Re: Handling Power & Politics LO1940

Laural Adams (
Wed, 5 Jul 1995 08:30:05 -0600 (MDT)

Reply to LO1913:

On 3 Jul 1995, Barry Mallis wrote:

> To Laurel Adams regarding who it is that decides what org. objectives are
> just and unjust.
> I am reminded, Laurel, of a series of exchanges about a month ago on this
> list which were promoted especially on one side by someone who appeared to
> be the chief of an organization in California. The questions and opinions
> expressed in the postings often had something to do with the idea of
> "who's in charge" of ideas and their application in a company; and what
> happens if someone might not agree with the direction explicitly stated by
> the manager or owner.
> When we get your question of who sets the values, isn't the answer in an
> organization "that person or those people who are the leaders"? Certainly
> such persons are affected in many overt and subtle ways by those they
> presume to lead, but the "make or break" decisions about vision, goals,
> etc. come from the owners/managers/ceo's/presidents what-have-you's.
> That's pretty clear, isn't it? Am I missing something in your question?

Yes, you've missed the question, but I think Michael McMasters caught it
and addressed it in his reponse about participants in "conversations" as
agents of goals for organizations. The distinction really is in the
difference between "who decides" and "who ought to decide." Michael
mentioned Etzioni as one who has tackled that question. I had a chance to
read a bit of _Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics_. It places
business orgs within the larger context of society, therefore subject to
evaluation beyond those of managers and stockholders (and inlfuence). It
also discusses the current paradigm, the view that the market (inlcuding
organizations) will pursue the simplest means toward ends. The
alternative that Etzioni suggests is that people (by extension, orgs)
choose means that reflect a commitment also to morals/values. This "world
view" is a choice, Etzioni says, and it shapes the way we respond to our
environment. So the paradigm reflects reality, yet becomes strengthened in
reality upon adoption. "Who decides," then, is up to us to some extent,
that extent dependent upon our recognition of our capacity to participate
in the "conversations" and the social reality formed by other world


Laural Adams
Business Reference Librarian
New Mexico State University Library
Box 30006 Dept 3475
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8006 505-646-7482