Promoting PCT

[From Dag Forssell (930115 19.30)]

On February 4, we are sheduled to present a two hour program to
the Los Angeles Deming Users Group. We have already practiced
the program and feel very good about it. We want to use the same
presentation to explain what we offer to companies. Here is a
piece we can mail as follow up to a phone call to a Deming
enthusiast, suggesting that we present an introduction to their
management team.

Any comment from netters on how to improve this piece will be


                  a complement to the

*We are all psychologists*
in our dealings with other people.

Our understanding and skill working with other people determines
our effectiveness and satisfaction as leaders, managers,
teachers and associates, both in the workplace and in our
personal lives.

*The bad news*
is that psychology - the science of human and animal behavior -
seems confusing. In fact, several psychological theories
compete for acceptance as valid science and many methods compete
for practical use. Many psychologists say that their theories
and practical applications have nothing to do with each other.
To an electrical, mechanical or chemical engineer, it would seem
strange indeed to be told that there are several electrical,
mechanical or chemical sciences and that practical applications
had nothing to do with any theory.

The basic reason for the confusion in psychology is that until
now no theory that holds up and works has been offered.

*The good news*
is that a new theory called Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) has
been developed that is coherent, easy to teach, testable and
offers significant management insight. The basic tenets can be
verified by any student.

PCT is a theory of self-direction which offers a new explanation
of how the mind works, why people do what they do. You can
understand intrinsic motivation, which is key to the Deming
transformation of management practices. This theory offers an
understanding of life and empowerment.

Understanding people no longer has to be complex and confusing,
a matter of luck, a gift or something best left to specialists.

*Purposeful Leadership*
In an introductory two-hour presentation, suitable for a
management team, Dag Forssell will explain a macro-view of PCT
in step-by-step illustrations and dramatizations and outline the
Purposeful Leadership program.

Perceptual Control Theory meets Dr. Deming's most stringent
requirements for a theory. It offers description, explanation,
prediction and test. A good theory provides a better vision of
past experience; you see the pattern. This allows anyone who
pays attention to self-validate the theory. PCT helps you
understand and predict.

PCT complements and supports the Deming Management Philosophy.
Dag will show how PCT also provides a functional framework for
Dr. Deming's 14 points.

that follow directly from the theory, using a methodology taught
in the Purposeful Leadership seminars, are: Conflict resolution,
Performance (coaching) reviews, Team development and Non-
manipulative selling. Applications where the theory provides
insight are: Leadership understanding, Goal structuring,
Vision-mission statements and Total Quality Management.

*Dag Forssell*
has 25 years management experience in engineering,
manufacturing, marketing and finance. His formal education
includes an MBA from the University of Southern California and
a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sweden. He is
assisted by his wife Christine.

      Scientific theories, when they get on the right
      track, can bolster our common sense, but also
      refine it and change it to fit more of the facts.

                 William T. Powers

(Purposeful Leadership Logo and address).

Dag Forssell
23903 Via Flamenco
Valencia, Ca 91355-2808
Phone (805) 254-1195 Fax (805) 254-7956
Internet: 0004742580@MCIMAIL.COM

[From Dag Forssell (940407 1750)]

Last weekend, It came to me that I could send out press releases,
announcing the existence of PCT to technical magazines of all

I have obtained a February copy of SDRS, a business publication
reference for advertisers, from which I can select any "book" as
they say in the trade. I have in mind picking 200 technical and HR
publications. The following is my draft for a press release. I
have removed the margins and double spacing the real thing will


April ??, 1994 Contact: Dag Forssell
For immediate release Phone: (805) 254-1195


Engineering principles show how to build machines better than was
possible based on trial-and-error experience alone. The
principles of a new "people engineering" science show better ways
to resolve conflict, improve personal relationships, develop team
spirit, coach and review performance, and structure
vision/mission statements.

The purpose of research in any science is to "reverse-engineer"
the phenomenon it studies -- to uncover in-depth explanations.
The explanations allow practitioners to figure out the best way
to accomplish what they want in any given situation.

- more -

A breakthrough in "people engineering" Page 2-2-2-2

Purposeful Leadership~, a management education firm, teaches
Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), a breakthrough in "reverse-
engineering" of people. PCT explains how thoughts become
actions, results and feelings. It is a revolutionary, detailed,
and immediately useful proposal of how our brain is organized as
a living system of control systems.

