The competencies of the INNOnetwork were dealing with inequality, risk, and unpredictability. It visualized a basic principle of social systems, namely that complex organizations have no single optimum but different optima at different times. Thus, we can affirm that networks are a visible proof of successful organizational alternatives building on system dynamics.
The participation in Swarovski INNOnetwork provided participants with on-the-job individual learning and the chance to practice principles of systemic management (Willke, 2004). In order to function well, the network required a willingness to embrace a culture of continuous learning by all participants acting as "change agents" in Swarovski. The INNOnetwork offered no security or comfort zones to the participants involved, and constituted no permanent structural solution. On the contrary, the INNOnetwork required a steady self-awareness of its members about the need to address critical questions with uncertain answers due to environmental changes in the Swarovski enterprise.
The Swarovski Case Study shows that networks can function as "cultural islands" (Schein, 2010) and "submarines" (Willke, 2004) of organizational change. The network was considered a means of soft governance and a tool of complexity management for the Swarovski enterprise. It reintroduced and fostered trust, integrated cooperation among different levels of hierarchy, and governed itself by creating a vision and rules of cooperation among different roles.
The Swarovski INNOnetwork filled existing gaps created by demands of the organizational environment which were previously ignored, delayed, or addressed too slowly. And communication patterns changed without negative interference on the performance of individual business units.
Thus, the internal network of Swarovski can be seen as a good example of the functionality and benefit of alternative organizational structures in practice. It (1) resulted from the organic growth of "problem awareness" and established itself as an individual social system outfitted with visions, goals, rules, and structures; (2) had a function and culture that was distinct from other organizational units; (3) turned out to be emergent and fragile responding directly to environmental changes; (4) required openness to a new and positive approach towards change processes; and (5) existed only as long as it was needed, wanted, coordinated, and supported (Gray & Wood, 1991). Currently, the network has stopped its work because of the fundamental reorganization. Based on previous experience, the VP of innovation and members of the new management teams started to re-invent an effective mode of INNOnetwork that focuses on the "user innovation" approach of coordinating transorganizational cooperation.
In conclusion, the lessons learned from the case study show that networks foster organizational learning by (1) harnessing internal capabilities to address difficult situations; and (2) reducing "blind spots" by making decisions about the nature and type of "missing information" to be communicated and circulated within the organization.
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