Application of PCT to Management

[From Ken Kitzke (950914.1238)]

[From Rick Marken (950912.0930)]

This is interesting. You are making a plea for harmony and cooperation on the
net while arguing for the virtues of competition in the marketplace. If
competition makes for better late-night TV, why doesn't it make for better
PCT applications? I hope this question doesn't seem too competitive -- or too
cooperative;-)

Your question is taken as a search for understanding of what you perceive to be
an inconsistency. I am happy to respond.

I was not arguing for the virtures of competition in the marketplace in my post.
Jay Leno was. I merely tried to illustrate in a light hearted way that people
have different perceptions about the merits of "competition." Others, including
Oded Maler, Marc Abrams and Bill Powers also appear to have their own unique and
strongly held perceptions about competition and act in a way that tries to
preserve their perception. Isn't this all consistent with PCT?

The fact that other people have different perceptions about competition appears
to be a disturbance to some of our members that calls forth action [I do not
include myself in this group]. When their actions have not only disputed
another person's perceptions, but attacked the other person's motives,
credibility and character, reactions intensified. Next thing you know, people
are hurt so badly, they threaten to leave the CSG-L.

I think we should endeavor to keep our understanding of the theory accurate
(not pure -- sorry, that word gives me the creeps). But if you want
successful applications of the theory we need criteria for success. So far,
none have been suggested. If you want to expand understanding of the theory I
suggest that the best way to do that is test the hell out of it and try to
show that it's wrong.

It is my hope, my goal, my want that somehow, PCT can be applied to human
activity to improve the actions and interactions of people for the shared
purpose of a more satisfying life for all concerned. I will describe and
suggest criteria for success in my application as you suggest. I hope some
PCTers (theorists and practitioners) will guide me in the design, implementation
and analysis of the experiment. I will be trying to test the theory by proving
that PCT applys and improves the science of management. Why should I try to
prove PCT is wrong?

Ideas, no matter how good, do not guarantee good behavior (goals).

I don't think the goal of PCT is to make things better; it's to CORRECTLY
understand how people (and all living systems) work. We have to understand
this before we can have any hope of making things better.

I agree about the goal of PCT from a strictly theoretical point of view. Can
you accept the perception of others that the goal of working on theories for
understanding alone seems like a terrible waste of human talent?

I DO NOT agree we have to understand how or why things work BEFORE we can make
things better. Someone tried to make a similar case about physics versus PCT
and why contention develops more in PCT. To my knowledge, physics still does
not know how things as basic as gravity and electricity really work, but man has
certainly figured out how to use them for the betterment of man.

I have my own perceptions about competition. If anyone is interested in them, I
assume they will ask. My intention to apply PCT to the Science of Management in
a for-profit, competitive business organization may have wrongly led you to
believe I am arguing for its virture. The reason for this choice is that the
free enterprise system is quite prevalent in the United States. Some people
percieve that it made the USA the #1 economic power in the world. Others
perceive it will lead to our doom. I've chosen this application because it
affects the working lives of many of our people (the experiment, if successful,
will have the potential for wide application and improvement within the system).

I wonder why you can say what you do about PCT but can't see COMPETITION in a
similar way? Competition is an economic theory. We can use it or not use it.
We can apply it for good or bad purposes. Hopefully, we could cooperate in an
attempt to use PCT for a good application in improving the management of
competitive businesses and the lives of the people in this system. I welcome
your help, but, it is up to you.

Best wishes,

Ken Kitzke

[From Marc Abrams (950915.1100)]

[From Ken Kitzke (950914.1238)]

It is my hope, my goal, my want that somehow, PCT can be

applied to human

activity....

Hi Ken.

Ken, I don't think you can "apply" PCT. I think PCT _is_
human activity (behavior). You can "choose" to disregard
the theory for one that better suits your goals and
reference levels but that doesn't change the validity or
usefulness of the theory. See Bills post (950914.1300 MDT)
on disconfirming theories.

to improve the actions and interactions of people for the

shared

purpose of a more satisfying life for all concerned.

