Stuctural coupling is the natural, incremental process by which organisations become better and better fit to their environment – and their environment becomes more and more fit to them.
Gregory Bateson makes the point that flat grasslands and large herds of hooved animals evolved together, not separately. So if you want a nice lawn, you need a lawnmower to mimic the teeth . And a roller which does the job of the hooves. And finally you need a sack of manure ‘because you have to be at least the other half of the horse too’.
My public service consultancy, becomes specialised. We learn to bid, employ people to search for and write tenders – and eventually we need expensive security accreditation to do the government work.
This is all good – IF YOU LIKE THE WAY YOUR LOCKSTEP WITH THE ENVIRONMENT IS LEADING YOU. Most organisations make incremental, logical changes to fit with their market, suppliers, partners. As Hoverstadt and Loh say in Patterns of Strategy, this is why 90% of strategies are not implemented.
The organisational Jedi sees The Force at work, and works out how to divert it for better results.