Life in Organizations LO9666

Dr Ilfryn Price (
Sun, 1 Sep 1996 11:50:15 -0400

Replying to LO9642 --


Brief and eloquent as usual you say

>Most of my experience -- more than 70% -- with dysfunctional systems
was with systems that at one time worked fine and did exactly what they
were supposed to do, until the environment changed. Is this other
peoples' experience, or is this unusual? What I am saying is that in
general, people made a system do something, and at the time they made
that system, it was doing a GOOD thing. This would have been the general
response of people questioned about the system at the time it was created.
Then, some time later, the environmen changed, and as a direct
consequence, the system became either mildly or radically dysfunctional.>

Most of my experience says the same save that I would say that equally a
'system' enabled', or even 'made' people to act in a certain way. I guess
Rol I am reacting to "people made a system" which occurs to me as like
saying a chicken made an egg; true as far as it goes but also true the
other way around.

If 'the system' and 'the organisation' it creates/is created by find a
niche in an environment they survive and perhaps prosper. The 'system' part
[that whole unwritten mix of mental models/ language/ 'rules' etc] then
tends to blindly seek its own replication, through the grip it exerts on
the minds of the people in the organisation, even when by doing so it traps
them in dysfunctional behaviour.

If Price
The Harrow Partnership
Pewley Fort Guildford UK


Dr Ilfryn Price <>

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