Sunday, January 31, 2010

Question 5: Complexity vs. Divergence

Here are a couple of definitions related to business process design:
1. Complexity: number and intricacies of the steps in a process
2. Divergence: requirement of exercising judgment or discretion in a process
The way to spot complexity in a service blueprint is to count the number of steps. Complex procedures have many steps. Alternatively, divergence is seen in the nature of the steps. When there are multiple ways of handling steps there is high divergence.
1. Think about your focal company....in general, would it's service blueprint exhibit complexity, divergence, both, neither. Talk a little bit about where we might see either complexity or divergence (types of activities, why these are complex/divergent).

I feel that the actual process that Netflix uses to receive and distribute DVD's is not very complex, but also does not require a large amount of judgement or discretion in decision making by the employees. At the corporate level, however, Netflix gives its employees a great amount of freedom to try out new ideas and processes. In general, Netflix puts the decision making in its customer's hands since each individual has to make decisions about the order in which they wish to receive their DVD's, if they want to keep them, the order in which they return them, and how many they choose to view in a month.

2. If you had a choice between substituting divergence for complexity or vice versa, which would you do? Why? Under what circumstances?

I would mostly favor substituting divergence for complexity because it gives employees more room to make changes or "think outside of the box", rather than having an intricate step-by-step process to follow. Thinking back to some of the positions I've held in the past, I got more enjoyment and knowledge out of those positions that were not 100% defined and structured. Having the ability to tackle issues or daily tasks in a new manor kept the work enjoyable.

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