Talking about resilience and adaptability of organizations, monasteries may be an interesting area to learn from. Benedictine monasteries in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and German speaking Switzerland have an average lifetime of almost 500 years...
This brief note summarizes some of the key design factors of monasteries from a study by Zürich University. The references in brackets refer to the respective pages of the Zürich University Working Paper. The full Working Paper is referenced below as a source.
Challenges & Solutions
Benedictine Monasteries build on common value systems, careful selection and rigorous socialization processes (p. 11)
Value system (p. 11-12)
Selection (p. 12-13)
Socialization (p. 14-15)
Benedictine Monasteries grant participation rights to their monks and build largely on internal monitoring processes (p. 11 and p. 16)
Participation (p. 16)
Monitoring (p. 16-17)
Benedictine Monasteries back up their internal arrangements with external arrangements, e.g. periodical monitoring or jurisdiction (p. 18-19)
Jurisdiction (p. 19)
Periodical monitoring (p. 19-20)
What can stock corporations learn? (p 20-24)
Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich, Working Paper Series, ISSN 1424-0459, Working Paper No. 374 - The Corporate Governance of Benedictine Abbeys: What can Stock Corporations Learn from Monasteries? Katja Rost, Emil Inauen, Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey, June 2008