Competition LO16740

Freddy Holwerda (
Wed, 28 Jan 1998 14:00:32 +0100

[Arbitrarily linked to LO16710 by your host.]

Dear all,

I really like the discussion on Competition. But one thing bothers me. Is
not the fundamental theory behind competition "surival of the fittest" ?
The best will stay and get rewarded, the loosers will be (directly or
indirectly) punished or even leave the company. IMHO the basic assumption
behind competition (on every level) is the thought that we can manage on
our own. That we can achieve our goals on our own. That an organization
can achieve the organizational goals on its own. That a nation can achieve
the national goals on its own.

I think this is a wrong assumption (at least at organizational level). An
organization is a organization because it has some goals that an
individual alone can't achieve. (why should we else organize?). This is
the whole theory behind teamwork and team-learning. We need interaction
with other persons. Senge highlighted in his article in the Sloan
Management Review (Fall 1990) a few new Leadership roles. One of this
roles is the Leader as Steward. As well stewardship to the people he leads
as stewardship to the ultimate organizational goals. In networking
organizations, this role really acts on the foreground. And why? Because
the (ALL) members realize that the goals they are striving for can't be
achieved by one person. They realize that co-operation is the key.

Another dangerous thing with competition IMHO is the measurement and
importance of the things you compete on.Tom DeMarco, a strong supporter of
the need for measurement in software development, asserts that: "You
cannot control what you cannot measure". Competition will always find
place on things you can measure, thereby (most likely) excluding the
things that cannot be measured. But maybe (just maybe) it are these things
that give the winner the possibility and opportunity to win. Maybe it are
these things behind the surface, these people outside the spotlights, that
create the perfect surroudings for the competitor to compete, and to
compete succesfully. And allthough there efforts are tacit and not
explicit, so (most likely) they can't be measured, still these efforts are

Just some thougths,


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