The Advent of Plan B
There is a cause of organizational dysfunction (OD), and once you understand the driving forces, you will observe OD’s expression every day, all day, in your social encounters. For sure, it has nothing to do with the personal characteristics of the head shed. It’s much deeper than that.
Knowing the causal engine explains the otherwise incoherent social behavior of the tall hierarchy. The central driver of OD is basic to engineering practice with its tap roots in the calculus of dynamics that form the mathematical physics of control theory. It is natural law that channels the context of the operational reality for a collective and it is the invariant human genome that responds to the context to make choices of action. To enjoy Plan B, you have to engineer the context which fosters the social activity that allows Plan B human nature to flourish instead of Plan A human nature. Hierarchical behavior is rechanneled to Plan B in part by exchanging the context of Plan A for the Plan B context.
At one time we thought it was control theory math that prevented the population from knowing the cause. Now with more experience, we suspect the aversion (imposter syndrome) is more about people protecting their imprudent choices of task action from public exposure.
When you acquire knowledge of the principal factors in the carnage, you’ll be able to intimidate anybody, anytime with your ability, like Socrates, to spotlight their imprudence. Yes, we do so several times per month as the occasion presents itself. The fact that most people can’t handle natural law mathematical physics in no way controverts control theory. Who can deny their invariant human nature with a straight face in a room of their peers? The quote below spotlights the human nature role in Plan A consequences:
Progress by the social sciences toward a better understanding of the fundamentals of the social order, and a practical art of social engineering for the application of those sciences will be of double service here, for any code of behavior which can be put into positive or affirmative terms is immensely more effective than one which can be expressed only in the negative. Human nature doesn’t play tie games.
The employee at his job is not merely earning a share of the wealth produced, he is living in the most significant part of his life. The greatest possible number of men must be given the fullest possible opportunities to develop their powers, and apply them in works of service. It is necessary to understand and take into full account the non-economic motives of men in working groups, to gain a better understanding of employees’ motives upon their desire for social welfare.
The circumstances under which an employee can build up anything resembling a sense of loyalty to the organization he is working with must be largely controlled by the degree to which the organization and his place in it can give him a sense of personal significance. Managers who had always thought of an employee as an economic nickel-in-the-slot machine, because they could not see that something deeper than his reasoning power impelled him to give up even an economic advantage for the preservation of his sense of dignity and self-direction. Henry R. Dennison (1932)
In the last two centuries, some excellent books among the millions produced on leadership (to no effect) have been written about the conflicts and competitions between authoritarians and labor. The consuming upper class pits itself against the producing lower class in a contrived, illicit, zero-sum competition, a formula where management financial resources always wins. There is no lack of books about human nature that provide evidence of its invariance over time. DNA technology of the 21st century has fully validated the long-held notions about man’s genome durability against changing circumstances.
There are books about the consequences of class warfare on health and there are books about the immediate factors thought to be involved in delivering those consequences. Evaluating the literature on the sociology of hierarchy produced since the earliest days of the industrial revolution has made it apparent that the clashes between the haves and the have-nots described in the 18th century are identical to those of the 21st. You can have a thumbdrive of this voluminous history in .pdf for yourself just for the asking. From the first, the Establishment used its wealth and social status to discourage science from investigating the root causes of organizational dysfunction (OD). Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority,” 1968, the first and last book on the crime of obedience, is a case in point of how not to get a grant from the government.
As the record shows, no one has come anywhere near identifying the root cause, the prime mover of organizational dysfunction in tall hierarchies, a universal psychological phenomenon. No one has found the cause because that’s the way the Establishment wants it. What is clear is the exact replication of the behavioral patterns in such dysfunction, from generation to generation, century after century. Such global invariance teaches several lessons:
- The behaviors are the same regardless of culture and individual personality. OD is a global social phenomenon that spans across human diversity. When the process of elimination begins, cross out culture and personality variations.
- Whatever was done in responding to the consequences of OD, over the centuries, including hundreds of Utopia experiments, didn’t work.
