Psychological aspects of LO's LO26302

From: Gavin Ritz (
Date: 03/07/01

Replying to LO26299 --

Hi Winfried

Winfried und Kirstin Dressler wrote:

> 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.

This is a interesting statement because many companies do have creative
centers, brilliant minds, and very very successful and have never heard of
the term Learning Organization and have been around a long time. I know
tons of them. They are so busy burying themselves in the needs and demands
of mankind that they don't need to think about being or aspiring to be an

> > 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.

That depends on many factors, on the cognitive capability of the people
running them and their emotive makeup's plus the structures and processes
to intuit the future.

> > 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?

You seemed to have missed the point a little using the term connect-beget
should mean something to you here. What I am trying to say is that the
problem has always existed and will exist until some clever chum links it
all and whether one names something an LO or a requisite organisation or a
viable systems model organization or a EKS organisation managers are
trying to work out the best way to "survive" and how to do that. Man is
trying to make this an algorithm. ( a process to follow).

> 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.

To go to another point, the entire concept of vision mission is also a fad
and it is systems thinking way of shoring up it's very weaknesses.

A question for you. What do you think is the structure- process behind the
archetypes.? What makes the archetypes the way they are?

I have reached the limits of organisational theories and have realised
their frailties in application, method and soundness. Once one sees the
underline pattern and association with most business models then one has
reached the place where I have to say I don't know. And I don't know, but
I don't get fooled anymore by slick talk nice saying and cute theories.



Gavin Ritz <>

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