Incentives LO1149

Doug Seeley (
11 May 95 03:16:26 EDT

Replying to Ketan Lakhani in LO1100,

I think You have an important point there Ketan...

"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."

That is why the definition of "system" which We go by, is so important. I
like the Willard Gibbs definition which John Warfield passed along earlier
on LO List, and the one given by Kirsten Nygaard of Norway (the grand
father of object-oriented programming and process-oriented simulation).
Each of these definitions emphasizes the role played by the observer in
defining the system, and that there are no systems without our
construction of them.

(Added later... including Richard Karash' posting LO1137 ..Richard I think
it a mistake to call systems science a "Descriptive" science... that
tends to reinforce objectivist thinking which leaves out the participants
including the observer.... and seems to be also what John Warfield was
saying in LO1138 )

This, I believe goes to the core of the issue... as long as We act as if
there is a "system out there" which does not include our involvement, then
inevitably We will act from a position which objectifies others and
ultimately ourselves. If We act out of consciousness of our involvement,
then We will also be more open to treating the Individuals in the system
like ourselves. Such action will then bring Ethics into play without
having to be explicit about it. Also, it does not imply that ethics
derives from some belief system, but rather from the relationships which
ensue from conscious and equal relating. (This is essentially a plea
against the belief system around a conjectured "objective science" which
has gained so much authority in this century).

The next question for me is, how does "participative systems thinking" in
the above sense, then translate into actions (including non-acting in the
Taoist sense) regarding such things as rewards which benefit the

Doug Seeley:  compuserve 100433,133... Fax: +41  22  756  3957
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