Organization of a LO LO7651

William J. Hobler, Jr (
Tue, 28 May 1996 21:23:18 -0400

Replying to LO7604 --

Jack Hirschfeld wrote in reply to

>> Even in the small business there is
>>the owner that pays the wages and the worker that earns it.


>This clings to a paradigm of economic organization which has long been
>discredited. I am surprised to discover how little is known among my
>colleagues of the history of intentional communities.

Discredited or not, large hierarchial organizations survive and accomplish
many goals - good or bad - but human accomplishment. Are they sometimes
oppressive human environments - yes.

Moreover, communes have never been very successful in surviving or in
growing large enough to challenge the larger issues confronting our
species without reverting to some form of supervisor and supervisoree.
There is a reason that villages growing much over 150 people separate into
two villages. The ability to maintain the community relationships begins
to unravel somewhere in this size. I believe this based on some reports
of anthropological work and on my experience in many organizations. I
would like to hear from members of this list either confirming or
confounding the empirical and hearsay evidence.

Jack continues thoughtfully

>The idea that work requires wage slavery is less than 200
>years old, and its widespread social enforcement is little more than a
>century old.

Yes - and before that the law bonded people for set periods of time. Or an
apprenticeship system locked a person into a guild. What measures the
worth of labor? Is it the law and its price of years bond labor? Or is
it the guild and its price of years of subsistence existence before being
allowed to earn? The wage is - perhaps - slavery but it is a measure of
how the market values my capabilities. It is a measure over which I have
some control, either as an employer or employee independent of whether I
am in a hierarchy or in a collaborative team.

Then Jack asks a searchingquestion

> A question
>that cries out for attention is: What are the obstacle to making
>collaboration the organizing principle in the socioeconomic sphere?

I think that a part of the answer is that we haven't found a way to
establish a reward system acceptable to us generally. Or at least a
system better than wages for contribution.

Jack continues

>This flies in the face of my experience of
>networks, in which assertions of leadership survive only if:
>A) power is attached to leadership (as in a networked company or agency
>where the leadership is enforced by either economic or political control)
>B) if acceded to by other networked participants.
>In the latter case, this leadership is transitory, just as it is in a
>truly communitarian social setting.

If it takes political or economic power to get people to do something I
don't consider it leadership. It is more akin to dictatorship. A true
leader is described in the Tao thusly

A leader is best when people barely know he exists. Of a
good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim
fulfilled, they will say, "We did this ourselves."

I think that condition B) is universal to all leadership. The led have to
accede to being led. In addition economic or political control are not
the only motivators. There is a leader I worked for more almost 20 years
ago, who could call today and I'd be on my way to his company. He
established conditions that allowed us to accomplish much in a short time.
It is great fun to be able to move mountains and I do it again at the drop
of a hat.

Finally Jack and I reach some agreement but of different scale. He wrote

>To be "with people" you no longer need to be face-to-face with them, in my
>opinion. I feel like I am more "with" Rick Karash and Tobin Quereau, ...
>And I don't mean by this that I am "with" them because I share a
>fellow-feeling and set of interests. I am "with" them because we do work
>together in this space almost every day, even though we very seldom
>"speak" to each other in any form.

Yes, I feel connected with people contributing here. I do feel that for a
group to tackle the complex issues of accomplishing in our post modern
society we must develop a deeper trust and greater ability to communicate
through very wide aperatures than I fell here now.

On the teams that accomplished much we all knew each other deeply (not in
the biblical sence though). We knew each others strength's and
weaknesses, our likes and dislikes. We cared about our missions and each
other. Acting as a team was almost instinctual. Achievement for one was
cause for celibration by all. It takes more than sitting in a hotel typing
into a computer. (What I'm doing now.)

These teams are learning organizations of the first order.


-- Bill Hobler

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