Background on Plan B
Our upbringings were small-town conventional. No unscheduled excitement, no commendable achievements, no distinctions. At home base without a college ticket, you could see exactly how you would end up. In our towns, early-on, everyone got a life trajectory choice. We chose to attend university.
Entering the profession of engineering so we could make a living anywhere doing whatever work we thought might suit us, we eventually settled in on “loss control.” After acquiring Professional Engineer licenses and earning credentials in the discipline of reducing operational losses, Taylorism, we found continuous learning about the subtle, wacky, dynamic, sociotechnical world of process to be satisfying, worthwhile work. Process knowledge finds use everywhere. We’re exceptionally handy around the house, car, and yard – our vehicles always parked on the driveway because the double garages are filled with powerful tools and emergency repair supplies. Neighbors love us.
As our experience in the loss reduction engineering field piled up, carefully working within the discipline protocols, it gradually dawned that the good work we thought we were doing was not showing up as beneficial to the bottom line. Entrenched in the naïve phase, we thought: “Surely there’s been a terrible mistake!” Time to check.
The need for loss reduction is easy to measure. You’re physically there in operations and construction, part of the action, where you can compare the reality you see to discipline standards. You were trained and then licensed by the state to do exactly that.
Gaining experience, you soon appreciate that when the client organization is functionally good, it is very, very good. With performance aligning with the learned benchmarks, there is little loss control engineering can do to make a block improvement. You’re there for custom housekeeping. Happy work.
When the organization is dysfunctional, you see that the gap between the operational reality and the discipline benchmarks is scary-wide. It’s never a close call. When no goal-seeking effectiveness is possible, the context of work delivers angst. Here, the discipline of loss reduction can make dramatic improvements to organizational prosperity.
Over time, we grew concerned that the ratio of dysfunctional organizations we were encountering to those with their act together was disturbingly high – and for no apparent reason. Search engines show an average of 200K books about organizational dysfunction in the non-fiction section of the library. Books with Utopia in the title number less than 20, and all those are labeled fiction. In dysfunction, there are no “winners” in sight. Strange that.
We were also to experience, the hard way, that any improvements brought to the case at hand were fiercely resisted and inroads achieved by various unauthorized means were short-lived. Why didn’t management discharge us for demonstrated incompetence? Why indeed.
The reason the head shed doesn’t blame their loss control engineers for the progressively worsening loss record, we learned, was that it knew it had intentionally rendered our discipline functionally impotent. Worse today than a century ago, neither the organization nor the discipline can get past the indictment. It was not to be the last paradox in the expedition obstacle course. A bigger question then arose: “Why do dysfunctional organizations aggressively resist making large, self-sustaining reductions in losses?” Why is the employment turnover rate of due-diligence safety engineers five times the national rate for all engineers? Few issues in our portfolio of social system paradoxes are easier to demonstrate than the invisible machine of improvement repudiation. Organizations reflexively change for the worse to avoid changing for the better. And, you can’t find anyone who will challenge the claim.
Switching to the other end of the see-saw, your net impact on loss reduction is also easy to measure. The bottom line of discipline effectiveness is routinely compiled and published by the casualty insurers. With the net premiums paid quantifying loss control discipline performance, it is clear that whatever good the discipline is doing, it is not reversing the relentless rise in losses – a direct consequence of operational dysfunction. Clearly, management prefers to pay higher insurance premiums rather than prevent preventable loss. After too much time spent being ineffective, our self-worth in tatters, the naïve years were brought to an end. Everything was thrown open to question. The skeptic era had dawned.
After accepting the fact we were being stymied by the organization in attempting to reduce their unnecessary organizational process losses, the focus of inquiry shifted to measuring ubiquity of the paradox. Was it just us? Or, was this costly neurosis a common mode failure of the discipline?
After checking around with practitioners we knew and getting quiet nods, a book was written (1988) to tell the truth and find out. Entitled “The New Plague,” it is still available on Amazon. Hundreds of unsolicited responses made it clear that management was rendering more than loss control engineering ineffective in improving the productivity bottom line. Feedback taught us there was nothing really new in “the New plague.” We were being thanked for breaking the silence on what was already widely known. It is an elephant in the rooms of every dysfunctional organization that had been standing on everyone’s toes to keep them in place.
As ubiquity in deliberate loss reduction obstruction was affirmed, additional books were written to test the elephant hypothesis in other areas of organizational activities involving process. “Have Fun at Work” (1990) and “Friends in High Places” (1992), breaking silence in other disciplines, are available on Amazon. In 1995, the work of Rudolf Starkermann and William Ross Ashby factored heavily in a new approach to construction safety. The PhD Dissertation “Done Right: An integrated Approach to Construction Safety” suggested a different method, It deeply examined safety, project management, system engineering, industrial engineering and quality techniques. The bibliography ran to 250 pages. It was accepted by the university and rejected by the construction industry.
Among the four works starting in 1986 through 1995, the bibliographies ran to thousands of books, covering hundreds of topics in dozens of fields. No established field was left unexamined in the effort to build upon the work of known predecessors. Knowing that better approaches often come from the application of a proven method from one field of science to another, dozens of authorities were contacted for additional insights they might provide. Years were invested in full search mode, thinking that surely, given the sobering size of the problem, someone somewhere had hit upon a practical answer we could examine in implementation in situ.
Thousands of our books placed and hundreds more of unsolicited responses settled the ubiquity matter once and for all. The organizations with excellent loss reduction records were open and supportive to further improvement – and always prosperous. The organizations with obscene loss records were hostile to loss reduction initiatives – and always dysfunctional. The either/or relationships proved to be intrinsic and invariant.
When caught in the act, the signature response of all dysfunction? “We’re no worse than the others.” Take your time thinking about that intellectual alibi. It’s packed with navigational information.
Self-invoking Gödel’s theorem, we stopped and commiserated. Thanks were being voiced for breaking the silence on what, we realized, was already widely known. Why were these important, universal truths undiscussable? Something had to be going on at a sociotechnical level higher than the one we were working at. The ridiculous record of corporate mergers and acquisitions leaves a clue. Personalities of the organizational brass have nothing to do with the dysfunction. Change personnel, social system dysfunction rolls on without a bump.
For the first time, the thought arose: “Could it be that leadership and management are not actually hard-wired to the fundamental matter of organizational prosperity?” If leadership characteristics have a bearing, how could the organizational dysfunction be a global menace in every language? Since the only common denominator of management around the planet is alive and human, is this nemesis a psychological spectacle?
With ubiquity of organizational dysfunction across the planet and time established, we began to suspect that the various, large, disparate harms being measured here and there, injury and damage, indiscriminate wreckage, were emanating from a powerful, communal source – the supernova of societal dysfunction. It was not a case, as conventionally treated, where each category of damage had its own cause and therefore an immediate final remedy. Unfortunately, the pile of facts that implicates a common driving force in no way points to what the prime mover might be. Based upon the evidence of damage and injury, we assumed organizational dysfunction was causing the signature lot and went to the systems engineering handbook. It taught, from Aristotle and Gödel, that the efficient cause of the particular ubiquity in hand must be something more ubiquitous. This axiom shows up in Ross Ashby’s famous “Law of Requisite Variety.” Control requires more variety in options than conditions the process may exhibit.
To us, the omnipresence of organizational dysfunction and its identical supermarket of consequences is so complete, it winnowed the scope of cause possibilities down to natural law – the laws of the physical universe – the ultimate ubiquity. Something had to be going on between what the material organization does and the omnipresent laws of the material universe. “The purpose of the system is what it does.” POSIWID, from Ashby and Beer, is a beautiful example of marrying natural law to sociology – sociotechnology.
Extending the rationale, knowing Nature is the epitome of indifference, we concluded the material consequences of organizational dysfunction must emanate from persistent attempts to defy Nature’s laws. What is being perceived as damage caused by this ubiquitous characteristic, animated by people particulars, is really being delivered indiscriminately by Nature as due punishment for attempting defiance of Her laws. Who hasn’t experienced that?
Sometimes Nature’s role in social dynamics is apparent and sometimes it is subtle. But, it’s always there. Your self-test then comes down to this: Do you stop foolish defiance, pursuits of the impossible, or do you continue with business as usual in mismatch? You choose. Inaction means status quo prevails and that means more of the same outcomes.
Pouring over the worldwide wreckage and carnage of organizational dysfunction, one observation that proved to be instrumental in devising a lasting fix was “bundle.” When one sort of unnecessary damage was found, a slew of other sorts of damage and injury always exhibited as well. Over time, we found that the coincidence and congruency worked both ways in all directions among a particular collection of seemingly disparate functionalities. For example, you never found high morale and high injury rates in the same organization. Never. You never found low turnover without high productivity.
The adopted symbol of “bundle” displayed came from Rudolf Starkermann. It is the 1803 shield of the canton of Galen in Switzerland. It shows a collection of separate elements bound together to serve the common purpose, copied from the Romans. As in all assemblies of this type, remove one element and the bundle disintegrates – a chaotic avalanche that thwarts the principal purpose of bundling: amplification.
As will be shown, a way has been devised to reconstruct the dysfunctional bundle, called “wicked,” and restore beneficial functionality to a social system. You can audit implementation sites where reconstruction is going on in every phase of the process. The bundle, once boosted above its tipping point is self-sustaining. Accordingly, application site audit availability is 24/7. “Try it before you buy it” is both theme and policy because it is the ultimate efficiency in learning.
Confronting the “Try it before you buy it” opportunity provides special, objective insight to your subconscious brain – the one that decides which of your endowed human-nature instincts to emphasize on your teleprompter. You get to see a portion of the actual value system than runs your life. This is a crossroads where what you espouse meets what you do in the theater of reality. The purpose of the system is what it does. (POSIWID)
To initialize your learning, two building blocks are essential:
Realize that this entire arena is mature, well-plowed ground. There is little in this whole affair that is new or novel. The period from 1890 to 1925, where everything that happened was discussed and documented, is available on a thumb drive of .pdf books as your reference library. While you may think this narrative is a current affair, it is in fact worldwide repetition of ancient scenarios. Anyone can find their exact beef in the record. Anyone can see where their ideas of “fix” have been tried before – hundreds of times.
The history taught us about methods that didn’t work, so we avoid them, and that “our” fix paradigm was never put into action. Many came close, but there is no precedent to our novel scheme. Most of pieces and parts that did positive things for a while, a hundred years ago, such as outlawing drive and force, are part of the fix ideology. Realizing this stuff is old-hat will guide you to intercept those reflex conclusions flashing across your teleprompter for further cognitive processing. Quotes from that era are peppered about the book. The mechanisms of action of organizational dysfunction are genetically endowed and socially conditioned.
It is important to grasp the “bundled” characteristics of the dysfunction phenomenon, missed by our predecessors, as milestone one. Once you understand the paramount role of “bundle” in the grand enterprise, you will be spared the endless frustration in trying to make a big improvement isolated to a particular element of the bundle – and failing. The generic pathway to accomplish this magical feat, the landslide to good, has been blazed. Science calls this phenomenon of revival a trophic cascade.
Collective bargaining has been far from completely successful. One of the most important unsettled problems raised by collective bargaining is its effect upon industrial efficiency. Unions with all their desirable points have generally arrayed themselves against many primary prerequisites of efficiency. They have insisted upon a flat time rate of payment instead of a piece work, bonus, or premium wage and upon promotion by seniority instead of by merit. They have opposed time and motion study, they have frequently insisted that skilled men perform operations which less skilled men can easily do, they have required the employment of unnecessary helpers, they have restricted output far below what men can easily do without overstrain, they have interfered with the maintenance of discipline by preventing the discharge of men who fairly merited discharge.
One reason for employer failure to prevent serious restriction of output by unions, of course, is that union regulations are not simply arbitrary rules but in a large measure were established to prevent abuses by employer’s attempts to overdrive the men and attempts to disrupt the organization by discriminating in favor of non-union men and against union leaders. Employers have fostered the allegiance of workmen to the restrictive regulations by maintaining even after recognition of unions a more or less hostile attitude toward them, discriminating against the most active union men, favoring non-unionists, and generally creating the impression that they will destroy the union at the first opportunity.
The inequity of labor exercising an important voice in the direction of industry (to which, of course, it is entitled) without at the same time accepting responsibilities for the service rendered by industry to society, is obvious. Here as elsewhere the rule must apply that power and responsibility should be coordinate. Employers have thus far met with little success in their endeavors to prevent serious impairment of efficiency by strong unions. As unions become more powerful and collective bargaining more prevalent, the problem of the impairment of efficiency by unions will become more pressing. The development of ways and means to prevent undue union impairment of efficiency while preserving collective bargaining is urgently needed. John Commons (1916)
Natural law platform rationale
The expedition to Utopia was launched because of the natural law – society interaction. The laws of the material universe are an integral feature of the fix. Many philosophers have posited that when you have a social condition that is both ubiquitous and cross-generational, its mechanism of action is necessarily and ultimately based on the laws of the material universe. The running test of this connection is exceptions. Find one exception and our connection claim has been falsified (Popper).
When organizational dysfunction proved to be both ubiquitous and time-independent, the platform for understanding the “problem” and working out its remedy was assembled from Nature’s laws. There are many inherent properties of natural law that are essential to a situation-independent, omnipresent fix to the worldwide plague of organizational waywardness.
- Scale invariant, nested
- Species invariant. All social species align with natural law the same.
- No central control room. No emperor in control.
- Indifferent, impartial, deaf to persuasion
- Agent attribute variations don’t matter.
- No exceptions
If the pull of these attributes of natural law wasn’t enough, the push of the historical record sealed the deal. One has to be impressed with the size of the rubbish pile left by one quadrillion dollars of off-target efforts. Ignoring the failures of business as usual is the social norm, no doubt, but empiricism in such massive quantities proved to be grossly ineffective, counterproductive. Having a natural law platform gets you out of the realm of debates and opinions. How can you quarrel with what’s in your face?
No one likes everything natural law shapes all the time, but you can always count on Her indifference. Since She has no bias towards authority or social norms, why should the expedition be governed by them? Think of three centuries of attempts to remedy the problem by custom and empiricism, all documented for study, and not one active implementation you can audition. Remember “In Search of Excellence?” Management by objectives?
The paramount reason for taking the trouble to build the natural-law platform for the expedition is avoiding the consequences from attempting to defy Nature’s laws. Once you identify those in play, you can see attempted defiance everywhere and the punishments Nature applies.
The end position is using empiricism only for independent validation and falsification purposes – “Try it before you buy it.” When you visit an implementation site, you are free to measure anything you wish. For the variety and amount of these claims, how could there be anything to hide? How do you get people in a thousand-worker industrial complex to follow a script?
Testing the supposition
If dogged attempts to flout impossible-to-defy Mother Nature is the root cause, as hypothesized, which laws of Hers are involved? For this investigation, empiricism cannot help. All empiricism does is add to the piles of wreckage (Ain’t it Awful?). Today, the Ain’t It Awful syndrome (AIA) dominates discussion in every aspect of this global dilemma. We verified from book feedback that the cause and machinery of the plague of dysfunction is socially undiscussable – globally. If you can drum up the courage to break silence in a social system, expose an elephant or two in the room, you can test the stipulation for yourself. Personalities have nothing to do with this. The immediate response by all is proof positive that no central control room for coordinating human social behavior exists. Same for ants.
The ether that coordinates the predictable, uniform organizational response is the situation and reflex drawn from the human nature toolroom. Dysfunction is a spontaneous process powered by a brand of herd mentality that is exclusively situation-driven, undeflected by fact-informed reason. As the social system assesses the situation, the subconscious reflexes human nature navigates by change. No communication is necessary to harmonize social action. No one needs to think or issue instructions. Break silence on the travesty, imperial nakedness if you will, and you get everyone’s attention. Your violation of “the code of silence” is rated far more important than your subject matter. That is a clue to the power of the primeval psychological forces of human nature holding the bundle together. You neglect its power at your peril.
Everything about these dilemmas of process is dynamic. Everything involved is a function of time. It is impossible to look at an organizational chart, slave to the chimeric operational reality, and tell from the configuration alone how the place works. The same configuration of people can deliver prosperity or bring about organizational collapse. In this regard, the obscene frequency of business failures in the USA (> three million per year) leaves no doubt about the efficacy of whatever is being taught in business schools. Note the parallel to loss reduction engineering. It is the same giant self-injury to the nation as it is to the individuals ruined by the unnecessary failures. People are choosing the wicked organizational decay bundle. Why?
If the cause is attempting to defy natural law, and the identification of those laws cannot be validated empirically, there was no choice left but to investigate the efficient cause of organizational dysfunction with dynamic simulations constructed from a complex of natural laws that tie everything real together, i.e., mathematical physics. It is the only practical way to run sufficient tests to replicate the mechanisms of action of natural law that deliver the consequences of defying the impossible-to-defy. This technique is classic “intelligence amplification,” by Ashby. The computer is harnessed to develop requisite knowledge for social system behavior attainable in no other way.
With the assumption that individual human behavior is infinitely variable while human nature is a universal constant, you take the findings produced by the proven simulator, our concept proving grounds, over to the operational reality and test your hypotheses for a match – the scientific method.
I state clearly, on the basis of a vast body of evidence, that every important aspect of the life, organization, and the culture of Western society is in extraordinary crisis . . . Its body and mind are sick and there is hardly a spot on its body which is not sore, nor any nervous fiber which functions soundly. Pitirim A. Sorokin (1961)
The maestro of dynamic simulation of social system behaviors using natural laws is Rudolf Starkermann, a Swiss, who, at the time we first engaged his work (1986) was professor of mechanical engineering (control theory) at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He was kind enough to teach and train us as to the configuration and parameterization of his models and how to design and run test programs using them. He had been working on expressing social system behavior in mathematical physics since 1956 (at Honeywell) and had published two dozen papers on his work. While his rationale in associating social behavior to control theory was impeccable, he constantly worried that his models did not contain enough variables of personality to align with reality.
Our first attempt to advance was to take the results of what professor Starkermann had already developed, available to all on Starkermann.com, thanks to Byron Davies, and run field tests with real people to confirm or controvert the correspondence of his model to the operational reality. From the first trials and for the ensuing years of testing, no instances were found where the simulated dynamics varied with field testing. It was matching perfectly 100% of the time.
In 1991, we encouraged a somewhat recalcitrant professor Starkermann to extend his models and situations to cover hierarchical social system dysfunctions. In 1993, he divided the research scope he established into two parts. Fascinated by the impending European Union, he took on large organizations himself and assigned us to the world of work teams (Skunk Works). This graphic shows the limit by the number of individuals in the democratic group.
Big improvements in modular modelling software and computer capability enabled modifications that allowed changing test variables of the simulator on the fly – like real life. Many thousands of test cases were involved. The grand total so far is close to a million runs on the simulators.
We learned to arrange the run data in various formats, looking for conflicts between our naïve “common sense” expectations and what the data were showing. Each surprise was promptly taken out for field testing. In every case, the model, not us, was on target.
In investigating small work groups, for example, the simulator data showed that there was no way to add a manager to a democratic work group, even if he came gratis, and increase anything productive. Field tests confirmed this rule. If the work group is five or more, it cannot be democratic. You must elect a supervisor-overlord to get anything done.
The rule of democratic groups can be tested by anyone. Anytime you encounter a work group of equals over five in number, say at a conference, intervene with a too-large group and break it up into multiple groups four or less in number of individuals. Compare productivity before and after. You will find better deliverables in half the time.
You can also test the reverse. Take any two or more of small democratic work groups and merge them together in a large meeting room. You will find inferior solutions in twice the time – if ever. Control theory on human nature produces the invariance, not man. Yes, you can take the same individuals back and forth between too-large and just-right and note the quantum change in productivity. Also note that the individuals bouncing back and forth hourly between the extremes never grasp the distinction they exhibit.
Many American workers experienced the economic transformations of the late 19th century in terms of a wrenching loss of status. For free white men, pre-Civil War America, more than any previous society, was a society of independent producers and property holders. Farmers, shopkeepers, and craftsmen generally owned the property they worked. About four-fifths of free adult men owned property on the eve of the Civil War. High rates of physical mobility combined with the availability of western lands to foster a sense that the opportunity to acquire property was available to anyone who had sufficient industry and initiative. The factory owner delegated management responsibility to the foreman or First-line supervisor. The foreman was responsible for successfully running the entire factory. The control of workers by the foreman usually took the form of the drive system of management that was characterized by the use of force and fear.
After the Civil War, however, many American workers feared that their status was rapidly eroding. Workers regarded themselves as citizens and expected to earn a “competence,” which meant enough to support and educate their families and enough time to stay abreast of current affairs. More and more, however, in the late 19th century workers weren’t able to realize those dreams. The expanding size of factories made relations between labor and management increasingly impersonal. Mechanization allowed many industries to substitute semi-skilled and unskilled laborers for skilled craft workers. A massive influx of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe saturated labor markets, slowing the growth of working-class incomes.
Echoing earlier debates over slavery, many working men and women feared that the great industrialists were imposing a new form of feudalism in America, which was reducing “freemen” to “wage slaves.” They demanded “a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work” and an eight-hour work day. Native-born workers, fearing competition from low-wage immigrant workers, sometimes agitated for immigration restriction. Many observers feared that the United States was on the brink of a ruinous class war. Akin Karoly (1884)
Once solution candidates for dysfunction reversal were confirmed feasible by simulator testing, it was essential to find a remedy route and delivery vehicle, medicine calls it a vector, which was effective. Otherwise work on the fix paradigm would be pointless. Like the mosquitoes that transmit malaria and the fleas carrying Bubonic plague, the “fix” for organizational dysfunction must enter the host and perform the necessary function. We started knowing only that the approach to “change corporate culture” top-down, deployed to this day, didn’t work. Starkermann showed that natural law barricades top-down from making productivity-positive changes. Top-down action, meddling, can only reduce productivity. When management realizes it is ineffective regarding prosperity of the organization it leads, it gravitates towards mergers and acquisitions (M&A). As the record substantiates, M&A takes two dysfunctional organizations and makes matters for both instantly worse. The turnover jump sends both organizations into a death spiral. Just look.
Using the benchmark characteristics of the Utopia “Fix,” nailed by Yale professor Argyris in 1960, we searched Starkermann’s dynamic simulation data bank for behaviors that didn’t make “sense.” That approach and a lot of field testing eventually focused-in on a practical, effective vector. Chris Argyris, his definition of mutation success secure, fixated on the top-down approach, which he fervently implemented for 50 years, never locating his bona fide vector of delivery. He died angry at every CEO and university in the United States.
How did we know when we had identified an effective vector? The vector-implemented fix worked on a self-sustaining basis. That means you can always visit an application site and examine the claims for yourself. Thanks to spontaneous positive reciprocity, benefits increase with time. This dynamic is always felicitous.
In 2008, professor Starkermann completed his many investigations into the behavior of large organizations and in 2009 published “Die Hierarchy” in Swiss German, his native language. He did not want any errors in translation to detract from the significance of his giant accomplishment. You can have a copy of his book in .pdf form by requesting one.
Starkermann’s investigation of the behavior of the hierarchy, behavior which varies with the number of levels in its architecture, featured some serious conflicts with “common sense,” including conflicts that jolted Starkermann himself. The mismatches were so significant we immediately set everything aside for field evaluation. As testing proceeded apace it became clear that Rudy’s work was spot on, that the sources of our common “sense,” proven wrong, must be our nemesis. As the conflicts and paradoxes were being resolved, more oxymora were discovered and more field testing was done. It took many years to acclimate to the noble truths of hierarchy and how to handle them, especially since they were all marked “undiscussable” by society at large.
With the dynamic simulator programmed to handle large organizations available for duty, the first study program was aimed at replicating organizational dysfunctions. This was surprisingly easy to do.
- The organization cannot remain at “infallible” status quo state. The 2nd Law destroys infallibility (Turing).
- At any slice of time, the organization is headed either towards prosperity or towards collapse.
- Run the candidate to find the conditions of maximum stable progress towards high productivity.
- All other conditions are either unstable or short of available attainment.
- Jettison the unstable instances and study the shorts.
Professor Starkermann’s research into hierarchy dynamics established the conditions and boundaries of hierarchical roles that are established by control theory, not executive whim. The role boundaries defined by mathematical physics are permanent throughout the universe. As the daily news attests, attempts to defy them destabilize the organization. When management dictates outcome responsibility that sprawls across roles, for example, it’s the equivalent of multiplying organizational productivity by zero.
The strategy of membership retention is simple. Follow your instincts, no matter what, and cobble plausible excuses for the wreckage on an as-needed basis. The intellectual alibi, revealing assumed ubiquity, is “We’re no worse than the others.” True.
Using role-based transactions, it became possible to trace the particular actions that were triggering and fostering organizational dysfunction (Books 2&3). Again, personalities had nothing to do with causing the absurdly counterproductive affairs.
Searching for the key characteristics of effective leaders, the Holy Grail of organizational development, has always been a fruitless diversion away from the actual core factors. The fact the search for leadership qualities failed for hundreds of years worldwide seems to be spurious information to the hordes of searchers. Experience shows that individuals prominent in the respective disciplines, when informed of the top-down fallacy, will corroborate the fallacy with personal experiences, and continue on, fixated on the delusion that top management is the only possible motive source of corporate benefit.
Argyris cited case after case where he had obtained top management’s enthusiastic acceptance of his principles of management, theory of use II. He then observed, helpless to intervene, the same executives continuing on with the same practices that produced the crisis in the first place, as reported in his Harvard Business Review articles.
Working with the natural-law-based dynamic simulators has made it clear that rational operations does not drive society towards the organizational dysfunction wicked bundle. There is nothing inherent in system operations itself that leads inexorably to collapse of the enterprise. The free, irrational, lose-lose choice of bundle wicked is being made by “leadership.” It is the situation, not the agent, which is making the choice. Nobody is intercepting their reflex-driven task choices for cognitive prequalification.
It’s not that icons of the disciplines that impinge on organizational dysfunction cannot connect the dots. It’s that they cannot accept the end position the dots lead to without suffering cognitive dissonance. The expedition revealed that everyone has the dots in their own experience bank and everyone has the cerebral machinery to connect them. Accepting the fact that the emperor has no clothes, even in reading the Hans Christian Anderson fable, triggers a benign form of catatonia. The 90% mind goes “So he’s naked, so what?” and, having no answer deemed worthy of putting on the intra-cranial teleprompter, the mind stalls in place.
What but inertia prevents the duplication of this simple beneficial scheme throughout the country? If Congress lags, why is it not the duty of management to show the way to the gathering of needed facts? There is great hope in the study now under way by the National Bureau of Economic Research into the practical technique of unemployment statistics. But that research and the wise program of the President’s Conference will fail unless management realizes fully its duty and opportunity to contribute a chief share to the processes of systematization, orderly planning, of preventing, in the long run, the disastrous recurrence of such a terrible blow to industrial morale as that which has staggered this country. Wm Leavitt Stoddard (1921)
Run a simple thought experiment. Imagine a business consisting of the owner of the business and his ten employees. You have no squabble with the total responsibility of the owner for the bottom line of his enterprise. He works in close proximity to his workers in the medieval master-apprentice relationship. He knows in intimate detail what is going on, coupled with what outcome he desires, and he designs and allocates tasks to his people accordingly as he sees fit. Workers can thrive in this natural relationship, seeing the business prosper as a direct result of their workmanship. These are always high-morale, low-turnover affairs.
When the business grows to the point that the owner can no longer maintain the intimate master-apprentice relationship with all his employees, he inserts a layer of intermediaries between himself and the workers. No longer privy to the immediate operational details of the workplace, he confines his involvement to designing and allocating task actions of his direct reports. Keep adding hierarchical levels.
When the business grows to the point where another level of intermediaries is necessary, the owner becomes increasingly insulated from what is going on, minute by minute, in the workplace. What he knows about factory operations he gets from informants using language that compresses the details into generalized abstractions. Keep adding hierarchical levels and the functional isolation of the head shed from the workplace operational reality becomes apparent. The constructive relationship of the owner to the revenue crew has altogether evaporated. Only the destructive relationship route remains in the residuum. These are never high-morale affairs.
Now note that, as far as the front line worker’s perspective goes, there has been no change to his context at all. He is penned-in by physical realities, when he looks downward, and his boss, when he looks upward. His work is still designed and directed by an overseer in close quarters. He remains in the apprentice-master relationship oblivious to the number of levels in the hierarchy. Likewise, the role of the front line supervisor remains identical with that of the owner – regardless of the number of links in the chain of command above him. The most fruitful relationship of worker to his overlord is when his boss owns the business and, perforce, responsibility for its success. This best possible relationship of the man in the middle of no-man’s land, is fixed. It cannot be altered. All other relationships are less efficient.
You can now safely come to the conclusion that any meddling by the command chain that obstructs the role of foreman as business owner is toxic to the master-apprentice relationship. Ergo, top-down “command” is fatal to organizational prosperity. Try to find an exception. For centuries, the use of power over subordinates was called “drive.” During the 20th century, the malpractice term changed to “force.” Spare the rod and spoil the child.
There are invisible barriers of varying density in nearly all industrial plants. Every industrial executive daily comes into contact with them. They constitute the formless, unorganized, intangible, yet exceedingly effective resistance to the introduction of improved methods. Every manager who has had anything to do with handling men and directing their work is obliged to pierce or tear down one or more of these invisible barriers before even the simplest and most obvious improvement can be successfully inaugurated. These barriers do not consist merely of common human inertia, nor of open opposition, nor of conflicting personalities, nor of fear and ignorance. They are rather a combination of all of these elements working in harmony with mass psychology and are the more formidable because invisible and intangible. Many an enthusiastic, well-informed manager full of good ideas and who knows what he wants to do and how he wants to do it has had a discouraging experience fighting this invisible spirit of opposition. John H. Van Deventer (1922)
Rules of hierarchy
Up to a finite number of hierarchical levels (2½ rule), the roles channeled by natural law for each level are conducive to fostering organizational health and prosperity. People don’t have to stretch beyond their workmanship instincts for making task-action choices that will serve the organization well.
When an organization has grown taller than the iron limit of productive levels, all bets on goal-seeking compatibility among levels are off. At high elevations, it is within the laws of Nature for the top level of a hierarchy to operate near its assigned limits of discretion and, exercising its authoritative force, prevent essential role fulfillment at other levels. In the operational reality, it means that organizational health and prosperity become prey to head-shed whim that can set native instincts of everyone else against everyone else; instincts that regulate revenue flow.
The head shed can support or disfigure the roles fixed by Nature but it cannot change them. Credentialed authorities can give the levels below them a dose of salts, but they cannot manipulate the roles assigned by natural law. When management “forces” an out-of-role responsibility on to a lower level, it is willfully injuring its own organization. An organization that respects the roles assigned to hierarchy by universal law cannot be dysfunctional. The iron rule of prosperity is simple:
- The folks at any level (A), must first make sure that the level below them (B) has the span of discretion and wherewithal to fulfill its role. If abiding that rule means A delegating part of its legal authority to B, irrevocable, A should be anxious to do so. Both levels immediately benefit. This is a coincident step toward bundle good.
A troubling example of head-shed misalignment with these iron laws, choosing bundle wicked, is going on now with the drone-equipped USA military. Soldiers on the ground in active battle with the enemy are being micromanaged by Generals sitting in front of computer-driven displays, hundreds of miles away, in real-time verbal contact. This malpractice has delivered the following measured results:
- The casualty rate of the soldiers shot up
- Morale of the front line fighting force hit new lows
- Veterans of these occasions, all battlefield ranks, cannot wait to get out of military service
While people can willfully choose to screw up any organization at any time, in tall hierarchies intelligence-informed choices must be made to assure organizational viability continues. Natural law is not going to bail you out of the wicked-bundle horrors of standard practice in mismatch. If things hierarchical are left to the instinct wars and not shaped to fit what Nature requires for good-bundle success, the choice is rampant organizational dysfunction. Mother Nature does not care about the commotions in the sandboxes of society. She sailed through the 2016 election melee intact.
Using the concept of energy penury, a function of the high angst and other paradoxical traits of dysfunctional organizations, is handy for this condition. Impaired functioning means that the majority of your energy is directed to life support and what little is left only goes to what you are told you must do in order to preserve your job. The venting of angst accumulations, milestone one in the paradigm, removing the accumulations of penury, comes as a whoosh! Blowdown immediately releases generous internal energy supplies for goal-seeking pursuits.
In tall hierarchies, long-term success depends upon some levels (the workforce) working somewhat close to their role limits while other levels (the head shed) must operate well within their allotted span of discretion. The brute fact of hierarchy is that any level above the 2½ rule is limited to control by financial allocation and degrading change to the work context – POSIWID. It takes conscious human intelligence and ground truth to restore good-bundle balance among primitive human instincts, constructive versus defensive, throughout the revenue-generating complex. Meanwhile in France:
The foremen’s role and place in the social field were immediately problematic. During the 1848 reform of the employment tribunals, the members of the labor committee of the constituent assembly pondered the foremen’s status during electoral procedures: ‘The difficulty is to know what category foremen should be placed in—with the managers or with the workers? The committee rules that foremen shall vote with the managers because in most cases they are representatives of the managers’ interests.
This identification with the management was the foremost characteristic of the foreman: appointed by the managers, the foreman was their representative in supervising and organizing the workforce. However, the foreman’s ability to impose his authority did not depend on his social origins, because most foremen came from the working class. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, foremen were hardly distinguished from the rest of the workforce. Alain Becchia (1875)
Once the mechanisms of action for organizational dysfunction were scrutably connected back to natural law, “What about a solution?” All the available knowledge about the fix for organizational dysfunction, a record 200 years long produced with a quadrillion dollar$ of human efforts, with nothing to show for the investment, only demonstrated that top-down didn’t work. It was a start.
We discussed what data we had and our quest with many noteworthy mentors, well established in the relevant fields, including Argyris, Ackoff, Beer/Ashby, Rogers, Starkermann, Franceschi, Whitney, and Warfield. Harvard professor Chris Argyris used some of our test findings in a short collaboration and was especially influential in navigating our expedition.
