Concept and book.
1. From the Wikipedia:
"Stewardship is an ethic that embodies responsible planning and management of resources. The concept of stewardship has been applied in diverse realms, including with respect to environment, economics, health, property, information, and religion, and is linked to the concept of sustainability. Historically, stewardship was the responsibility given to household servants to bring food and drinks to a castle dining hall. The term was then expanded to indicate a household employee's responsibility for managing household or domestic affairs. Stewardship later became the responsibility for taking care of passengers' domestic needs on a ship, train and airplane, or managing the service provided to diners in a restaurant. The term continues to be used in these specific ways, but it is also used in a more general way to refer to a responsibility to take care of something belonging to someone else. To be a steward, and or act in steward to something, is known as stewardship." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewardship)
2. Tim Rayner:
“Stewardship is similar to leadership. It assumes the initial functions of leadership: it reaches out to a community, extends invitations for collaboration, and most importantly nurtures a project once it gets going. Stewards know that to grow a collaboration, we need to create a space of sharing and engagement. Transparency, flexibility, and generousity are all important here. Stewards watch over the earth. They try to be the guardians of life as an evolving process. Stewardship is a feature of sustainable and successful collaboration. The good steward is the person who assumes a role in the project and checks in at a regular basis to see that the project is proceeding correctly. In open projects and think tanks, stewards watch over the evolving discussion and steer it by providing perspectives on where the discussion is at, in the sense of what has been achieved, and what needs to be achieved, to complete the project. Social cohesion and innovation need not be enemies of one another. Under the syncretistic gaze of a good steward, it is possible for a project to evolve in various directions without coming apart at the seams.” (http://www.coalitionblog.org/2011/10/are-you-a-leader-or-a-steward/)
Discussion: Stewardship and Property
Redhat 707 comment:
"Stewardship by definition also implies a close relationship with what is being stewarded together with a sense of “care in context”. This opens the door for healthy consideration of the relationships of what is being stewarded to the larger context of the Commons and tends to produce a more altruistic based approach to management of the resources.
If we align stewardship with our passion, gifts, and Calling then we enfold a natural sovereignty within the expression of the stewardship that can also be seen in meritocracy based systems such as Open Source software development which characterizes ownership via stewardship quite well. Those that have created and/or invested most in the development and stewardship of a module are considered the “owners” of the modules yet this is not fixed in perpetuity but rather new stewards can come along and through demonstrated care and stewardship can become new owners (maintainers/co-maintainers). Furthermore, the ownership concept is granted by the community to the stewards based on merit rather than being granted through legal contract, purchase or other artificial means of structuring ownership. This results in a *process* of stewardship that must be maintained for ownership to be maintained resulting in sustainable-balancing feedback loops. A future where property “ownership” is implemented through ongoing meritorious stewardship is bright indeed!" (http://alanrosenblith.blogspot.com/2010/09/21st-century-property-rights.html)
Book. Peter Block. Stewardship. 1993.
"Stewardship attempts what might just be an impossible task: The converting of large, established companies into what I call Natural Enterprises. Chapter by chapter explains how to dismantle the obstacles to true entrepreneurship, slowly convincing the people in the enterprise that you are absolutely committed to radical change, that you mean it (lots of big companies talk a good empowerment story, but have absolutely no intention of acting on it). One of the hardest parts, he says, is convincing managers to give up managing (in favour of stewardship) and at the same time, ironically, convincing line employees to give up comfortable dependency, where they're not really responsible for anything. It's a difficult trade-off, and I am sure it would take enormous patience to pull this off, but Block is the master, and he's covered all the angles.
Stewardship attempts what might just be an impossible task: The converting of large, established companies into what I call Natural Enterprises. Chapter by chapter explains how to dismantle the obstacles to true entrepreneurship, slowly convincing the people in the enterprise that you are absolutely committed to radical change, that you mean it (lots of big companies talk a good empowerment story, but have absolutely no intention of acting on it). One of the hardest parts, he says, is convincing managers to give up managing (in favour of stewardship) and at the same time, ironically, convincing line employees to give up comfortable dependency, where they're not really responsible for anything. It's a difficult trade-off, and I am sure it would take enormous patience to pull this off, but Block is the master, and he's covered all the angles." (http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2006/07/03.html#a1577)
Block's stewardship modelis one of equal partnership of all co-workers. Block outlines five principles for such partnership:
- The need for agreement on shared purpose among all partners. The organization reflects everyone's vision, not just "management's".
- The need for unanimity in major decisions. "Every partner has the right to say no".
- The acceptance of joint accountability and responsibility. No blame games.
- The need for absolute honesty. "Not telling the truth to each other is an act of betrayal".
- The prohibition of abdication. No sitting on the sidelines. Full engagement.
"He then moves on to operating principles for organizations that are governed by such partnerships. I've 'radicalized' these principles a bit, because I think Block tends to get a bit mired in traditional operating methods, and compromises the statement of these principles to the point they lose some of their power:
- Empower everyone: Day-to-day decision-making is entrusted to those closest to the customer, those on the front line. Learning from experimentation means learning by making mistakes.
- No managers, no hierarchy, no titles: Everyone manages themselves, and collectively manages the organization.
- Only long-term, qualitative measures: Collective, meaningful results, not behaviours and actions to get there.
- Local solutions, not standard solutions: Except where health and safety is at stake, standard answers are suboptimal. Diversity and innovation need to be encouraged, not crushed.
- Promise of commitment to service: Partners are in the business to serve others, not to maximize their self-interest. The freedom of equal partnership bring with it responsibility for service and full engagement.
- No secrecy: Complete information and the complete truth, all the time. That includes training everyone to understand the whole business ("business literacy") so they can make meaning of this information.
- Equal compensation: No individual ratings or rankings means that everyone shares equally in the success of the organization. Block is a bit equivocal about this, for good reason -- it's the hardest tenet of traditional hierarchical enterprise to give up, especially when competitors still operating under the traditional pay-for-rank model may seduce some people to bolt. I say let 'em go. I go even further, and say compensation should be based on what the partners need, not on their impossible-to-determine 'individual' performance. That needs to be spelled out in the partnership agreement. You have kids and a mortgage, you need more compensation than the 60-year-old with no debts; the traditional compensation model gets it exactly backwards."