Psychology is not now a "hard" engineering science, but with PCT
it will become one. Rather than observations and prescriptions
based on experience, PCT offers testable in-depth explanations,
just like the engineering sciences have since they were
revolutionized in the 1600's with concepts that have been 100%
proven. With PCT, we can look forward to rapid progress in our
understanding of people and other living organisms, just like we
have made rapid progress in engineering. PCT is based on
engineering concepts and is most easily understood by engineers,
but anyone who is willing to think can appreciate its principles.

For a resource guide with information on literature and
publishers' order forms, tutorial computer demonstrations, and
educational programs for leaders in industry, teachers and
parents, send a stamped, self addressed envelope to: PCT study
materials, Purposeful Leadership, 23903 Via Flamenco, Valencia,
CA, 91355-2808. Or circle ... on response card.

- End #### -

The second paragraph above is somewhat optional--an editor can
cut it. The following para was third, but bit the dust:

  Technical personnel, trained in the proven engineering
  sciences, are rightly skeptical of today's variety of
  management sciences and programs. The prescriptions for action
  are not consistent, dependable, or based on any proven theory.

I will need some help from netters with the resource guide. I
envision something more than just a literature list. Perhaps as
much as six printed pages on three papers. Four papers fit with
a stamp, so eight pages are possible.

1) One segment would be CSG press. Four books listed with short
    abstracts. Order form direct from Gravel Switch.

2) Another segment Ricks book with ABS: Purposeful Behavior:
    The Control Theory Approach. Listing of all eleven articles
    with a short abstract for each. (Tom Bourbon: Here is your
    chance for visibility). Order form direct from Sage.

3) Wayne Hershberger's book Advances in Psychology. Which
    articles are PCT??? Abstracts?? Who can volunteer to help?
    Library reference and ordering information.

4) Ed Ford's Love Guaranteed, Freedom From Stress, video tape,
    parent teacher program information. Abstracts and order form
    for Brandt Publishing.

5) Purposeful Leadership: Listing of introductory article
    booklet with abstracts, DOS PCTDEMOS, one-hour video tape
    with rubber band demonstration (as seen in Durango last
    summer), leadership program information. Order form.

6) Other literature with abstracts, references and ordering
    information for such things as Kent's forthcoming article
    (how is it coming?), Gary's article reprints if appropriate,
    Runkel, Clark, etc. etc....

If each of the above occupy half a page in rather fine print,
this consumes three pages of six available. The jacket for BCP
is one page. Leaving room for additional introductory
information, nicely edited.

A resource guide of this kind leaves the person getting it in
control, creating a win/win setup, right?

Comments, suggestions, offers of assistance?

This morning I had a call from a prospect in the TQM office of a
major corporation. He said he had trouble condensing my booklet
to convey the essence to another executive. Today, I have
composed the following one-page "executive overview." My plan is
to send it along with the press release above, which in its own
right is an executive overview. As usual, I'll hold my horses
until I have had devastating critique and helpful specific
suggestions from netters. I'll call to discuss it with my
contact tomorrow am, then fax and mail. Let us say his name is
Bill Leach:

Bill Leach April 8, 1994
Vice President
Electronics unlimited
1234 Main Street
Anytown, ST 999999

Dear Mr. Leach:

I am writing to give you the one-page executive overview of the
PCT difference that you asked me for yesterday. Please let me
know if this meets your need.

Existing management programs lack in-depth understanding. They
are based on trial-and-error experience accumulated in various
circumstances and taught by way of anecdotes. Each student forms
a personal interpretation from the multitude of stories. (The
quality of a program is often judged on how participants enjoy
the storytelling). What "theories" there are, are far from
proven, so we have many different programs.

PCT proposes an organization of the nervous system as a "living
control system" from which you can deduce how a control system
would behave, given detailed knowledge about how control works
and an individual system's specific wants, perceptions and
circumstances. With this understanding you figure out what to do
in any situation.

This is equivalent to teaching "strength of materials" from which
you can deduce what bridge designs would hold up in given
circumstances, which would not, and why. PCT is testable, just
like the principles of strength of materials.

Instead of teaching a very large number of anecdotes about
experiences and hope your students get the message, you teach a
few in-depth "causal mechanism" explanations and practice how to
apply them a few times to illustrate how they work.

