The Essential Fifth Element highlights the importance of understanding the interdependence between the workplace practices described in each of the four Elements. Each bundle of practices described by an Element does not exist in isolation but is influenced, for better or worse, by the extent to which it is aligned with the others. A major reason why change initiatives don’t deliver their full potential, or even fail completely, is that the organisation as a whole is not seen as a system of interdependent parts. New ways of working in one part of the system can trigger antibodies in the others.
For example, it is no use trying to build self-managed teams if line managers and supervisors are unwilling to delegate decision-making and avoid micro-management.
These Interdependencies must therefore be taken into account in designing and implementing action plans for change. Identifying interdependent workplace practices reveals the key successful action planning and implementation. The following table shows the key interdependencies for the Employee-Driven Innovation & Improvement Element: