Prioritizing Who for Formal Learning LO20529

Work Conflict (
Fri, 29 Jan 1999 23:59:37 +0000

Replying to LO20518 --

On 29 Jan 99 at 13:00, Winfried Dressler wrote:

> I have been asked a question on my contribution to this thread
> privately. But I can imagine, that many of you may have similar
> concerns, so here is the question and my reply for all of you:

I posed the question, but perhaps I was assuming that people would
realize that a manager determining whether a person wanting to attend
training or learn was "curious enough" might encounter some problems.

For whatever reason, I can't find Winfried's answer to my question
about the possible effects. I understand Winfried described how the
process would unfold.

Winfried talks about the following "assessment".

> 1.) the seed in the employee is ready to germinate

As many of us do, I work with many real live people. I think most
would rather not have their manager determine if their seed is about
to germinate. Or that they are curious enough.

I think it is valid to say that managers aren't in a position to make
that judgement accurately. It implies they can do it better than the
employee can, and I can't buy that. It may apply in some cases. But
certainly not in the majority. In fact, unless I had huge respect for
a manager, I would perceive such judgement to be patronizing and

I could handle being denied learning opportunities for many reasons.
But one reason I would have trouble with is if a manager with
basically few qualifications, is assessing my personality structure
or my seed structure or my curiosity.

> All three conditions are awfully complex to evaluate. But dealing
> with complexity is a speciality of humans and part of any personal
> growth.

Again, I have to disagree directly with you. Human beings are not
good at dealing with complexity, and I don't think that is in dispute
in fields such as cognitive science. In fact we are reductionist is basic biology. We have some limitations on memory
space we can access at any one time (M-space or working memory), that
limits our ability to deal with complexity. So we chunck information
(reduce the complexity) so we can operate on the world.

Our use of concepts is reduction of complexity as is our use of
language, all in the service of reducing the information load.

In addition, it is a reasonable hypothesis that the increased
incidence of clinical depression and anxiety disorders is a result of
a world that has become too complex for our cognitive systems to

Robert Bacal, author of PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT,(McGraw-Hill). Details at and
"Performance management - about people and creating success"=
Join the Performance Management/Appraisal discussion group by sending an email to
Visit the Perf. Management/Appraisal Resource Center at


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