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1 Lesson 4: Abilene Paradox: Symptoms & Causes Dr. Michael J. Pierson Exit.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Lesson 4: Abilene Paradox: Symptoms & Causes Dr. Michael J. Pierson Exit."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Lesson 4: Abilene Paradox: Symptoms & Causes Dr. Michael J. Pierson Exit

2 2 Some of you have made trips to Abilene & dont know it! to Abilene & dont know it! Click here to read Click here to read the Abilene Paradox. the Abilene Paradox.

3 3 In order to go to Abilene you must exhibit certain symptoms! Exit

4 4 l In private, members of a group individually agree about what to do with a situation or problem in an organization. l Example: Everyone was happy to stay in Coleman & play dominoes. Exit Symptom One

5 5 l Members fail to publicly & accurately communicate how they feel, & they keep things to themselves. l They acquiesce to each other (consent without protest) & lead one another into misperceiving collective reality. collective reality.collective reality. l Example: The family members all said they wanted to go to Abilene. Exit Symptom Two

6 6 l With bad data members make decisions that are contrary to what they want to do. l Example: Going to Abilene when you prefer to stay in Coleman. Exit Symptom Three

7 7 l You accept decisions that you dont agree with & feel frustrated & angry. l Subgroups are formed, and blame is placed on other subgroups or authority figures. l Example: The family pointed fingers at everyone and then finally at the authority figure. Exit Symptom Four

8 8 Watergate Was A Trip To Abilene! Exit Click here to view video. video.

9 9 Lets Look At Watergate l On June 17, 1972, a security guard at D.C.s Watergate hotel and apartment complex called police when he noticed a stairwell door lock had been rigged not to lock. l Officers responded and caught five intruders inside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Exit

10 10 l The burglars were there to check some bugging equipment installed in another break-in in May and to photograph the Democrats' documents. l The break-in was directly linked to the reelection campaign office of President Richard M. Nixon and unraveled political spying, sabotage, bribery, and the illegal use of campaign funds. Exit

11 11 l Discovery of these activities and the cover-up by the Nixon administration resulted in the indictments of approximately 40 government officials and the resignation of the president. Exit

12 12 l Members of Nixons inner circle who were involved in making the decision to carry out the plan to spy on the Democrats included: Herbert Porter, member of the White House staff, Jeb Magruder, deputy campaign director, John Mitchell, head of Nixons re- election committee & former attorney general, and G. Gordon Liddy, former FBI agent. Herbert PorterJeb Magruder John MitchellG. Gordon LiddyHerbert PorterJeb Magruder John MitchellG. Gordon Liddy Exit

13 13 l The Watergate scandal has become the benchmark against which all other political scandals are measured. Exit

14 14 Lets look at decision-making in the Watergate Scandal! Exit

15 15 Porter Said… l It was illegal, immoral, and I wasnt in favor of it. l How did you vote? I voted to bug it. l Why? The other three were in favor of it so I thought they knew something I didnt. Exit

16 16 Magruder Said… l I wasnt in favor of bugging. l How did you vote? I voted to bug it. l Why? The other three were in favor of it so I thought they knew something I didnt. Exit

17 17 Mitchell Said… l What was your reaction to Liddy when he came to you with the plan to bug Watergate? l I thought he was insane and should have thrown him out the window. l What did you tell him? l Lets send the plan back for further study. Exit

18 18Liddy l He hasnt really talked about Watergate. l He probably thought weve got another boring meeting with the Attorney General, and I will liven it up with an outrageous idea to bug Watergate. l Suddenly he finds himself in jail with no idea how he got there. Exit

19 19 The Abilene Paradox Dilemma l Why do those who want to play dominoes in Coleman go to Abilene? l What causes people who want peace to go to war? l What causes people who believe in legal activities to participate in illegal activities? Exit

20 20 Its crazy! We call it tact, loyalty, team work, not wanting to cause problems, or organizational necessity when we act like this! Exit

21 21 The more leaders are out of touch with the reality of their followers, the more likely they are to be like former President Nixon. Exit

22 22 What are the causes of going to Abilene? What are the causes of going to Abilene? Exit

23 23 1. Action anxiety. 2. Fear of separation. Exit

24 24 First Cause Of Trips To Abilene: Action Anxiety l Its also called the Hamlet Syndrome: To be or not to be, that is the question. l When we know the action that should be taken, & we become so anxious that we cant carry through with it. l You know what you want to say but you cant say it! Exit