Once you understand the underlying structure, you can understand
and visualize the functional interactions internal to yourself
and another, and you understand external interactions. You know
what questions to ask, or what tests to perform, to fill in the
specific content of the structure to understand a particular

As for the structure itself, I refer you to the booklet with
articles, particularly the second one: _Perceptual Control:
Useful Management Insight_. Please note the segment: _How is
this different?_ on page 13 of this article. It may answer your
question. If you like, I'll send you a one-hour video tape and
script (Introduction PCT, July 17, 1993) with the rubber band
demonstrations on pages 7-9 of this article. I'll also enclose a
press release I am about to send out. Best of all would be if we
could come up and do a pilot program. You and your associates
would see all our illustrations, experience the management
effectiveness and ask all the questions that will come to you.

Comments solicited.

Best, Dag

<[Bill Leach 940407.22:16 EST(EDT)]

[Dag Forssell (940407 1750)]

I this hypothetical Bill Leach had a budget left you would be "on your
way" :slight_smile:

How did you KNOW I would comment? :slight_smile: (letter first)

If this company really is an electronics company, I would choose a
different example in place of your "strenght of materials" example.

Being "picky" again but I would word:

...and visualize the functional interactions internal to yourself
and another, and you understand external interactions. You ...

to read:

...and visualize the functional interactions internal to yourself,
internal to others, and you understand external interactions. You ...


Woa, I can see smoke a fire on this one:

The purpose of research in any science is to "reverse-engineer"
the phenomenon it studies -- to uncover in-depth explanations.
The explanations allow practitioners to figure out the best way
to accomplish what they want in any given situation.

Unless you split the two sentences into two paragraphs. "Pure" science
researchers will almost see "red" otherwise.

Psychology is not now a "hard" engineering science, but with PCT
it will become one. Rather than observations and prescriptions

A little optimistic at this point but I don't think I would change it

revolutionized in the 1600's with concepts that have been 100%
proven. With PCT, we can look forward to rapid progress in our

Depending upon who was the executive's epistemology instructor, this
might raise a "flag" too (100% proven).

I REALLY like the paragraph that you cut but you are probably right.

     / /
     / -bill /
     / Bill Leach, W.R. Leach Co. /
     / /
     / ARS /
     / 919-362-7427 /

[From Dag Forssell (920621-2)

On June 5, I shared a letter (version six) to approach CEO's in American
industry. 300 letters drew four replies in just over one week. (One from
one of the few Japanese companies I addressed). I am delighted, since the
response rate was greater than zero.

I am trying hard to capture the CEO's interest while giving an accurate
impression of what I offer. Length of the letter is not a primary issue.
Holding attention and arousing curiosity is. I also do not want to put
down those who make the effort to study the important subject of
psychology, wether CEO's or psychologists, or both. (Quite the contrary)!
It is the "science" that is inadequate.

Here is version eight. Since "everybody knows" what control is, I have
adopted the term: "cybernetic control" to indicate something different
and stimulate curiosity. Bold / underline has been replaced with CAPS.
Comments and suggestions welcome.

Copyright 1992 Dag Forssell. All rights reserved.

(Purposeful Leadership TM letterhead)

Bill Powers, CEO June 21, 1992
CSG Forever, Inc.
73 Ridge Road CR 510
Durango, Co 81301

Dear Mr. Powers:

I am writing to introduce you personally to the first fundamentally new
perspective on people that has been offered since 1637. Adopting it can
mean improvements for your bottom line, productivity, quality and morale.

Costly people problems exist at all levels in American industry. Dr. W.
Edwards Deming, pioneer in Quality Management, writes in "Out of the
Crisis," page 85:

    "In my experience, people can face almost any problem except the
    problems of people. They can work long hours, face declining
    business, face loss of jobs, but not the problems of people. Faced
    with problems of people (management included), management, in my
    experience, go into a state of paralysis, taking refuge in formation
    of QC-Circles and groups for EI, EP, and QWL (Employee Involvement,
    Employee Participation, and Quality of Work Life).... There are of
    course pleasing exceptions, where the management understands...

There have always been natural leaders, successful salesmen, wise parents
and good communicators. But it is rare that they can explain what they
do and why. Their insight and skill seems intuitive. Some people in
industry make the effort to master this subject. For most of us it takes
extensive experience and attention to develop a consistently successful
personal approach to dealing with people.

A fundamentally new perspective has been developed and is available for
study. With it, understanding people does NOT have to be complex and
confusing! The new perspective can be taught as an overview in a day and
in considerable detail in three.