Taking the guidance of our esteemed mentors in devising a fix, we first tested their assumptions on the dynamic simulator. After thousands of runs, we concluded there was nothing overt in Nature’s camp that prevented success but there was nothing there in the data of organizational dynamics that rendered success certain either. Nature is indifferent. Our attempts to develop the fix paradigm following the assumptions provided by our mentors were, in practical application, disasters. Natural law did not deny the mentor assumptions, but experience sure did. If there is a combination for the lock on the wicked-bundle to good-bundle switch, top-down is not it.
When we had all the ugliness our selfies could stand, we abandoned the direct route to hell and went back to restudy the simulator run data anew. Different perspectives taken kept pointing to one particular level in every hierarchy as “special” and uniquely crucial to organizational prosperity and hence a possible vector. As this conjecture corroborated what we had always assumed was common knowledge, no alarms went off.
Since our work is mostly in the trenches, we started asking people in the workforce how they were being treated by the brass. The answers came as such a shock (naïve can hurt) that we spent the next year in investigation and historical studies for parallels. We found that abuse of the revenue-generating level, selectively and deliberately, is world-wide standard practice. It was congruent with the industrial revolutions with a history solid back to 1800 AD. It was lose-lose with awesome legs. Where were we?
As you note, our quest in loss reduction was anything but a straight line of logical successes in tandem. Some of the steps forward in the expedition took years of painstaking trial and error. Looking back, most of our blind-alley failures are embarrassing. How often can you blame naivety without appearing fundamentally stupid?
Our failures are no secret. You can have as many of the failure stories as you like. They are how we learned about “bundle.” Leaving the numerous painful and erratic experiences out of this journal of development, we believe, helps streamline the effort to follow the logic that ended with the paradigm at incontrovertible grade. The blunder that caused the most damage to the expedition was assuming our social conditioning was infallible and in our best interests. Mom would never betray us. Mom?
This representation of the foreman’s authority as a combination of authority, goodwill, and paternal spirit is well formulated in the “spinning manual”:
A good foreman is the workshop’s soul; the boss must turn to him. If there is a request or complaint to make, the workers must turn to him. . . . Here it is not a question of seeking the son of a prominent family or a man who is supported by important protectors; as much as possible, the choice must be a man who knows the field; who knows how to lead with dignity; who knows how to combine gentleness and strictness; who is energetic and affable; who defends the rights of the worker as well as those of the boss; who knows how, if required, to repair a loom when a spinner is not experienced enough to do it himself; who knows how to pass over certain minor errors and energetically repress the causes of unrest; in a word, a man who leads paternally and militarily. He must also know how to judge men and things with speed and energy. Sébastien Lambert (1866)
Building the paradigm
At this juncture, it became clear – the obstruction that prevented full-scope success was not natural law per se, but by elimination, had to be psychological in part if not in whole. There is a Brainiac dimension to this barrier to good-bundle prosperity that could not be overpowered by any amount of technological horsepower. At first, for engineers fixated on brute objectivity by training, it was too subtle to register. Five key questions evolved:
- Why does the organization intentionally mistreat the revenue producers?
- Does this paradox/psychosis have a fix?
- Is there an effective vector for getting the wicked-bundle to good-bundle fix into the organization?
- Can this vector be harnessed in practice?
- Is the fix self-sustaining?
Returning to the dynamic simulator work armed with the psychological angle, willful choice of wicked-bundle in mind, tests were run that showed again that, in tall organizations, the head shed was powerless to do anything positive for workforce productivity, at the levels where organizational revenue is produced. It had the authority, as do generals, to impose its commands forcefully on the soldiers, but everything it imposed made matters wicked-bundle worse. It showed that Ca’ canny, deliberately withholding efficiency, is easy to ignite by pulling rank. It is impossible to snuff out the harmful phenomenon by commanding authority.
The evidence drove us again to the conclusion that tall-organization executives could trigger and amplify organizational dysfunction at will, but they are powerless to bring prosperity to the business by their task actions. The head shed can trigger the wicked bundle and maintain it. The head shed is powerless to restore good-bundle from wicked-bundle. In fact, the more it tries, the more wicked it gets.
Because of the bundle reality, attempting to reverse Ca’ canny by itself top-down was counterproductive. The record on this loser is long (200 years), giant (one quadrillion$), and without exception. Why are social systems so averse to honest feedback? Why are the masses unable to accept what they know by first-hand experience – that the emperor has no clothes?
At the worker level, the base supporting the hierarchy we call grounders, hands-on process work is their world. As Rudyard Kipling wrote in 1895, whether or not their work is valuable or harmful to society is not their choice to make. Everyone has been a grounder facing the same task-selection constraint. So, with the process of elimination disposing of both management and the grounders as vector candidates, we were left with the Man in the Middle (MitM) as the only credible vector possible under the natural laws of this universe. That an effective vector for switching bundle-wicked to bundle-good was theoretically possible, did not mean it existed or could be placed in service.
This unique level in the hierarchy has been called “Man in the Middle” for almost 200 years. It is the boss level that lives in the workroom, representing management commands (down) to his grounders on the one hand and representing the workforce response (up) to the supreme commanders. He is the ceiling to his workers and the floor to the head shed. The MitM:
- Sets the objectives of the workforce as he sees fit
- Designs the task actions of his workers as he sees fit
- Interacts with his grounders as he sees fit
The head shed can impose constraints and obstacles on the MitM in several ways, but it cannot command productivity improvements and get them materialized without the foreman’s support. The more force applied by management to attain its goals, the worse it makes things for itself. Might one think that a few centuries of continuous failure in this regard would sink in to high-IQ minds? Think again.
While the front line supervisor, foreman, chief, boss is always a MitM, other functions can be MitM as well. All designers, creators, and innovators are MitMs. In general, anyone not rule-based, not an obedient slave to infallibility, is more likely to be a MitM as not. You design task actions, including your own, and you take full responsibility for what those actions produce in exchange for requisite autonomy. Unity of command meets unity of responsibility in the MitM.
While there are many functioning MitMs in positions other than the front line supervisor, all designers are MitMs, very few have their own workforce with its hands on the throttles of organizational productivity, revenue generation. Unlike the vectors, they have no 10x amplification of productivity improvement horsepower. Vectors can take an idea for betterment in the morning and have it operational by the end of the shift. Other MitMs are shunted into the “persuasion of others” arena, where their ideas often die of closed minds and old-age dementia.
Among operating officials, the one closest to the actual productive process is the foreman, and upon him rests much of the responsibility for efficient operation, for economy, and for harmonious labor relations—factors vital to the business success of his employer. It is reasonable, therefore, that management should determine what qualities are essential for foremanship, and then spare no pains in finding or training foremen who have these qualities. Edward S. Cowdrick (1920)
It’s one challenge to develop a paradigm that will reverse the organizational dysfunction bundle, reverse the trigger of Ca’ canny. It’s something else entirely to arrange for a means, a vector, which can implant the good-bundle paradigm into the workforce ideology on a self-sustaining basis. Outsiders cannot be a vector. Don’t even try. We have already paid that cost and more for our folly.
While simulation results made it clear that the front-line supervisor is the only level possible for vector service, engaging live supervisors in their element suggests nothing of the sort. This level has been so brainwashed by misguided socialization and abused by misguided management for so long, the impression they convey is the one they were bludgeoned by society to exhibit. They generally fail to realize their social context is contrived by the Establishment to “denature” their unique role in husbanding the viability of the organization. Their role is defined by Nature and cannot be altered by representatives of species Homo.
Management delivers workforce abuse first by depersonalization, then by proclaiming laborers uneducated, dim-witted, and unmotivated. This blanket characterization, nothing could be further from the truth, fake news, is then used as the excuse for abuse. “They had it coming.” We show the vector that recognizing this monster lie is key to his psychological health and his productivity multiplication factor. Same effort – dramatically more good-bundle results, all with felicity. He tests the concepts and tools out in his work scene promptly and discovers the claims for them to be true. He benefits directly and immediately from the cascade of improvements. You can have ringside seats at this extravaganza of windfall benefits and see for yourself.
Management, oblivious to the 2½ rule, primarily exploits its revenue crews by bullying the workforce to engage in zero-sum gaming – otherwise known as management-labor relations. Because management controls the treasury, zero-sum is a game in which even idiot managers can’t lose. To play the game is to win.
In a colossal irony, labor instinctively forms a “union,” also a tall organization, to strengthen its hand in zero sum gaming with management and ends up being abused by two dysfunctional organizations. History shows the propensity for the union head shed to collude with the organization head shed at the expense of the workforce. Both sides focus on the zero-sum game and not the common core issue of productivity that is never zero-sum. If the workers appeal to government to mitigate the carnage, they get abused by a third dysfunctional organization. Workforce sanity only prevailed during world wars. When you study the dramatic wartime productivity increases in depth, you appreciate that management was aware of the foreman’s paramount role the whole time. War over, management reverted to wicked-bundle mode, treating the workforce revenue producers once again as a zero-sum opponent.
Note the historical vacuum regarding management-MitM relations. Very telling by itself.
The lesson from this recycling, multi-generational history? That all the players, their scripts, their stages, and their theatres are not vectors to assure organizational viability – survival of the species by good-bundle operations. Whatever these players have done in venues around the world has not reduced the carnage of organizational dysfunction. We think 200 years and a quadrillion dollars wasted is enough empirical evidence to call the charade off. We also hold that management has known about the key role of foremanship all along and reacted to its intrinsic role-power by selectively obstructing its loyal practitioners. Grab any foreman and ask.
Equipped with ready minds, vector people do not come onto the paradigm stage organizationally-neutral. Because of company put-downs, depersonalized front-line supervisors entering the paradigm arena are extremely wary, untrusting, skeptical, defensive, skittish and risk-averse. They have been pressured to emulate drive-based management techniques that they well know are horribly counterproductive. This tenacious dilemma, that management wants them to fail, injects serious cognitive dissonance. The deck is stacked against them and they know it and it makes no sense.
“Don’t bother me with advanced systems engineering concepts when the organization I work for obstructs every attempt I make to bring something better into the operation. Don’t annoy me with your fancy technology until after you have established a working context I consider enabling of your schemes.”
Because of the irrational organizational abuse heaped on them, dealing effectively with the angst-ridden vector-foremen caste is tricky business. No two vectors have the same stresses to anneal and one slipup and it’s over. The mentor that blazed the first steps in vector mutation for us to follow was Carl Rogers. The Rogerian triad was a godsend – every day, all day.
The only level the foremen won’t reject out of hand as their sworn enemy is the active foreman level itself. That is why interventionists are all veteran MitMs. Since the vector tier has been so psychologically battered by society, for no sensible reason, their trust does not come easily. While the path to get the vectors operational is not particularly complicated to execute, it is personalized, painstaking and obscure. If conventional remedies were effective, there would be no organizational dysfunction to remedy.
For the record
Experience with Utopia shows that key assumptions ingrained by social conditioning, about the workforce laborer motivations, are fallacious. The brainwashing is so effective that even the workers will label themselves as social norms expect – each person inwardly knowing it is a lie. Implementing the paradigm found, as we expected, the foremen to be top drawer individuals with ready minds. Exceptions do occur but they are rare – and after their peers go on to Utopia they remove themselves from the arena. Bad eggs are never a problem.
During the pilgrimage, the vectors are reverse-brainwashed – stress and distortions annealed. Improvements in self-image and psychological success that result are dramatic. Once the angst of nefarious social conditioning has been vented for the vectors, they are helped to transfer what they have learned about hierarchy and psychological health to their work staff.
The first step is to note the head shed blaming organizational dysfunction on their labor force. The second step is realization that laborers are the true heroes of Utopia, not the origins of dystopia. Rather than seeing the shovel-men as the undeserving dogs portrayed by the elite, expecting them to act as they are characterized, they carry the same human nature as everyone else. Treating soldiers of the workforce as trustworthy amplifiers of goal-seeking effectiveness is the greatest bonus interventionists can give to the vectors. Once that travesty is reversed, the vector will find that the lion’s share of productivity improvement ideas from then on comes from the shovel-men. The payoff is huge.
The personal bond that forms between the foreman and his men, treated as peers, is positive, felicitous, and durable. Continuing Ca’ canny is unthinkable. All benefit from the drop in turnover. Note that nowhere in this remedial process is it necessary to get permission from authority. Yes, Glinda, the vectors had the power all along.
Experience shows foremen to be solid citizens. Experience shows their grunts to be no less commendable. They will exchange outcome responsibility for autonomy in a heartbeat. Like you, they want to apply their creativity and resourcefulness to the benefit of society and be recognized as contributors. It takes so little to implement this strategy and you get so much benefit in return. Why doesn’t everyone relate to social systems this way?
Industrial engineers have charted the laborer, diagramed the manager and blue-printed the employment department, but the foreman too often has been left, unnoticed, to find his own place in the scheme of industrial relations. But if thus neglected in the planning of industrial organizations, the foreman has not been forgotten in the distribution of censure when things have not gone well. Upon his faults, real and imaginary, has been laid the blame for every failure, past and present.
He is assumed to be the Paleolithic representative of all that was wrong in the former era. He has been a conspicuous target for the uplifter and the professional investigator. Employers seeking to maintain harmony in their establishments in a time of almost unprecedented restlessness of labor; employees uncertainly experimenting with newly found rights and privileges; industrial experts eager for the success of their policies of administration—all have been quick to lay every discord and failure to the alleged tactlessness and stupidity of the foreman. Howard F. Gospel (1920)
The expedition-vector engagement
It is impossible for a non-vector person to appreciate the contrast between the pure vector “audience” and any other. The difference in mindedness is starker than black and white. The non-vector people rightfully complain that the stuff coming their way from the interventionist is irrelevant to their way of life. “It is not helpful in the slightest and the whole affair is a waste of time.” Can’t miss that assessment. We take it for granted that they’re telling us the truth. Feedback is our primary navigational aid.
The vector people, with no other kind in the gathering room, are the opposite. To an outside observer, and on rare occasions we allow one, what goes on there is a unique experience, a revelation. The stories from the trenches of the expedition included in Book 6 about paradigm delivery details speak for themselves. Implementing the maxims of Malcolm Knowles, we are amazed at how much learning can take place with such ready minds. In this era of smart phones, the learning explosion results in actions of change radiating out before the 2 hr. convocation is adjourned.
Working with the vectors has two phases:
- Clearing the path for the front line supervisor to attain psychological success
- Supplying the concepts and tools for fulfilling his signature role
These two phases are separated by a remarkable one-time event, previously mentioned, we call angst blowdown. It is mutation milestone one. This tension-release phenomenon occurs after trust has been established with his peers and the interventionist, via silence-breaking convocations called “Shock and Awe.” Angst blowdown, annealing vector stresses, is always cheek by jowl, in private with the interventionist. The foreman is in total control of his blowdown experience. With cognitive dissonance cleared, his Ca’ canny dissolves. In the process, he has reclaimed the considerable internal energy power he had tied up in dealing with outrageous cognitive dissonance. Attitude differences are dramatic. Everyone notices his new way of life, at work and at home. He is the “owner” of his workplace context. He always was.
In this transformation and learning process, the vector is neither led nor pushed. He decides for himself by testing the proffered concepts and tools in his workplace reality as he thinks best and by observing his peers doing the same thing. The convocations are occasions where test experience information is exchanged among peers to great benefit all around, an essential component. Foremen are treated as brothers. Before the season is over, the interventionist is accepted as a brother and kidded accordingly. Once the good bundle is restored, diligence, reciprocity and time take care of the rest.
Going from cognitive dissonance to psychological success takes patience, of course, and it is very individual. In practice, however, most vectors have annealed before the third month into the pilgrimage. As mentioned above, the laggards invariably choose to leave foremanship on their own. “I’m no worse than the others,” backfires. The challenge of outcome responsibility most foremen relish is a disincentive to others. Seeing what’s coming, some refuse to take responsibility for making progress, like all owners must. No stigmas are involved.
Once psychological success of a vector has been attained and stabilized, the paradigm of transformation takes a sharp turn away from the psychological towards the technical material. The energy and power reclaimed from blowdown is redirected toward learning the tangible challenges of viability husbandry. As emotional and irrational as cognitive dissonance can be, brute truth and competent objectivity are the gods of increasing productivity. There is no room for sentimentality in dealing with the 2nd Law. The process of entropy extraction and relocation, a project, involves everything material. The 2nd Law is so omnipresent and omnipotent that attempts to defy it are punished on the spot – no mercy, no lag.
Before the vector mutation is complete, workforce operations will see itself in terms of projects as well as rule-based production. The projects are what it takes to extract entropy, a necessary responsibility taken by the foreman. There is an endless need for innovations to increase productivity (projects) at the same time the revenue stream work clamors for daily attention (operations). This is where treating the workers as peers pays off.
Consider foreman as groundbreaker, owner, spearhead, forerunner, trailblazer, innovator, pacesetter, protagonist, leader, project manager, harbinger, vanguard, point man, multi-processor, gatekeeper and vector. To us, the aggregate of these foreman functions and attributes and responsibilities spells hero.