25 25 We Practice Action Anxiety When We... l Forecast negative hypotheses about what will happen if we behave sensibly, logically, and rationally. l Listen to someone who comes to us with a problem and a negative hypotheses, they are asking you for a bus ticket to Abilene. l Some of us not only give them the ticket but actually drive them. Exit

26 26 l Example: The Domino Theory hypothesized that if we withdrew from Viet Nam, we would have to fight the Communists hand-to-hand in Los Angeles. The Domino TheoryThe Domino Theory l Example: This is a lousy place to work; you cant try anything new! Why? Because they will get you! Who will get you? I dont know; they are sneaky! Exit

27 27 We Also Practice Action Anxiety When We... l Fear the unknown. This is the ultimate risk that puts you in the unairconditioned 58 Buick with the doors locked and the windows rolled up. l We need to fear the known, not the unknown; that makes sense! Exit

28 28 Second Cause of Trips to Abilene: Fear of Separation l Connection is a requirement for human survival. l Any act that has potential for disconnecting is terrifying to us, and we will do anything to avoid it. Exit

29 29 l Anaclitic depression is psychological separation from those we lean on for support. l Marasmus is the spiritual, mental, and physical wasting away when anaclitic depression is not relieved by attachment to others. Exit

30 30 l If you threaten separation, you are encouraging marasmus and starting someone down the road to Abilene. l Example: The marriage is on the rocks, Im afraid to talk about it, we might argue, it might end up in divorce (separation), so I will do nothing. Exit

31 31 How can you determine if you are on the road to Abilene? Exit

32 32 Answer The Following Questions: 1. Is there conflict in the organization? 2. Do members feel frustrated, powerless, and unhappy? 3. Are some looking for a way to escape? 4. Do members place the blame on the leader or other groups? 5. Do small groups meet and say, We should do… Exit

33 33 6. When some groups meet with other groups to discuss problems, do they soften their positions, state them ambiguously, or reverse positions? 7. After such meetings, do members complain they didnt say what they needed to say and give a list of reasons why? Exit

34 34 8. Do attempts to solve the problem just make things worse because people are acquiescing? 9. Do members seem to get along better outside the organization than inside it? Exit

35 35 If you answered yes to these questions, you are on the road to Abilene!! Exit

36 36 What Have You Learned? 1. Leaders should allow negative hypotheses in an organization. 2. Leaders should reduce the fear of conflict. 3. If collective reality is understood the Abilene Paradox can be avoided. 4. Open & honest communication can help prevent the Abilene Paradox. 5. Marasumus helps overcome the fear of separation. Directions: Read each question & click on T (true) or F (false). T T F F TF TF TF Exit

37 37 Assignments l Finish reading The Abilene Paradox. l E-mail a one-page discussion of whether you feel it is right to use external force to your professor. l Use PowerPoint to develop a concept map of Lesson 4 and e-mail it to your professor. Exit

38 38 Your answer was correct! Return

39 39 Return Your answer was incorrect! Please review the material.

40 40 Collective Reality l Group perception is usually closer to reality than only one persons perception. l The collective realities of a group can still be a misperception of the overall situation. Return

41 41 Herbert Porter l Porter pleaded guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI. l He admitted to the Senate Watergate Committee to telling lies to cover up the fact that funds for campaign dirty tricks had been given to Liddy. l He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Return

42 42 Jeb Magruder l Nixon's deputy campaign director & formerly an aide to Nixons Chief of Staff. l Was charged with perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice for his role in the Watergate cover-up. l He spent seven months in prison. Return

43 43 John Mitchell l Nixon's former law partner served as attorney general before resigning in 1972 to head the Committee for the Re- election of the President. l He stood trial in 1974 and was convicted on charges of conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice.

44 44 l He served 19 months in a minimum- security prison in Alabama before being released on parole for medical reasons. l According to later testimony, Mitchell approved $250,000 for the break-in. l In 1981, Simon and Schuster sued the former attorney general after he failed to deliver a promised Watergate memoir. Return

45 45 G. Gordon Liddy l In 1986, a federal appeals court found Liddy liable for $20,499 in back taxes on Watergate slush-fund money. l As one of the White House "plumbers," Liddy spent about $300,000 engineering political dirty tricks and the Watergate break-in.

46 46 l Liddy was convicted for his role in the Watergate break-in, for conspiracy in the Daniel Ellsberg case, & for contempt of court. l He spent about 4 1/2 years in prison. Return

47 47 Domino Theory If Viet Nam became a Communist-ruled country, other countries in that region of Asia would soon follow in their steps. Return

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