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People & Systems Tony Miller (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen)

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1 People & Systems Tony Miller (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen)

2 Jay Forrester - Social systems Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems, Jay W. Forrester, MIT, Tech Review, 1971 In a troubled company, people are usually trying in good conscience and to the best of their abilities to help solve the major difficulties. Policies are being followed that they believe will alleviate the difficulties. In many instances it emerges that the known policies describe a system which actually causes the observed troubles. In other words, the known and intended practices of the organization are sufficient to create the difficulties being experienced.

3 Jay Forrester - Social systems Counter-intuitive behaviours: First, social systems are inherently insensitive to most policy changes that people choose in an effort to alter the behaviour of systems. In complex dynamic systems, causes are often far removed in both time and space from the symptoms.

4 Jay Forrester - Social systems Counter-intuitive behaviours: Second, social systems seem to have a few sensitive influence points through which behavior can be changed. These high-influence points are not where most people expect.

5 Jay Forrester - Social systems Counter-intuitive behaviours: Third, social systems exhibit a conflict between short-term and long-term consequences of a policy change. Policies that produce long-run improvement may initially depress behavior of a system.

6 Within Social Systems Individual adaptive behaviours: We adapt to the Technical system: –Learning procedures and skills. We adapt to the Social system: –Over time we learn/merge into the culture and it becomes invisible to us. This takes time and when achieved resists change.

7 Within Social systems “ Human Beings possess an internal “control mechanism” which can render ineffective any form of external control ” Douglas McGregor (Human Side of Enterprise)

8 Within Social systems Central challenge is: How to achieve system change? ANSWER: has 4 PARTS Part 4: Understand people - revitalise Intrinsic Motivation

9 Destruction Forced distribution of grades in school Merit, judgement, slotting people, competition between people Incentive Pay, Pay for Performance Numerical Goals without method Explanation of variances, blame Sub optimisation by person, group, division etc Life Begins Life Ends Humiliation, fear, self defence, competition, win-lose, crushed joy, enjoyment of work, extrinsic motivation, lack of self-esteem, dignity Joy of working, learning, intrinsic motivation, self esteem, dignity, co- operation, successful organisations Nourishment Taken from The New Economics, W Edwards Deming, page 125 (Slide by David Beare)

10 Within Social Systems ‘ We are have been destroying our people, from toddlers on through university, and on the job. We must preserve the power of intrinsic motivation.’ ( Edwards Deming)

11 Within Social Systems ‘ The forces of destruction rob people, and the nation, of innovation and applied science. We must replace these forces with management that will restore the power of the individual.’ ( Edwards Deming)

12 Message of the Presentation Systems Thinking requires Psychology i.e. To understand a system we have also to understand people


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