- Whatever is the root cause of ubiquitous, pervasive, incoherent OD, it is much deeper than what has heretofore been investigated and that covers a lot of territory.
- The taller the hierarchy, the worse the dysfunction (United Nations, European Union).
- While Plan A is tragically incoherent, OD is easily reproduced. Business as usual is a nobrainer.
- Plan B must be fully coherent to be generically demonstrable. It is a serious lifetime commitment of your conscious mind.
To the best of our knowledge, the only factors that universal and invariant are the laws of indifferent Mother Nature, Her universal laws in concert with the nature of Homo sapiens She evolved for surviving in the context of hunter/gatherer existence. Eventually we concluded the root cause had to be attempts at defiance. Ignoring universal force fields is always a seriously bad idea for any species. Going against your “nature” is never good for your health.
Incapable of bias, Nature never overlooks the insults of so-called Homo sapiens. She punishes ignorance and stupidity in all forms without remorse and the instructions so to do are already in place wherever in the vast universe the attempted defiance of Her laws takes place. Even on Mars, there are no grace periods allowing you to get out of town to avoid Her vengeance.
The cause of social behavior in a tall hierarchy is an entanglement of three different functionalities of nature:
- The orientation to natural law. Is the collective attempting to defy a Big-Bang law of the universe?
- The orientation to human nature. Is the collective failing to meet the basic psychological needs of its workforce at work?
- Is the collective acting contrary to the prevailing context?
In sociotechnology, it has been found unnecessary to identify more than one law of nature in defiance’s gunsight to account for all the consequences observed. The acid test of that maxim came in the summer of 2013 when the first Plan B went into service infusing coherency. The joint and several consequences of OD’s incoherency vanished overnight. Same roster.
Alignment with natural law
Since the observable manifestations of the attempted violation are behavioral, we searched through the mathematical physics of system dynamics. When we eventually reached control theory, a centerpiece of natural law and dug in, everything fell into place.
Thanks to the life’s work of Rudolf Starkermann, centered on control theory, Plan B has scrutable connectivity to natural law. First and foremost in investigating social behavior with mathematical physics, Rudy started to transfer his sociotechnology to us in 1986. When we began assisting his investigations in social dynamics, using his dynamic simulations of ecosystems. we soon realized the good professor was on to something profoundly significant. Wherever we took his findings to test in the operational reality he always scored 100%.
Using control theory to simulate hierarchical behavior made the key instance of natural-law defiance evident. It is the application of feedback control theory (PID) to regulate tall hierarchies. Feedback control is ubiquitous. It provides satisfactory, coherent performance in over 95% of its applications by controlling the load within tolerance bands. It does this by responding to changes that have already occurred in the process. It is control after the fact, hindsight, and process management by exception. Like the flyball governor, all of its actions are to reduce a negative. It cannot produce a positive process improvement because it has no comprehension of the process it controls. Any fool can ruin a process. To improve a process takes a wagonload of knowledge and applied intelligence.
When the social system is a democratic group, feedback control functions before the next disturbance arrives on the scene, making feedback control coherent. Since the lines of communication in the tall hierarchy are long and disjointed with every interface imposing a lag, GIGO turns feedback control incoherent. There are several objective reasons why this is the case. Stated in particulars, the cause of OD is the use of feedback control (PID) to operate hierarchies over 3 levels thick. For these conditions, feedback control cannot be coherent. Thanks to the lag buildup, it can drive the system it controls into instability.
The business world has talked glibly for many years about its services to mankind, often in its national trade conventions in self-congratulation, often there and elsewhere as pure camouflage, but no one who honestly knows the business of today can pretend that it has anything remotely resembling a corporate unity of purpose, or that its pure impulse to serve mankind seriously modifies the individual struggle for individual gain in more than one-tenth of one per cent of the cases. Competitive business is, as yet, a long way removed from the stage at which it can pretend even to the beginnings of professional status. That’s why its principals are unlicensed.
