Competition LO18213

Roxanne Abbas (
Thu, 28 May 1998 12:19:44 -0500

Replying to LO18170 --

Rol said,

"Roxanne, it is interesting that what others call competition you in a
number of cases have agreed was important, but you simply call it
something else. So the conclusion I draw is that it is all a matter of
definition. In fact, you value many things that others think of as
competition or competitive in nature. I am sensing that there is not much
of a gap-in a behavioral sense-between your behavior and mine in specific
instances, but I might be more inclined to refer to something as
competition than you."

Rol, I believe you are right that there would seldom be much difference in
how we would act in specific situations. As I've read your messages over
the past two years, I've almost always felt congruity in our beliefs and
values which I know we both try to reflect in our behaviors. Some of the
participants in this discussion have been frustrated with my insistence
that we use the same definitions in order to enable understanding of each
others views. If we could witness each others behaviors, we wouldn't be
so dependent on words, but since our communication is limited to the text
on the computer screen, I know of no other alternative to build
understanding. Several people have suggested that my participation in
this discussion is probably viewed by many as competitive. In the broader
sense of the word which is commonly used, I would agree. You said: "In
your behavior I sense, if not competition, then at the very least, not
cooperation or collaboration either. Call it whatever you will, I think
others, observing your behavior, your likes or dislikes, your approach to
life and challenges, your values and ethics and your willingness to defend
them, would probably describe you as a "normal" competitive person."

Again I did help understanding what you mean. I seem to recall that you
earlier described a cooperative person as passive. You may not be
surprised that this word has never been used in the same sentence with my
name. But I consciously strive to exhibit behaviors that are congruent
with my definition of cooperative (a willingness to work with others) and
collaborative (a willingness to cooperate with others not closed connected
to). However, in the broader usage of the word competitive as striving to
do one's best or actively advocating a belief, I agree, others will view
me as competitive. One important arena in which my beliefs on this issue
cause me to function differently than my peers is in my work as a Human
Resource consultant. My primary work is in the design of pay and
performance management systems. Organizations frequently create
competitive systems that encourage employees to strive to beat each other
in a contest for performance ratings, pay increases or bonuses. I have
seen many, many examples where these systems have created dysfunctional
cultures by tempting employees to d eceive, lie, hoard, sabotage and steal
from each other, from their customers and from their employers. I will
not take a consulting assignment in which I'm asked to help an
organization create a system that I believe will hurt both the company and
the people who work there. Thanks, Rol, for helping me to better
understand myself and others through your challenging questions and

Best regards,



Roxanne Abbas

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