Skip to comments.The Black Hole of Organizational Dysfunction
Posted on 06/19/2021 2:10:54 PM PDT by AZLiberty
In these increasingly irrational, precedented, self-destructive times of human society, populated with people spastic on angst and cognitive dissonance, the starting block for the adventure in mutation is wherever on the globe you happen to be. This seething mass of organizational dysfunction comprises a society called, appropriately enough, Dystopia. You don’t have to market dystopia to the masses. The telltales of dystopia are everywhere.
Dystopia is constructed on the psychological bedrock of the sanctification of and the implementation of business as usual. It is an inelastic system that contains the seeds of its demise. Apply standard practice and the seeds are sown. Dystopian citizens have been described as old women of both sexes.
Some ingredients necessary to cook up a dystopia did not exist during the primitive ages of Homo sapiens. For small bands of humans, like Bedouin clans, “business as usual” was a glove-fit survival strategy. It was not long after the first cities formed, however, that written records of Establishment dysfunction started to appear. The walls of Jericho, like the passageways of the pyramids, were adorned with graffiti by the building workforce complaining about their dysfunctional Establishment. The scribes of Mesopotamia prepared thousands of cuneiform tablets, still being unearthed, ranting about dysfunctional administrations, tales which were concealed from their overlords by their then-private guild language. The endless cycle of the rise and fall of civilizations, enlightened or savage, makes the empirical case. What else could be the common denominator factor in dystopias other than terrible choices and the influence of natural law? Did cavemen have slaves?
Empirical evidence authenticates that dystopias are manmade artifacts turned by the lathe of business as usual. A function of group size and architecture, what works to keep the hunting band effective is crippled by the operational habits of big business. Any social system in too-big-to-fail mode is already in our oxygen. The willful withholding of intelligence, appropriate selection, punished by Nature, not man, keeps dystopia alive while it wrecks the neighborhood.
The ubiquity of dystopia does suggest a blueprint of Nature – a map on how it went from zero to dominate social life on planet Earth. Anyone who wants to adopt the way of life in Utopia and benefit from its payoffs should first understand the mechanisms of action that make dystopia, well dystopia. The reason is simple. Going to Utopia is a reallocation, refinement, and repositioning of what reptile-brain, caveman-you already possess. You don’t need to gain special knowledge. What you need to thrive in Utopia is a reconfiguration and amplification of the understanding, experience, and smarts you already have. Everything you need to animate your transformation is right there in your cerebral toolshed – in the drawer marked instincts.
As indicated in the previous book, Utopia is not a place, an Eden or a Shangri-La, where mystical supernatural powers keep things copacetic behind the scenes, like Disneyworld, while you hang out. Utopia is not architecture, an art form, a tattoo. A utopia is a group of people following an explicit system of behavior towards each other that renders their society prosperous and immortal. In the society of Utopia, you are encouraged to do your part to preserve its felicitous way of life and are given the discretion to do it your way.
The mechanisms of action of dystopia are illuminated by scrutable connections back to the mathematical physics running the universe. Dystopia is the yardstick by which the size of the initial benefit package of the pilgrimage, a windfall, is measured. Just understanding the craziness going on relieves a good portion of your paradox-driven angst. Understanding dystopian dynamics does not tell you how to do something about it, but it does sharpen your senses to notice its intrusions.
In building the algorithms of the paradigm, no use is made of empiricism, precedence, judgment, or stories. When your strategy of action is fully rooted in natural law, Nature’s indifference becomes an ally. Its corollaries work 100% of the time.
Initialization includes defining the functioning of dystopia in terms that can be used to examine and evaluate Utopia for quantitative comparisons. It provides an objective basis for a before and after measurement of the P2U benefit package contents. The pilgrimage delivers a huge windfall both in the financial$ and the humanitarian parameters, such as morale and turnover. The definitive proof of the pilgrimage value is the quantitative measure of actualized benefits against forecasts and the self-sustaining continuation of the windfalls (Argyris).
The organizational behaviors that compile into ubiquitous patterns and the patterns that compile into ubiquitous sets that distinguish dystopia from Utopia are familiar to all. What will be featured herein is how the behaviors exhibited in real-time are the resultant vectors of two measurable forces – human choice and natural law. Humans choose at the crossroads, then Nature channels. You can choose to jump, or not, but you cannot choose to hover. Volition doesn’t work on controlling gravity.
