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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality

Gary,    (01)

> I know this is another "tome", but you asked :-)>    (02)

Amazing work! And I hope I speak for others too in saying so.
In fact, this one's going on my wall in a frame. :-)    (03)

It also looks like it's tacitly a list of requirements. Let's work on extracting
them.    (04)

Peter    (05)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Garold (Gary) L. Johnson" <dynalt@dynalt.com>
To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>
Sent: Sunday, September 22, 2002 12:47 AM
Subject: RE: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality    (06)

> What I have determined so far:
> 1) The situation is universal. William Livingston makes the point that when
> you find a certain set of conditions exist regardless of time, location,
> resources, culture, or any other variable that can be examined to explain
> it, then there must be a control system in place. If there were no control
> system, there would at least be random variations. His group has "war
> stories" from all industries and cultures over several decades and they all
> indicate that an organization will persist in behavior that is demonstrably
> destroying it rather then make the cultural changes necessary to survive.
> 2) The tendency to follow authority as shown in the experiments with
> delivering pain to subjects results in cultures that don't question why
> things are the way they are or how they could be different.
> 3) People respond to the actual rewards within the system rather than what
> words are spoken. When management says one thing and rewards something
> different, what is rewarded is what gets done. As a result, individual
> initiative is seldom rewarded, and when that initiative threatens to change
> things, it is actively resisted. This means that for the most part, change
> in organizations happens from the top down and is linked to changes in both
> explicit and implicit reward systems.
> 4) The stated goals of organizations are generally in terms of accomplishing
> some set of tasks and improving in the ability to do them. Individuals
> mostly just want to continue to play the game - to come to work, do what
> they have been doing, and get paid. So long as that happens, most people are
> content with their current level of ability. Getting better at what they do
> can cause conditions to change or is inhibited by the people around them not
> being able to handle the improvement, and therefore improvement beyond a
> certain level gets punished rather than rewarded by the culture. In some
> cases this is explicit - "slow down, you'll make the rest of us look bad."
> 5) Tendencies and predispositions that operate below the level of awareness
> and uniformly do not get recognized. This is the fish in water problem -
> mostly people are not aware of any signal that is constant and omnipresent.
> Whether these predispositions are genetic as "The Blank Slate" contends, the
> result of past lives and karma as some new age thought contends, or the
> result of ideas that just get "soaked up" from the environment, the result
> is the same - people have many activities that they perform with no
> conscious awareness, that were never "thought out," but just grew to be that
> way. It is difficult to think about something that you don't even perceive.
> 6) Very few people know how to think or reason. Most of those who can and
> will think do so in at most a small area of their lives. Reason doesn't
> convince most people of anything. As a result, we form relationships and
> organizations with no idea of what we are doing or what mechanisms are at
> work. We have never developed any real technology for forming and operating
> groups above the clan level. Trying to run a huge corporation in the same
> way as a clan in an environment which is subject to market forces is a
> recipe for disaster. However, we do not even recognize that there is a
> subject there that needs to be studied. Look at the work Stafford Beer did
> on the "Viable Systems Model" for some idea of what sorts of design elements
> go into structuring any system so that it can survive.
> 7) We are never really taught how to think or to reason. Our educational
> system is as lost as all other large organizations. As a result of having no
> stated goal and no technology for evaluating how well they are performing in
> achieving that goal (achievement not being part of what the individuals want
> nor what the system rewards), they are as big a disaster as any other large
> organization. The result is that most of the real achievers are
> "undereducated" by current standards. The student who survives a complete
> course of modern education with any of the original joy of learning or even
> the native ability to think is rare indeed. The system seems to destroy what
> most people had to begin with.
> 8) Since none of these issues are perceived as problems to be solved, there
> is never anybody seriously studying the questions. Instead, each group
> starts with some notion of how the world works that has never been verified
> against the reality of human nature, and decides how thing could be. Nearly
> every one of them is wrong. The idea, for example, that a million
> non-thinking people can arrive at better solutions than a few very
> intelligent, thinking people who study the issues seriously is simply silly.
> When we start with such ideas in the face of obvious facts such as the one
> that says that only a small percentage of any group such as this one even
> participate much less contribute, it is no wonder that we have difficulties.
> When your basic notions of the way the world works fail to match the way the
> world *really* works, you are doomed to get nothing but unworkable answers.