I'm with ya 100 %. But I think that the "HOW" of that
improvement might lie _outside_ the province of PCT. PCT
simply describes _what_ is. There are no "value"
judgements placed on the model. That is something _we_ do
to give it some "value" for us.

I will describe and suggest criteria for success in my

application as you suggest. I hope some

PCTers (theorists and practitioners) will guide me in the

design, implementation

and analysis of the experiment.

I've been consulting for the past 14 years. Mostly in the
area of Sales and Marketing, and most recently (about 3
years) in the area of Business Process Engineering. I have
been involved in a project for the past 5 months where I
have been trying to use my knowledge of PCT to help a new
organization design and implement a number of interelated
and important business processes. So far it has been very
successfull. It has _NOT_ been easy. The problem has _not_
been PCT.

Most Organizational methods,(i.e. TQM, BPR, The Learning
Organization, Action Science, etc.), of improvement and
change, use the same underlying behavioral models, (i.e. S
-> R, Reinforcement, and variations) for thier methods.
The reason for the lack of _sustained_ success with these
methods I attribute to this. Most of these methods provide
some excellent tools and methods. The problem is that
people are not treated as controllers. The existing (Non
PCT) behavioral models provide these "kinds" of
guidelines;
!) People can be "motivated" by rewards and punishment
2) People "need" a "common" vision and set of goals in
order to "succeed".
3) People can successfully "manipulate" others over a long
period of time.
4) People can determine what is "best" for others.

Utilizing _your_ understanding of PCT within a given
method (be it a new one of yours, or an existing one)
should provide you with the neccessary tools and
understanding for you to succeed.
_Applying_ your understanding of PCT will make the
difference.

I will be trying to test the theory by proving
that PCT applys and improves the science of management.

Why should I try to

prove PCT is wrong?

How would you "prove" that PCT improves the science of
management? What kinds of tests would you use? What kinds
of arguments do you think would be "effective" to
managenment? These are questions that are extremely
important to me. Can I possibly help with the work I'm
doing?

This statement was addressed to Rick Marken:

I agree about the goal of PCT from a strictly theoretical

point of view. Can

you accept the perception of others that the goal of

working on theories for

understanding alone seems like a terrible waste of human

talent?

If not understanding, then what? As a consultant,
companies pay me for my "insights" and "understanding" of
situations. To me that means using theories that have
"proven" themselves and applying that knowledge to help
solve real world problems. One of the difficulties I face
are the half baked theories and half-truths alot of people
walk around with ( not only with regard to behavior :-)).
Most of these people have nothing but honorable intentions
and yet, cause huge problems for eveyone. Hopefully I help
"solve" rather then "create" problems. That comes from
"understanding" theory and applying it, Hopefully
properly :-).

I DO NOT agree we have to understand how or why things

work BEFORE we can make

things better.

Maybe not 100%, But how would you know if what you were
doing was the reason for the improvement, change ,etc.?
As Bill P put it, The validity of any theory (including
PCT of course) has to do with how well you can _predict_
rather then _describe_ what has or will taken place. If,
as a consultant you prescribe certain courses of action.
Are you not predicting that certain outcomes will take
place or at least a preference for certain outcomes? I
would not feel to comfortable telling a client that I had
no idea what was going to happen. If "experience" was the
reason for the recommendation. Then that implicitly
becomes my theory. Not neccessarily bad, just that if
something were to go "wrong", How could I understand the
cause of the problem if I never experienced "that"
problem?

.....Competition is an economic theory. We can use it or

not use it.

Is "use" the proper word? You may disregard it but I don't
think it goes away. I think you have "competition" in
every type of "economic" environment. Is competition about
economics or inherently part of our "human nature" ?. Is
the "competition" for mates, or schools neccessarily
"different" then pure "economic" goals?

Best,

Marc

[From Ken Kitzke (950924.2200 EDT]

RE: Bill Powers (950919.0500 MDT) "PCT-based programs in business"

I appreciate your post about my goal to apply an understanding of PCT to the
science of management in a competitive business. Your remarks, as usual, were
very helpful. Thank you so much for providing them before I discuss this
experiment with the client.

