Re: Advancing human development LO2654

jack hirschfeld (
Sat, 2 Sep 1995 00:45:42 -0400

Replying to LO2619 --

Diane Weston declared:

>Some of my associates use a model of organizational culture depicted as a
>circle containing all the elements of a business. The circle is divided in
>half, with Operational elements (functions, tasks, resources, technology,
>etc.) in one half and the Human elements in the other half (values,
>relationships, attitudes, communications, etc.). Acknowledging that most
>managers have mastered the operational concerns in their business,
>interventions focus on the human half of the business that has been so
>thoroughly ignored and avoided.

There are a lot of assumptions in this statement that I used to share but
have recently begun to question. The technical competence of most
managers in most businesses is "taken for granted". But I don't think
scrutiny of actual practices bears this assumption out. TQ works exactly
because unnecessary, and sometimes dysfunctional activity has become
embedded in operations. These represent operational habits that often
have a deep concern for people at their foundation. There are many ways
in which daily work in business tends to the "human side", but because the
underlying values and relationships are seldom examined or declared, they
tend to be obscured even from the managers who act upon them.

The "unconscious competence" we detect so often in managers - if viewed
through a different facet - is not technical but social. Indeed, it's
possible that social factors in organizations might be in disintegration
*because* we believe the technical side is OK. I wonder how much of the
late 20th century trend of "management by fad" which we discussed here
last winter may be driven by misplaced focus of the outside experts?

As an aside, some of the content of this topic is revealed in the
personality portrait so often presented of engineers, which I find
completely out of whack and often dehumanizing. Yet these definitions
originate with well-meaning "humanists"!

Jack Hirschfeld                               How long has this been going on?