The foreman is with us to stay. We could not eliminate him from industry if we would. His faults are largely those of his training and of the system under which he learned his trade. Intelligent cooperation between the foreman, his workmen and his employer will solve the problem of his true place in industry, and give him the real leadership demanded by the responsibilities of his position. L. P. Alford (1920)
Some knowledge that has been developed along the way has become indisputable:
- Organizational dysfunction is so ubiquitous and duplicate as a disease, it must be rooted in and nourished by the laws that govern the material universe.
- In order to concoct a generic vaccine for the plague, it too must be scrutably connected to the same natural laws. Ultimate generic for wicked-bundle ubiquity.
- There must be a vector. No access, no cure.
- Operations is really a progression of small projects and better operated by project management best practices than by rule-based rigor.
When the first group of annealed and refurbished vectors were released to their occupations, years ago, no one knew what would happen. No one before had ever gotten this far along the only path that had a chance to succeed. The big question is always, from Argyris, “Are the benefits tied to your change for the better self-sustaining?” It is an examination among many that can’t be scheduled.
When we were invited back for the next freshman class, six months later, the answer was in hand. Restoration of good-bundle, including reversal of workforce Ca’ canny, had changed so many horizontal timelines of performance, it took several trips to identify and quantify all the benefits. We were shaken by the scope and size of the benefit bundle windfall. That meant we had grossly underestimated the range of wicked consequences of the organizational dysfunction bundle. For a while, it was difficult to accept just how damaging and widespread the consequences of mal-operation really were. How could we be the first surveyors on the scene of this global carnage? We’re tolerating this stuff and calling ourselves sapient?
The next milestone was to validate generic. With organizational dysfunction universality established and the fix paradigm natural-law based as required, the same process that delivered the first benefit package should work for any social system in wicked-bundle dysfunction. Off we went in all directions. Many implementations of various sorts behind us and ongoing, generic was stipulated as incontrovertible in 2015. We had established that as the consequences of organizational dysfunction was a package deal, a bundle of elements ultimately orchestrated by natural law, so was the fix benefit bundle. We cannot manipulate dysfunction so that it only harms certain parameters. We cannot manipulate the fix to benefit only specified variables.
As time went on, the workforce discovered that the benefit package was growing in scope and impact all by itself. The plummet in turnover, for example, was a boon to everyone, improving safety, quality and morale such as to reduce turnover further still. The creeping expansion of benefits, we learned, was due to a positive-radiating reciprocity feature of the good bundle. It was the reverse of the “Bad apple spoils the barrel” maxim with a tipping point. Interacting with trustworthy people who have their act together is a happy “natural” experience and habit forming. Counterintuitive, you toss the good apples into the barrel of bad apples and the bad apples start migrating towards the “good” condition. It’s best to visit an application and see positive reciprocity in action for yourself. The restoration of good-bundle operations is like your first visit to the Grand Canyon.
Similar to a vaccine for a contagious disease, wicked-bundle ubiquity could be cancelled by real, generic, good-bundle restoration – on demand.
If the nineteenth-century factory was an assemblage of buildings and machinery, it was also a complex social organization, encompassing hundreds, often thousands, of individuals. Yet it was a fragmented, decentralized organization, for the typical manufacturer entrusted most aspects of the day-to-day operation of the large manufacturing plant to the first-line supervisors and skilled workers. The exact implications of this practice differed among industries and shops, but one point is clear: the technicians, clerks, and other staff specialists -not to mention the union representatives -who dominate the present-day manufacturing plant were unknown in the late-nineteenth-century factory. By modern standards the foreman’s empire was a formidable realm. Charles Horton Cooley (1902)
The hidden barrier
When the expedition had been completed and the generic fix was established, the thought that organizations in desperate need would be interested in the benefit package had a brief outing, very brief. Thinking further about the long struggle, how were we going to reconcile ready acceptance of the paralysis-producing paradigm with the gigantic history of choosing organizational dysfunction? How could 200 years and a quadrillion of treasure wasted in incrementalism be a pushover to such a tiny, obscure effort? Braced for the worst, we were not to be disappointed. Et to Brute?
In getting out the word to test acceptance, the focal point was “Try it before you buy it.” Invitations to visit good-bundle restorations for examination and evaluation of the claims were emphasized in all communications. The refusal to audit going applications was the clincher for validating the extreme hostility towards remediating organizational dysfunction. The signature response to the fact that a real fix, a real Utopia really exists is catatonia.
We do not know why society is so hostile to a fix for the very dysfunctions and consequences it suffers and complains about. We do not know why the Establishment chooses wicked-bundle dysfunction over good-bundle prosperity. There is no evidence that if the why mindset was known that anything could be done about it. No attempt to address the root cause of the lose-lose choice of wicked bundle, wholly psychological, is contemplated. Top down incrementalism is a 200 year-old total loser. The puzzle is left for others to solve.
Having attained Maslow’s transcendence level and happy in maintenance-mode, we are quite satisfied with the fact that the paradigm we developed and implemented is generic, applicable to all social systems, and incredibly beneficial. Credit goes first and foremost to the vectors of restoration, who we know by name, and their grounders that makes it happen, then to the organization at large, and lastly to the various benefactors of positive reciprocity. It gives a fresh, felicitous perspective on humanity. The satans and saints of the universe turned out to be the same people with standard human nature in different bundle-mediated circumstances and mindsets.
We are busy with implementations of the paradigm and delighted to be receiving tons of vector feedback. At present, we are researching the mechanism of actions of positive reciprocity and we are struggling. It is such a significant amplifier of benefit, it needs to be studied. Everyone knows about negative reciprocity from personal experience. There has never before in human history been a occasion where positive reciprocity could be produced and controlled sufficiently to study it. The implications to society at large are enormous. We have already witnessed benefit multiplication factors of two or more via reciprocity in the good bundle. And to think all this windfall benefit is delivered spontaneously from the same original work with the vectors! Windfall!
Any knowledge you might have on this subject would be appreciated. So far, we haven’t found anything in the libraries or journals. Gathering the material evidence that positive-radiating reciprocity has occurred is always after-the-fact. We have yet to figure out how to catch this kind of reciprocity in process. It’s a lot like predicting earthquakes and volcanoes. Maybe it only happens at night.
When betterment work to improve the condition of workers was commenced, the systematic study of the problems of management had made little headway and little attention had been paid to the intensive development of the efficiency of organizations. Managers were unaware of how wasteful and fundamentally defective were their methods of handling labor. The prevailing opinion concerning the cause of the discontent of workers was that this discontent was rather superficial and could be remedied by rather superficial means. Welfare work was thought a sufficient remedy. Under these circumstances it is easily seen why the need for a well-planned and well-coordinated labor policy for the entire plant was not appreciated.
As managers observed the experience with the superficial forms of welfare work which marked the beginning of the efforts to improve relations between employers and their men, and as they made more and more systematic study of the means of developing the efficiency of their organizations, they became aware of the deep-seated nature of labor’s discontent, of the fundamentally defective character of their methods of handling men and of the superficial and inadequate character of their devices for improving their relations with their men. They perceived that the problem of handling men was deeper and more complicated than they had suspected.
The effects of the pursuit of narrow, selfish policies and the use of oppressive, ruthless methods by capital and labor are not confined to the relations of capital and labor between themselves. The pursuit of these policies and the use of these methods tend to lower social ideals in general for they lower the “plane of general sentiment out of which imperatives and obligations arise.” Sumner Slichter (1920)
Blinding glimpse of the obvious
The preoccupation of society with “Ain’t it awful?” as a substitute for effective remedial action is an effect, not a cause, of powerlessness. Warfield’s dictum “Don’t ask them to do what they can’t,” shows up again and again all over this ubiquitous condition. Starkermann used natural law to show that all levels above “The man in the middle” level are unable to take action that makes things better. Everyone in the levels below knows you have to do what your drill sergeant says. Outsiders seldom appreciate just how powerless they really are to function in this conundrum.
Every level but the vector level is rendered powerless by virtue of:
When management denatures the foreman, with his reluctant consent, the sense of helplessness overwhelms him as well. With all levels of the organization in helpless mode, no one can take legitimate responsibility for organizational survival. All the ones that have the discretion don’t have the knowledge. Those that have actionable quality information, but rule-based, don’t think they have the discretion. The truth about the dire situation is declared undiscussable. Those helpless don’t want to be reminded. No one is as helpless as all of us.
- No one can persuade management to change, including management
- No one can persuade the workforce to change, including the workers
- No one will break silence
Those that need enlightenment feel powerless to do anything meaningful with the knowledge. Learning about the paradigm is found to be disturbing and frustrating. They need permission from the head shed and cooperation from the workforce. These supports cannot be obtained by authoritative force. The default final position is mutual “Ain’t it awful” (AIA) discussions as discussable Central. The powerless console the powerless in a reinforcing relationship. AIA serves as a jointly-held substitute for taking remedial action. This strategy is predicated on the false assumption that a fix cannot exist. News that Utopia is real is met with denial, distortion and rejection.
The foreman who goes through the transformation doesn’t need “help.” He and he alone has legitimate, effective “power” over his flock. You can witness this dominion in action 24/7. It is natural that workers eagerly want to work for a foreman who has his act together. Sergeant Bilko had it right.
All the interventionist has to do is help the vector peel back the obscurations placed in his way by the Establishment. Since he can verify his power immediately when he returns to work, this peeling-away process is rapid. It is easy for the foreman to get out from under the forces that drive organizational dysfunction because he never was subject to them in the first place.
Feedback has identified a few steps in the inferential staircase to enlightenment that, for most people, could use more description.
- Hierarchical roles by natural law. The 2½
- The behavioral packages of tall hierarchy
- Intentional foremen abuse
- Human nature, universal constant
- Ca’ canny
- Individuals are unpredictable. Social systems are predictable in the extreme.
- The vector of Utopia
- Adult learning
Hierarchy and natural law
Start with a firm grasp on the role-population facts of hierarchy.
The following is an overview of the iron laws of hierarchy identified by Starkermann’s dynamic simulation data.
- A hierarchy of just one level is the Crusoe condition. All information, discretion and power are with the individual. Fidelity to reality means survival. It is the democratic configuration disclosed earlier.
- A hierarchy of two is the shop-owner condition. Most process information, options and power are with the owner. The census comprises the owner and his employees. The owner designs and selects the tasks the employees carry out under his close-proximity supervision. The workforce generates the revenue.
- A hierarchy of three is the 2½ rule limit condition. The owner can no longer possess the information quality and currency requisite to make intelligent task action design choices – local, particular and immediate – for the workforce. To the degree the owner attempts to defy the 2½ rule determines the gap between the productivity attainable at the two-level condition and actual performance. The more the owner meddles in workforce task actions, the wider the gap – and his factor is exponential with his meddling.
- A hierarchy of four is the workforce cultural boundary condition. No culture can span more than 4 levels of hierarchy. The owner is directing a level of management already above the 2½ rule barrier. His informants cannot possibly know the transactions going on “now” with the workforce. However, by allocating requisite discretion and authority, from their law-abiding accounts to the two-level condition, where it must remain, the productivity gap between attainable and actual can be kept negligible.
- Organizationally, a hierarchy of five levels is unstable and short-lived. It must decay into two cultures to be stable. The owner is so far distanced from the workforce front lines, he is unable to make a positive contribution to revenue no matter what he does. To compensate for his impotency, he establishes a separate “executive elite” social system culture that busies itself with palace politics apart from the workforce. This is accomplished by quickly adding three layers to the hierarchy to stabilize the additional culture. These unconnected cultures are also limited to four levels maximum for the same 2½ rule reason the workforce culture is limited to four levels. The Army of the United States of America has learned to limit the stacked, separate cultures to three levels each.
The Coca-Cola Company, with about thirty levels of hierarchy determined by test that a command from the top took over a year to get a response back from the bottom. The dynamic simulator could have told the CEO what would happen before he started the test. There is nothing volition can do about communication lags. To meddle increases the lags.
The 2½ rule
The factor critical to attaining success in these hierarchical matters is recognizing the constraints and barriers that originate in natural law. The 2½ rule, for example, cannot be defied by any combination of personal attributes and incentives – or for that matter anything else. The restrictions imposed on hierarchy functionality by natural law (control theory) are universal and they apply in full measure oblivious to the circumstances. Reacting to the dilemma with authoritative force makes matters significantly worse.
The US Army architecture of organization is thousands of years old. It provides a handy framework for understanding the 2½ rule barrier to effectiveness. As discussed in books 2 & 3, there can be no common social system ideology that spans more than three strata. From experience, the Army arranges seven distinctly separate “cultures” into clusters of three levels each, in tandem – labeled the chain of command. The 2½ rule destroys the vertical chain integrity as fast as it is artificially linked together by pulling rank. The seven cultures by official classification:
E-1: PVT (Private – entry level)
E-2: PV2 (Private – has gotten through basic)
E-3: PFC (Private First Class – picked up your specialty)
E-4: SP/CPL (Specialist/ Corporal – Fire Team or Section Leaders, has some experience)
E-5: SGT (Sergeant – Team leader or Squad Leader)
E-6: SSG (Staff Sergeant 5-7 years in, been through a couple of Army NCO schools; Squad Leader – by TOE or Platoon Sergeant, by actual action)
E-7: SFC – (Sergeant First Class – Usually Platoon Sergeants, or Staff Section Leaders)
E-8: MSG -(Master Sergeant/ First Sergeant – Head NCO for company – works with LTs and Company Commander, and direct Platoon SGTs)
E-9: SMG/CSM (Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major – Head NCO for Battalions and above, Works with Unit Commanders and Directs Company First Sergeants)
O-1: 2LT (Second Lieutenant – Platoon Leaders)
O-2: 1LT (First Lieutenant – Platoon Leaders and Company Executive Officer)
O-3: CPT (Captain – Company Commanders and Staff Officers)
O-4: MAJ (Major – Battalion Executive Officers and Staff, can be Detachment commanders)
O-5: LTC (Lieutenant Colonel – Battalion Commanders, and Division Staff Officers)
O-6: COL (Colonel – Regimental Commanders and Division/Corps Staff)
O-7: BG (Brigadier General – Brigade Commanders and Corps/Army Staff)
O-8: MG (Major General – Division Commanders and Army Staff)
O-9: LTG (Lieutenant General – Corps Commanders, and Major Commands)
0-10: General (Army)
Deputy Secretaries (DA Civilians GS upper levels)
Secretary of the Army (Political Appointee)
Note: The lower E levels are the grunts (grounders). The middle E levels are the Front Line Leaders. The lower O levels lead the bottom 2 groups of Es.
Just imagine the journey of a command by the Generals in the Pentagon on its way to the foot soldier in battle in the Levant. How far do you think the order can get before evaporating into thin air? In theory it might get to O-8. In practice, it never gets that far before staff translates the command into gibberish. What happens if the General makes a big fuss about getting his command through as-is? As discussed earlier, using technology that connects the two ends directly makes matters much worse – for the soldier.
Management cannot get past the foreman on its chain of command going down, a position management abuses as habit. Even so, management is too far away from the workforce action to drive it anywhere but off despair cliff. Remote-management control, all financial, can only deliver negative outcomes and trigger the Ca’ canny reflex. No one retards productivity as much as all of us. Unavoidable, hierarchical-based lags in communication, scale invariant, kill any chance of management to make a positive contribution to productivity.
The behavioral packages of tall hierarchy
Common denominator dynamic elements
Significant Attribute Set
- Ca’ canny
- Unreliable information GIGO
- Elephant undiscussables
- Distrust, deception
- Zero sum
- Nash equilibrium
No truthful accounting of:
- Product cost
Damage: Destruction of material stuff – halved: our goal
Injury: Destruction of human stuff, physical and psychological – halved: our goal
Waste: Scrap, errors, out-of-specification product – 30% reduction: our goal
Turnover: Percentage of nominal staff departed per year – 80% reduction. Community good-will
Communication –: The amount of defective information removed from transactions
Communication +: The amount of actionable-quality information included in transactions
Psychological: High morale, felicity, self-actualization
Availability: Process uptime divided by total time – nominal 20% increase
Quality: Exceed specifications, customer satisfaction – nominal 40%
Project: Goal-attainment effectiveness and productivity – doubled
Productivity: Nominal 25% increase, stakeholder safeguard
Positive reciprocity: Spontaneous expansion of benefit scope over time – self-sustaining
Feedback ignored: lessons not learned
It is necessary to appreciate the durability of the counterproductive relationships intrinsic to a tall hierarchy, reinforced by the Nash Equilibrium. Known to be counterproductive by measurements since 1890, relationships that produce results opposite to the stated objectives include:
- The total failure of force/drive in workplace process
- Management is powerless to benefit productivity
- The workforce holds the instincts of workmanship paramount
- Zero-sum is mutually-assured destruction (MAD)
- The workforce is intelligent, resourceful and creative
During WWI the most counterproductive relationships of labor to management were suspended because of the huge amounts of profit tied to producing war material in copious quantities. The sharp contrast between 1915 and 1918 workplace conditions was noted by many as setting an example for a mutually-beneficial management ideology that would be self-sustaining.
