Social organizations

Jeff Vancouver [11-19-95, 17.00]

I was just rereading CT and Social Organizations (I assign it as a reading
for my motivation class) and had a question about goal (reference signal)
specificity. A section in the paper reads "Cooperation is a social
perception that must exist in all those who cooperate. It is a shared
goal, sharable if it is not sharply and quantitatively defined..." Why
does a specific (sharply and quantitatively defined) goal make sharing
dificult and conflict more likely?




                           Jeffrey B. Vancouver
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<[Bill Leach 951129.20:26 U.S. Eastern Time Zone]

Jeff Vancouver [11-19-95, 17.00]

Jeff, Kent's posting:
[Kent McClelland (951129.1445 CST)]
is an interesting discussion of the potential problem. This same sort of
"behaviour" between conflicted control systems came up in a discussion a
number of months ago (with yet another example of "behaviour" observed
when two control loops are in conflict).

Kent's example is different, if I recall correctly, in that he definately
set up specific examples ranging over zero to 180 phase difference.

"Thought processing" the matter though includes some additional ideas.
It would seem that the more "sharply defined" the goal is the more likely
that inferential differences would be both noticed and "resisted".

What I am thinking here is that if everyone thinks in terms of the
"collective goals" as being somewhat vague goals then they are also less
likely to "examine" the views of others critically and indeed may be more
"flexible" with their own goals related to the "common" goal.

OTOH, if the goals are sharply defined then each person will (probably)
have set their own references for these goals AS THEY PERCEIVE the
meaning. If this has happened, then slightly differing references of
others will result in a disturbance (conflict).

I should think that "quantitative" goals should not be a problem unless
the specification is easily subject to variation in meaning. If
quantitative goals that are likely to be "commonly" understood result in
conflict it is, I think, likely that there are other goals (probably
"unvoiced") that are not consistent with the "group" goal.