The Late Majority stage

We’ve left the institution, stable, and synergist definitions in the diagram because these bridge the gap between the early majority and the late majority. Adizes sees two developmental points here, the first of which is the aristocracy. During this phase, not making waves becomes a way of life. Outward signs of respectability – dress, office decor, and titles – take on enormous importance. Companies acquire businesses rather than incubate start-ups. Their culture emphasizes how things are done over what’s being done and why people are doing it. Company leaders rely on the past to carry them into the future. And this is where Miller puts the administrator, the creator of the integrating system and structure, who shifts the focus from expansion to security (funny that he doesn’t put the integrator at the synergist point as do the others). According to Adizes, early bureaucracy means that the organization is quickly heading for death. In this stage of decay, companies conduct witch-hunts to find out who did wrong rather than try to discover what went wrong and how to fix it. Cost reductions take precedence over efforts that could increase revenues. Backstabbing and corporate infighting rule. Executives fight to protect their turf, isolating themselves from their fellow executives. Petty jealousies reign supreme. Miller isn’t as nice and calls this person the bureaucrat, the imposer of a tight grip of control, who crucifies and exiles new prophets and barbarians, assuring the loss of creativity and expansion.

Moore defines the late majority as those who share all of the concerns of the early majority with the addition of being technologically timid. They are pessimistic about their ability to gain any value from technology investments and undertake them only under duress – typically because the remaining alternative is to let the rest of the world pass them by. They are very demanding. Rarely do their demands get met, in part because they are unwilling to pay for any extra services, all of which only reconfirms their sour views of technology.

The Main Thing about the Late Majority stage

This leadership style will view regulatory compliance as an added burden and it will make them even more technologically timid. Regulatory compliance should be couched as a part of risk mitigation (a language that they understand), and compliance needs should be sanctioned by the internal audit group (which is formed in most organizations as they reach this stage of maturity). The shift in the control environment will have started to move from risk-taking to risk avoidance, and yet, leadership will be reluctant to fund large compliance projects. And because of this, multiple, small silo-based compliance projects will abound with no real over-arching organization-wide direction.

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