Groups, organizations, cultures.

From Phil Runkel on 29 March 98 in response to various on the above topic:

Here is an exercise that I tried on myself. It helped me to pin down a
few thoughts.

Draw yourself a diagram of a feedback loop; any of those that appear in
our publicaations will be fine. Now, instead of the functions of sensor,
comparator, output function, and so on, write in those places instead
names of jobs in an organization (since people are assigned particular
functions in an organization). Write in names like worker, supervisor,
manager, and so on. I found various question arising in my mind as I did
this. And now, of course, consider the connecting lines not to be neural
pathways but communication pathways -- telephones, memos, sound waves
in the air, and so on.

Now compare. In the individual, the paths for signals are always on,
always there functioning. In the group, the paths are on and off
sporadically. In the individual, the signal is unidimensional; in the
group, multidimensional. In indiv, one internal standard controls the
loop; in group, every one of those stations around the loop also has its
own int'l standard. In indiv, one station has one function (sensing,
comparing, etc.); in group they shift functions unpredictably, going, for
example, from supervisor guided by the boss's internal standard to
employee guided by his own internal standard the next.

Is this useful?

                --Phil R.

[From Bill Powers (980331.0554 MST)] --

Phil Runkel on 29 March 98 in response to various on the above topic:

Here is an exercise that I tried on myself. It helped me to pin down a
few thoughts.

Draw yourself a diagram of a feedback loop; any of those that appear in
our publicaations will be fine. Now, instead of the functions of sensor,
comparator, output function, and so on, write in those places instead
names of jobs in an organization (since people are assigned particular
functions in an organization).

This is a great way to see why there are no social control systems. Thanks.
We're trying to get rid of metaphors and substitute the most literal
descriptions possible. Your prescription should help with this process.

Best,
Bill

  Write in names like worker, supervisor,

···

manager, and so on. I found various question arising in my mind as I did
this. And now, of course, consider the connecting lines not to be neural
pathways but communication pathways -- telephones, memos, sound waves
in the air, and so on.

Now compare. In the individual, the paths for signals are always on,
always there functioning. In the group, the paths are on and off
sporadically. In the individual, the signal is unidimensional; in the
group, multidimensional. In indiv, one internal standard controls the
loop; in group, every one of those stations around the loop also has its
own int'l standard. In indiv, one station has one function (sensing,
comparing, etc.); in group they shift functions unpredictably, going, for
example, from supervisor guided by the boss's internal standard to
employee guided by his own internal standard the next.

Is this useful?

               --Phil R.