What you will learn about social system dynamics is that early-on pathway choices are constricted by Nature’s omnipresent force fields into channels so narrow that, for all practical purposes, little room is left for alternatives. In a dystopia, personality traits are inactive ingredients. In a mature dystopia, behavioral patterns are completely predictable.
In Utopia, personalities are prominent in their creative contributions towards increasing productivity. Like all individuals in autonomy mode, prediction of their behavior is low batting average. Raising productivity is a highly creative act that sits on a foundation of mutual trust. A disastrous mistake and a common one is to assume that the character profiles of organizational potentates have a bearing on choices being made for operations. The fact this fallacious assumption is wildly popular does not make it valid. It is the natural law that channels the choices being made in organizational functioning, not personality profiles. Nature compresses human behavior by setting strict limits to each role in the hierarchy – top to bottom. In the operational reality, managing at the natural limits by tall organizations begets dystopia. With the intelligent reallocation of the prerogatives on nature’s keyboard, always within Her limits, Utopias can rise.
When dystopia is latched in, all task action decisions are bowed by natural law to perpetuate dystopia. There are independent mechanisms of action that reinforce dystopia against disturbance, well-meaning or not. It does not take any form of physical or mental effort to maintain a dystopia. When the collective migrates from producer to parasite mode, as it must, its members have to be fed from the pantries of productive society. No handout, no survival.
In Utopia, “the chosen tier,” the productivity gatekeepers, the productivity protagonists, the front-line supervisors, the revenue crew, have free rein to husband Utopia – increase productivity. In exchange for autonomy, they have proudly taken personal responsibility for delivering fit outcomes.
In dystopia, no one is ever responsible for outcomes. If anyone claims responsibility and is not functionally positioned to deliver on the promise, such as a potentate, it is inauthentic. Excused from responsibility for consequences by role is why the perpetrators of the most destructive organizational crimes against society, e.g. 2008 Wall St., are never prosecuted.
In Utopia, productivity protagonists know that to better productivity, the workforce must be at-one with the whole system of production, local and particular. Intimacy with system behavior can only be derived from the freedom to explore and test. To be constraint-free requires social system “permission” for rational action and forbearance for solution-candidate failures (British mathematician, Alan Turing, 1912-1954, father of theoretical computer science & AI). These conditions don’t occur in dystopia.
The striking feature of dystopia, to us, is the regularity and monotony of its scenarios. There is little variation in how organizations orchestrate their collapse. One scandal is just like any other. Only the names change. History records the exploits of those orchestrating the fall of civilizations. The reason there is no history of collapse avoidance is there is no sense of collapse. In Utopia, by contrast, workforce creativity is a constant buffer against monotony. Anytime productivity is going up, there is an exciting change for everyone. Since change is incessant and innovation is the cycle of inventing, trials and new ideas are immortal, and there is no collapse. With tolerance for error and failure, productivity schemes are Utopian trademarks with no room for dystopia.
Collectively, in the history of dystopia-building, the organization takes honest citizens who want to do good work and bends them to act against their proclivities. In Utopia, productivity sabotage is picked up as organizational errors for correction. In dystopia, you are expected to live among neurotic, inhumane actions and act like you don’t notice them. In time, the brain rewires itself to accept paradox as logically normal. Schizophrenic people make poor problem solvers.
After thousands of years of trying, it has become clear that an approach to remedy dystopia based upon prior strategies is destined to fail. The $350Trillion spent in the last 75 years to mitigate organizational dysfunction proves the case. This dystopian wreckage has never made any difference to its perpetrators. One of our workaday maxims applies: “Never underestimate the ability of the people to ignore hard evidence that conflicts with their acculturalization.” Head-in-sand is a perennial problem.
While the vast record of humanity speaks to the ubiquity of dystopia, it contains no theory of dystopia’s cause or how they became animated. Nowhere in the tonnage of empirical evidence of social dysfunction is a hint of why.
Since it is ubiquitous, society today wants us to believe that the norm of highly irrational, counterproductive organizational activity is a logical manifestation of divine will or predestination. “We’ve always done it this way.” “Pay no attention to the men behind the curtains” is the palace directive.
In the sphere of organizational dysfunction, any theory of action that hits its mark is self-corroborating. When your tests have failed to falsify your theory, you will be bombarded by unsolicited examples jumping out of the operational reality to grab your attention. The patterns of behavior associated uniquely with dystopia are everywhere.
