Re: Incentives LO1122

Tue, 9 May 1995 07:07:43 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO1100 --

On Mon, 8 May 1995, Ketan Lakhani wrote:

> More and more I believe that what is lacking in systems thinking is the
> whole human aspect of MORALS and ETHICS - thus far I have seen less than
> satisfactory answers to these questions from systems thinkers.
> Thus your question is ultimately rooted not in the system but in the
> morality of individuals - which leads me to consider that systems thinking
> is largely a descriptive science and does little to acknowledge to
> INDIVIDUAL in tandem with the system.
> So the measure of what is the RIGHT pay is not a systems one but an ethical
> and moral one.

There is a tendency for all modern-day professionals, especially
technocrats, to assume that whatever is involved in scientific or
methodological matters necessarily has to be formalized, or it is not

In the early 1970s there was a great deal of interest in US literature in
human values. Even today, some of the people in conflict resolution
insist that nothing can be done in conflict resolution unless you deal
with deep rooted values.

I studied the writings of many people who dealt with values, e.g., Harold
Lasswell, who invented a set of eight values that he believed should be
dealt with in systems studies. After looking at his set, I noted that
the eight values were not only not independent of one another but,
instead, were significantly interrelated in a very complex way. Other
authors had smaller sets, or much larger sets, and social scientists were
falling all over themselves to discuss values.

I finally concluded that the analysis of values is so complex that it
would fulfill the greatest ambitions of academics to publish at length
and forever, but that was not going to be part of my own study. Why?

The answer was very simple: if you could involve people effectively in
designing the systems to which they had to respond, the people would
bring their values with them and incorporate them in surrogates, e.g.,
action plans. By keeping values where they naturally exist, viz, in the
human presence, and allowing them to be operational in designing the
future, one could forego all of the largely useless analysis, and proceed
to what was really important--doing something to fix the large, complex,
systems that abuse everyone.