When WWI ended and the cost-plus gravy train disappeared, the counterproductive instincts of workplace management rapidly emerged to their pre-war levels. This relapse came as a shock throughout the general staff disciplines, the Taylorism disciples, and the workmen. A flood of literature about the reinstated crimes of command was generated. Many disciplines, reeling from the calamity, joined together to measure and report on the problem. One comprehensive, fact-filled, cross-industry assessment was spearheaded by Herbert Hoover in 1920 that left nothing to the imagination.
While all efforts to restore sanity failed, with WWII a brief exception, the literature of the period 1919-1923 contains empirical “knowledge dots” we assembled to create the paradigm and equip the vector that delivers self-sustaining success. This considerable library of organizational functionality is available on a thumb drive upon request.
The lesson from the continuity with the distant past is that the forces and pressures that foster organizational dysfunction have primitive roots, like instincts. Because they are so deeply rooted, they cannot be removed. The strategy is to intercept these instincts before they express themselves as dysfunction.
When I find a better machine for doing an operation on our product I can usually succeed in ‘putting it across’ without a great deal of effort. When it comes to making a change in our production cost or time keeping system, however, it is a different matter, regardless of the obviousness of the improvement. It seems to me that nine-tenths or even more of the executive energy required to introduce improved management methods is dissipated against an invisible wall. H. H. Tukey (1922)
Few variables are more versatile to characterize organizational affairs than turnover. It is at once a composite effect of social process, a resultant, and a subtle, but concentrated causal input to social behavior. There are several mechanisms of action that can individually or in concert raise turnover. There are several mechanisms of action that turnover can activate, depending upon its quantitative value. Turnover cannot create itself, change its value, or hide from the workforce. Anyone can directly raise turnover. No one can reduce turnover directly. “The floggings will continue until turnover reduces.”
There are about five different standardized computations of employee turnover, depending on what is included and what is excluded. The one that counts most is the one kept intuitively by the workforce. With rare exceptions, turnover in any organization, as an index of health and action, inherently invisible, is ignored as an accounting item. Anytime turnover is raised as a subject, it is brushed off as an overhead line item and a cost of doing business. “We’re no worse than the others.” True enough.
Turnover is very costly – a luxury item. Only wealthy, high-hormone navigators of palace politics can afford high turnover. It is the gold-plated guarantee that the infallibility of corporate ideology will prevail regardless of the disturbance or threat. Every organization has a turnover tipping point where a value above that point will render change for the better impossible – all by itself. It is the ultimate assassin of progress – effective and undetectable.
The natural law that determines turnover dynamics is control theory. It takes time to get betterment projects done. It takes time to replace an effective worker. When the resources of the workforce have to be allocated to personnel replacement, they are not available to make progress on progress. When the next increment of replacement cost exceeds the next increment of cost to attain goals, goal-seeking stops in its tracks. All sides conclude “What’s the use?” – the feedstock of turnover.
Control theory takes the transaction lags in employee replacement and those lags inherent in viability husbandry and sets the tipping point. High turnover is a quick death to productivity. Low turnover is the platform upon which all great things are constructed. In real life, turnover is either very high, well over the tipping point, or low. The reciprocal of turnover is morale. Low morale is always attended by high turnover. Low turnover always buoys morale.
A basic distinction has to be made upfront between the language of fact that describes how things are and the language of values that describes how things should be. The fact/value distinction is a significant variable in hierarchical roles – one that cannot be avoided. The workforce roles are necessarily preoccupied with the facts of the operational reality, whether it is the physical, factual reality or the stark reality of the social values context. Other roles, physically remote from the work zone action of the revenue producers, are thereby confined to tangential pursuits, facts, and values. The point source of organizational dysfunction is triggered when the value system of the non-productive roles is “allowed” to take priority over the requisite and intrinsic values of a productive, effective workforce. Meddling by rank-pulling aliens in the fact/value system of efficient revenue generation is interference that brings wicked-bundle consequences.
The congruency of the phenomenon of organizational dysfunction with its fix is realness. Unlike fiction, fantasy, and delusion, where anything goes, material reality dynamics are constrained in the realm of the possible by the laws of the material universe. As real as the measurable consequences of organizational dysfunction are, so must the fix be real and measurable to be effective. The “fix” is simply a restoration of the fact/value requisites of instinct-driven productivity. The spirit of realness has the effectiveness of the method in getting the desired results, justifies its use.
Few things in life are more real than choosing organizational dysfunction. The life cycle of social system dysfunction, wicked bundle, features its signature paradox – that the phenomenon is known by everyone and discussed by no one. In a roomful of his peers, no sane executive would dare claim his organization is dysfunction-free. In the occasions where this play could be staged, peers uncontrollably laughed out loud. So would you.
In everyday transactions, everyone assumes everyone else is knowledgeable about organizational dysfunction and respects its code of silence. The real folks that explain to you why the real airplane is really delayed tell you a “standard” lie knowing that you know he is organizationally-obliged to espouse it. Turning honest citizens into public liars is just another day at the company office.
Because realness rules, it is essential to widely separate the fact/value world of opinion, conjecture, authority, tradition and empiricism from the material universe behaving as it must in the operational reality. All mixtures of real and non-real, all mixtures of fiction and non-fiction are totally fiction and non-real. We call this noble truth the “Bad Burrito” rule (from Texas). You need no assistance to imagine the rule’s description.
Since any mixture of fiction, fantasy, and facts is open to endless discussion and dispute among a variety of credentials, authorities, experiences, and perspectives, bringing the conceptual frameworks of science fiction and palace politics to the dancehall of everyday life is navigating directly to hell. The real world, the operational reality, is both the birthplace of organizational dysfunction and the only possible basis for its fix. When Piccard of the starship Enterprise says “Make it so,” your response needs to be nothing more than contrived polysyllabic phraseology. In the real world of disturbances, when the assembly line stops, you grab your toolbox and start chasing after ground truth – essential building blocks of a fix. You bypass the infernal, ridiculous debates among facts-challenged non-producers.
Using realness as a navigational aid to fix the plague of organizational dysfunction is essential to success. It all starts with the causes of the epidemic and all plagues begin with inaction. The disease manifests and nothing is done about it. Inaction gives free reign to the 2nd Law and, sooner or later, the 2nd Law delivers a crisis. Reacting to the emergency, while leaving the 2nd Law unattended, builds a crisis production facility. You’re in one now.
While fiction is unrestrained, the specifications of real are many and stringent. It’s an either/or proposition. You are either a proponent of dysfunction or not. You are either an agent delivering dysfunction’s consequences or an agent for delivering the benefits of dysfunction reversal – the restoration of goal-seeking effectiveness.
When a material, real pandemic like organizational dysfunction is conquered by a material, real vaccine, there are no handholds for contention. Unless there are exceptions, there is nothing to say. There is no argument with an inoculation that in the operational reality never fails to arrest the disease.
While fiction may or may not be transparent, real is in essence transparent. If your platform is good-bundle reality, there is no reason to hide it. If your basis is fantasy, you can’t hide it.
In thus representing to the workman the policy of the company management, the foreman employed by a forward-looking corporation must embody in his every action the principles of the square deal. He should become saturated with the idea that the interests of the employer and the employee are largely identical, and that neither can permanently gain at the expense of the other. He should study to understand his workmen, from the lowest to the highest in character and mentality, and learn to see things from their view point. This does not mean that discipline should be relaxed. The need of intelligent discipline was never greater than it is today, but the foreman’s discipline must be of such a type that it will stand the test of investigation and publicity.
In recent indictments of the old-style boss, one of the principal counts—and one which not infrequently is founded on conclusive evidence—is that he not only has failed to cooperate in advanced policies of industrial relations but has actually been an obstructionist. Leon Pratt Alford (1919)
A direct consequence of organizational dysfunction is Ca’ canny, the deliberate withdrawal of efficiency by the workforce – first named by the Scots in 1750 CE. Ca’ canny is the defensive reflex to the psychological damage from deliberate organizational abuse. It is an element in the bundle. Organizational dysfunction inflicts loss and injury, in one form or another, on every member of the organization and its stakeholders. Malicious obedience and passive aggression is psychological lose-lose.
Everyone has been in a wicked-bundle social system situation that called for a personal withholding of efficiency in task action. Everyone has been engaged in organizational work where, if you produced more than the unwritten “norms” of the worker group, elders would come over for a corrective interview. Veterans explained how Ca’ canny was their primary defensive mechanism against the tyranny of management – of which there was a surplus. The more that management applies force, “drive,” the less revenue the workforce produces. Management reacts to that outcome by applying more force. You can see where this cycle of lose-lose reinforcement is headed. This is classic wicked-bundle behavior and it is locked in place by the Nash Equilibrium.
What was never discussed, quantified or tracked was the extended consequences of workforce Ca’ canny. When the withholding norm was reversed into “full steam ahead,” an element in the good bundle, the before and after payback measurements provided the first-ever accounting of the scope and impact of societal malfunction. To measure the extent of damage and injury resulting from Ca’ canny, reverse it and witness your own show-stopper occasion.
Ca’ canny, which is now easy to measure, like turnover, is a foolproof index of organizational health. Increasing dysfunction, wicked bundle, is always met with more Ca’ canny. It is a defensive mechanism against Nature’s punishments for head-shed attempts to defy its laws. The negative impact of Ca’ canny is measured by tracking inventories.
While the deliberate withholding of task action efficiency takes a serious toll on social system viability, its immediate intent, it also takes a toll on the mind of each participant. The reduction in revenue harms the organization, and eventually its workforce that caused the decrease, but it also puts the individuals in the workforce in cognitive dissonance. In the reflex reaction to management abuse, the instinct of social system defense runs counter to the many proud and glorious instincts of workmanship, efficiency and goal-seeking effectiveness. Why would anybody want to put their best work towards a goal under Ca’ canny? A Crusoe in Ca’ canny is a dead Crusoe.
As experience has taught, wicked-bundle element Ca’ canny has several tentacles that reach into areas rarely identified and never discussed. Its block to creativity and innovation and incentive to produce is particularly destructive to social system prosperity. To husband organizational viability effectively, there must be congruency with what’s best for the social system and what’s best for all its individuals! The conflict between what is touted as best (and is far from it), and what is conducive to personal psychological health, generates angst. Over time, the angst accumulates until its maintenance commandeers substantial amounts of internal power. The loss of internal energy reduces productivity further and further.
The fact of packaged deal, bundle, is directly attributable to the wide scope of Ca’ canny and census turnover consequences. Since withholding productivity starts delivering the bundle of consequences in an instant, the transformation back to psychological congruency accounts for the abrupt manifestation of the benefit package. It’s obvious when Ca’ canny is reversed in good-bundle restoration, because losses halve by themselves.
We surmise there are no instinct amalgams. An individual instinct, like the instinct of workmanship, is either in play or it is not. We think the individual worker senses that the imperative of Ca’ canny portrayed as necessary by the workforce social system is an indictment. In the first place, it should not be necessary to harm the organization you work for to cope with cognitive dissonance. The wicked bundle ideology is flagrant lose-lose and an insult to intelligence. Ca’ canny and turnover are directly related.
Nothing can be done piecemeal about the wicked bundle of interconnected issues causing and triggered by Ca’ canny. Nothing can be added. Nothing can be taken away. The entire span of harm must be part of any evaluation. You can’t fix one element and leave the others to fend for themselves. Spring-loaded by Nash, the instant you leave, everything snaps back to dysfunction. That’s the wisdom in the Argyris good-bundle specification for self-sustaining. You can see Ca’ canny and zero-sum throughout Crowther’s report:
Samuel Crowther, 1920 The feeling which exists between British employer and employee
“The better class of American worker considers himself a potential manager or superintendent; the same class of British worker looks forward to being always a worker. The American workman commonly considers his acts as individual and expects rewards as an individual, without paying much attention to what his fellows are getting; the British worker considers himself one of a class and will usually refuse any individual benefit that is not also conferred upon his fellows—he is even apt to resent the proposal as one tending to alienate him from his fellows.
If an American worker thinks he is being treated unfairly, he will quit his job; the British worker will not leave his job – he will tell his fellow employees about the trouble and they will at once adopt his grievance as their own and present a united front against the employer.
Instead of leaving for another job, the aggrieved employee will probably be able to start a strike. English workers will go on strike with even less provocation than it takes to cause an American to quit his job. The manager of an engine factory in Manchester told me that he expected a strike at least once every fortnight and another manager said that when he started a tour of the works, he was never quite sure that he would not come upon a strike somewhere during the trip.
In America we think of a strike as a serious affair involving great economic loss; there are very great strikes in England, but for every big strike there are a thousand small strikes which may last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. The British worker carries a chip upon his shoulder and the slightest puff of wind will take it off. British workers are extraordinarily punctilious—but so are the employers.
The worker has fought his way up from a position of nearly complete degradation and he is very suspicious. Employers differ in popularity, but their individual popularity has but little effect upon the working relation, except in specialty trades where the workers are not drawn from the general mass. For instance, no matter what wages are paid or what the good feeling between master and man, no clerk would work one minute after one o’clock on Saturday, at which time the law says the working week ends.
It is practically impossible to buy anything in a shop after a quarter to one on Saturday, for the people are then arranging so that the closing can take place on the exact minute with all stock replaced. The feeling that the employee is one sort of an animal and the employer another grows from the intense class consciousness of the employed. One cannot at all comprehend British labor unless this class feeling is recognized; the feeling may or may not be respectful—as a rule it is respectful.
They do not like a show of equality on the part of the employer, but prefer condescension if it has a basis in breeding and is well carried off. Because the Britisher does not mind being classed as a worker, he is open to political treatment in mass—that is if he is a manual worker. For the class idea has infinite subdivisions; the bank clerk is the aristocrat and thinks nothing of the ordinary clerk, who in turn will have no part with the sales clerk. The factory workers, too, have their class distinctions among themselves, but they will present a united front upon occasion.
They have the common bond of being against the employer and hence they are far stronger destructively than constructively. The skilled man however will seldom make common cause with the unskilled worker unless a common interest is affected. Such is the background of English labor. It is unthinkable to the working mind that an employer can desire to be fair or to make money other than by bearing down on employees—we must remember that England is not so very far away from the intolerable conditions that once obtained in the Lancastershire cotton mills. The employer and employee approach each other in a spirit of hostility and without the slightest faith in the spoken word; they are each prepared to bargain an advantage and, when the bargain has been arrived at, to put it down on paper, each with the hope that some way of evading it may later turn up. A few leaders on both sides see beyond the immediate discussion and note the frightful waste in barter.
The worker, having nothing in common with the employer, has accepted the philosophy that the less work one does the more work there will be to do. He resists every improvement in machinery and every speeding or scientific process which will tend to put through work in a shorter time or with less men. He replied to piece-rate payments by setting up exact rules as to how much a man might do in a given time-and that a man must not do more. He asks for shorter and shorter hours, not so much that he wants the leisure as to make work for his fellows, and he cares not a jot as to where or how the employer finds the money for higher wages.
The class feeling readily translated itself into politics when the trade-union movement gained ground. All trade unions have political tenets; some of them are founded upon public ownership, some have as an end the control of industry. They have not all the same political aims, but they all have some political aims and they are able more or less to subordinate their differences in a political movement under the general caption of the “Labor Party.” Labor leaders now usually have political offices as well as union places. The trade-union movement has grown rapidly since 1913 and now about 1,200 of them exist, covering almost every branch of trade and with a present membership of nearly 6,000,000, which represents an increase of about a third since 1913. An English employer must nowadays deal with a union and not with his employees as individuals. . . The employers found themselves at a disadvantage in bargaining with unions and hence they, too, in many trades and more particularly in the engineering trades (the English engineer corresponds nearly to our machinist), organized employers’ associations with national, district, and local organizations to treat with unions.”
What has been established by experience is that the individuals driving the organizations into lose-lose are infinitely varied. The great perpetrators in history have possessed all sorts and extremes of personalities and represent all walks of life. Individual behavior is infinite. Even though the census of every social system consists of the uniquely-variable individuals, its self-defeating wicked-bundle behavior is invariant human nature. The principle imposed by Nature and articulated by Pogo that achieves this? Nobody is as destructive as all of us.
Human nature, being a universal constant, delivers identical social-behavior patterns generation after generation. As an organization, there is nothing in the history of the Vatican that suggests anything but the norms of organizational dysfunction. As an organization, there is nothing in the history of the Mafia that reflects anything but the norms of wicked-bundle organizational dysfunction. While organizational dysfunction is a crime of command, it requires the crime of obedience to effectuate the dysfunction. There seems to be no shortage of volunteers for these felonies. As Stanley Milgram demonstrated, never underestimate the destructive power of obedience in groups. No one is more malevolent than all of us.
It’s not at all certain that if the root psychological causes of social-system self-destruction, choosing the wicked bundle, were known, that anything could be done about it. If the collapse was staged to serve as a warning to others, it flopped. We note that the switch to win-win good bundle is made by the same individuals that reluctantly collaborated as accomplices in lose-lose. We suspect that native instincts play a commanding role in these bundled affairs, but the evidence is mostly circumstantial. Note that stone remnants of the colossal failures of advanced civilizations become tourist attractions.
