Psychological aspects of LO's LO26299

From: Winfried und Kirstin Dressler (
Date: 03/07/01

Replying to LO26189 --

Hi Gavin,

> Elliot Jaques has been saying since 1950 if management and subordinates do
> not have the anticipatory and learning capabilities an organisation will
> not survive.

In The Living Company, Arie de Geus makes the point that in contrast to
real living (thus viable) systems, the mean lifetime of an organization is
much, much lower than the maximum lifetime. When one leaves away the early
deaths, living organisms have a lifetime, which is 70-90% of maximum
lifetime. The mean lifetime of an organization is less then 10% of its
maximum lifetime.

> Every company is an LO the key ingredient for an LO to survive is to have
> the processing- structures to innovate, create- creativeness and grow.(and
> all the other stuff right too).

Above observation tells me, that a normal company is at least not learning
like a living organism.

> Of course it is not just as simple as that, but any organism does have a
> mechanism whereby it intuits the future wherever the company knows it or
> not.

I think this is an important necessary condition: intuit the future,
anticipating capability. But I doubt that companies are usually good at
it. Again above observation gives some evidence.

> Russell Ackoff on page 252 of re-creating the corporation says LO's are
> fads. And he has a point, nothing has changed in organisations for
> thousands of years just the names we dig up to describe what's going on.
> If we were alive 500 years ago and living in Holland we would be
> discussing the very same thing on how we should keep the Dutch east India
> company growing, innovating etc etc. Probably just using different words
> (and Dutch) to describe what we think is going on.

How does the belief that people 500 years ago had the same topics to
discuss like I have today, how does this make the topic a fad? But may be,
Ackhoff is thinking of 'LO' not in terms of questions towards a vision but
in terms of a label for a solution. Then I do agree that this 'solution'
is very likely to be a fad.

Liebe Gruesse,


-- (Winfried und Kirstin Dressler)

[Host's Note: In assoc w/

The Living Company by Arie De Geus, Peter M. Senge


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