Man’s desire to do is primary while his desire for possession is derived. To be sure, the habitual mental disposition developed and ingrained by nearly every influence in the business world today is almost wholly towards having rather than doing. It is an environmental product, not an innate tendency. Henry Sturgis Dennison
The venerable master/apprentice social system has delivered yeoman’s service to human society progression for millennia. It meets all the requirements for effective feedback control. It’s personalized and intimate, mutually trusting, coherent and quick. Little deviations are kept little by fast turnarounds of discrepancy detection and applying remedy. The master uses his own built-in expertise as reference standard and he’s cheek by jowl with his worker.
Feedback control is widely used in process regulation, delivering satisfactory performance for dynamic systems with lags amenable to centralized control. The misapplication of feedback principles is well known in industrial process control. By overreacting or reacting out of synch with the disturbances, feedback control can be the cause of process instability all by itself, Chernobyl being a case in point. Effective feedback control in complex systems, where centralized control is impossible, is called distributed control. In tightly-coupled systems, like the thousands of processes within the human body, even distributed feedback control can be ineffective.
Because feedback control techniques do not include information about the process it regulates, it is unable to deal with the 2nd Law. When the buildup of process system entropy (incoherency) is unopposed, it is only a matter of time before the process destabilizes and disintegrates. While entropy extraction requires process dynamics knowledge, it also requires the creativity to provide a structure and do the necessary work imposing the structure on to the incoherent mess to extract process disorder. Yes, it’s a PITA.
Hierarchies over 3 levels high have none of the essential attributes required for feedback control to work:
- Unavoidable, large lags in vertical communication and control response
- The process status information arriving at the top has is GIGO
- Ignorant of the process, it has no control reference standard, the default is crisis management
- It does not know the significant variables of the process. Using experience to guess has nothing to recommend it
- Overreaction and out-of-phase synchronization with control action to process changes, destabilizes the process
- It is depersonalized, irresponsible, and untrustworthy
- Because it can’t extract entropy, incoherency can’t predict the future
The misapplication of feedback control theory to “directing” social system behavior, coupled with your subconscious mind, fully explains your everyday social experiences with incoherent organizations.
The behavior-regulating strategy that does work for tall hierarchies (Plan B) is called feedforward control. Nature operates several feedforward-controlled systems that reside in your person. It’s how you can catch a ball in the wind. Testosterone is a steroid increased in your blood by your feedforward control endocrine system when you’re facing potential danger. Pavlov’s dogs at chow time. Flee or fight occasions trigger no less than twenty systems in your body to prepare for the worst.
Although feedforward control is greatly superior to feedback control in regulating any process, human nature coded in our genome is strongly biased to favor feedback control:
- It is the path of least organizational resistance
- It is the path of least cognitive effort
- It is the path of least knowledge about the process being controlled
- It worked fine for primitive tribes and master/apprentice, where everyone knows everybody, for millennia
- For the vast majority of control applications, in the billions, feedback control performance is satisfactory
- It doesn’t require knowledge of functional relationships, significant variables
- Overcompensation yields instability
Note that feedback control can only be expressed in the negative, using criticism of operating conditions and correction of discrepancies. Correcting deviations is not equivalent to preventing them. Your home temperature control system works well without knowing anything about the thermodynamics of the house or your HVAC appliances. It is somewhat GIGO tolerant.
In feedforward control, comprehensive knowledge of the process dynamics is essential. Starkermann’s work provides a great deal of the inherent dynamics of the tall hierarchy and its characteristic equation in mathematical physics. Like human nature, it is generic.
Plan B, by necessity is a feedforward process behavior regulating system of the producing workforce. In service, it slashes employee turnover by anticipating and avoiding the causes of turnover. It provides competitive advantage by unleashing the creative and innovative talents of the workforce. It promotes workforce health and welfare by relieving anxiety and insecurity in the rank and file. Plan B is coherent and therefore generically demonstrable.
