learning-org-digest V1 #555 LO6037

Marion Brady (mbrady@digital.net)
Thu, 7 Mar 1996 14:51:54 -0500

Rachel Vance asks, "How does one go about identifying and measuring =
underlying [organizational] values?"

Organizational values will always (it seems to me) be mere variations on =
basic cultural values. Over the years I've attempted to identify those =
about which we have deep-seated, generally unexamined values, beliefs, =
assumptions, premises, positions. Currently, here's my list:

The "good life"
Physical reality
The supernatural
Physical reality
Acceptable action
Purpose of existence

These are still, of course, extremely broad categories. The value =
differences that drive individual and collective behavior lie at the =
next level of specificity. For example, for "time," what "explains" =
specific action are assumptions about the _nature_ of time, the _value_ =
of time, the _shape_ of time, approaches to _segmenting_ time, the =
_direction of movement_ of time, time _orientation_.

An example, re time orientation: Most middleclass Americans are future =
oriented. We say, "Just wait until ___________[quitting time, Friday, I =
can get my own apartment, I get a raise, I get married, I get divorced, =
etc.], _then_ I'll be happier." We routinely do things we don't want to =
do for the sake of some hoped-for future payoff. The long-time poor, on =
the other hand, tend to be present oriented. The iffyness of life =
encourages an "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die," =

Put future oriented and present oriented people together in the same =
society (are they really in the same society?) and the potential for =
fundamental misunderstanding, conflict, and frustration is enormous. =
And because the source of the problem will lie in unexamined =
assumptions, each will mislabel the problem and deal with it in some =
unproductive way. =20

IMHO, there's nothing we can know about ourselves or each other, =
individually and collectively, that's more important than a conscious =
awareness of our value configurations. Sadly, at no level in traditional =
education does their exploration have a place. Yet. I'm working on it.

Marion Brady


mbrady@digital.net=20 http://ddi.digital.net/~mbrady =20

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>