In all the variety of Homo individuals on the planet, the native instinct for hierarchy is a notable exception. Injecting the concept of top-down control seems to be the first order of business for the newborns who emerge without it. While the animal kingdom is loaded with pecking-order species, only man tries to defy the 2½ rule. The idea that the supreme commander is the only one that can change social operating rules is, by far, the most difficult of the ingrained social fantasies to dislodge.
The top-down fallacy that is the chain-of-command myth has been known, measured, and documented for over 200 years. No matter our efforts to save our mentors from this blind alley, none were able to shake it. A lifetime of failures to repeal organizational dysfunction by top-down initiatives were ignored, each mentor thinking he had just failed to find the secret formula for turning sinners of the head shed into saints. Even highly-educated individuals who had helped the cause advance in the early days are unable to shake themselves free from their top-down delusions. None will audit a paradigm implementation site and interview the vectors. No amount of evidence can change their minds, closed shut.
Use the top-down fallacy as a tool to classify your audience. Those stuck in top-down assumptions are inaccessible to reason. No matter your proof and no matter your message, when they get to the vector concept they go catatonic. Since test results cannot be in error, trust evaporates into thin air. Rigor mortis is not the stuff of effective goal-seeking.
The deliveryman of the fix
Having been socially conditioned to think top-down and the chain of command information flow as divine will, it is impossible for most people to think of “organization” in any other way. Part and parcel of the top-down canard is the notion that the infallible genius of the head shed has to be communicated throughout the census. An order packet “driven” down, level by level, is launched to those tasked to put its ultimate brilliance into effect. That is, the authority vested in one level is used to force the level below to do as it’s told. The force is always threat of punishment. In truth, the projection of infallibility is fatal to trust. The long history of force and drive, oblivious to its opposite effect, has only one outcome – the Ca’ canny defense. Drive failed in 1750. Force fails in 2017.
For all practical purposes, only vectors can rise above this implanted blindspot – that management can issue commands to the workforce that will increase productivity. Vectors live this fallacy. In fact, management, prisoners of their position, cannot rise above its handicaps. All it really controls is distributing the treasury.
The top-down fallacy, presented to the vector convocations, is always met with applause. Foremen, blessed with experience in the operational reality, understand this stipulation of Nature immediately. Vectors, as MitMs, know top-down is impotent at their workforce level because it is impotent in taking effect on them. Were it effectual, there would be no MitMs. The command center has no actionable-quality information to work with.
John Calder, manager of industrial relations for Swift & Co., in an address at the Philadelphia meeting of the Association of Industrial Engineers this year (1920), referred to the foreman as the man “in whose hands the fate of any industrial system ultimately rests.”
When it comes to the viability of the organization, the foreman role is the point man, the trailblazer, the quarterback, the linebacker, the coach, the owner, the productivity gatekeeper, the vector. All access to the beating heart of the organization is via the open-minded foreman. Only he has control of the workplace situation, as previously discussed. Only the foreman level has “control” of workforce productivity. To wit:
The worker bees cannot look up the hierarchy beyond the foreman level for their task design because, whatever far-removed-from-the-action management says, the worker is left to answer to his constant, immediate-proximity foreman-owner. No matter how much you influence the mental state of the worker, when the music stops, his dance card is filled out by his foreman. No one can tell the foreman what to do because, in exchange for autonomy, he bears full responsibility for results. He cannot be totally rule-based and get the job done. He keeps his eyes on the prize. Note that, unique in the organization, the foreman fills out his own dance card!
All the changes critical to wicked-to-good bundle restoration take place between the ears of the foremen – implemented solely by one named individual at a time in his own way and in his own due course. The only tangibles in the transformation process are the concepts and tools of the paradigm proffered by the interventionist. The individual is in full control of:
- Task selection and design
- Whether or not he will invest the requisite effort
- How he will test the concepts and tools
- When he will reverse his Ca’ canny
If his foreman does not have his act together, as his social conditioning directs, his workers are thwarted from achieving psychological success on their own. When his foreman does have his act together, internally-driven and self-directed, his workers automatically have the chance to reach psychological success, reciprocally, after him. The amount of creativity and innovation available for benefit of individual and his society through his psychological success has proven to be enormous.
In trying to understand what has been established by experience, it looks like the individuals comprising the workforce resign themselves to a classification and characterization that bears no resemblance to their nature-assigned role or self-image. Because natural laws determine the limits of the roles at every level in the hierarchy, the role of foreman as viability master cannot be delegated or shared. Because the responsibility of the foreman for organizational prosperity maintenance is total, like the owner he is, he requires unbounded discretion and autonomy in meeting that obligation. Individual characteristics matter. No two foreman practice foremanship the same.
If management pulls rank on the foreman, the gatekeeper is relieved of the responsibility for maintaining viability. Since no other level can legitimately assume viability responsibility, no one is responsible for keeping the organization prosperous. Without unity of legitimate responsibility, prosperity is impossible.
The foremen and gang bosses are the most important means by which workmen come in contact with the management – they are the management to the workmen in most matters. Every factory executive has heard the expression used by workmen: “So and so is a good man to work for.” He knows what it means from the standpoint of satisfied workmen and absence of friction between the men and the boss when a foreman acquires such a reputation. In view of the well-recognized importance of the methods used by minor executives in handling men in their effect upon the relations between men and management, it is surprising that so little systematic effort has been made to improve the methods of minor executives in handling men. Sumner Slichter (1914)
As everyone has experience with management, everyone knows about managerial invariance. Everyone in the head shed behaves to cultural norms. Individual characteristics don’t matter. Managers hold obedience to the reflexes of the management caste as a sacred oath of membership. With complete confidence, managers menace subordinates as they wish with impunity. They know that, in the unlikely event of being caught red-handed, the fallback excuse is invincible – “We’re no worse than the others.” It worked thousands of times with the Wall St.-manufactured 2008 financial collapse. For those monster crimes of command, no one went to jail. Perpetrators kept your retirement money.
The same herd mentality operates at every level of the hierarchy, with one exception. You know that as long as you do as those in your level are doing, right or wrong doesn’t matter, your crime of obedience is protected from punishment by the high criminals of command immune to legal action. This stance signals disavowal of all responsibility for task action outcomes. There is a silent tipping point for this avalanche to dystopia and it typically comes early-on in social system formation.
Think for a bit about the common social system situation where there is no legitimate responsibility for the fate of the social system. If no one capable of delivering prosperity is responsible for organizational outcomes, where lies the source of navigation? What is telling the population how to behave? The only navigational benchmark capable of delivering organizational prosperity is unity of responsibility for reaching the destination. Leave navigation to blind drift and arriving at calamity, guaranteed by the mathematics of random chance, is only a matter of time. If the organization cannot pinpoint the locus of responsibility for outcomes, recognized as legitimate by everyone, it doesn’t have any.
There is a toxic tendency to confuse span of discretion with autonomy. Universal law assigns the span of discretion by level, quantitatively measured by Starkermann. On paper, the head shed gets the most and the workforce gets the least. The sticky part is that legitimate outcome responsibility is concentrated on the vector. While spans of task-action discretion change with levels, responsibility for viability husbandry of the entire organization remains welded to the foreman level. Since the tie of responsibility to autonomy is natural-law absolute, only the front-line supervisor level has functional autonomy. That is why, exactly, personalities of individual foremen shape particular outcomes. Since management is not responsible for organizational prosperity, no matter what it says, it does not warrant the autonomy that goes with the job. Pulling rank delivers Ca’ canny – on the spot.
What few have experienced and no one has realized is that the wicked-good cascade is a mirror image of the good-wicked avalanche. As dysfunction is reversed, there is a tipping-point where the fallback excuse “We’re no worse than the others” backfires. Those that are worse than the others pop their heads up and realize they’re organizationally naked. The herd is stampeding to Utopia and they, going opposite, are going to be trampled to death. We recognize the tipping point has been passed when the misfits remove themselves from the arena of work.
We know the “No worse …” fallback flips with the workforce level by direct implementation experience. While we see no reason why the demise of “No worse …,” cannot happen at the higher levels, examples are rare and poorly documented. There is a chance that the massive way-of-life experiment now in progress in USA governance (2017) will reach a herd-mentality tipping point as well. No greater amplifier of good for the species is possible. Remember that reversing organizational dysfunction is a sprint, not a marathon. In bundle-land, characterized by tipping-point avalanches, forget incrementalism.
The benefit bundle is matchless in sociotechnology affairs. There is nothing in the history of sociology to compare it to. The paradigm that delivers the bundle has never been implemented before. Every element in the benefit bundle is a side-effect of the same generic implementation process. This is not just a way of doing things better than common practice. It is a way of delivering a betterment package that has never been delivered before.
As there are no discipline standards for comparison, the benchmark is the package, not one of its elements. Most of the materialized benefits to the elements in the bundle, such as turnover reduction, cannot be obtained by any other route, no matter how much money is thrown at the assignment.
The purpose of the generic paradigm is fixated on the all-or-nothing bundle. This sharp focus is reflected in the stop rules of implementation. Since what it takes to deliver the package is known, any obstacles thrown in the way by the head shed and the implementation is stopped in its tracks. Bundle or bust.
The benefit package, obtained quickly at negligible cost and zero risk, is:
- No alternative strategy can replicate the signature bundle no matter resources allocated to it. There are different schemes to deliver equivalent benefits to some elements in the bundle, to be sure, but they all involve capital investment or changes to the organizational chart. New equipment can increase productivity, for example, at a cost and risk.
- Situation-invariant. Independent of the particulars, the benefit bundle, which contains the elements of interest, is delivered oblivious to the initial conditions. The distinguishing beneficial differences it brings are in the same proportions whether the application setting is new or old, satisfactory or un, stable or chaotic.
- The bundle is the platform that enables and amplifies all other benefit-seeking activities. To attempt improving an element in another context is wasteful and foolhardy. Your gains will evaporate the instant you stop promoting them.
- Future-centered. The platform greatly expands the kinds and amounts of advancement that humans can make. A social system where betterment is the norm is a sharp spur to creative thinking. That which would be impossible in a closed-minded, and therefore a zero-sum organization, can have a bright future in a social system where trial and error are ordinary, everyday events.
Every soldier, down to and including the last recruit, will sooner or later become a leader in a smaller or greater sense. In battle, as battles are now necessarily conducted, direct responsibility very frequently goes out of the hands of the officers, and small groups of men must accomplish objectives themselves; hence leadership must be assumed by some or all of these men. Any one of them may be placed in a position where he must act independently and make his own decision on his own responsibility, which requires thinking and acting on his own judgment. P. L. Burkhard (1920)
Malcolm Knowles provided Eight Principles of Adult Learning:
- Adults must want to learn: They learn effectively only when they are free to direct their own learning and have a strong inner and excited motivation to develop a new skill or acquire a particular type of knowledge, this sustains learning.
- Adults will learn only what they feel they need to learn: Adults are practical in their approach to learning; they want to know, “How is this going to help me right now? – Is it relevant (Content, Connection and Application) and does it meet my targeted goals?”
- Adults learn by doing: Adolescents learn by doing, but adults do through an active practice and participation, this helps in integrating component skills into a coherent whole.
- Adult learning focuses on problems solving: Adolescents learn skills sequentially. Adults start with a problem and then work to find a solution. A meaningful engagement, such as posing and answering realistic questions and problems is necessary for deeper learning. This leads to more elaborate, longer lasting, and stronger representations of the knowledge.
- Experience affects adult learning: Adults have more experience than adolescents. This can be an asset and a liability, if prior knowledge is inaccurate, incomplete, or naive, it can interfere with or distort the integration of incoming information.
- Adults learn best in an informal situation: Adolescents have to follow a curriculum. Often, adults learn by taking responsibility by the value and need of content they have to understand and the particular goals it will achieve. Being in an inviting, collaborative and networking environment as an active participant in the learning process makes it efficient.
- Adults want guidance and consideration as equal partners in the process: Adults want information that will help them improve their situation. They do not want to be told what to do and they evaluate what helps and what doesn’t. They want to choose options based on their individual needs and meaningful impact a learning engagement could provide. Socialization is more important among adults.
- There is no such thing as one-way reciprocity.
Every principle on this list is used in vector transformation.
This body of secure knowledge is deliberately ignored in 99% of training programs, technical conventions, and “meetings.”
I have often heard the idea expressed by management that hard times with universal scarcity of work should be welcomed as a means of making labor reasonable. Which means, in the language of the average work shop, “forcing labor to its knees!” said the manufacturer with some emotion. Well, my friend, it is impossible for me to take so low a view of human nature as to believe that heads of industrial enterprises cherish that idea, although unfortunately most do. But whatever may be said of the idea in a moral sense, and for my part I can conceive of nothing more despicable, it is certainly based upon a false economic concept. What the world most needs is efficient production, and labor cannot be efficient and be periodically starved either with premeditation on the part of individuals having the required power or through underlying disturbances of industry for which no one can be held accountable. Harrison Emerson 1921
Selecting the foreman for abuse
The intentional abuse of the vector level by the rest of the hierarchy, total madness, has been ubiquitous for over 200 years. Chronic foremen abuse, entirely legal, synchronized in step with the industrial revolution. When organizations, like railroads and textiles, became larger and therefore taller in hierarchical configuration, dysfunctions that were rare in agricultural communities became ubiquitous. The history on this is no secret.
Slavery is an ancient practice. Before the hierarchy was the dominant form of social system, slaves were treated as valuable property. Slave owners saw no reason to abuse the people who were bringing in the revenue. Smart owners took good care of their slaves, forget zero sum, and looked down on neighbors stupid enough to harm their own revenue crew. Still, slaves occupied the bottom rung of society.
When the industrial revolutions ushered-in the tall hierarchy, slaves were given a promotion up the social ladder. From the first, the workforce was coerced to play zero sum with the owners. By 1800 it was common knowledge and widely published that the mill owners were treating the workforce far worse than their slaves. Even people in high places commented on the new sub-slavery level of the working population. Owners delivered penury ostensibly because the ruined workers cost nothing to replace. The madness of management abusing the revenue crew, the sole source of its only power, is not missed by the public.
Systematic maltreatment of the foreman, from social conditioning on, was aimed to create a mindset in the foreman about his role in the organization at great variance with the operational reality quantified by Starkermann. The abuse, wrongly interpreted by the brainwashed front line supervisors as appropriate, while resented, was quietly accepted without pushback.
Proof that the Establishment was fully conscious of its prejudicial abuse of foremen occurred during both World Wars. To build ships for WWI in a crash program, foremen were properly trained by the tens of thousands and rewarded appropriately for high productivity. In gearing up for WWII, the government upped productivity by requiring much higher wages for foreman and legitimizing foremen’s unions.
Right after WWI, foremen abuse returned to former levels and productivity crashed. An outcry at the travesty was raised by many social scientists and Taylorism advocates at the time and widely published – to no avail. After WWII, Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act that banned recognition of foremen’s unions. Fifty years ago, nearly a third of U.S. workers belonged to a union. Today, it’s one in 10.
As mentioned elsewhere, the vector has a way of expressing his Ca’ canny unavailable to his workers. When laborers withhold efficiency, it is called soldiering, laying down on the job, and goofing off. It is easy to detect. The way foremen deliver Ca’ canny is ordinarily undetectable. The vectors merely act in the shrunken image of their managers – drive. Knowing it is counterproductive, the vectors “drive” their workers with great fanfare so management will notice compliance to its norms. This dance puts the spotlight on the “lazy, stupid laborers.” As everyone is acting to norms, most organizations accept the stalemate as a cost of doing business. In case of need, managers put “We’re no worse than the others” on hot standby. Doing exactly as you’re told, knowing it is counterproductive, is a standard plot in British comedy. It was the climax scene, working on the dead end road, in “Cool Hand Luke.” It never fails to protect the perpetrators. The prison guards were catatonic.
Early in our brass and copper mill work the importance of securing intensive supervision by floor foremen and straw bosses became evident. The lack of planning threw on to these sectional foremen almost the entire responsibility for movement of material, tool supplies, assignment of work, as well as general methods of processing. We soon discovered that no incentive plan would attain the objective of increased production unless it was so devised as to insure the fullest co-operation from these men. Philip Lawson (1922)
The upside of organizational dysfunction
Since organizational dysfunction is manmade and man is a sapient creature, the assumption follows that the reason for dysfunction’s ubiquity is privileged access to its benefits. People support wicked-bundle organizational dysfunction, and they certainly do, because the personal benefits derived are deemed to outweigh its cost. Right?
There is no doubt about the price levied by organizational dysfunction on our species. Depending upon how you expense the human carnage, the bill for the last two centuries came to one quadrillion dollars. There are a lot of items on the bill of organizational dysfunction. Somebody has to pay for the waste and lost opportunities for advancement and he is us.
When you go looking for the assumed upside that justifies this quadrillion+, even your imagination gets stretched. It is self-evident there is no upside for the general population. Wicked-bundle organizational dysfunction does not contribute anything to the general treasury that funds social services. People that are suffering, because governments are unable to solve the acute problems of modern society, do not look happy.