Feedforward control essentials:
- Process dynamics knowledge – mathematical model of disturbances integrated into the control algorithm
- An adaptive controller, does not rely on feedback, error signal
- It knows the significant variables and what comprises positive improvement in process operations
- Anticipates the relation between system and environment in the approaching future
- Meets Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety
- GIGO intolerant
- Maintains the control level specified by the functional relationships
- Differential benefits to Feedback
- Feedforward compensation cannot cause process instability
- Low energy consumption
- High accuracy, reliability
Modern society operating only on appearances and illusions is incoherent. It derives its raison d’etre not from the existence or nonexistence of certain things, but on the general accepted credence that these things do or do not exist. Truth becomes a menace to society and hence a crime, not when it is seen and felt by personal experience, though everybody see and feel it, but only when it is told and exposed, for then only it becomes subversive by its incoherency being discussed and reasoned over.
Today’s business standards are vague, confused and contradictory and the basis upon which they have been built has been given little if any thought. As for the laws of the land, partly on account of the practical difficulties of enforcement, we find that they have tended to follow behind the standards set by practice, and have attempted to restrain the worst actors rather than to set standards for positive action. Negations and restrictive rules must constantly increase unless and until a set of affirmative rules (Plan B) begins to work itself out. Henry Dennison
The administrative load on the organization is a direct measure of workforce productivity and the effectiveness of the process control strategy the head shed employs. The contrast in admin load between Plan A and Plan B is seldom less than four to one.
Entangled, measurable variables
- Inefficiency, Ca’canny
- P&C loss
- Administrative load
- Health and welfare
Covariables, opinion + evidence
- Communications fidelity
- Transparency, GIGO, AQI
- Authentic responsibility (autonomy)
- Inalienable rights
- Legal compliance
- Public relations
- Stakeholder satisfaction
- Community esteem
The psychological state of the workforce
No doubt, having the positive template for organizational prosperity is paramount. But next, immediately, is the necessity of workforce collaboration towards the Plan B ideology. When you inherit Plan A to begin the transposition to Plan B, you inherit a workforce completely adjusted to withholding, at minimum, 25% of its productivity and, as a consequence of incoherency, a turnover rate above 40%. Cause includes the normal exercise of those instinctive social tendencies which the processes of imitation and natural selection inevitably cultivate in any species of gregarious animals. When subconscious minds don’t work, the only recourse is conscious minds.
We have been set back many generations in the development of our understanding and our technique of handling industrial relations problems by the almost exclusive emphasis upon that hypothetical abstraction “the economic man” which grew out of the studies of the early classical economists. This is a part truth anywhere in the social system, but inside of the factory, where elbow to elbow contacts emphasize moods, tempers, and emotions, is a good deal less than a half truth. An employee at his bench, his desk, or his counter is, of course, an economic man, but he is an important lot besides and he cannot be dealt with adequately either from the point of view of profits or of ethics unless the whole of him is taken into account.
Not much can be gained without parallel advances in knowledge. Ignorant though benevolent applications of the Golden Rule, made without anything like adequate knowledge of what men most truly need, may sometimes be worse than crass selfishness. An increase in knowledge must run side by side with the strengthening of moral purpose. The employee at his job is not merely earning a share of the wealth produced, he is living a part of his life an important and often in the long run the most significant part of his life. He has a deep desire to hold and to improve his standing among his fellows, enjoy the feeling of our worth as a person among persons.
That to do right or to do his duty is impossible, unless, in some sense, it is the thing he wants to do. What gives motive to action at any particular moment is the resultant of a complex of desires. If a man is to do right, the question is not whether he is to suppress his desires, but whether in that complex which actuates him there is a strong representation of those desires which look broadly a-field and far ahead, desires based upon his hopes for his own long-time and true advantage, and for the respect of goodly people.