> When you believe that there is no such thing as the "way the world *really*
> works," you have no way to proceed. Every utopian ideal is based on some
> notion of a change in the nature of human beings to be more as the author
> would like them to be instead of their being the way they are. As such, they
> are based on false-to-fact assumptions and are doomed to failure from the
> outset.
> 9) Once ideas polarize, there is no way to uncover the truth. If your ideas
> fail to support one side or the other, both sides will attack you instead of
> only one. This is additionally hampered by the belief in, and the search
> for, some ultimate or absolute truth. We are finite beings of finite
> capacity. Since recognizing an *ultimate* truth requires knowing that it can
> *never* be shown to be wrong by future evidence, such recognition would
> require total knowledge. The very best we can hope to do is to develop
> theories and hypotheses that correctly explain the maximum amount of what we
> can align with the world around us, and then work to improve those ideas by
> seeking out the boundaries where they fail and modifying the ideas. This
> means that we need to develop some real understanding of the so-called
> "soft" sciences, since that is where the problems with individuals, groups,
> organizations, and cultures are to be found. At our present state of
> understanding, even the attempt to formulate appropriate questions is
> attacked by various forms of "political correctness," depending on which
> power elite get to say what is "politically correct" in any specific area.
> This happens every bit as much in areas that are considered to be scientific
> as it does in areas considered to be non-scientific.
> From the above it should be clear that the entire area is in a stage of
> complexity, indicating that there is no clear understanding of how it all
> works.
> This leads me to the multi-part question that I formulated in my teens and
> am still working on:
> * What constitutes rationality, how can it be recognized, how can we know
> when we are becoming more rational rather than less? What is the place of
> emotions and other "non-rational" human characteristics in rationality? This
> needs to be formulated in a way that can garner at least some level of
> agreement.
> * How can an adult who chooses to do so become more rational over time, and
> know that he is making progress? Unless we can get partial answers to this
> question, there is no real method of achieving individual improvement.
> * How can we raise children so that they stand a better chance of being more
> rational than their parents and teachers? The goal is independent thinkers
> who can function better in the world than we did. This is the basis of
> improvement for the group. We need to teach what we believe we know lest the
> students lose the benefit of what has gone before, but they need to be able
> to question what they have been taught when it fails to match the "real"
> world. To be able to question intelligently rather than just out of
> contrariness is a fine line to walk. To be sufficiently independent not to
> accept the statement of eminent authority without question while still being
> able to cooperate with others in the furtherance of mutual goals is another
> fine line.
> * How does the organization and presentation of information support the
> above? It is clear that some organizations transfer information (knowledge,
> wisdom, etc.) better than others, and that an individual must be able to
> organize the results of his study in order to do a credible job of
> formulating his own beliefs and validating them against his experience and
> that of others. This also requires that he be able to walk the paths that
> "common knowledge" believes to be dead ends. This is to keep him from making
> the same errors or to enable him to question the premises and reasoning
> leading to the conclusion that they are dead ends, since not everything that
> is called a dead end is in fact one when more information or a different
> perspective is available. This is where my passion for tools that support
> the individuals ability to organize his own information comes from -
> individuals make up groups, and trying to change groups without changing
> individuals is a fool's errand. Individuals need to be able to examine their
> beliefs and behaviors, understand them, attain mastery of them, and then be
> able to perform them unconsciously as a result of mastery rather than lack
> of awareness. They must be able to notice when that they do or believe no
> longer serves them and to take conscious control to change them.
> I know this is another "tome", but you asked :-)>
> Thanks,
> Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
> [mailto:owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org]On Behalf Of Peter Jones
> Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2002 4:37 AM
> To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
> Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality
> Great post again. I particularly liked the bridge building analogy.
> > I have been interested for many years in determining how it is that a
> group
> > or organization can make decisions and implement policies or practices
> that
> > none of its members would consider as individuals.
> That sounds important. Any interesting findings to date?
> I dipped into a book about political economy the other day. From the passage
> I
> read it was clear that there was a conflict between what was considered the
> optimal economic policy and the political constraints surrounding it. I
> didn't
> get as far as finding out exactly what the author meant by political
> constraints
> though.
> I've bought the book, now I just need to find time to read it.
> --
> Peter
>    (07)