Control in a Company- Kenny Kitzke

(Gavin 2009.

[From Kenny Kitzke (4.23.2009)]


for your perceptions. Please consider my remarks below and explore if we
assess control in companies substantially differently.

In a
message dated 4/20/2009 1:33:53 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, garritz@XTRA.CO.NZ writes:

Ritz 2009.

Kenny Kitzke (4.19.2009)]


asked Bill Powers:

To what
extend can the PCT concept be transferred to an organisational

environment like an airline ? Has the PCT concept explicitly been used to

model the control structure of a company ? It would be helpful to read about

this. Thanks for any suggestions or links.

questions reside largely in my sandbox. For the past 20 years I have
consulted with organizations on how to improve performance and create greater
value for their stakeholders. I became acquainted with PCT about 15 years
ago. I know, or should know, something about your inquiry.

I will
make a few brief observations, and if you, or others, wish to delve into them
further, I will try to get more specific.

  1.   PCT models organism/people behavior; not organization/company



Well, at
least we get off to a good start.

  1.   Since organizations/companies are composed of people, PCT

concepts are relevant and can be meaningfully transferred to what companies
like an airline do.

context is relevant in terms of how a person deals with their role and other
person(s) in their roles. But not that helpful in defining control in an
organizational sense.

probably agree here more than disagree. However, the term
“role” of myself or others in an organization is often not well

I think the definition of a role is pretty
clear, A position in a social system.

organizations attempt to define “role” by published “Division of
Responsibilities.” For example, the HR Executive may be given the
responsibility to issue Guidelines for Employee Annual Appraisal by
managers. Does the HR Executive control what those Guidelines say? Or, are the
Guidelines subject to the approval of others? Can a CEO or executive
waive the requirement or the details for what any specific manager does for a
employee appraisal? Do the Guidelines constitute control over what
precisely a manager does? Or, is it in the control of the manager?

You are asking a lot of questions here,
generally the idea in RO is to link the size of the role to the capability of a
person so there is large room for judgments and decision making especially
within a complex senior managerial role.

The extent of that transfer is not well tested, demonstrated or understood.

  1.   The structure of control in organizations is typically a model of

hierarchal authority.

what I would a TARR a task assigning role relationship however cross functional
roles are as important and they are called TIRR’s task initiating role
relationship each have specific controlling functions. And much more difficult
to assess then the simple hierarchal authority.

that is helpful for you. For me, I may call the same thing something else
and your words and concepts are irrelevant to how I do what I do. I might
call the required role in functional or cross functional tasks “valid
requirements” for that job. The degree of difficulty is real but I
doubt we can conclude that all hierarchal roles are simple, or always more
simple than cross functional roles. I might contend that both simple and
difficult role relationships can be valid requirements for functional behavior
in a company.

Sure you’re correct

  1.   The method of control is a Stimulus-Response illusion of

psychology known as reinforcement theory. You control the behavior in an
organization by punishing undesirable behavior and rewarding the desired

Not sure
I have ever seen this in organisations, it may be taught in business schools
but I have never seen anyone being punished in an organisation that I have
worked in. Anyway the psychological method in an organisational sense is highly

Wow, we
must define punishment differently! I am not talking about corporal
punishment with whips. When an
employee’s behavior is not what those in authority accept or desire, they
will be “punished.” The systems for punishment include,
termination, demotion, transfers, personal reprimands, lower performance
ratings and lower or no pay increases, removal from promotion lists, etc.

Not too sure that I would class some of your punishments as such but that is another

behavior could include sleeping on the job, late starts, unauthorized
absence, cheating on an expense report, sexual harassment, falsifying
performance data or records, etc., Surely you have seen these things
happen in companies?

Not very often, of course they do happen.
I of course remember the bad ones (as an HR manager & as a company owner)
but on the whole mostly people want to work in a fair and democratic
environment and will do their best.

action was taken by those in authority over employee’s behaving this way?
What is your term for such actions by a boss or staff executive?

We have a whole procedurally fair manner
in dealing with these types of things. (Now an Act of Parliament) which seems
to work okay.

Are you
saying such “punishment” is always dysfunctional? When does it
work? What is the alternative that works almost every time?

