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Leadership In Loose Systems

Page history last edited by t_swanson@... 11 years, 5 months ago

Leardership in Loose Systems 



Coruption of Power

  • Isolated from dissenting views
  • Over confidence in own decisions
  • Attribute mistakes to bad luck


Docile Leader

  • Be a "medium" (Weick) for ogranization--Reflect back and represent needs
  • Listen, don't assume knowledge
  • Create process, but do not predetermine outcomes


Strategic Planning

  • "Strategic plans are a lot like maps.  They animate people and they orient people.  Onde people begin to act, they generate tangilbe outcomes in some context, and this helps them discover what is occurring, what needs to be explained, and what should be done next.  Managers keep forgetting that it is what they do, not what they plan, that explains their success.  They keep giving credit to teh wrong thing--namely, the plan--and having make this error, they then spend more time planning and less time acting.  They are astonished when more planning improves nothing" (Weick, "Sustitutes for Corporate Strategy,' In the Competitive Challeng for Industrial Innovation and Renewal, 1987, p. 222.)


Get to Variability


"One highly speculative explanation of how nature's "mass minds" operate comes from Bloom, whose unconventional theories and colorful rhetoric have marked him as an agent provocateur in mainstream scientific circles.  Blook postulates that the phenomenon of collective intelligence merges from the interplay of five essential forces: conformity enforcers, diversity generators, inner judges, resource shifters, and intergroup tournaments.  Conformity enforcers (like worker bees or middle managers) ensure that the group as a whole maintains sufficient cohesion to survive adverse conditions; diversity generators (like stray ants or artists) are the "odd ducks" who generate alternative hypotheses for the group to consider, thus ensuring variation; intergroup trounaments (like the waggle dances of bees or scientific debates) enable societies to test alternative hypotheses; inner judges reward productive behavior and punish deleterious actions.  Finally, resources shifters (like alpha champanzees or coporate executives) make sure successful adaptations receive the support they need to benefit the group as a whole.  Bloom's model, while intriguing, is too figurative to pass any empirical test.  Nonetheless, respected evolutionary biologists like Margulis and David Sloan Wilson have recognized value in his original, if decidedly left-field conception of the global brain.  We do not have to accept Bloom's theory as hard science, however, to appreciate it as a metaphor.  As Alfred North Whitehead put it, "It is more important that a proposition be interesting than it be true.  But of course a true theory is more apt to be interesting than a false one." 

From Alex Wright's (2007) Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages p. 13

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