The uninformed attempt to give to ideal ethical standards greater value as practical guides to action, is all in negatives, the prohibitions, the ‘verboten. And isn’t this because it is humanly impossible as yet to picture in any precise way any particular goal for which or toward which we may be striving? The Utopians have tried it hundreds of times, and failed. It would seem that the best we can do now is to recognize what aspects of present life are clearly evil, and make our progress away from them rather than toward some defined and specified good. Henry R. Dennison 1928
The unquashable indictment which human nature will always bring against the autocratic method despite any benevolence in intent or efficiency in execution is that it first belittles the value of individuals and then creates an iron-bound system in which the development of whatever worth a person has is impossible, and in which the area of his possibilities of serviceable accomplishment is narrowed.
The methods of cooperation, based upon the belief that, if they can be drawn out, individuals do have contributions to make toward the welfare of the whole, erect a system which creates broader areas of free action and extends to men larger degrees of participation in the whole. The result is the development of a self-respect in the individual, which is the first condition necessary to personal growth.
The art and science of handling men, of constructing a productive organization out of the infinitely varied elements of human nature which offer themselves as raw material, an organization which shall run with the minimum friction and without undue zigzagging in its course – this branch of the science of social engineering demands the attention of thinking men it seems to me more than any branch of human knowledge ever did before.
The majority of men who have been given an opportunity to examine business problems with the impersonal and objective eye of analysis, seem thereafter to feel within themselves a desire to resist the impulse of the moment, forces which would drive business down to the level of blood and thunder melodrama or slapstick comedy. Henry Dennison
Quotes from a century ago about workmen as human beings
“Men are living together and working together in organized groups more and more each year. The increase of populations, the improvements in intercommunication, and the fast-growing intricacies of the political, industrial, and commercial worlds have brought into the foreground of importance the problems of making a success of group life.
The task of facing these problems definitely and consciously, and of analyzing and making progress in solving them, is here considered the task of organization engineering is to move the men and women of a nation, an army, a church, or a corporation are its sources of power. An organization’s greatest strength will be realized if all of its members are strong and strongly impelled, if their acts lose no effectiveness by frictions, conflicts, or unbalance, and trend in a single direction, reinforcing, supplementing, and regenerating each other.
An organization which is attempting to realize its greatest possibilities will thus, in the nature of the case, try to surround its members with such influences as will bring forth from them spontaneous effort, and build up in them maximum abilities. Its ideal will be to provide just those conditions under which men work most readily and effectively. The organization will be “using” men, but its success will exactly correspond to the extent to which this use results in their free, interested, and spontaneous activity.
To understand fully the nature of the men and women in a working group, and to relate them to each other and to the organization as a whole in such ways that quite literally they “work with a will,” is a task of engineering. All the strength of an organization comes from its members, the incentives, the habits, and the traditions which guide and demanding powers of analysis, sympathy, and imagination.
Attention must focus upon causes and effects in the field of human behavior. Effective action must be founded in an inclusive and sympathetic but, nevertheless, accurate, detached, and scientific appreciation of human nature. Hence it is here regarded as a task requiring the training and technique of an engineer. As in electrical engineering we organize a field of electrical forces and resistances by arranging them into a structure of maximum usefulness, so in organization engineering we must seek to arrange a field of human forces and resistances—human motives, purposes, feelings, knowledges, and abilities— so that they interwork for maximum usefulness.
The primary data of any project in organization engineering are the special characteristics of just those human beings by whom it is to be manned. Proposals for representative forms of government, for liberty of interpretation, for measures of military discipline, or for functionalized factory management cannot be judged in abstraction. Their discussion is significant only as applied to men and women of known characteristics.
The men and women members of an organization, to whom its incentives and its rules apply, vary widely among themselves in physical powers, in mental development, and in their responses to emotional stimuli. Organization engineering has first to discover within any given group the prevailing conditions and develop its forms of organization and general operating measures so as to accommodate itself to them.