Bill, I see the application very much as you articulated it. This publically
owned client naturally has a bottom line orientation. The Quality Management
System that Quality Dynamics helped them design and install (called "Inspiring
Quality") has been achieving desired and record setting financial results for
the past four years.

The disturbance the CEO recently asked me to focus on is "teamwork." I would
hope you would agree that understanding PCT and employees as autonymous control
systems might help them with this goal?

There is no intent on my part to establish this experiment on the basis that it
will further enhance financial results. If we can measurably improve "teamwork"
while maintaining financial results, I suspect this client will be delighted and
help us proclaim the benefits of applying PCT to the science of management. Do
you have any reason to believe that learning and applying PCT to increase
teamwork (conflict reduction) would negatively impact the bottom line? Might
not both improve simultaneously!

I always insist on measures of "Success" for our Quality Management Systems.
This usually includes measures related to customers, employees and owners.
Quality is one of the few things an organization can improve that will
simultaneously drive all three. That is why we love our work and clients find
our assistance valuable year after year. It is Win-Win-Win. I intend to do the
same in applying PCT.

But, there is one part of your post that is troublesome. In an earlier post of
mine re Marc Abrams post (which claimed that TQM would not produce sustained
success because it is based on S-R behavioral models) I stated:

     Our first client has dramatic measurable record business
     performance improvement results for eight consecutive years while
     using the QMS they call "Quality For Life." Would you consider
     that sustained success?

You, Bill, commented as follows on my statement:

        Yes, (a) if the same company would NOT have shown the same business
        performance improvement results using any other Quality Management
        System or none at all, (b) if ALL companies adopting the program have
        shown equal success, and (c) if other non-client companies of the same
        kind in the same market have been showing less favorable or worse
        results during the same period.

Would you not agree that (a) is impossible to prove? There were five years of
disappointing roller coaster results before the change to the new QMS and eight
years of continually improving results after the change within the same business
and using the same top management team. They "think" it is primarily due to the
QMS and so do I. Independent quality "experts" have studied the results and
audited the company for several days. They concluded the company was the "best"
of all the applicants against pre-selected criteria. I don't know how to
"prove" it to you. I wish I did. It may have just been luck.

Would it not be highly improbable that all companies would "show equal success"
as you suggest in (b)? Is this the "test" you would apply? Do you think
applying a QMS or PCT is an exact law with exactly predictable outcomes under
different conditions? Hard data shows that ALL our clients have improved
quality and performance but all to different degrees.

Lastly, (c) makes no sense at all. First, no two companies are ever the "same."
Second, why would what other competitor companies do or don't do have any direct
bearing on whether my client's QMS improves my client's performance?

Do you demand the same impossible or impractical "proof" for Ed Ford's results
on discipline in schools? No wonder he gets frustrated!

Ed has a theory of how to use PCT to help improve discipline in schools. He has
seen the results of the applied theory with his own eyes. He believes. I have
a QMS theory for improving organization performance which has worked in 10
applications. I believe. We believe our theories just like you believe in PCT
because you modeled it and it works when you try it. When any of our theories
fail, we will have to study the reasons and, if indicated, change our theory.
Till then, shouldn't we keep keepin on?

It is in this context that I seek help from CSG PCT theorists, modelers and
practiticioners so that the experiment if done and successful will be convincing
and replicable. I'm a "rusty old" engineer and was never much of a scientist so
I really appreciate the scientific critique by people I respect.

[Marc Abrams (950918.2345)]

Marc, you have asked many good questions about the Quality Dynamics' World-Class
Quality Management System. I had responded to your post and supposition that
TQM did not produce sustained results because it was based on S-R behavioral
theory.

Our clients ALL have had initial success. Several have 4 years and one has 8
years of sustained success. So either we use the "right" theory or your
supposition is wrong. I just learned about PCT last year. I hope that we get
some time some day to rap individually about our relative perceptions about TQM
and its principles. But, I doubt if most of the CSG is interested in that. So,
I think it best if we limit our dialog on CSG to the experiment of applying PCT
to the science of management. I welcome your help as we go and hope it will
advance the cause of PCT as well as improve management concepts and techniques
including those for Sales and Marketing and BPR.

Best wishes,
Ken