Organization of a LO LO7661
Wed, 29 May 1996 07:52:54 -0400

Replying to LO7651 --

In a message dated 96-05-28 22:48:29 EDT, you write:

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

Here comes that old broken record again. In the paper "Spreadthink:
Explaining Ineffective Groups", Systems Research 12(1), 5-14, 1995, I show
the data that explain why in every instance where we have ever worked with
a group of knowledgeable people on something that is complex, we always
find the same thing.

Every individual's view on what are the most important aspects of what is
being dealt with is different.

Moreover, it is almost always true as well that:

There is not a majority view on anything.

Having been preaching this empirical result now for about five years, and
getting vacant stares in return, especially from the social science
people, who can't believe that an engineer by education could discover
anything that has social significance; and even more especially from the
"conflict resolution" people on my own campus, who can't seem to imagine
that what I have named "spreadthink" is universal, regardless of subject,
regardless of group.

Don't try to believe it then, but at least do this: imagine what it would
be like to try to manage by consensus when you know that every single
individual's views are different from every other individual's views, in
significant ways. Suppose you imagine that. Then ask yourself this
question: "Have I ever been in a meeting where that idea would explain
what went on there?" Q. E. D.

John N. Warfield


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