It will also, where it is possible by selection and training, make closer adaptation of its members to the purposes of the organization and to each other. The ultimate in organization would require that the incentives, regulations, and personal contacts of each member should be such as to allow him to develop and put to most valuable use all of his powers. Since no two members are exactly alike there would be, theoretically, separate provisions for each. But all members, though different, are compounded of quite similar elements; their differences are in large part differences in the proportions in which these elements are represented.
Hence, some reasonably uniform general measures can usually be devised to appeal to, to satisfy, and to control the more widely prevalent elements of human nature. An important practical task of the organization engineer lies in so grouping the personnel and devising the general rules that the largest possible number are effectively provided for; at the same time he must be ready to deal with individual cases wherever the unsuitability of general rules causes losses which outweigh their gains in convenience and cost of administration.
The structural form of an organization affects and alters the spirit which works through it. The spirit alters and re-creates the structure. The running of an organization and the building of it depend upon each other—affect and are affected by each other. The importance of right structure of organization is sometimes undervalued, because with the right men almost any kind of organization can run well. This is true, but is by no means the whole truth.
With the finest of personnel, an illogical organization structure makes waste through internal friction and lost motion; it fails to retain and develop good men and to invite into its membership new men of high quality. Ability, tact, and good purpose cannot be established by law—they can, however, by law be made possible or virtually impossible.
With an able man in charge cities have been run well under the crudest form of political structure; but crude forms of political structure rarely make it possible to get a really capable man to run and be elected to office. The same is true in a corporation. A logical, well-constructed organization invites, retains, and develops good men. The specific purposes which organizations are created to serve are almost as widely varied as their membership. Their purposes influence both their structures and their operating plans, and, in so far as they are known, they affect their members directly in all degrees of intensity from low neutrality to high self-devotion or severe revulsion.
There are, then, within an organization four principal systems of interacting forces:
- The members
- The operating measures
- The structural relationships
- The purposes.
The immediacy and intimacy with which interaction takes place among them increases as a group advances from a loose aggregation of people towards full organic unity. When so far along that one would call the group organized, few material changes can be made anywhere in it which do not affect it everywhere.
Outside the organization there is also its environment affecting it and affected by it. As national culture and the church react upon each other, so do community and factory. Working hours determine the ways in which leisure hours are utilized as truly as the uses of leisure hours affect the hours of work. The trade within which a company finds itself has its “practices” which limit that company’s freedom of behavior in its markets; but that company’s behavior is, nevertheless, one of the forces which determine the character of these trade practices.
Sometimes external influences are slight and can be disregarded; sometimes, again, they are of crucial importance. A pervasive element in the calculations of organization engineering is Time. Within the organic world the full responses of effect to cause are seldom immediate; the degrees of lag vary widely. Many of the best results of social changes are of slow maturity; great organisms to be strong, to withstand storms and trials until they are old enough to bear good fruit, must ordinarily grow slowly. An organization, like an organism, demands an appropriate time for the adoption of any innovation or change. Hence, close upon the heels of any decision of what to do must come the decision of when and how fast to do it. In organization engineering the expectation or promise of quick permanent results is often the mark of the tyro or charlatan.
The organization engineer must take into account this considerable variety and intricate interaction of natural forces. But no sort of constructive engineering is free from such complexities; it is only a question of more or less. Most of the material sciences, however, have developed a set of symbols to condense and clarify the analytical descriptions of the situations with which they must deal. As yet, organization problems must employ the less exact and more confusing method of verbal analysis.
The strain and discouragement of frankly facing the complex tangle of motives at work in most human situations tempt everyone trying to grasp them into the errors of oversimplification. Too impatient to follow the tangled skein through, everyone at one time or another—to a greater or a less extent—finds rest and comfort in making believe that things are not so mixed up as in reality they are, and in deducing some embracing theory from a starched and ironed cosmos.
