Life in Organizations LO9718

Dr Ilfryn Price (101701.3454@CompuServe.COM)
Tue, 3 Sep 1996 14:42:01 -0400

Replying to LO9675 --

Bill, responding to something I posted earlier said

>Whenever I analyze a system I find that people are the controlling factor.
>We provide the intent and direction of the system. All else is inanimate
>and without the ability to cause change.

Can we just clarify 'system' a moment Bill. In the message you responded
to I said

>The 'system' part
>[that whole unwritten mix of mental models/ language/ 'rules' etc] then
>tends to blindly seek its own replication,

I would normally refer to that mix as 'the pattern' [or when I'm feeling
academic the memome] of the organisation. I try to imply something in, or
at the core of, the 'system'. And when it comes to that core I believe it
is dangerous to say 'All else is inanimate'. We do not have the ability to
provide intent and direction, unless we start to realise how much we are
trapped and conditioned by our inherited mental patterns - and also
realise that without those shared patterns we would not have any form of
organisation. People do not just make systems. People are blindly
self-organised into emergent systems, 'made' by other 'patterns'

You conclude Bill with

>My real intent in this is to offer a shift in viewpoint. The viewpoint
that the 'system' is at fault (to blame) disempowers us. The viewpoint
that ours is the responsibility for changing the system tells us to pick
up the power we as creators have and do something to make the system
better. Become an activist!>

I hope you appreciate I share the sentiment but empowering ourselves to
become activists about something we do not understand is a bit like
empowering a medieval barber to cure say cholera, by letting blood or
applying leaches. The shift of viewpoint I am trying to offer is, I think
at least, subtler. It is that the 'system' actually creates us, and until
we realise it we do not have the power. I am not 'blaming the system' I am
seeking to understand from whence the power comes.

Hope this clarifies

If Price
The Harrow Partnership
Pewley Fort Guildford UK


Dr Ilfryn Price <101701.3454@CompuServe.COM>

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