a student's perspective LO7483

Steven J Morris (SJMvideo@gnn.com)
Sat, 18 May 1996 06:06:50

Rol Fessenden writes in LO7196:

> As Deming said, people in general
>are not the root cause of dysfunctional behavior, systems and processes
>are. So his point was don't blame people. I agree with that. However,
>once we acknowledge that systems and processes are dysfunctional, we have
>to look around for the solution. Unfortunately, at that point, there is
>no one here but us people. We may not be responsible for the problem, but
>we cannot avoid responsibility for the solution.

It seems to me that a more empowering viewpoint might be to recognize that
there is no such thing as a dysfunctional system. If you assume that all
systems function perfectly, just perhaps not in a way that produces the
results you want, then you can uncover more of the hidden structures of
the system. By asking "What is this system really trying to do?" you can
begin to see what is really motivating people, and perhaps find the
leverage points. Systems grow and are sustained from an effort to answer
some sort of question. For example, perhaps one of the questions that lead
to our current situation with the automobile is "What sort of
transportation give people maximum freedom at the lowest cost?" Now we
need to ask further questions such as how are freedom and low cost
defined. If low cost is defined in terms of immediately measurable dollars
then our current system is probably functioning perfectly. If you
redefine the scope of cost to include social, environmental, medical, etc.
than the system no longer produces the result you want. By trying to
solve the problems that the current "dysfunctional" system produces, the
reason the system was created is never addressed in the first place. I
don't believe that people want the undesired consiquences of a
"dysfunctional" system. Often they see no other way to get what they want
with out those consiquences.


Steven J. Morris Multi-Media Performance Engineer Stevie5@aol.com SJMvideo@gnn.com

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