Forecasting the vector of dystopia is easy because all dystopian decay and dissolve in the same way. It is a collective effort with no individual perpetrator responsible for the outcome. No one ever goes to jail for complicity in inflicting stakeholder damage. Crimes of obedience implement the crimes of command. This zero-responsibility condition of dystopia is why it cannot self-remedy. In Utopia, responsibility for prosperity continuation is singular and exact.
Today, as you well know, we have a society drowning in significant unsolved issues whose salvation is delegated to an Establishment that engineered the mess and is thereby unable to take authentic responsibility for a successful resolution (Austria-Hungarian Kurt Gödel. 1906-1978 was an original logician of the 20th century). The masses habitually clamor for a “true” leader to be placed in supreme command over a “government” that has over 25 levels of hierarchy. It’s hard to determine which is more clueless about the mechanisms of social action – the tsar who is fed by fiction-filled informants or the population who thinks that charisma can defy the rule. Suddenly, the mystery of the unnecessary fall of civilizations is no more.
The sociotechnical platform for deriving dystopia is the reference for explaining Utopia. For the empirical-evidence route, the affirmation that dystopia is manmade and impervious to disturbance is overwhelming. The empirical record includes cases where dystopias were transformed into Utopias, but none lasted long enough to establish a theory of action and validate the testing. No one ever figured out how to establish a Utopia on demand.
Empirically, the P2U (Pilgrimage to Utopia) is transmuting individuals from one way of life to another that is different in the Yin/Yang principle. The mutation starts in the way of life where they are, one hostile to initiative and discretion – its tyranny spanning millions of applications for the last two centuries. The P2U ends in a way of life that proved its high value to society for a millennium prior, in various applications. There is nothing uncertain about dystopia or Utopia. In this universe, no third state is possible. It is the generic pilgrimage connecting the two unprecedented realms.
The striking feature of man’s history is that most of what the sciences know today about organizational dysfunction was identified and well understood more than a century ago. The steps to the dystopia that follow each other in tandem by inherent necessity are universal. Among the authors that objectively described dystopia and its mechanisms of action are three USA presidents, a prime minister of Canada, a secretary of commerce, titans of industry, labor union pioneers, Senators, a governor, members of Parliament, German generals, professionals, university presidents, philosophers, and two Supreme Court Justices. A century ago, descriptions and discussions about dystopias and what to do about them were prominent in the literature and journals of the time. The issue of organizational dysfunction was new and raging. People who had experienced the rational times knew something was wrong. They noticed that every time industry expanded, whether automobiles, railroads, steel, coal, telephones, shipping, labor unrest reached new heights.
History clarifies that dystopia has been known at all levels of society for a long time. It also documents that the forces creating and maintaining dystopia have endured unchanged over generations, wars, and the specter of extinction. The record is convincing that every remedy tried for the last two centuries was a failure for the failed attempts had nothing to do with the people. Empiricism dramatically narrowed the possibilities of remedy.
History also highlighted that any attempt to fix dystopia that involves management was doomed. Even if management wanted to make Utopia work, it couldn’t. Bluntly put, there is no such thing as healthy management-labor relations. It is not a case of steering potentate-slave relationships but keeping zero-sum out of the arena of workforce interaction with management altogether.
Rudolph Starkermann, the Swiss thinker, provides a mathematical-physics explanation, using control theory, why management of a tall organization cannot command operational betterment through a management-labor relationship. It cannot know enough, timely enough to devise a fix that keeps on working. Any direct force applied by management, skilled incompetence, makes things worse.
The empirical record also shows that the Establishment was able to conceal the work of the frontier champions, 1882 to 1922, relating to fields of inquiry. Documentation from the 1940s to the present rarely includes references to the heroes. The discoveries about organizational behavior documented as novel to the authors are all heavily precedented during the era when telling it like it is was still considered a social-contract duty. How ironic that the captains of industry prevailed over the champions of Utopia and sealed the doom of their empires in the process.
The quoted excerpts from champion-era documentation cover all the pieces and parts of dystopia and much of what makes Utopia click. For the paradigm of transformation from dystopia to Utopia, the pilgrimage stations, no precedent has yet been found. Those who think this approach is preposterous, are encouraged to examine and evaluate implementation sites to discredit the paradigm. Is it not your duty to do so for yourself, your family, and your society? So, what are some distinguishing aspects of the pilgrimage?
