Archive

Quotations

“Interessant ist dabei, dass Bürokratie vorrangig als politikveranlasste Überregulierung von außen erlebt wird. Die hausgemachte Bürokratie wird nicht thematisiert. Aber was ist mit der internen Engstirnigkeit, was ist mit der managementgetriebenen Regelungswut? Was ist mit den explodierenden Standard Operating Procedures? Was ist mit den unendlich vielen Online-Formularen und Fragebögen, all den Vorschriften und Instrumenten, die wenig mehr erzeugen als Kundenablenkungsenergie? Was ist mit den Unmengen an Sitzungen, Tools, Plänen und Kontrollsystemen? All den Transaktionskosten-Schleudern, den Budgetrunden, Controlling-Routinen, Dokumentationspflichten, Performance-Messungen, all den zeitraubenden Aufgaben, die uns von dem abhalten, was uns bei der Arbeit Freude macht? All das ist Absicherungsaktionismus, es dient der Angst vor dem Risiko, vor Macht- und Kontrollverlust. Ohne große Mühe kann man in den Unternehmen ganze Misstrauens-Abteilungen identifizieren, die ihre Zeit damit verbringen, Leute zu überwachen. Zu überprüfen, ob sie auch tun, was sie tun sollen. Und sie mit Formularen und Regularien unter neurotischen Dauerstress setzen.”

Reinhard K. Sprenger (2014). Das anständige Unternehmen.

“Change that is triggered by human intention is at the heart of design. It is a hallmark of design that human intention is essential and central to the instigation of change in the real world. Human intention is, therefore, a singularly important and consequential cause of change. The idea of cause is complex but key to understanding designed change. Cause is natural (as defined by science, through the conceptualization of chance and necessity). Design, therefore, must accommodate change brought about by natural causes; but the most challenging forms of cause are those that are rooted in human agency. These intentional forms of cause are diverse. The type of intentional cause that is of particular interest here is design cause. Design cause is the consequence of human volition and the capacity for humans to be proactive and purposeful in their interaction with the real world. Design cause is essential both for initiating change that brings new things into existence and for modifying those things that are already in existence… (p. 38).”

Reference: Nelson, H. G. & Stolterman, E. (2012). The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World. London: MIT Press

“In sum, stupidity management involves a wide range of actors seeking to restrict and distort communicative action through the exercise of power. This can occur through direct interventions, agenda setting, propagating broader ideological beliefs, and creat- ing subject positions. However, two points of qualification are worth adding. First, these processes of stupidity management are not mutually exclusive: they may work in tandem. Returning to the IT consultancy study mentioned above (Alvesson, 1995), we see that all four modes of power are at work simultaneously. The managerial assertion that employ- ees should criticize only if they have constructive proposals for solutions, can be seen as a direct expression of power (shut up!), agenda controlling (‘postpone raising the issue until you have come up with a solution’), an assertion of ideology (‘be positive and constructive, don’t complain’), and a form of identity creation (‘be a good organizational citizen’). Second, the forms of stupidity management we mention can work through episodic interventions as well as developing more systemic restrictions on communicative action (Lawrence et al., 2012). The former are interventions in specific situations; the latter refer to developing and maintaining the cultural and institutional grounding that supports socialized and/or organizationally ingrained capacities for functional stupidity…” (p. 1207).

Reference: Alvesson, M. & Spicer, A. (2012). A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations. Journal of Mangement Studies, 49(7), p. 1195-1220.

“Functional stupidity is organizationally-supported lack of reflexivity, substantive rea- soning, and justification. It entails a refusal to use intellectual resources outside a narrow and ‘safe’ terrain. It can provide a sense of certainty that allows organizations to function smoothly. This can save the organization and its members from the frictions provoked by doubt and reflection. Functional stupidity contributes to maintaining and strengthening organizational order. It can also motivate people, help them to cultivate their careers, and subordinate them to socially acceptable forms of management and leadership. Such positive outcomes can further reinforce functional stupidity. However, functional stu- pidity can also have negative consequences such as trapping individuals and organiza- tions into problematic patterns of thinking, which engender the conditions for individual and organizational dissonance. These negative outcomes may prompt individual and collective reflexivity in a way that can undermine functional stupidity…” (p. 1196).

Reference: Alvesson, M. & Spicer, A. (2012). A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations. Journal of Mangement Studies, 49(7), p. 1195-1220.

“Students in the having mode of existence will listen to a lecture, hearing the words and understanding their logical structure and their meaning and, as best they can, will write down every word in their looseleaf notebooks-so that, later on, they can memorize their notes and thus pass an examination. But the content does not become part of their own individual system of thought, enriching and widening it. Instead, they transform the words they hear into fixed clusters of thought, or whole theories, which they store up. The students and the content of the lectures remain strangers to each other, except that each student has become the owner of a collection of statements made by somebody else (who had either created them or taken them over from another source).

Students in the having mode have but one aim: to hold onto what they “learned,” either by entrusting it firmly to their memories or by carefully guarding their notes. They do not have to produce or create something new. In fact, the having-type individuals feel rather disturbed by new thoughts or ideas about a subject. because the new puts into question the fixed sum of information they have. Indeed, to one for whom having is the main form of relatedness to the world, ideas that cannot easily be pinned down (or penned down) are frightening-like everything else that grows and changes, and thus is not controllable.”

Reference: Fromm, E. (1976). To have or to be? London: Continuum

“The student has her educational being only insofar as she has a will to learn. The will to learn may not be everything, but without it nothing is possible, no knowing of any profundity, no acting with any seriousness, no meant engagement with those around her…(p.67)”

Reference: Barnett, R. (2007). A will to learn. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill

“…assimilation and accommodation are aspects of every human activity. Cognitive conflict is ubiquitous, as multiple action-cum-experience schemes organize and are brought to bear on every novel encounter in life, and the novel aspects of those encounters challenge the schemes to accommodate to each other and to the environment. Furthermore, all this activity occurs in the context of social relations, social systems, and cultures that are simultaneously organizing, maintaining, and affecting each individual’s activity. Social partners using culturally shared mediational tools evoke and direct one another’s attention to (a) novel experiences that conflict with prior assumptions, (b) conflicting understandings of experience, and (c) unanswered questions. Whenever there is conflict, there are opportunities for the construction of novel syntheses, which represent development. So adaptive challenges, developmental opportunities, and developmental processes are ubiquitous too” (p.55).

Reference:

Basseches, M., & Mascolo, M. F. (2010). Psychotherapy as a developmental process. New York: Routledge.

“Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.”

Graham, P. (2006). How to do what you love.