Competition LO17989

Roxanne Abbas (
Tue, 5 May 1998 06:39:13 -0500

Replying to LO17922 --

Rick gave an example of situation in which competition appeared to be in
the best interest of both the individuals and the organization:

>But, in response to your question, I suggest we consider the reasonably
>well documented case from Tracey Kidder's wonderful book, "Soul of a New
>Machine" which has lots of org learning examples.
>In the book, the hero Tom West leads a team trying to build the next
>generation computer for Data General. Besides the external competition,
>Tom is spurred along by competition with the company's anointed design
>talent at the new research site in North Carolina. As I read the book,
>West's team has more urgency because of the competition.
>On the other hand, there is no discussion of the impact on the losing
>North Carolina team.

I understand that competition has the power of energizing people to work
harder and, in some cases, perhaps more effectively. However, my
experience has been that there is generally a significant downside risk of
damaged relationships and unethical behavior. How eager will the
humiliated members of the North Carolina team be to support Tom West in
his next project? Is it possible that Data General could have achieved
even more if Tom's team had worked cooperatively with North Carolina?


Roxanne Abbas

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>