Since dystopia is taken for granted as the de facto operating template of societies around the globe, it comes as an unwelcome surprise that dystopia is not the only stable, natural, instinct-compatible, form of social organization. As a species, Homo sapiens has two viable options and, at all times, is free to choose between them – one or the other. Taking a top-down view of dystopia, systems-engineering think begins with its dynamical classification.
Fitting mathematical physics to the great historical record of human society shows that dystopias exhibit the dynamical properties of an “attractor.” It takes the properties of an attractor, like a Black Hole, to survive millennia of generations, various conditions, and disturbances and remain intact. To prove this law-reality congruency to yourself, observe what happens when your organization gets whacked with a large disturbance, perhaps a merger. The behaviors of crisis response are transient and return inside the carapace by the pull of the dystopian doctrine. It has its configuration, strategy and place, and contribution to make.
Since each social system is unity and dystopia cannot account for all of the observed behaviors of a human collective, there must be another attractor within the total operational domain of human society. To form a unity of social system functionality sets up a Yin/Yang configuration with two complementary and opposite behavior ensembles, each highly stable, with you the agent of the other.
Dystopia and Utopia are in a joint restriction, mutually exclusive, Hyde and Jekyll – one or the other. Natural law forbids a third attractor in this universe. Numerous experiments with mixtures, via dynamic simulations, exhibit explosive instability. GIGO (i.e., “garbage in, garbage out”).
Attractors can be nested in certain ways. Most dystopias have a Utopia or two functioning in a corporate enclave, known as a “silo.” Notice the oppositely colored dots in the classic Yin/Yang symbol. Utopias are often nested within other Utopias and they can exist adjacent to dystopias indefinitely. A Utopia cannot harbor a dystopia in any form within itself for long because its dysfunction is caught as contamination and assaulted as an error. There is no gain to be concerned about “bad” people in Utopia. That’s why so much goes into error detection. Saboteurs soon get frustrated with this error-centered exposure, “You can’t cheat an honest man,” and exile themselves back to a dystopia where their subreption (or “a deliberate misrepresentation; also: an inference drawn from it.”) and deception are emulated and graded.
Attractors feed on native instincts to draw in uncharacteristic behaviors to conform to a central ideology. In Utopia, the free-range instincts feature viability husbandry (productivity), workmanship (quality), or the square deal. In dystopia, the instinct unleashed for the top brass is domination. It is the authority vested in the anointed few to dictate how the workforce under them is to live. In Utopia, it’s all about freely-taken responsibility for beneficial outcomes. In dystopia, it’s all about the social power structure in domination mode.
In dystopia, life goes along on well-trodden paths of tradition and custom. Having taken the route of least intellectual exertion, it reacts to disturbances with a staff of firefighters trained for the role. Crisis over, things resume exactly where they left off. The hindsight-based strategy is never shaped by experience-driven lessons learned. In dystopia, all maintenance efforts are crisis-driven and temporary. Dystopia is the fruit of deliberate intellectual lethargy.
In Utopia, proactive attention to viability continuance is a constant. Lessons learned shape foresight and spotlight prevention measures. Utopia is the cerebral Olympics, a relay race of sapient heroes that has no finish line. In Utopia the expenditure of effort for viability assurance is continuous.
Native instincts spring-loaded on hot-standby is the reason you can transmute your dystopian existence into an authentic Utopia so swiftly. Unmistakable benefits from the P2U begin to manifest before the journey is half completed. You can observe pilgrimage “episodes” going on in different places around the USA and witness individual pilgrims scaling up and over the attractor divider. Attaining psychological success is a special, heartwarming occasion.
One test of Nature’s Yin/Yang power that can be run in safety is multiplicity. Assign a problem to be solved to a group of two. Add a member and gauge the change in the productivity of the democratic threesome. Add a fourth member and again note the change in productivity. When you add the fifth member, you will observe the onset of group instability and a level of productivity below the 4-person group. Phase change. The 5-man democracy fails, as it must, sending productivity to hell while the group spontaneously selects a leader. The reconfiguration of the group into a hierarchy, forced by multiplicity (control theory), produces a step change in group behavior from Yang to Yin. There is a new administrative overhead to bear that may or may not be offset by productivity increases.
