the word
“supervisor” here. The words available in language are unfortunately limited. A general foreman may
supervise a large number of people but in this context he is still considered to work at the functional level,
because the physical nature of his work focuses on successive task cycles. The supervisory level focuses on
organizing, scheduling, and committing the available resources of the company in a certain way to meet the
requirements of product cycles. For example a large construction company may have several road
construction projects going on at one time or scheduled in the near future. The supervisory level of work is
concerned with organizing the manpower, equipment and materials available in order to undertake these
multiple jobs in an efficient and cost effective way.
The administrative level of work is concerned with the infrastructure of the company as it relates to its whole
environment. Depending upon the number of clients that the road construction company has, and the amount
of work anticipated in the future, the company must purchase and maintain a certain complement of
construction equipment in order to do the work required to achieve a targeted sales volume. It must establish
maintenance facilities to keep its equipment in good working order. Breakdowns are costly. It must have good
reporting and accounting procedures to meet the payroll and tally costs against each job. It must have a
good sales staff to maintain vital customer contacts and bid upcoming work to keep crews busy. It must have
access to trained people to staff its organization when needs increase, and so on. We have called concerns
of this general kind “administrative” work, once again investing the word with a special meaning as it relates
to organization structure.
At the managerial level, the six domains are generally all delegated, although all domains may not be
delegated at the administrative level. Depending on the nature of the business it may not be necessary to
have a highly delegated Marketing domain, for example. A fast moving electronics company may need a more
sophisticated marketing department than a large construction company, where methods and techniques
change more slowly. The point here is that managerial work integrates the idea of the whole company. It is
concerned with maintaining a creative balance between the three polar dimensions. A manager in this special
sense is the CEO.
The second structural constraint is vitally required to avoid the excessive delegation of levels in a company.
There is not much risk of too few levels being delegated, since the volume of work and sheer pressure on
people will demand that levels be hierarchically delegated. But if extra levels creep in, say between a
supervisor and his functional subordinates, direct feedback that is so vital to a company’s responsiveness is
lost. There is a man in the middle that simply relays information from a functional foreman to a supervisor,
and he isn’t empowered to do anything. The functional foremen become frustrated by lack of action and the
supervisor loses direct touch with the reality of the situation. The same thing can happen between the
supervisory and administrative levels, or between the administrative and managerial level. All kinds of
problems arise, not because of too little communication going on, but because of too much useless
communication. A top-heavy bureaucracy develops that delights in having committee meetings to endlessly
discuss the pros and cons of things, while the commitment of the workforce dissipates in useless frustration
for want of timely and responsible direction. Someone has to take responsibility. Eliminate the extra levels,
streamline communications, and the organization begins to work as it should again. The checks and balances
are implicitly provided by ongoing polar insight into the three dimensions. No amount of bureaucratic control
can replace them.
In short a business organization is a delegation of how our nervous system is structured to integrate human
experience as outlined in the article Inside Our Three Brains.
Structuring Your Organization