Social futures LO7574

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
23 May 96 10:19:04 EDT

Replying to LO7526 --

Michael is raising some interesting and subtle questions about our view of
'human resources'.

"Supposedly the creation of the Magna Carta and the Declaration of
Independance etc. raised human rights to a high enough level to where
people were no longer considered to be property, But we still retain the
Command and Control Mindset (among other things) that from my perspective,
originated in the old city states of pre-history. (talk about an imbedded
mental model)."

=== end of quote ===

I think the question for us is, 'Are we at the right balance point between
command and control and individual autonomy?' You are right the those
documents did change the expectation about what should be human rights.
At the same time, there are very good reasons in the right circumstances
for command and control. We have Churchill in World War II. We have one
airplane pilot, not a legislative body. We as individuals have one brain,
not a distributed brain system. Clearly, we need the command and control
model because it is the best choice for some activities. Therefore, the
question is have we -- in the name of power -- taken territory that should
be outside of C & C and moved it inside. The answer is yes, we have.
However, I don't know where the boundary should be.


Michael says,

The idea that "people are our most valuable asset" reflects the idea that
the individual worker is a "replace-able widget" in the work place and is
still an item to be "won" or "lost".


I agree there is something dehumanizing about being called an asset. On
the other hand, most organizations think of assets as things to be
maintained and enhanced, not replaced at will. I have some discomfort
with the notion of being an asset, but I can't put my finger on why.


I agree with the comment that "we will not create a future worth the name
without rethinking fundamental assumtions concerning work." But it can't
stop there. I think that in order to change our work we have to change
ourselves. I can't claim great insight as to how to effect this change,
but it seems that what we are really talking about (bottom line) is how we
value humanity. Human life is not a unit of currency, (or is it?) and if
it isn't-then what is it?


Just yesterday I met a friend who said that he realized he could not sell
the idea of learning organizations within his company until people could
see that these ideas substantially changed his behavior. His decision was
to quit. There are probably other choices, but Michael has hit on the key

Any thoughts on how to change ourselves?


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>