No, if someone proves to be a real problem
and it’s dealt with fairly then that person will be dismissed. But it’s
a fair process.

this authoritative control model of the behavior of people does not work

Not too
sure what you mean by this, in the military it works very well, but what
exactly do you mean by authoritive control. Does it have a specific model that
is found in organizations?

I agree
that hierarchal control by top-down authority is the method of choice in
most military organizations. And, it does seem to work pretty
well. Insubordination is a coercive threat to control people. But,
it does not work all the time with all people. And, it is recognized that soldiers are
not required to follow illegal orders.

I also
think this type of control is the prime method of choice in many
organizations: parents over children in families,

Well I never brought my children up this way,
we had a very democratic household- all opinions accounted.

over students and managers/supervisors over employees.

I’m not too sure that this is as simple as you say, each
level of the organisation reports to someone no matter how high you go, the
entire society is dependent on each other and hence has accountabilities.

Do you
think the situation or results in those organizations are substantially
different from military organizations?

Very much so. I have been in the military
and worked in two different countries for long periods. I suggest you look at
the Power distance factor, used in the airlines as a measure of role authoritive

USA, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand in that order have the lowest power distance factors- So I speak
from having lived in South Africa and New Zealand (lowest) all very low factors. If I lived in Brazil or Colombia I might have a different
perspective of course.

to exercise unilateral control of human beings in organizations often
backfires; not producing the desired results but unexpected disasters.

applying PCT concepts in employee behavior offers good potential for better,
more reliable performance results by people, it remains far from a proven,
scientific means for reliably producing outstanding performance results.

The only
scientifically theory in organisation design is Requisite Organization (RO)
developed by Elliot Jaques.

Jacques may be wonderful. But, your statement seems absurd. Have
you studied and tested every other theory of organization design and proven RO
is always superior?

I probably have studied and tested most of
the models out there.

you studied or applied Theory Z? Are you claiming that Toyota or Honda have thrived
because they use RO?

No I’m not claiming any of that.
They have thrived mainly because of other factors.

perceive there are a number of reasons why PCT can only be a help rather than a
proven remedy for more successful airlines. Two I would mention are:

Human factors alone can’t drive superior performance. Things like
technology, available financial resources, etc., can be more significant

true what you say, however humans clearly interact with the organisation
in their roles and these are required to be optimally designed.

I do
think I agree with you but find your use of “roles” as a bit vague or
incomplete. Is a role of an employee to be respectful of the desires or
other employees with which you disagree?

That is the crux of the issue these things
are not defined and if you do, many of these disagreements melt away.

b. Even
within human factors, PCT has not been developed to the extent to
handle human nature and how behavior at the highest levels of perception
works, including where our system level references come from or all the ways
they can be changed or reorganized.

At the
highest level RO has already solved this problem and it does exist as HPCT.
Many of the levels of HPCT can be clearly defined and measured using RO.

I am a
CEO. I perceive my goal is to make as much profit as I can even using
fine print to catch my customers unaware.

If this is your goal then my friend you
have failed miserably in your role as a CEO.

I am a CEO and have been in many
organisations, my goal is to make my customers ecstatic and meet their needs
(desires) optimally about what they buy from us and manage the growth factors (supply,
demand, capital, know-how, people) of my business in the most fair and optimal way. Profit is an
after measure of my success in the things I mentioned.

does this fit in with RO? in HPCT? in an honorable way to

If you design roles around your core value
of “profit maximization” and “customer deception” there
is no hope for your organisation in the long run, your customers will find out what
you stand for and so will your employees. And that will create the biggest
conflict your organisation will combat not sure you can win that one.

You are trying to CONTROL your customer
purchasing habits via deception- do you think that could be a cause for



these limitations, I am convinced that the more people in an organization understand
themselves as autonomous living input control systems, the better they will be
able to reach mutually agreed upon company goals and exceed the
performance of those controlling employees by authoritative coercion.

don’t believe that there are too many organisations that use coercion as
a method of control. I have actually never come across one, besides the army.

I hope
that you will reflect on this limitation of your experiences from my point of
view. Have other listmates experienced coercion through punishment or
threat of punishment in organizations other than the army?

Yes depends on the organisation and
country I suppose




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