Individual Competence vs. Organizational Efficiency LO28931

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 07/30/02

Replying to LO28883 --

Dear Organlearners,

Glebe Stcherbina <> writes:

>Thank you for providing a mathematical representation
>of a worldwide problem which seems to be fluctuating
>as each business day passes. Perhaps you could take
>your quantitative modelling one step further and construct
>a model which allows an organization to identify the point
>of no return when it is on a path of self destruction.
>I know from experience that organizations do not have a
>self destruct policy written into their business plan but it
>happens all too often to organizations which fail to monitor
>their "internal pulse".

Greetings dear Glebe,

I will try to do so. I made a horrible mistake by writing:

> Imagine the organisation has a creativity symbolised by C(org). It can
> be expressed by the "power law"
> C(org) = [C(1) + C(2) + C(3) +....+ C(N-2) + C(N-1) + C(N)]^n
> The exponent n tells how organised the individuals have become.

I should have written the "It can be expressed by ..." as "IT IS AS IF it
can be expressed by ...". You corrected that mistake by clearly pointing
out that it is a model and nothing more.

Perhaps I will not succeed in modelling the "the point of no return when
it is on a path of self destruction". But i can certainly talk about it as
i and local fellow learners often do. It is when

 (1) an increasing number of people in that organisation
 (2) only respond to anything destructive in that organisation
 (3) only in a destructive manner.

Shorter said, its when more people fight evel with evil self and nothing
more. When this happens, the exponent n < 1 so that the sum is less than
the parts. For example, when I am in a meeting and see it happening,
whether participating or as observer, a chill goes down my spine because i
know what the outcome of the meeting will be -- less to build on after the
meeting than before it.

It is like cancer. When a normal cell becomes cancerous, it just feeds
itself rather than doing a job with the food for the rest of the body like
the normal cells among which it is situated. We know what happens next. It
multiplies into more cancerous cells like itself, faster than the normal
cells who not only work, but also used to regenerate them selves (creative
collapses) in a up a cycle up to 9 month to keep them healthy. Since the
cancerous cells do not regenerate themselves as regularly as normal cells,
they take food intended for normal cells to multiply self. Eventually,
when restricted to a specific organ, that organ stops functioning because
of too few cells functioning inferiorly so that death sets in. When
spreading into different organs, the cancerous cells disrupt the harmony
between these organs so much that death also sets in.

I have used cancer as metaphor which you are saying more directly:

>Not until we can equitably reward those who are
>prepared to contribute to the advancement of their
>respective organizations as a whole rather than their
>own self interest, will we be able to find a balance
>between individual competence and organizational

The bit I have trouble in to accept, is your "equitably reward". My
English is such that i understand it to be "impartial gift for merit".
What is the merit -- perhaps to outperform others whose own performance
was up to that time satisfactorily? What will the gift be -- perhaps money
or promotion? Who will be the impartial judge and by what citeria will
selection be made?

When I think of normal cells in a organ, they get only their food as usual
and not any special gift. But they are always allowed by the rest of the
body to go through their creative cycle to regenerate themselves so as to
reamin competent in their functioning. They need food as usual to do this.
Now what food is necessary?

Let me illustrate it wih a factual story.

A couple of months ago i went to a farmers co-op to buy some food and
medicine. I knew the head of the stores, a certain Peter, who was retired,
but employed again because of his immense reliability. He often asked me
for advice on the nutrition, breeding and excercise of racing pigeons. For
more that 18 months he was just abscent. Those under him replied upon my
enquiries "he is very buzy", but they could not tell me with what.

During my last visit Peter was back again. I asked him where he had been.
He told me that 18 months ago the manager of the co-op came to him, gave
him a receipt from the local technical university and told him that he
enroled him for a diploma in animal health care. Peter replied that he
could not do it because he was already over 60 years. The manager just
said: "Do what you like, I will not hold it against you." So Peter went to
the university and attended classes. The oldest among his fellow students
was almost thirty years younger than Peter.

Peter had to battle to pass his courses because he himself had more than
thirty years ago attended any class formally. But he managed to pass every
subject, improving with every new level. He still has six months to go,
but he expect to get his diploma with distinction.

Peter was all smiles, bursting with passion and compassion. He was not
head of the stores any more. He asked to be become a sales person in the
veterinary division. He sells, but he first advises his customers as best
as he can, enquiring how products previously sold did their jobs. He did
not tell it to me. I observed it during the several times when a customer
needed his attention. He gave the customer first priority.

I asked Peter if he still wants to retire because in the past his job as
head of the stores did not suite him, even though he was very reliable and
he needed the salary because of inadequate pension. He replied "No, if it
must, I shall die in this job. It is not the money, it is the mental
satisfaction which keeps me here. The money is just necessary to keep my
body and my pigeons alive."

It seems that Peter's zeal for working also took hold of his pigeons. He
told me that they are winning races as never before!

What that manager did was to give Peter the opportunity to regenerate
himself intellectually WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED. I think the manager knew
about Peter's passion for racing pigeons and decided to put it to use for
the co-op. I afterwards walked to the manager with whom I was distantly
acquainted. I congratulated him for what he did for Peter. His reply?
"Within two months the sales in our veterinary division have risen by 25%
and I never had that even in mind. I only wanted satisfied customers and
saw in Peter the person who could accomplish it with the necessary
training. I am lucky I never advertised the job as head office advised me
to do. I gambled on Peter to offer doing the job for us since I told head
office the white lie that the person under training accepted the job
offered. I never told them how old he was and fortunately they never asked

>Best wishes and may the force be with you.

I always wonder what you mean by "may the force be with you"? Is it
perhaps the force of knowledge?

[Host's Note: In the first Star Wars movie, the concept of "The Force" is
introduced. The good guys use the force, but there is also a dark side to
the force. Hence, the well-wishing experession, "may the force be with
you." ..Rick]

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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