This new perspective gives an executive insight that allows him or her
to inform, influence, align and lead people with mutual respect. S/he can
teach people to be more effective and cooperative. Employees can be more
satisfied, while the company as a whole responds better to the leader's
direction and becomes more productive. The executive gains understanding
and learns to function as well as those intuitively wise people. With
practice even better, since s/he will have greater insight!

This perspective will also make it much easier to understand and teach
Total Quality Management programs, such as the Deming Management

Describing this perspective so you get the point immediately is a
Catch-22 challenge, because it is a different concept altogether from
what predominates in our world today. Until you understand the
principles, you cannot understand at all, and I need a few hours in class
to convey the principles, before I can teach how to use them.

                                                   Over, please...

Bill Powers June 21, 1992 Page 2

Let me use an illustrative analogy instead:

In an era when "everyone knew" that the earth was flat, scientific
explanations were developed for navigation and astronomy. Many problems
with those explanations persisted, but people worked around them. The
explanations were taught to succeeding generations by experts.
Non-experts took it all for granted without much thought.

I cannot say what "everyone knows" about human behavior, but experts on
the subject employ a 17th century perspective of cause and effect to
guide their research. Any book on experimental psychology tells you that
the way to learn about behavior is to set up an experiment, then vary the
stimulus (independent variable) and watch the response (dependent
variable). With this scientific method our experts have done many
experiments and formulated many explanations which have found their way
into our language, culture and management practices. Non-experts take
these explanations for granted without much thought.

Many problems with these explanations persist despite all the research,
but people work around them. Our lack of consistent success indicates
that we lack a good model or "paradigm" to help us understand why people
do what they do. In our ignorance, we often spend our energies in
debilitating conflict instead of in productive cooperation.

THAT THE EARTH IS ROUND (it has always been round), THE PROBLEMS OF
insight did not invalidate the common sense observation that the earth
appears flat locally, but science moved from a dead end to progress,
which in a few centuries has brought us far.

But most experts of the old science could not comprehend the new
paradigm, because they had already internalized the flat paradigm in all
its details as their personal reality. With time, the experts died off,
and new ones grew up, embracing the new paradigm on its merits because
it solved many of those persistent problems. They internalized the new
perspective, and science progressed from there.

Isaac Newton's "Principia Mathematica," published fifty years after
Galileo, was resisted also for similar reasons. It took fifty years for
it to be fully accepted. Looking back, we take it for granted. The
evolution of science is much more than a steady accumulation of
knowledge! 1 The process is creative. The opportunity for a revolution
arises when a current paradigm fails to explain and competing paradigms
are offered to provide better explanations. A struggle of many decades
typically takes place, with the existing establishment continuing the
development of the existing paradigm while outsiders and early converts
champion a new one.


Cybernetic control is as incomprehensible at first glance to a person
trained in cause- effect thinking (which we all are to various degrees
in our culture) as the idea that the earth is round was to a person
trained in the details of a flat earth. The demonstration /test we offer
shows this clearly. Still, an understanding of cybernetic control
contains an explanation of the illusion of cause and effect in people,
just like the understanding that the earth is round contains an
explanation of the illusion of a flat earth.


1 The phenomenon and process is described in Thomas Kuhn's seminal book:
   "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,"
   which introduced the term "paradigm."

Bill Powers June 21, 1992 Page 3

Another illustrative analogy is to say that we live in a maze where only
the walls and passages are visible to us. The perspective of cybernetic
control allows us to rise above the maze and see the structure. We can
then set and reach our goal much easier.

The new perspective does not invalidate any wise common sense observation
or practice. It just provides an enhanced understanding of seemingly
intractable problems. It provides new diagnostic tools and shows why
cookbook rules for behavior (programs which tell you what to do under
certain circumstances) are inappropriate.

This perspective on cybernetic control in people is already well
developed. But no doubt it will take time - well into the 21st century
- before this successful breakthrough is embraced by a majority of
experts. You can take advantage of what "everyone will know" in the 21st
century right now to improve your company's competitive position. But
because it breaks new ground, you must be willing to think for yourself
to do it. You will actively participate in a scientific revolution when
you adopt it.

The Purposeful LeadershipTM programs explain and translate this new
perspective into skillful use of diagnostic tools that give you the
capability to work on productivity. That includes effective
communication, teaching effectiveness, resolving conflict, supporting
self-motivation in employees, team building, Total Quality Management,
leadership insights, effective performance appraisals, effective selling
concepts, and development of corporate and individual mission statements.
The executive learns how to build confidence, build trust, develop caring
relationships and reduce stress.