Following the trail of conspicuous consumption, you find the stratum of folks that seem to be the beneficiaries of the toxic waste factories. This layer includes those who have taken flight with their golden parachutes, leaving the rest to go down with the ship. The wealthy people are the clear winners of a zero-sum relationship. Following their trail of logic to accumulate wealth, the more the population is depressed, the more the elite are elevated. Right?
Taking a second look at this toxic zero-sum concoction – an artifact of deranged minds – you note that these “beneficiaries” may be ensconced on the upper decks of the ship, but zero sum is blowing holes through ship’s bottom and it’s sinking. Travelling the world you note that each country is anxious for you to see the artifacts of the civilizations that sunk into its sands before them. You know the remarkable list of temples, tombs and great walls because you have seen all of it on television several times over. What have these nations learned from their history to avoid their own collapse? The Greeks? Absolutely nothing.
There is also absolutely nothing in the equations of social system functioning that call for zero sum. There is nothing in nature that sets an upper limit to prosperity, to productivity, to creativity, to felicity, to health. Henry L. Gantt expressed the facts in 1916:
If the amount of wealth in the world were fixed, the struggle for the possession of that wealth would necessarily cause antagonism; but, inasmuch as the amount of wealth is not fixed, but constantly increasing, the fact that one man has become wealthy does not necessarily mean that someone else has become poorer, but may mean quite the reverse, especially if the first is a producer of wealth.
Without a ceiling to the amounts, zero sum is irrational. Rather than go to war with your neighbors to acquire what they have, why not busy yourself to produce what you wish right at home? Oh, you prefer war over changing for the better. When you realize that every nation is playing zero sum with itself and its neighbors, for nothing, you conclude there is no upside to organizational dysfunction. “Nobody is as stupid as all of us” has no stop rule.
The more the problems of management are studied, the more apparent it becomes that their solution rests not upon the application of superficial remedies affecting only the less important interests of the workers but upon the introduction of drastic reforms in matters of vital consequence to the workers. It is useless also to attempt to improve the methods of foremen and gang bosses in handling men as long as the “drive” policy of management prevails in the shop. The “drive” system requires that the workers be cowed and made to fear the management. Considerate treatment of the men and good feeling between the men and the management are incompatible with the very essentials of the “drive” system. Sumner Slichter (1915)
The downside of dysfunction reversal
Social indoctrination instructs that everything has a downside, except infallible – which really does have a downside. This implant has led to a library of several hundred rational ways to say “No” to change. Reckless innovators like ourselves, having encountered so many of the various turndowns, soon realize they are reflexive. No cognitive processing is behind them. The detractors are selecting a pre-packaged excuse out of the library and blurting it out.
Examining the features and functions of the good-bundle paradigm, you find:
- Huge, widespread windfall benefits
- Fast delivery
- No risk, generic, falsifiable
- No material changes, no investment
Logically, the downsides of the paradigm should equal the upsides of organizational dysfunction. Since they do, the library of “No” is recognized as useless. With the benefits too big to ignore, and nothing negative to blurt out that could make any sense, the reflex agents default to catatonia.
When you expose the general staff and middle management to the fact of the proven capability to rescind dysfunction, you will learn much about the intelligence/socialization of your audience that can be learned in no other way. The parallels to the madness revealed in USA politics today are too obvious.
How otherwise could you offer the solution to the victims’ complaints to test if what they espouse as their need aligns with what they do when a qualified solution becomes available? If the truth doesn’t set you free, it will certainly allow you to stop wasting your time pursuing the impossible. Never underestimate the cohesive power of the “bundle,” both the wicked bundle version and the good bundle version. While maintaining the wicked bundle is effortless, it thrives on inaction and negativity, maintaining the good bundle takes intelligence and applied work. The 2nd Law doesn’t rest either.
A person esteemed as intelligent, informed of the transformation paradigm, who refuses to investigate the opportunity to have his problems solved, is advertising his cognitive boundaries and what instinct bundle is in control of his teleprompter for action. Revealed to be untrustworthy, he is deliberately operating in a social system of untrustworthy players. Anyone who continues to transact in a dysfunctional context, intentionally losing half of his efforts to wicked-bundle waste, is a fool. No matter how you slice it, leaving the proposition on the table is willful ignorance, a felony. Repealing dysfunction itself has no downside, to be sure, but your assessment of the people acting against what they espouse, will undergo revision.
Triggering catatonia, one step beyond ad hominem, is no small tribute to the significance of the paradigm. The dilemma for the detractor is that he cannot refuse to examine an implementation and controvert the paradigm of wicked-to-good mutation at the same time. If he defaults to pulling rank, he makes matters for himself worse. In catatonia, it is never the conscious 10% of the brain that is befuddled. It is the background brain, the unconscious 90% that is baffled. Thirty five years ago, before we were knowledgeable enough to understand it, Joe Franceschi demonstrated how he could trigger audience catatonia. It’s a beautiful experience.
As a manufacturer myself, it has been my experience that the concerns with whom it was easiest to compete were those who had stopped half way on the industrial road. They gave due thought, indeed, to machinery, buildings and to general equipment. They were careful about their materials and kept in touch with the more obvious of modern methods of accounting and management, but the greatest force in their industry the responsive power of their men to leadership, they left untouched.
They paid the usual rate of wage or had a fixed rate of pay for a certain job. They allowed their men to earn a certain sum weekly at piece-work and when more was earned they cut the piece work rate. They lacked adjustment to the human element or close co-operation with it. But when among competitors was one who had traveled farther along the industrial way had gone so far that he could see the power of the human force, could get it working with him and responsive to him, then that concern was dangerous to its rivals. Its product would come out of better quality or at lower cost or with fewer seconds or with less delay, or with all of these things, and it was difficult to that competition.
The shop where the employer and the employee are one force, pulling together, is the most serious of competitors. During the hard time of 1893, the head of a large manufacturing concern in the central West sat sorely troubled in his office. Through the long afternoon he had gone carefully over his business statements, endeavoring to adjust himself to the adverse winds that were blowing. For orders that had been pending he had purchased largely only to have the orders canceled when he could not recall his purchases. Loans that were needed to tide over stringent conditions could not be had. Banks not only declined further accommodation but were calling for payment. It was next to impossible to collect funds due him. As the day closed he could see no clear way out of his troubles, and when the factory whistle blew he closed his books with a sad heart.
There was a knock at the door; opening it he found a committee from his workmen who said the men wanted to see him in the factory yard. He and his men had been friends through many years and it was the thought of what might happen to them that was now one of his serious troubles. He could not believe they meant to make demands upon him at this crisis. He went with the committee to the steps where he could see the men, waiting with their dinner pails to go home, and then one of the committee said to him something like this: “Colonel, we know times are hard and orders scarce. We hear that money is pretty hard to get, and we just want to say that a lot of us have worked here with you for many years and we have saved some money. It is in the savings bank, and we are here to tell you that it is at your disposal, if it will help you through this squeeze.”
And the strong man bowed to tears, scarcely able to speak his thanks, went back to his office glad in the thought that the greatest thing in his industrial life had come to him, and ready for any sacrifice and effort. I should greatly fear to be the competitor of a house in which such a spirit existed, unless the same spirit were behind me also. There will be those who will say that the incident just given is hardly credible amid the bursts of discontent we all hear, and yet it is a short time since I was telling this same story to a friend who said that in Florida he knew an employer toward whom on the part of his workmen the same regard existed. One day, something having been said about hard times or shortness of funds, two of his Italian employees came to him with money which they had saved and offered it, to him for his use.
I shall never forget that during the panic of 1907, when things were worst, I was voluntarily tendered a loan by one of my own trusted employees. Some of our manufacturers, ignorant of the mighty power that a happy working force may bring to their support, seem to seek to crush it as if they did not want that help. William Cox Redfield (1913)
The psychological windfall
Even though the case for the package deal, all-or-nothing, nature of substantial loss reduction is rational, it is fair to ask what pragmatic engineer gearheads are doing mucking around in the various disciplines of cranium wetware. Engineers are professional skeptics of knowledge that is too vague to be of much use. The answer:
- The package-deal nature of the advance in loss control, a stipulated fact, is not of our doing. The “bundle” is by discovery, not creation. It is categorically impossible to eliminate organizational dysfunction without attending to the psychological welfare of its agents. Where is this association covered in discipline literature?
- We know what has been accomplished, psychologically, before and after, with the participants during implementations. We know what can be delivered, psychologically, with any social system, because we’re delivering it. Human psychology is both a root cause of organizational dysfunction and the main route to its reversal. Wicked-bundle dysfunction doubles losses and slashes productivity. Physical health takes a hit.
- The issue of dysfunction-caused angst is real and ubiquitous. It is widely and continuously discussed in the media. By killing creativity, it is the number one barrier to effective problem resolution. Protracted angst injures more than the ego.
- The beneficial impact of transformation, mentally, is real and demonstrable – on demand. It is self-sustaining. Built upon the bedrock of established facts, generic trumps ubiquity, while you watch. To be sure, interview the people.
- There is no overlap between the scope of psychotherapy clinical practice and the scope of vector transformation. There is no overlap between the domain of the clinical psychotherapist and implementation of the paradigm of loss control. The gaps are wide.
- The role of the head shed is so constrained by natural law that the psychological health of its members, fit or unfit, has no bearing on positive organizational prosperity. Where is this critical subject covered in discipline literature?
- Whatever psychological success achieved is a side effect of eliminating organizational dysfunction’s bundle of wickedness.
The wrestle with agent mindsets is a long, strange story, but somehow the impact of our brute engineering technology on organizational dysfunction intertwined big time with human psychology and by extension, sociology. This unsolicited imbroglio turned out to have extraordinary significance to the mental health of individuals at work and the practical requisites for keeping Homo society stable and viable. As stated upfront, our primary focus in all the commotion with this unsought entanglement of “mind” and “matter” is and always has been a matter of industrial loss control engineering attained by prevention. Unnecessary loss, damage, and injury is a big factor in the national economy, a factor that can only be fully quantified by fixing it. As can be demonstrated in your shop, half of all business-as-usual losses are preventable.
But the general manager is not dealing with people in this instance, nor is he dealing with a subject with which those who must come in contact with the tangible machine are familiar. He is not dealing with a visible machine, but with a method or system which is an invisible machine. And while many can comprehend the action and advantage of a visible machine, they are few, and of a different type of mind who can clearly visualize the working of an invisible mechanism such as is a management method. Our general manager then, in introducing the new methods, encounters a very dense barrier that takes a great deal of energy and persistence to penetrate—a barrier of ignorance, skepticism, and inertia, unless, per chance, he does the same thing that Tom Healy did in introducing the new machine—show everybody concerned with the new system exactly how its wheels go around—how, in other words, the action of this new, invisible method beats the action of the old invisible one—how its operation will benefit all concerned.
Simple enough, this, but yet not so simple after all. The difficulty lies in the explaining of a method—of exhibiting its wheels so people can visualize them. Another picture on the negative side. Jim Thompson, production foreman of department A in this same factory, has been with the company for some six months. His previous experience in a fad-ridden factory has soured him on system. “The less of those pink, green and yellow slips to gum up the works and slow down production, the better I’ll like it,” is the way he puts it. But naturally, he does not express this sentiment to the general manager. Jim happens, by circumstance, to be a “key man” in the introduction of the general manager’s new plan. A capable man, is Jim, and a hard worker, but his mental attitude of unbelief on this question will prove a decided barrier to the success of the plan and to his overcoming other invisible barriers in his own department in the plan’s behalf. E. S. Cowdrick (1920)
Every person harbors two value systems that serve as navigational aids for choosing action. One he articulates. He is blissfully unaware of the other. Every value in each set is situation-conditional and instinct-mediated. One is located in the 90% brain, the unconscious, and the other is located in the conscious 10% part of the brain. Left to fend for themselves, the independent value systems are seldom congruent.
The fact of the two value systems exhibits every time you say one thing and find yourself doing another. You display the incongruency to the public every time you act contrary to what you espouse (POSIWID). Social systems have dual value systems as well. Acting contrary to their stated objectives is the working definition of organizational dysfunction itself. Wicked-bundle dysfunction, triggered by business as usual in mismatch mode, initializes Ca’ canny, the standard defensive action of 90% brain (unconscious). The route of remedy is perforce to shepherd the vectors to use their 10% brain (conscious) to override the strategy (Ca’ canny) coughed-up on the internal teleprompter of action by the 90%. For its own benefit, the workforce has to learn to intercept their teleprompter-inspired reflexes and subject them to conscious evaluation. Acquiring this skill takes time and practice.
Our scope is social-system. Although one on one “brain work,” customized for every vector, is part of the process, the goal is fruitful social system dynamics. Interventionists educate vectors about their unique, supreme, nature-defined role in the hierarchy and equip them with key concepts and tools they immediately put to test in their work situation. When the stuff works to their benefit, they return for the next layer.
Although we have consulted with distinguished clinical psychologists, what follows is confined to what we have learned from implementation experience and what we can deliver on-demand, anywhere on the planet, in the way of positive psychological impact that results from wicked bundle to good-bundle transformation.
All psychologically-centered disciplines agree that a person’s vocation is how his society classifies him, esteems him. Your job and the processes related to it draws a large part of your self-image. If your occupation cages your instincts of workmanship, forces you to be a felonious accomplice to unnecessary loss, your self-esteem freefalls to the bilge. This “unworthy” self-image, carried back from work to the family, does no one there any psychological good. Reciprocity establishes your place in the community pecking order. Rising above your initial classification is practically impossible. In some foreign countries, you are not even supposed to try.
What this fact of human DNA teaches is that you disregard the psychological factors of the work scene, as engineers are trained to do, at your peril. Ignoring the social milieu of work as a factor can never be the right choice. Better to be a bull in the china shop of human emotions than to be oblivious to the human dramas of goal-seeking. Forget crisis response. Foresight, not hindsight. Proactive, not reactive. Prevention.
So important is it that minor executives (foremen) be thoroughly competent, that one may safely predict that in the near future elaborate and rigorous training courses will exist for prospective minor executives in all large establishments, and that no one will be permitted to become a foreman or gang boss without first having been thoroughly trained for the duties of the position. John Commons (1916)
When you first engage the workforce people victimized by wicked-bundle organizational dysfunction, with the ultimate goal to slash the unnecessary losses of operations, you’re dealing with psychologically-damaged goods. While abusing the vector, the only engine of progress possible, might be the policy of business-as-usual, he is the engine of progress still. In short organizations, the focus on prosperity promotes healthy self-correction of psychological misalignments. In tall organizations operating in conventional mode, the need to address the low morale it produces may be recognized by everyone, but toxic morale cannot be fixed within the psychological borders of business as usual. You can observe attempts to defy that law of Nature everywhere, all day long. Notice how the efforts to remedy, such as motivational speakers, make matters worse. “The floggings will continue until morale improves.”
Since it is counterproductive to bring out technology when the sociology is locked in high anxiety, restoring psychological success has to be the first milestone. This first step creates a supply of internal energy/power that was tied up with anxiety maintenance. Warfield’s dictum applies: “Don’t ask them to do what they can’t.” No available internal energy, no goal-seeking.
Angst is the paramount barrier to effective, positive action and the number one factor in turnover. For 150 years, the conditions of license for us professional engineers has required measuring this precious internal energy supply as-you-go. We are to report too-low supplies up the ladder and, failing effective remedy by the head shed, “withdraw from the engagement.” Professional engineers are not to receive payment for pursuing the impossible and they are obligated to distinguish when that is the case. Good rule. Otherwise harms society.
The as-received vector, hampered by his social conditioning and a carefully-groomed knowledge deficit, is in defensive mode – Ca’ canny, by force. His workers, in addition to brainwashing and knowledge deficit burdens, having a boss in Ca’ canny driving them, defend themselves as he does by withholding efficiency. With the defensive routines of the 90% brain in control, the healthy instincts of workmanship are caged. That means once organizational dysfunction initializes, all reflex actions make matters worse. The dysfunctional organization cannot fix itself. It doesn’t even want to fix itself.
When you gain appropriate knowledge about the psychological world of hierarchy, you can self-test. If you see the psychological dramas of USA politics in 2016-17 as distinct from every day corporate shenanigans, you flunk. In fact, the antagonistic behaviors on display are identical. When the Establishment elite has to face the fact publically that it has no power to change things for the better, the behavioral patterns you see on TV are what you get with every head shed. When the vectors bring about social prosperity in spite of the economic leverage of those at the top, by getting problems solved, all the head sheds can do is obstruct their goal-seeking. Meanwhile, a transit agency in the nation’s capital routinely disavows any responsibility for public safety.
The work of reversing organizational dysfunction brings, as a felicitous side effect, psychological benefits to the participants. Experience shows no benefit is transmitted to the intellectually-challenged or those that don’t interact with the workforce. Those that don’t or won’t take responsibility for their work product, seeing themselves as “worse than the others,” remove themselves from what they perceive as an alien arena of labor. Those outside of the zone of reciprocity are either oblivious or indifferent to the metamorphosis.
The non-participants of management who receive the flow of financial windfall of the mutation are, at best, aggressively unenthusiastic. Any psychological benefits that do appear take at least two years to exhibit. The question why the vectors are instant and management is years, if ever, is left to the venerable sciences of the cranium to answer. It’s a way for you to know that some of the implementations have been successful for a long time. The first time a sign of intelligent life from management came along was after we had given up monitoring for it.
