Organizational Learning, Org culture, Change management LO29849

From: René Post (
Date: 01/22/03

Replying to LO29809

Hi Alan,

A fascinating story you told about the branch-manager who - incidentally -
died of a rare form of cancer.

The story was fascinating to me because of the parallels I saw between
this person acting as a branch-manager and what happened within his own

At a 'love-fest' at a beachside resort, he required his managers to sign a
'loyalty-charter' requiring support for himself while (probably) within
his ownbody a growing number of cancer cells were absolutely not loyal to
'him'. How paranoid can you get? Well, maybe he wasn't that paranoid,
maybe he was just addressing the wrong group in the wrong environment

Another parallel is concerns the issue why he was tolerated for so long in
the organisation. The fact that this question was asked and the answer of
the senior-manager seems to imply that on a certain level they knew that
his behavior was detrimental to their stated objectives / vision of a
management style according to TQM. They tolerated him because 'he kept the
lid on the unions'. That happens in generally also in our bodies, normally
our bodies fight, kill, and dispose of elements that do not belong in our
body. But somehow, for some reason, cancer cells are tolerated.

You wrote,

"I suggest we need to plan any shift in paradigm, however there is always
an underlying issue in any workplace. - It is the issue of 'democracy and
control'. Any new approach to management will always be subject to
(cynical) manipulation by self serving individuals in positions of

There are also plenty of self-serving individuals with not that much
authority. Workers who don't want to put in their best effort (for
whatever reason); employees that steel of their employers; etc. etc.

How about cancer cells? Are they self-serving cells who cynical manipulate
by denying to share information about their existence and their effect on
the whole body to the rest of the body?

There are so many more questions like: How about democracy and control? Is
it democratic that a majority of the cells kill and dispose other cells?
Or is it democratic to tolerate cells that - in the end- could kill the
whole? Is that wat is killed - the body - really the whole?

This relates closely to the subject "Systemic basis for a 'natural
morality'?" See for instance message LO29814 of Steve.




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