The basic principles can be taught in a day to any attentive person, who
can also verify them. People trained in the "hard" sciences will
appreciate the scientific approach and elegant simplicity of the program,
and everyone will be able to begin applying the principles as soon as
they understand the underlying model and have had some instruction and
practice with applications.

Some people will think that we promise a new way to control other people.
It is precisely the other way around. We show how people control
themselves at all times. When you understand cybernetic control you can
work with people, rather than get into conflict despite the best of

Besides a consuming interest in this new development, I have 25 years
management experience in engineering, manufacturing, finance and
marketing. My formal education includes an MBA from the University of
Southern California and a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from

I will be pleased to send you a brochure and a free introductory 39
minute audio tape with script and illustrations. It demonstrates the
perspective and explains the benefits, applications, background and
content of our programs. The demonstration/test allows you to determine
if your associates can recognize control in action. (I bet they can't)!

When you receive the introduction, I think you will find the
demonstration both enlightening and entertaining. Please feel free to
share it with your technical, operations and sales managers at any level
for their evaluation. This is a win/win program to greatly increase the
understanding and effectiveness of anyone who deals with people.


(Page 4)

                        INFORMATION REQUEST

~ Please send me the introduction with a brochure.
      ~ 39 minute audio cassette with complete script,
         including demonstration.
      ~ Reading and illustration material only, no audio cassette.

~ Comment:



      Bill Powers, CEO
      CSG Forever, Inc.
      73 Ridge Road CR 510
      Durango, Co 81301


      Name: ________________________________________________________
      Address: ________________________________________________________
      Phone: (_____)__________________Fax:(____)_____________________

Mail or fax this page with your request, or call direct.

                        Purposeful LeadershipTM
                           Dag C. Forssell
                         23903 Via Flamenco,
                       Valencia, CA 91355-2808
                        Phone: (805) 254-1195
                        Fax: (805) 254-7956

[From Dag Forssell (930817 1420)]

The following is my first, very preliminary draft of a new article intended
to introduce PCT. Christine and I have come to realize (again) that we must
tie into that which our prospective customers are concerned about in order
to get their attention. We reluctantly conclude that they are not really
interested in how to deal with people, but in profits and such. So this is
an effort to show some relationships.

As shown at the end, this somewhat disjointed draft is already torn up and
I start work on the next version. Since much of this will be eliminated or
cut down, but I still want an accuracy check, I am posting it for reactions
to some of the illustrations.


Title: Why is it so hard to get things done right?

Discuss problem: The problem of getting employees to commit to their job and
maintain their motivation when you walk away.

A reason:

We have a confusing co-existence of (at least) three incompatible concepts
of human behavior:

A) A scientific/academic tradition (started in the 1920's) called
behaviorism, based on the study of Cause - Effect, better known as Stimulus
Response, with accessory explanations of reinforcement, reward and punishment
etc. This is what most of us have learned in school.

B) A second scientific/academic tradition (started in the 1960's) is called
cognitive psychology, which studies how people perceive things and make plans
for action based on internal stimuli.

The scientific method of psychology is based on this concept:

          _________ __________ __________
         > > > > > >
         > Cause | --> | Organism | --> | Effect |
         >_________| |__________| |__________|

The terms Cause - Effect have several equivalents: Stimulus - Response, Plan
- Action, Input - Output, Independent Variable - Dependent Variable or IV -

The scientific community generates large numbers of studies reporting
statistical correlations between IV - DV, which infers guesses about
functional relationships within the organism.

There is nothing per se wrong with studies correlating IV - DV. But a problem
arises when such studies with poor correlations are published because:
"That's the best we can do." Such studies even with poor correlations are
often quickly elevated to the status of scientific fact, when they get quoted
without all the caveats that were reported (or should have been reported) in
the initial publication.

A) and B) are both partially correct. That is why they are so seductive. But
being partially correct, they are totally wrong. That is why neither works.

In the absence of valid theory, contemporary psychology offers a hodgepodge
mix of observations and prescriptions for how to deal with people.

Even the best contemporary leadership programs, such as Dr. Stephen R.
Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or Dr. W. Edwards Deming's The
Deming Management Philosophy can only offer a set of suggested principles =
rules of conduct. Without in-depth explanations of how people function, these
rules will be interpreted differently by different individuals based on their
own personal experiences. Consistent understanding is hard to attain.

