[From Kenny Kitzke (990503.2330EDT)]
<Rick Marken (990503.1720)>
<Isn't it impossible, then, to say, in advance (before it is
actually used on a particular group of people) whether or not
a particular program (approach to dealing with people) is coercive?>
It is impossible to say for sure, in advance. But, there may be statistical
data that shows that coercion took place in 80% of the samples. Then, I
would say in advance that, unless you are different that others who tried the
program, it is quite likely to be coercive, but some individuals will not see
it that way.
<For example, say I have a new management training program that
works a lot like the Spanish Inquisition; if your don't jump up
and down and spin around 3 times each day then you are burned
at the stake. This program has been tried at a company in Pittsburg
and it worked like a charm; everybody jumped and turned and no
one was burned. So can I say that this program is non-coercive? I
think not; if "coercion" depends on the intentions of both the
coercer and coercee then some coercee at the next company might
not want jump and turn, changing what had been a non-coercive
program into a coercive one.>
BTW, while there is a Pittsburg California, it is not known for developing
world-class, value creating management systems. That is Pittsburgh, PA where
there is at least one management consultant trying to apply PCT to human
interactions within an organization to make it perform better and make work
At the risk of upsetting Tim Carey, I feel that management systems, public
education systems, etc., (in which the policies and practices of the people
in charge are given power and authority over the participants in the system),
have an inherent coercive aspect. But, not every teacher, student, manager
or worker will submit to that potential coercive authority. Managers or
employees can simply quit rather than be coerced. This is not so clear for a
student in a mandatory public school system.
In my quality management system, I have for a decade described it as a
"velvet brick." No one has to buy into the new system. It is voluntary.
But, if you don't participate voluntarily, you may find out that this is no
longer an enjoyable place to work. I see much in parallel with RTP.
I stress patience with managers. This negates the use of a forced firing,
even if the cognizant manager is empowered by the system to immediately fire
those who will initially resist. Embedded reference perceptions about
quality, learning, teaching (and moral beliefs) do not always change quickly.
Ones view of their role in managing quality may not change just because of a
highly rated education course on quality management (which about 85% of
attendees rate 9 or 10 out of 10 as useful to them).
After a lot of encouragement; for employees who will not change themselves so
as to work in the new system, we boldly change employees. In fact, those who
do not think quality and their role is important, I urge my clients to send
that employee's resume to their competitors. If the employee won't help
improve your quality, he won't help your competitor either and you will gain
a competitive advantage by finding a willfully compliant replacement employee.
I have not had a client where some executive or high-level manager simply
refuses to submit to the velvet brick coercion. They usually leave before
they are fired.
<So doesn't saying that "coercion depends on the intentions of
both the coercer and coercee" make it impossible to market a
program as non-coercive (or coercive) since you can't tell
whether the program is coercive or not until you've tried it
on each person.>
Being non-coercive is not a popular marketing ploy. Organizational leaders
and public school superintendents mostly want to get results and frankly,
they are used to getting what they want using coercion as the means. They
are S-R all the way with no appreciation of people as being autonomous,
purposive controllers of their own perceptions. This is why coercion can be
so insidious. It appears to have worked with all who do not resist or leave.
Yet, many people in my clients changed because our education is based on a
PCT type understanding about people called, "What's in it for me?" No force
was needed. One woman president said that after trying the new concepts, she
had the best, most rewarding, hassle free week in all her years as President.
Surprisingly, most of my competitors want employees to do high quality work
to *please their customers*. I have not generally shared with them how
stupid this is as most don't even know who the customers actually are. I
never stress customer satisfaction. It may be one of the PCT secrets that
has helped me get voluntary change and extraordinary results.
PCT has not only changed me; it changed how I go about serving clients. But,
in all honesty, my becoming a Christian at 47 has had similar impact on my
work, perhaps even greater. I can tell you that the combination has turned
my world and world view upside down.
Two major clients dropped me cold when I announced that all Value Creation
Systems associates were committed Christians and we would not hide that fact
for the sake of keeping religious thought out of their workplace.
Most were neutral. Three have become like family. We are partners in every
sense of the word. It has made working more rewarding than ever for me. I
am making a fraction of the money I once made, but in reality, it was way
more than what I ever really needed.
Even worse, the money never made me happy. Losing $10,000 in the stock
market in a day is a disturbance and creates an error signal. Better off not
having the money.
Now I have time to do things that satisfy my purpose in life. I had to find
out the hard way that the rat race of promotions, corner offices and big
bonuses never really satisfied my system level reference perceptions. When I
changed my system references, quite naturally my loop changed what I do to
But, I agree with your statement. While the people in authority have the
ability to try to coerce people in their system, coercion only occurs when
the coercee gives up his free will, and does what the superior wants rather
than be fired, or disciplined.