"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Management and Polymerases: One in the Same?

There are multiple parallels that can be drawn between management and organizations that surround society. Animals have their specified form of organization. In the same way, humans have also created organizational structures which are found in various forms. As such, life, in all its forms, is a structured organization amidst encroaching chaos. The second law of thermodynamics states that the chaos of the universe (scientifically known as entropy) is increasing steadily and therefore implies that order in the universe is volatile. Given the decreased chance of finding multiple structures in the universe, it follows logically that the existing structures resemble one another.

The human body is rife with organization; whether it be coordinating respiration or heart beats, every system in the body works together seamlessly in order to be collectively efficient. At the microscopic level, cells act as miniature factories working fervently to produce energy, proteins and reproduce more cells. In fact, the cellular activity found in the human body is most analogous to corporate activity at the biological level. Cellular activity sustains the body; without it, the fragile “economy” of our bodies may crumble. It is interesting to see how the two are structurally similar, nearly analogs. The term Structural Overlap can be used since the two concepts can align themselves. The functionality of managerial systems and biological systems strive to achieve the same goals using the same methods: one method being developed by evolution and the other being developed by mankind, where, some elements of chaos theory and self assembling organizations are evident. Managerial strategies and roles had to arise fairly quickly and in an instinctual manner, the same applies for the human body. There are, in essence, components in corporations that function the same way as those in our cells.

Simply put, cells have “managers” who monitor the rate of productivity. These “managers” are found in the form of polymerases and they ensure that the appropriate actions are taken at the correct times in order to maintain efficiency. Polymerases are found as forms of unique proteins or enzymes that analyze DNA and subsequently either replicate it or translate it into RNA, an analog of DNA. In other words, polymerases analyze the body’s information and then either replicates that information to form another cell or polymerases may translate said information so that other proteins may analyze it. Real world managers act in a similar fashion. They can take the information which is readily available to them and use it to run another project, group, subdivision of a company, or even another corporation. The latter essentially means that managers, much like cells, have the ability to carry information. Managers can also share their rendition of the information with their coworkers and employees, so that they may in turn transform the manager’s information into a product or service. RNA polymerases are a special type of polymerase which read DNA and translate it into RNA. The type II of this Polymerase creates a special messenger form of RNA (mRNA) which is sent to the workers of the cell; the ribosomes. Ribosomes take the mRNA provided to them by the polymerases and analyze them in order to create the proteins which compose the human body. Further, type III Polymerases provide the ribosomes with the tools they need to accomplish the task of creating proteins; these tools are named transfer RNAs (tRNA). Therefore, in the same way polymerases provide ribosomes with tools, managers provide their employees with the tools they require to work successfully.

Managers are essential to the organizational structure of a corporation as, they can accomplish multiple tasks within it. They analyze and filter, they hire employees, provide said employees with tools, they solve problems, correct mistakes, etc… Polymerases act in the same way for the human body; they repair damaged DNA, create new cells as well as create new ribosomes. While managers cannot physically create employees, they can select them and subsequently hire them. Additionally, managers may even choose to purchase machinery to complete the work in the place of an employee. Multiple polymerases can work at the same time and so can managers. In essence the human body have similar functional structures to that of a modern day corporation.

Evidently, the task division in both forms of organization vary, but can the same thing be said about the concepts which apply to them? In effect, it is very difficult to determine how a concept such as appreciative inquiry can be applied to the human body as there is no real way to simulate if proteins engage in positive thinking. However, the two forms of organizations can react similarly to the stressors applied to them. If either management or employees become stressed then their productivity will drop and they will not perform assigned tasks properly. The same concept can be applied at the microbiological level. For example, when polymerase and ribosomes are concerned, temperature makes all the difference. If the temperature increases above normal body temperature, these elements become denatured (protein denaturing means that the proteins are not folded properly and cannot therefore cannot accomplish their function) and they do not perform at par or at all for that matter. For human beings, protein denaturing can be interpreted as the occurrence of a stressful environment. Another comparison between the schools of business and that of science can be drawn via the concept of poor communication. If a piece of information is badly transmitted, the desired results will not be achieved. The same can be said about DNA, if a strand of DNA is misread, proper conclusions cannot be drawn. In other words, the keys to efficient management structure are the same in cellular activity. In order to be efficient, there must be proper communication, successful interpretation of varied situations as well as an expedient teamwork environment.

In sum, where ever there is life, there is the primal instinct of survival; the latter holds true in the realm of the human body as well as in management. When the former is concerned, the grandiose concept of evolution is that of survival and the lives of individuals are organized in order to ensure that end. In the latter example, survival is also inextricable as, the primary goal of a business is to gain profit while maintaining a successful existence. Therefore, is it any wonder that organizations, founded on life, that strive for survival have the same structure?


Stamps, D. (1997). The Self- Organizing System. Training, 34(4), 30-36

Voet.D., & Voet.G.J. (2004) Biochemistry. United States: Wiley International Edition.

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