Contrasting the scientific/academic teachings is the intuitive recognition
lay people often hold that:

C) People are control systems.

First ask any manager: "What does control mean to you?" You will probably get
the answer: "Oh, power." "Fine," you say, "you can't control anything if you
don't have the necessary power."

Next you ask: "You've got the power, you are trying to control something.
What are you trying to control?" "Why, I have to have a purpose, a goal."
Now you suggest: "If you are going to control-achieve your goal-you can only
do that if you know what is happening right now." - "Of course."

"So you have to have a goal and you have to know what is happening." Now you
point out: "Well, look, you have to make some kind of comparison between your
goal and where you are now. On the basis of that comparison, you can use your
power. What for?" Likely answer: "To make what you are working on more like
what your goal calls for."

Now you have a complete control system described. (Let us avoid the term
feedback, because it is routinely misunderstood and misapplied). Thanks, Bob

What is missing from this intuitive understanding of control is

a) clarity and formalization of the process
b) a clear understanding of how control works including such things as
   - speed of response to changing requirements
   - sensitivity, amplification
c) recognition that understanding the phenomenon of control explains the
   appearance of stimulus - response in behaviorism as well as the
   appearance of plan - action (control of output) in cognitive science.
d) understanding of how control systems can form stable hierarchical
e) understanding that it is "control all the way down." Control is not an
   occasional activity but a pervasive, continuous fact of life.

This article is a brief introduction to control and the understanding of
humans as control systems, called Perceptual Control Theory.

Illustrate control:

To introduce a simple yet clear and formal example of control, let us
introduce a diagram of the familiar cruise control in a car. The cruise
control is designed to replicate control action normally performed by a

The driver sets the speed by pressing a button at the speed or dialing in a
number. This establishes a minimum for the mechanism.

The mechanism takes over from there and performs its magic.

(A few "business" terms are shown in paranthesis.)

note: human has | |
direct access to | speed set by |
speed setting of | human control | HUMAN
machine control | system | CONTROL
system. |_______________| SYSTEM
                       > >
                       > Minimum speed |
                       > setting |
                               > + speed reference signal (goal)
speedometer signal - | | = difference signal (variance)
  (report) o--->| Compare |----o
                   > >_____________| | arrows
             ______|______ ______v_____ signify
            > Input: | | Output: | signals
            > speedometer | | convert |
            > reading | | difference | MACHINE
            >____________ | |____________| CONTROL
                 ^ / SYSTEM
  Input signal --| / ----output signal
  (raw data) | / (instruction)

           ______|___ ____v____ __________
          > VARIABLE:|<--| |-->| EFFECTS: | ENVIRONMENT
          > CAR | | PRESS | | GAS |
          > SPEED | | PEDAL | | USE | arrows
          >__________| |_________| |__________| signify
                ^ physical
           _____|_________________________________ influences
          > >
          > DISTURBANCE |
          > rolling resistance, hill, wind |

   ( | = down ^ = up o--> = connection and
      v arrow | arrow | side arrow )

The dominant feature of the control system is the reference signal, the
specification of a desired condition. In our daily language, it has many
names: Purpose, goal, target, budget, desire, wish, hope, aspiration,
intention, anticipation, prediction, intention, expectation.

So, let us represent each complete control system with one box, labeled by
the reference alone. The Physical Variable in the environment is another box:

                       > > HUMAN
                       > Speed wanted | CONTROL
                       >_______________| SYSTEM
                       > > MACHINE
                       > Minimum speed | CONTROL
                       >_______________| SYSTEM
                               > ---- both input and output signals

                       > > ENVIRONMENT
                       > Physical speed |

We take for granted that the control system functions to compare its
perceptions with the reference, creates an output signal specifying action
by some effector in the environment of the control system which in turn
influences the physical variable such that the perception inside the control
system conforms to the specified reference.

The typical cruise control does not control speed fully. Just like the
thermostat and heater in your home, it controls in one direction only. Going
downhill it coasts. It does not brake. To design a speed control system which
does that too, we can establish a simple hierarchy of control systems:

                       > > HUMAN
                       > Speed wanted | CONTROL
                       >_______________| SYSTEM
                       > 1 |
                       > set speed |
                         / \
          _____________/_ _\_____________
         > 2 | | 3 |
         > Brake | | Accelerator |
         > pedal | | pedal | MACHINE
         > control | | control | CONTROL
         >_______________| |_______________| SYSTEM
                      \ /

                       > > ENVIRONMENT
                       > Physical speed |

Here, control system 1 compares the specified, set speed with what it knows
about the physical speed, and sends signals to the subordinated control
systems 2 and 3 as appropriate.