Enough implementation experience has been accumulated so that we know what we know about the mental factor in viability husbandry and we have no doubts about what we can deliver in boosting mental health. You can interview the participants yourself and there are hundreds of them. The claims about what can be done, directly and expeditiously, to any social system, with the generic paradigm for loss reduction include:
- Helping bring the “vector” level of the hierarchy up to Maslow’s self-actualized level to a degree that is self-sustaining. Vectorizing.
- Equipping the vector with the knowledge and knowhow to assist his workers to progress towards psychological success also.
Each of these steps is accomplished in three learning phases:
- Anxiety release
- Concepts and tools for going forward
- Application experience: assess, test, customize, and implement – repeat as necessary
Everything psychology-wise that occurs after vector graduation is spontaneous. The main engine expanding the benefit package with time is the instinct of reciprocity. While the first stage is bringing the vectors of dysfunction reversal to psychological success, Maslow’s self-actualization, the second stage features the vector helping the workers ascend the psychological-success staircase. We have witnessed that reciprocity is as powerful a force in increasing psychological health as it is well-known to destroy it. As mentioned earlier, there is no such thing as unilateral reciprocity.
Referencing your experience
All have been wage-earners. As such, all know the implicit social contract and organizational dysfunction:
- You are to do the task your immediate supervisor assigns to you.
- You are to avoid asserting your thoughts and desires into the task design process.
As a wage-earner, led by an immediate supervisor, you know your ability to contribute is directly controlled by your foreman and his “style” of leadership. Vectors are self-contained strategy systems, MitM, that need no permission or input from others to fulfill their role. He regulates what you do and your situation while you regulate the efforts you invest in the tasks he assigns. If supervision is “wicked bundle” your psychological reflex to the inner conflict he created is Ca’ canny. Everyone does it.
Workers cannot gain in psychological success ahead of their foreman. If the vector is not enlightened about his role and high on Maslow’s scale of psychological success, he forms a ceiling above which his workers cannot rise. Smart is only a start. He has to advance first. Caged-in, your instinct of self-defense overrules your instincts of workmanship and social contribution. You harbor the debris of the intracranial collision in values as angst.
The road is tricky and precise. Without a map, it is easy to get lost and be unable to get back. But, there is a map and it is not complicated, difficult, circuitous, or irrational. As stipulated: it is categorically impossible to eliminate organizational dysfunction without attending to the psychological welfare of its agents. Ho, Ho, Ho, Ca’ canny has to go.
These claims are incontrovertible:
- The process used, from which the psychological benefits spontaneously emerge, is scrutably connected to natural law. Transparent. Falsifiable. Generic.
- You can visit implementation sites and examine and evaluate the claims for yourselves. Transparent. Falsifiable. Generic.
- You have no implementation examples for us to visit that controvert the claims. Transparent.
- Generic fix trumps issue ubiquity.
- The fix meets the Argyris criteria for success.
The only access port into the organization, dysfunctional or no, is the conscious 10% brain of the vector. He is both the inhibitor and promoter of beneficial change. No vector? No access. Handcuff the vector? No change.
When the vector aborts his Ca’ canny, his native instincts of workmanship are released from captivity for active duty. In the same instant, a bundle of psychological benefits with his name on it erupts like a volcano. The mutation is unique and dramatic. Impossible to ignore, the workers pay close attention. If the vector change remains steady, the nominal lag for the workers to dump their Ca’ canny is three months. Once withholding efficiency is abandoned, the good instincts of workmanship immediately appear. Morale skyrockets. The good bundle cascades in full bloom. Those that find themselves “Worse than the others” remove themselves from the arena of progress. Self-regulating.
The benefit bundle is self-sustaining because the workforce becomes proactive about the arriving future. The autonomy that attends taking responsibility for a prosperous future inspires creativity and invention of all sorts. Since the workforce must be working on improvements and new schemes on a continuous basis, ingenuity is in high demand. The vector needs the creativity of his staff to supplement his own. There will be trial and error.
This is where the feedstock of positive reciprocity plays an important role. Workplaces where creativity is encouraged act as a magnet to the designers of solutions. The better the workforce gets on productivity and effectiveness, the more inventiveness is needed to extract and relocate entropy. High creativity environments are always happy workplaces that few have experienced. These are the amplifiers of effectiveness of action.
The opposite is certainly true. A situation where change is discouraged and rule-based action is enforced is barricaded from preparing for a prosperous future. Without inspired change, nothing is available to mitigate the 2nd Law degradations. The instincts of workmanship are predicated on creative freedom and error-tolerance.
One must not seem unaware of the “soldier” in industry, for doubtless “soldiering” exists. It was vividly described before me by one of the leading advocates of so-called “scientific management” when I was a member of a Congressional Committee inquiring into that subject. There can be no doubt that cases exist where output has been and is deliberately limited by workmen. On the other hand the attitude of my friends, who are mechanics, toward the man who does not do a fair day’s work is rather intolerant. They do not want him on the next vise. One wonders about certain things connected with “soldiering.” It is often more comfortable to do a steady day’s work than it is to loaf, and sometimes when the speed of machines is fixed it takes quite a little effort and thought to “soldier.” Can it be that “soldiering” is the reaction against “speeding?” William Cox Redfield (1913)
Review of psychological factors
The scale of significance of psychology in this issue is mind-boggling.
- On average, the population of vector candidates in a hierarchical social system is 10%.
- On average, each vector designs tasks actions for 10 individuals. (Genghis Khan 1217 CE).
- On average, the workforce represents 80% of the organizational census.
- At this time on this planet, with a population of 7.5 billion people, it means that the mental health of 5 billion individuals can be markedly improved by eliminating organizational dysfunction. That is, the strategy that reduces organizational operating losses by 50% raises the mental health of 5 billion people – as a side effect!
To refute this claim you must either controvert ubiquity or invalidate generic. Otherwise, it stands. If your own reaction to this opportunity to benefit yourself and your neighbors in particular and your species in general doesn’t speak volumes to you about your 90% value system, there’s nothing left to be said.
What is generally known, accepted as true, but undervalued:
- The influence of occupational content, context and process on the psychological health of the individual employee and his organization
- The influence of rank and social esteem of the occupation on the psychological health of the individual
- The influence of corporate psychological health on the stakeholder communities
What is generally known, but grossly underestimated:
- Large organizations are intrinsically dysfunctional
- The influence of organizational dysfunction on creating a working environment toxic to psychological health
- The critical gatekeeper role of the vector
- The influence of reciprocity
- The extent and degree of psychological damage caused by organizational dysfunction (4/5th of census)
What is generally known and deliberately neglected:
- The long, global, documented history of organizational dysfunction
- The various factors in the bundle of factors that promotes and locks-in organizational dysfunction.
- The critical gatekeeper role of the vector
What is unknown but readily demonstrated as true:
- The scope and amount of damage and injury (physical and mental) wreaked by organizational dysfunction can be quantified in objective terms, before and after
- A program, paradigm, strategy is, for the first time ever, proven and available for application, complete with a vector that reverses organizational dysfunction, delivering a happy organizational prosperity that is self-sustaining
- The fanatical head-shed antipathy to reversing organizational dysfunction
- The critical gatekeeper role of the vector
- Knowledge of organizational dysfunction as global is global.
- A fix exists.
- The vector, and only the vector, has the power to directly increase organizational productivity and effectiveness.
- Management is hostile to a fix for low productivity and morale
- What are not head-shed paramount values
- Organizational success
- Humanitarian success
- The disciplines of sociology, OD, and psychology are likewise hostile to a fix
- What are not head-shed paramount values
The psychology of this dysfunction has a long history, thoroughly documented from two centuries ago. While there have been sporadic attempts to resolve the global dilemma, none attained self-sustaining outcomes. Since the situation in 2017 is identical to 1800 AD, cross-generational, the causes are known to be deep in human nature. Any effective fix must therefore be rooted deep in human nature as well. As letting nature take its course always leads to dysfunction, the resolution must be generic, preemptive and proactive.
Before there was a fix, nothing effective and self-sustaining could be done about organizational dysfunction, so it was accepted as a universal business-as-usual phenomenon – an unavoidable cost of doing business. Since there were no before and after benchmarks, there was nothing settled to discuss.
The aversion to discussing organizational dysfunction is so deeply ingrained that the related sciences and disciplines, and there are many and dysfunctional themselves, refuse to examine this highly-significant arena even when they can do live research. This powerful repugnance is ridiculously easy to demonstrate.
The only way to quantitatively examine the reach and grasp of organizational dysfunction is before and after measurements of the same operation. The inability to “fix” organizational dysfunction prevented taking these measurements and discussing them. By taking toxic organizations and reversing their dysfunction, the true scope and significance of organizational dysfunction has been quantified, including psychological factors. The numbers numb the mind.
While common in counterintelligence warfare, there is little evidence that management deliberately installs organizational dysfunction as its ultimate and final purpose. The fact that the head shed is hostile to a fix to its organizational dysfunction more likely indicates that dysfunction is an unavoidable side-effect of its primary purpose whatever that might be. In a dysfunctional organization engaged in zero-sum management-labor relations, the immediate transactional consequences are to destroy the psychological health of the workforce.
Experience shows that once the benefit package windfalls have been pouring in for two years, management accepts peaceful coexistence without willfully violating the stop rules. Another year or two is necessary before management thinks it might be a good idea.
Psychic health maintenance
The key is conscious, applied intelligence. It takes the conscious brain to reverse dysfunction and keep it reversed. Magnificent intentions aside, the alert, conscious brain must continuously assess the situation and intervene when situation-driven instincts towards dysfunction have their impetus. The primary causes are not accessible to remedy directly. The only strategy that can work here is to intercept the physical expression of the causes, preempt and intervene. Over time, benefits being immediate and obvious, appropriate intervention can become habitual.
In dysfunction-fertile conditions, to keep the instincts that abet decline at bay requires eternal vigilance, the intelligent control of situation-driven instincts and reflexes, and appropriate interventions. Only understanding the actual, immediate situation can lead to the timely application of appropriate intervention and control measures. Leaving it to blind drift and reacting to disturbance is a guarantee of dysfunction.
A man acquainted with foreign industrial and political affairs, who will spend three months in Washington meeting business men coming on war business to the national capital from all parts of the United States, would find it difficult not to conclude that American business men, all in all, are the most reactionary class of industrial rulers in the civilized world. They think labor unrest is not a movement at all. It is nothing but a ‘trouble.’ The very same thing that is shaking Russia and every country in Europe, shaking and remaking the world, thrusts a finger in their factories, and they see nothing but a ‘labor issue.’ To an astonishing number of them, the whole labor movement was invented by irrelevant agitators, now presumably always German. William Hard (1917)
As recompense for getting this far in the journal, you will be given here and now a rather substantial and significant gift. To the ready mind, the prize is personal enlightenment about why things in society are as they are and what can be done about it. You can put this knowledge to good use to enhance and safeguard your own affairs. There are mechanisms of social behavior to learn that are essential for psychological success and for impulse control. It is the gift of immediately-valuable knowledge, obtainable nowhere else. You benefit no matter what anyone else is doing.
As you are personally responsible for your own psychological health, you will be greatly assisted in reaching your goals through testable silence-breaking. As always, the first step is to blowdown your angst accumulations to free up that hijacked internal power and creativity for your personal use. To prepare for the release, realize that the incredible powers of your brain to deal with the approaching future are genetically pre-allocated: 10% to your conscious brain – the one over which you have some semblance of control – and 90% to your subconscious, background brain – the one that runs your personal teleprompter – over which you have no control at all. That’s right, 90% of your own brain power is beyond human governance. Your consciousness does not run your teleprompter.
Nature has put most of your task action guidance and compelling purposes on autopilot, out of your reach, presumably for your own welfare and perpetuating the species. However, there are in-built psychological biases, distortions, and deceptions of reality also in the unconscious that in modern times may not be good for you at all.
Just because a task action instruction has flashed on your teleprompter does not mean you are compelled to actuate. Intervene. Elevate the action reflex to your consciousness, engage cognition, and measure the alignments with your conscious-brain value system. Impulse control begins by running the intercepted reflex against the checklist of actions already validated as counterproductive. With practice, this filtration of known error can be done in a second. You will find that most reflexive choices of task action in your emotional punchlist will connect with something on the checklist of woe. All married men learn this.
Many things fool the brain into making wrong assumptions about the reality it encounters. You have demonstrated what background brain does to your values that parallels what optical illusions do for your perceptions. Anyone who is aware of and understands this psychological paradox and doesn’t act to deal with it is broadcasting his toxic psychological state. At some point it is prudent to leave this navigational paradox to future generations to unravel and rejoice that a real fix is already in hand. In fact, studying how dysfunction is reversed is how psychologists will develop knowledge about its cause.
You have paramount values deep in your subconscious about which you know nothing. These hidden values bias and filter what goes on your teleprompter and with your inaction can override attainment of your most cherished, espoused goals. In your activity towards a stated goal, should a paramount value kick in, your effectiveness in reaching your intended goal plummets towards zero.
Just knowing that the paramount values embedded in your background brain are unknown to you is of tremendous personal benefit. Realizing you cannot trust your subconscious-brain decision-making processes to align with the goals of your consciousness, instructs you to intercept the potentially-treacherous choices-by-reflex for further conscious-brain processing.
Note that all this can be done quickly and in private. It costs nothing. No artifacts are involved. No permits need to be obtained. Nothing has to be reported. In the end, if you choose, you can put the teleprompter-provided imperative into action. By intercepting the notoriously-fallible teleprompter messages with alert reasoning you have not given up control. You have gained a level of control you didn’t have.
If you didn’t know you have a set of paramount values, values that override all others and your healthy instincts, about which your consciousness is clueless, you can self-demonstrate. First, see if you can controvert the paradigm. Failing that, ask yourself: “If I could multiply my goal-seeking effectiveness by an order of magnitude, simply by adjusting how I think, would I go for it?” Do I accept the offer to visit a fix implementation site for examination and evaluation?
If you answer yes to question 1 and no to question 2, you have self-demonstrated the value system override in action. Observe your reactions to the risk-free opportunity for significant personal benefit. If you don’t go catatonic, we will hear from you. Otherwise, the inferences remain beyond dispute.
There is an event anyone can stage that will illustrate more about the iron culture of management and clarifying the management-labor distinctions than you may want to know. Many significant aspects of the ideology shared by everyone who calls himself potentate are exhibited at once. The general idea here is to orchestrate the event and then take your time ruminating on the meanings of the observed behavior.
For years we were befuddled about how to get something useful out of a non-vector audience. Not one scrap of the material prepared for delivery to the vector-only gatherings can be used to advantage. In a mixed audience, the vectors are frustrated because they can’t interact (tell the truth) publically, while the big-wigs just get annoyed by the blasphemy. Disciples of Shannon’s communication theory, our goal was to get something going in the craniums besides the usual status quo, zero-impact monotony typical of conventions. Without intended action at the receiving end, as Shannon’s laws state, the communication effort has failed.
First, decide if the non-vectors in the audience matter. If they don’t, your style of delivery can be anything. If the aliens matter to the goals, it’s best to be subtle and self-effacing. You don’t want them blaming you for their time-delayed cognitive dissonance. You understand that management must maintain allegiance to its culture, no matter what, including destruction of the enterprise. The political circus of 2017 is a classic example that plays-out daily.
At some point in your main delivery, you show what can be attained by reversing organizational dysfunction – stipulated as fact. We walkthrough the bar chart of the bundle components. You then emphasize the open invitation to examine and evaluate ongoing implementations and “Try it before you buy it” options.
The next step is to ask the audience to predict the reaction of organizational man to the offers. There are several ways of doing this. We typically ask the workforce people in the audience to voice their answers first, which are tabulated on a whiteboard. Since they can’t tell the truth in the mixed audience, the vectors will echo that management will follow up on the opportunity as a no-brainer. That is, the workforce will claim that it believes management will always act objectively and rationally according to the best interests of the organization. That is the myth management wants to hear from its people.
The last step is to ask the potentates to express their prediction of reaction of executives to the offer. Will management follow up on the opportunity to save the organization or not? While you already know the answer from reading this book, no one else has a clue. You also know that the reaction lag of the workforce folks is a second while potentates have a minimum lag of two years. Accordingly, this is the time for acting naïve, like the boy in the Emperor’s Clothes tale. With the profound silence that will follow, quickly move on to another subject. Your task is completed.
The benefit from this exhibit of value systems accrues to the workforce people. Management sails through this hoax unchanged. This drama works the same on any audience. While it ruins any chance for you to be invited into the management circle, to the workforce you are trusted friend for life.
Anyone who has a chance to amplify his goal-seeking effectiveness for free and doesn’t seize it, is radiating a signal that unknown values are overriding his espoused values in the particulars. For no reason apparent to you, they are rejecting a unique opportunity to greatly amplify their effectiveness in attaining espoused goals. In rebuffing the test, they already ran it. Those in catatonia, untrustworthy by definition, are a danger to themselves and a menace to society.