The laissez-faire doctrine and communism alike result from dropping the thread before the end, the communist’ following the human thread—the classical economist the money thread. The earlier profit-sharing plans likewise suffered from this oversimplification. The word profit itself was used too inclusively, and not fully analyzed into interest, savings, and true profits, so that it would be fit to be the basis of a valid scheme of profit sharing. Too often, in anxiety to arrive at some solution of a pressing problem, only a fraction of the motives and influences at work were counted in, and these attributed indiscriminately to the whole personnel.
Many errors in business judgment arise from a more or less careless oversimplification, or as we more commonly say, from a failure to look at all aspects of the case. Goods may please the retailer and result in large and easy first sales, but slow reorders. A cut in the pay roll, posting itself quickly into the profits account, may silently depreciate the unwritten good will account for a net loss. Organization engineering has to face at the outset the fact that the complication and variations of human nature present to it problems which it cannot now hope to solve with exactness. Yet, because these problems are with us in increasing numbers in the life of to-day, a growing understanding of their fundamental elements must be sought.”
The basics of human nature
“The men and women of whom an organization is compounded are not like simple elements, but more like highly complex molecules. No one person is a self-sufficient or consistent whole. Each exhibits some contradictory traits or diverse dispositions in almost watertight compartments, or in frequent conflict. Each man has something of nearly every sort of disposition in him. He is timid and bold, wise and foolish, a Buccaneer and a Good Samaritan.
The proportions vary so widely as to make an infinite variety of combinations, and there are few men, if any, who can be adequately described by one simple label. Nevertheless, in dealing with man it cannot be forgotten that he is one single personality, even if sometimes a complicated and contradictory one.
The diversity of motives in single individuals does not often become apparent in the ordinary management of an organization. In armies the fear of disciplinary measures may suppress the manifestation of other motives, and in business institutions the economic motive is usually supposed to and sometimes does outvote all the rest. But when emergencies arise in business, such as strikes or bitter competitive conflicts, a full complement and confusing variety of dispositions are likely to show up.
Workers have hundreds of times acted “against their own interests,” as those interests are narrowly interpreted by men who can think of workers only as economic machines; they have more than once loyally followed unwise leaders because the need for some sort of leadership was then pressing.
Business managers, likewise, urged by pride or pique, have often taken measures highly detrimental to the economic interests of the company they managed. Neither managers nor men can be adequately understood if thought of as wholly controlled by economic or any other single set of motives. For men do not change their natures when they cross the line from workman to foreman. If they are still working chiefly for money they will still work as men work for money; if for advancement they look to the various ways they think advancement may come.
Fear and insecurity will make them play safe; self-regard will induce them to “make showings.” Jealousies, loyalties, or unrest are all there in some proportions, but get expression in ways quite different from the workman’s. Making allowance for some differential in average character because of the selecting of foremen out from workmen, it is probable, for example, that there is a wholly comparable amount of restriction of output among them. Glenn Frank, in suggestive metaphor, paints our complex natures: Our brain [he says] is the house of life in which we live. It is a very old house. Nature has been countless centuries building it. And, it is haunted.
It is haunted by the ghosts of all the tenants that have lived in it since the beginning of life on this planet, by the ghosts of all the things we have been from the time we were mere animals until we became modern men and women. We carry around inside our heads all the while a lot of the animal, a lot of the savage, and a lot of the child we once were.
We think we are grown up. We think that all of our actions are the actions of grown men and women. We dislike to admit that in our off-guard moments we act from animal motives or savage motives or childish motives. But we do.
There is a sort of New England town meeting going on inside our heads all the time. The animal, the savage, and the child are sitting on the benches, eager members of the assembly. They debate every question that arises. Each wants every question settled his way. All sorts of old opinions, dead doctrine, ancient hatreds, silly superstitions, unworthy loyalties, and foolish fears are also there. But the educated man is the chairman of this meeting in his brain. The effectiveness of every man’s life depends upon his being a good chairman. He must see to it that the animal, the savage, and the child do not run away with the meeting. He must see to it that its real “order of business” for the day is not upset or set aside by the hatreds, the superstitions, the fears, and the outworn opinions that are in the meeting.” (1921)