Two equivalent, perhaps superfluous paragraphs:

   (If the comparison (+reference -perception = difference signal) yields a
   positive signal, the speed is to small and the accelerator control system
   responds by increasing the pressure on the gas pedal. Conversely, if the
   comparison yields a negative signal, the brake control system responds by
   increasing the pressure on the brake pedal.)

   The coasting cruise control has been expanded to 1) a speed control
   system with two parallell comparators. The zero to negative (excessive
   speed) difference signal goes to a braking pedal control system which
   controls (and knows about) braking only. The zero to positive difference
   signal goes to an accelerator pedal control system which controls (and
   knows about) acceleration only.

The accelerator control adjusts the pedal only, but influences the physical
speed by way of the fuel control, engine, transmission, tires etc. The brake
control adjusts the pedal only, but influences the physical speed by way of
the brakes. This is quite obvious and is mentioned only to illustrate how
simplified the above diagram actually is.

The set speed can be adjusted up or down rapidly by the driver, resulting in
lively acceleration and braking by the car.

We can see that this example may be expanded to a hierarchical network of
control systems where the purposes of the higher-level control systems
compared with their perceptions create purposive reference signals for the
lower-level control systems. While no cruise control presently exists that
performs like this, the reader will recognize that this is a fair portrayal
of how the human driver performs.

          _______________ _______________
         > > > >
         > destination | | schedule |
         > > > (tight) |
         >_______________| |_______________|
                       \ /
                       > >
                       > pass! |
                         / \
          _____________/_ _\_____________
         > > > >
         > Speed | | Lane |
         >_______________| |_______________|
              / \ / \
          __/____ ____\__ __/____ _____\__
         > > > > > > > > HUMAN
         > Brake | | Accel | | Left | | Right | CONTROL
         >_______| |_______| |_______| |_______| SYSTEM
             \ \ / /
                 \ \ / /
             ______\________\_____/________/____ ENVIRONMENT
            > >
            > speed, position, relationships |

We note that higher level control systems control more complex variables. The
perceptions of the higher-level systems may be developed from perceptions of
lower-level systems (indirect, filtered or composite reports) or developed
directly from unfiltered, raw data passed through directly from environment

Stability of the system requires a faster response in the lower-level
systems. If the lower-level systems cannot stay ahead of the upper-level
systems, the aggregate system becomes unstable (begins to oscillate).

PCT demonstrates with compelling tests that human beings function like one
control system when focused on a single control task. When a person focuses
on one high level task (such as keeping a rubber band knot over a target),
lower-levels automatically control many different variables (such as multiple
muscles) so that the selected perception and corresponding physical variable
is controlled.

Hierarchical Perceptual Control Theory (HPCT) suggests a construct of a human
as a system of control systems, in many ways resembling the above diagram.
See fig XX (Figure of all eleven levels with ears and hair, as shared in

HPCT offers explanations of how we think imagine and dream, observe
passively, control body functions without paying attention and control
selected things with full attention.

Some evidence for this organization is easy to demonstrate for the lowest 4-5
levels of vision-muscle coordination. Sure enough--the lower level control
systems show a faster response than the higher--level systems.

Once you accept the concept of people as autonomous hierarchical systems of
control systems, with a system of internal understandings and purposes, you
gain a different outlook.

You see conflict and cooperation in terms of purposes and perceptions.

You recognize external as well as internal conflict as the source of many

You see how you can support others and resolve conflicts by discussing their
understanding and purposes, NOT their actions.

People often talk of "social control systems." Indeed, a corporation can be
portrayed as a system of control systems:

