Saturday, July 11, 2009

Human-Oriented Dynamics

To model our larger behavior as organizations, we need some irrationally motivated, inconsistent system, that in it's lack of completeness manages to predictably move around the same territory that we do. A system completely opposite in nature to a mathematically formal system, yet one sufficiently expressive enough to be able to draw conclusions from its changes in different states. People are neither logical nor rational, and when they operate in larger and larger groups, these inconsistencies manifest into larger patterns within the over-all interactions. The rules make no sense, yet they shouldn't make sense.

These are a few basic principles (of an infinite number of them):

The Opposition Principle: For anything that someone can do, someone else will attempt to do the opposite.

The Path Principle: To force something along a prescribed path, there must be at least two balancing forces at work.

The Ease Principle: People will always take the easiest path, although that choice is relative to the individual.

The Common Principle: Any organizational attribute will eventually find its way to the lowest common denominator.

The Misinformation Principle: People will always have a significant amount of misinformation, that they are using to make decisions.

The Empathy Principle: People with less empathy will always go higher, and get there faster in any organization.

2 comments:

loryn July 23, 2009 at 1:50 PM  

I’m fascinated by "Empathy Principle." What’s behind this observation?

Is this in any way related to the claim that corporations are sociopathic?

Paul W. Homer November 4, 2009 at 3:22 PM  

Hi Loryn,

Sorry, I didn't find your comment until just now (this blog doesn't seem to be sending me comment notification emails).

It's actually based on a fairly simple observation.

If you have empathy, that will continuously put you into the circumstance where you must choose between your goals and your feelings. Even if you shelf your empathy for a while, eventually it will reach a point where, purely for principle, you must act on it (and as such, do not act on your goals).

Since there is always competition, it stands that there is always someone else in the same organization with less empathy than yourself, and that they will not have to give in to their empathy.

They will move forward, you will be left behind.

The simplest case is layoffs. Bosses that dump their staff earlier and faster "look" better to upper management (who, based on their position are all inherently emphatically-challenged).

It is probably somewhat related to corporations appearing to be sociopaths. As you encounter these huge organizations (organisms) at higher levels, their degree of "empathy" for your cause will get less and less (but their degree of attempting to exploit your cause for their own advantage will get greater and greater).

Low level store employees might genuinely feel for you, while the VP of sales definitely does not.

Paul.

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The world would be a better place if only we could just make a difference. Some small, meaningful change; a real one, without the usual overwhelming negative side effects that seem to turn so many positive things against themselves....

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