To track an attractor, all it takes is to monitor productivity over time. In a dystopia, productivity only gets worse. The defensive routines of dystopia will cover up the actual decay, but there is always a day of reckoning when the treasury runs dry. Do whatever it takes to truthfully quantify productivity and believe the meter readings. In Utopia, productivity only gets better. There will be bumps as candidates for improvement are tested in the crucible of reality, but the trend line will be up.
The index of productivity is so reliable, you can detect big-time deception in the works. When your measurements show productivity going down and the official propaganda of the firm is optimal performance and revenues, it is proof positive that collapse is getting near. There will be no graceful degradation. Think implosion. Forewarned is forearmed.
Once you are familiar with the prime movers driving dystopia mortality, you know which of your instincts, impulses, and reflexes to freeze-dry for storage. Yes, your genetic endowment has equipped you with everything it takes for citizenship in either dystopia or Utopia. But, dual citizenship is possible only under special conditions. The big impediment to reaching Utopia is your social conditioning. You were enculturated to be obedient, go with the flow, and follow orders. You witnessed the monstrous treatment of the non-compliant.
Thanks to high-octane brainwashing, you have acquired a prejudice towards resignation and conformance. Mimic your peers, however, and your passport and membership card are automatically stamped “Dystopian.” Note that crime syndicates in Salerno become dystopias in no way different than the bureaucracies of organized religion in the Vatican. These predictable outcomes attest to the commanding influence of natural law in force fields as collectives act out their options as channeled by natural law.
The attractor concept helps explain why the organization fights off attempts to “fix” its dysfunction. The people fear societal instability and they are right. Those who sustain dystopia are getting something valued back in return that is not supplied in Utopia. Since that “value” cannot be viability-enhancing, the payoff must be social-psychological.
At this time, we conclude dystopias are created and sustained for the compelling purpose of feeding the psychological dispositions of the potentates – the instincts of domination. This banquet for emotional success is unsustainable. It renders collectives mortal. Command from the top, perpetually clueless about what matters to organizational viability, leads to the withdrawal of efficiency in creating value by the workforce. Our ancestors called this reflexive defense “Ca’ canny” (i.e., the policy of deliberately limiting output at work).
Since Utopias produce more essentials than they consume, they can be immortal. Like 1938 DC-3s and 1954 Chevys in Havana. Just replace worn-out parts with equivalent ones – as you go. The paradigm that makes Utopia distinct from dystopia does not get obsolete. Utopian neighborhoods are always increasing productivity, keeping change as a norm. Better, faster, cheaper, is how Utopia's workforce feeds the treasury.
No effort is made to establish the case for making the pilgrimage to Utopia on the amount of damage being inflicted by dystopia. History has no example where the size of the pile of wreckage sustained led to an effective remedy. In a half-century of testing, no one was ever found bereft of experience with organizational dysfunction. No one in a room full of his peers would dare to claim otherwise. The historical record of “Ain’t it awful,” blood relative of a stakeholder protest, is huge for any “age” of mankind.
Everyone has matching stories. Protests about the unwarranted injury may strengthen the social bond among harmed stakeholders, but they serve more as an uncomfortable excuse for avoiding remedy. “We’re no worse than the others” and “It could have been worse” is the end-game theme. The focus here is on the derivations of the mechanisms of action that distinguish dystopia from Utopia. The more you know about dystopia, the more you know about the particular requisites of eternal vigilance.
As a confidence builder, one of the tools of the paradigm, POSIWID, can be used to help you strengthen the empirical case. The self-destruction imperative of dystopia can be synthesized from a quantity of POSIWID observations. You note what goes in and the processing of the inputs. The deliverable speaks for itself. You take the outcome deposit and compare it to the stated purpose. Given the continuing process, POSIWID sets the actual purpose equal to what is being delivered and tracks the action. When the outcomes continue to match the POSIWID goal, it’s a lock. In Utopia, everyone acts towards the purpose he espouses. The “box” around the goal, task action, and product is transparent. Your examination and evaluation are welcomed.
Will anyone listen? Perhaps someone here will. This is merely an introduction to his work, slightly edited by James R. Fisher, Jr. You can find much more at the source URL.
My concern is about what follows from the imminent Great Awakening. Even if everything is surprisingly better for an instant, how can we prevent the black hole of organizational dysfunction from swallowing everything up again? Livingston knows.
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