              ____________ ____________ ____________
CEO | | | | | |
level | return | | market | | cash, |
sets | on | | share | | profit |
goals | investment | | | | flow |
             >____________| |____________| |____________|
                                     / \
                                   / \
                                  / \
          ____________ ____/_______ ____\_______ ____________
V.P. | | | | | | | |
level | | | | | new | | manu- |
sets | investment | | sales | | product | | facturing |
goals | | | | | | | |
         >____________| |____________| |____________| |____________|
                                          / / | \
                                   / / | \
                           / / | \
          __________/_ __________/_ _____|______ _\__________
DIR | | | | | | | |
level | R & D | | R & D | | product | | market |
sets | project | | project | | improvement| | research |
goals | 1 | | 2 | | project | | project |
         >____________| |____________| |____________| |____________|
                                          / / | \
                                   / / | \
                           / / | \
          __________/_ __________/_ _____|______ _\__________
MGR | | | | | | | |
level | review | | update | | redesign | | design |
sets | product | | product | | service | | invention |
goals | A | | B | | C | | D |
         >____________| |____________| |____________| |____________|
                           / | \ \
                         / | \ \
                        / | \ \
          ____________/ ____|_______ \___________ \____________
Team | | | | | competi- | | document- |
level | value | | quality | | tive | | ation |
sets | engineering| | review | | features | | of |
goals | B | | B | | B | | B |
         >____________| |____________| |____________| |____________|
                           / | \ \
                         / | \ \
                        / | \ \
          ____________/ ____|_______ \___________ \____________
Indi- | | | | | | | |
viduals | manuf. | | design | | customer | | sales |
set | engineer | | engineer | | service | | engineer |
personal> > > > > engineer | | |
goals |____________| |____________| |____________| |____________|
                > > > >
         inside |"company's brain"| | |
                > > > >

        outside |"company's brain"| | |
         > >
         > production, service activity, handling of goods |
         > customers, vendors, families, associates, community |

At the top level, the CEO sets goals (references) for ROI, sales growth,
profits and cash flow. At the next level down, the V.P. of Marketing may
translate these specifications from above into references for sales and new
product development. Further down, the Director of R & D may translate his
part into references for several R & D programs, which are further broken
down at the manager level, team level and individual level.

While in many ways this is a useful portrayal, there are several reasons why
it is misleading to think of a corporation or any other social system as a
"control system."

Unlike an engineered control system or the human nervous system, the
components of the social system are not dedicated components which will react
with predictable outputs to given inputs. They are not connected all the
time, their capabilities are not predictable, the signals (reporting) between
components are subject to large variations in interpretation. False
assumptions about how the components (people) function are made. --- refer
to initial discussion of psychology.

What you can learn from PCT: listing

Results from application of PCT. discussion

Reactive vs. Proactive (separate musing)

The ONLY thing that drives us is the error signal. What then might be the

Select reference ==> examine related perception ==> error signal ==> action.

Insistent perception ==> examine reference ==> error signal ==> action.

Revised sequence for next draft:

1) Corporate concerns about projects and such. Use selected top part of one-
page corporate diagram above. (concerns of our target audience MUST come

2) Corporate organization is NOT a control system.

3) What IS a control system? Cruise control example.

4) People ARE control systems. How to deal with people. What you can learn
from PCT. Results of an application.

Again, any immediate comment or correction will be most helpful.

Best, Dagsc

[From Hank Folson (920902)]

(Dag Forssell 920901)

I won't embarrass Dag by listing all the different things he has
tried to get me interested in over the years, but there were many.

Would it embarrass me?

Must have. YouUre responding, arenUt you? -Just joking, folks. DagUs
intention is to make a good point:

Was I trying to interest you (focus on you), or
just bubbling along about what interested me at the time
(focus on me)? I got no error signal from your refusal to take my
expert advice, did I?

If you had no error signal, my response was not the controlled
variable. If so, IUm ticked off that you wasted my time going on about
your selfish interests all those years....

As I typed this little witticism, it became embarrassingly clear to me
that that this last sentence is a classic S-R view of life that has no
place on the net, except perhaps as a bad example. Had I known about
PCT then, I would have watched for your reaction to my courteous but
non-committal response to your latest interest. Had I seen no hurt in
your eyes (The Test), I would have understood that you were indeed just
bubbling along about yourself. If my time was wasted, it was my doing
not yours as I recall no violence in our past.

OR: My response was the controlled variable, but your expectation was
framed in the negative (that I would NOT respond). This a nice defense
system people have that creates a win-win situation. My negative
response would create no error signal. A positive response creates an
error signal, but a higher level is satisfied by my positive response
which overrides the lower level error signal. Thanx to Ed Ford for
introducing me to this in _Freedom From Stress_.

In any event, whatever your intentions, I, an independent control
system, responded as I wanted to respond, which reinforces the
difficulty in promoting PCT, which is where this all started.

In control, Hank

Hank Folson, Henry James Bicycles, Inc.
704 Elvira Avenue, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310-540-1552 (Day & Evening) MCI MAIL: 509-6370 Internet: 5096370@MCIMAIL.COM