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Scott Vonder Bruegge

Activity 3: Comparing Organizations

Type of Organization: Schools
Organization A __Westminster Christian Academy__
Organization B __Covenant Christian School__

Organization A Organization B

The power in the organization is widely

distributed throughout the organization
The individuals in the
organization have a wide range
of expertise across many areas 2
of specialization.

Formal policies and procedures

are de-emphasized and
somewhat de-valued.

Communication in the
organization flows quickly due
to many "inter-laced"
interpersonal networks

Uncommitted resources are

common and in good supply.


Based on these ratings, is Organization A or Organization B

more innovative? Using Roger's terminology, describe why the
organization of your choice is more innovative than the other.

The two organizations I chose are both schools I am

very familiar with. The first, Westminster Christian
Academy, is the school at which I teach. The second,
Covenant Christian School, is the school my children
attend and is also a school that I have worked with by
providing them with some professional development
training. Organization 2, my childrens school is, plain
and simple, more innovative.
It was a bit disconcerting to discover so quickly through
the simple questions how different the two schools are
from an innovation standpoint. My gut feeling before I
actually thought about how to answer the questions
was that they would score similarly and I would rank
both as fairly innovative. However, that was not the
case and it was even more disappointing to realize that
the school I actually work with wound up getting such
low marks.
Initially, This seems to be a contradiction with Rogers
on p. 411 where he says the size-to-innovativeness
relationship holds across a large number of
investigations. Organization 1 is much larger than
Organization 2 but this may not imply it is actually
large, but only relatively large.
On the other hand, the degree of centralization the
chart indicates, suggests that there is a higher
concentration of power in Organization 1 than in
Organization 2. If Rogers thesis holds, that in
centralized organizations, top leaders are poorly
positioned to identify operational-level problems or to
suggest relevant innovations to meet those needs, then
it becomes more clear why Organization 1 appears more
innovative than Organization 2
In regards to complexity, the two organizations score
about the same. This is the only area where they do yet
if the scale was more broad I would have scored Org 1
slightly lower than Org 2. However, the leadership of

each organization influenced the ranking in each. The

degree to which the leadership, rather than the
organizational members, grasp the value of innovations
separates the two. Still, the nod goes to Org. 2 on the
innovation scale.
Formalization scores give Org 2 a definite mark of
separation as the bureaucratic structure in Org 1 is
much higher than 2. It again becomes obvious why Org
2 is considered more innovative. Faculty at Org 2 have
said things more freely and in greater amount things
like We get to try things here. Its ok if things get a
little messy or we dont go by the script. (Honestly, it
is this very attitude and approach that makes this
school the one my wife and I chose for our children.)
Teachers at Org 1 are now working in a relatively new
building yet many who worked in the old school building
still recall fondly the higher degree of
interconnectedness that a smaller building forced. Upon
moving to a larger campus faculty have found it harder
to achieve the same level of interpersonal networks.
Finally, when it comes to organizational slack, Org 1
lags behind Org 2 considerably. This comes down to
pure dollars as the debt incurred by building a new
campus for Org 1 has essentially dried up every
uncommitted resource. This organization is larger but
the slack is not there and while Org 2 is considerably
smaller it does have more uncommitted resources as a
percentage of operating budget.