Competition LO16710

Srinath Srinivasa (
Tue, 27 Jan 1998 18:56:26 +0530 (IST)

Replying to LO16681 by Simon Buckingham,

Here's a small clarification. I only said that competition model works for
a class of problems which may not be comprehensive. I did not advocate
intervension as a remedy. Infact, I don't know what could be a reliable
remedy. There are three premises that are essential for the correct
working of a competition oriented model-- (a) Level playing field (each
player has access to the same set of resources) (b) Tangible and
measurable gratification available within a reasonable period of time and
(c) Players concentrating on the game and not other players (only then we
can assure that competition actually increases quality and does not start
wars). In that sense, we see that there are some problems which do not
quite match those requirements.

What I see as some of the more promising avenues is that of education. I
came across this quote somewhere (I think in Gene Bellinger's pages), that
"A collection of data is not information, a collection of information is
not knowledge, and a collection of knowledge is not wisdom". Whenever we
encounter a problem for which gratification is not immediate (like
teaching, for example), the system tries to motivate people by placing
artifical sources of gratification. Like awards, recognition, etc. But
unfortunately what is objectively measurable is only the collection of
something -- like the amount of money generated, the number of people in
the institution, number of research publications, etc. Which of course
need not mean anything.

My hope is on those people -- or rather those kinds of thinking -- who are
unfazed by both successes and failures. Who need not be "motivated" by
external means. What motivates them is self actualization. I don't know
how to create a country of self actualizers, but I think it is certainly
possible within an organization to encourage people to think beyond the
immediate or not to be too concerned with external gratification.

Probably it is the environment that is the key here. Unorganization looks
promising in that sense, but I am not sure of its implications on the
level of a country, for example.

Warm Regards


Srinath Srinivasa <>

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