Re: Resistance to Change LO1193

Wynn, Eleanor,VCA (WYNN@AppleLink.Apple.COM)
13 May 95 17:26 GMT

Michael McMaster wrote among other things:

>To make the point: the individual or organisation may have no more
>"choice" about its nature of "resisting change" than the wire. The
>choice (or at least variety of response) is greater due to its nature
>but the "resistance" may be as strongly in its nature.--

The domain of discourse here is culture. Culture tends to optimize. As an
anthropologist I have always thought the "resistance to change" argument
to be psycho-techno-centric nonsense based in the assumption that the
change in question is clearly good.

I have missed much of the conversation so please forgive me if repeating
the argument. Culture tends to move towards what works, given the context
of the framework it has created. If culture were too wildly unresistant to
change we would have been extinct from eating poisonous plants and jumping
off cliffs to see if we, unlike our ancestors, could fly. Culture tends to
move slowly, but recently it has moved very rapidly. Things that have
obvious immediate utility get adopted fast. One problem comes up when the
new things have no analogy in the culture to the old: third world
agricultural workers handling pesticides and herbicides with their bare
hands. Not resistant enough--no model for a deadly dust, or for something
that poisons over several years.

How about the people who volunteered or agreed to watch the first A-bomb
blast at Alamogordo. Resistant to change? Not exactly.

Practicality is what I would call all of it. Looking to see the
consequences before rushing to do something. Some are more experimental
than others--there is an elaborate diffusion model for this. How about the
19th century? Or better yet, the 16th? Sailing boats over uncharted seas
just looking for something. All the biologists and anthropologists and
geographers wandering to unexplored parts for the sake of science, many
not surviving.

If the greater mass of people are slower to adapt, there is probably a
sense to it.


Eleanor Wynn, PhD
Transparent Practices, Inc.
Portland OR