Schlagwort-Archive: Human being

The first step is the right image of human beings

Despite the digital euphoria, we will not see that human labor will be extensively transferred into the cyberspace in a foreseeable future. This transfer into the computer is limited to the simple, repetitive tasks that you don’t want anybody to do for a living – preparing and kneading doughs early in the morning, welding and painting car parts, producing minerals from mines, performing chemical analyses, providing simple technical services, sending serial letters, etc. As long as it is not about specialized tasks that follow a clear process, the machines are not expected to develop the kind of common sense that is needed in social, sanitary, cultural, design and leadership professions (see more here: Melanie Mitchell, Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans). This means that we still have to deal for a while with the skillful structuring of work and interaction of people. In order to achieve this, you need the right image of human beings.

A big burden for the management in order to find clever cooperation models are the stereotypes, these by many used generalizations of single persons, which do not describe the individual objectively enough. They lead to assumptions that strongly influence our dealings with others as well as our various actions and decisions. In the sixties of the last century, McGregor described two basic types of man that show the effects.

Theory X

Theory X is the basis for a strict direction and control by management. The leadership is based on the following aspects. (1) The average person has an innate aversion to work and avoids it, if he can. (2) He must therefore be forced, controlled, managed and, where necessary, sanctioned in order to ensure that he adequately involves himself in achieving its organizational objectives. (3) The average person prefers to be guided, wants to avoid responsibility, has little commitment and above all wants security. On the basis of these assumptions, the following vicious circle (X) arises.

  1. The leaders derive from this the need for strict guidelines and regular monitoring of the employees.
  2. The employees fulfil the tasks as required. Decision-making authority and responsibility has the manager. Active thinking and arbitrary adjustments by the employees lead to conflicts and sanctions.
  3. Through the distribution of task, authority and responsibility, employees become averse to responsibility and risk and suppress any impetus to intervene actively – continue with (1).

The management feels vindicated by the reluctant behavior of the employees and strengthens the guidelines and controls. Repeated cycles increase the tensions. The end is predictable. The company freezes in a jumble of regulations, on a suppressed enthusiasm by small-scale management and the destroyed commitment of the employees.

Theory Y

Theory Y strives for the coordination of goals of the management and the employee. The following assumptions provide the basis for it. (1) The average person has no innate aversion to work. He sees it, depending on the conditions that can be influenced, as a source of satisfaction that is carried out voluntarily or as a source of punishment that has to be avoided as much as possible. (2) The human being guides and controls himself in the implementation of those goals, to which he has committed himself. (3) Commitment that directs one’s own towards common goals is rewarded by the satisfaction of the ego and self-realization. (4) The average person not only assumes responsibility, but seeks it – resistance arises from bad experiences. (5) Problem-solving expertise is not limited to the leaders, but is widely spread throughout the entire staff. (6) The skills of the staff shall be used as far as possible. Based on these assumptions, the following cycle (Y) evolves.

  1. The leaders offer the employees enough freedom to act and leave the control to them.
  2. This enables employees to determine their own engagement and leads to active participation in the search for solutions, decisions and continuous improvements.
  3. Task, authority and responsibility are in the hands of the employees, who are willing to take the initiative and to assume the responsibility for their doing – continue with (1).

In a repeated run, all participants get to know the opportunities and advantages – freed from control, the leaders can take care of removing road blocks and to provide strategic orientation; the employees learn to use the increased elbow space and expand their contribution as entrepreneurs in the company.

Bottom line: The VUCA world has accelerated to such an extent that the old leadership approaches are to slow. Despite this, the old leadership structures persist. Companies prefer to seek their salvation in a new office architecture, the introduction of playful practices and the demand for more employee commitment. The office plan dissolves the defined workplaces and creates adaptable working landscapes to which employees are exposed without preparation or acclimatization. Unreliable, rigid planning steps are replaced by agile procedures with Post-its and a large number of small events. The entrepreneurial tasks are expected from the employees – planning, decision-making and control competencies are now in their hands. The leaders lose their raison d’être, but retain their positions and the final decision. For everyone, this is an unusual situation that raises many questions: Why do we still need managers? How do we ensure cohesion and interaction within the company? How are decisions made for the benefit of the company? Who makes what contribution to the company’s success? How becomes performance rewarded? There is much more to consider. In order to exploit the capabilities of the participants, you cannot avoid replacing the ideals of the industrial age (i.e. division of labor; doing the right thing better and better; growth; reducing costs; etc.) with new approaches in favor of viability – i.e. using existing internal ingenuity; ensuring internal and external win-win; decisive generation of customer satisfaction; creating social value.
A decisive prerequisite for this is, as a first step, the right image of the human being.

The human being – the ideal metaphor for organizations

Anthropomorphic assignments always happen, when we deal with things as if they were enlivened – the dialogues with the computer, the jollied pat on the steering wheel or the encouragement to the water pump that is supposed to pump the cellar to clean for one more time. It seems that we are seeing in things a submissive spirit at our service. Let us remember Goethe’s sorcerer’s apprentice “Lord the need is great! The ones that I called, I now cannot get rid of the spirits”. However, the spirit is not only assigned to material things, but also to disembodied organizations of all kinds – the state, the government, the political party, the enterprise, the market, as well as social communities and fringe groups.

Obviously, this has proved to be the case, as blame is being laid on such groups everywhere: Facebook spies on us; the right-wings endanger the state; Amazon exploits the employees, and so on. Nobody mentions the responsible persons. What causes this view on organizations?

  • The tangibility of entrepreneurial personality
    Personification begins when the attributes of a role are assigned to a company. This includes the tasks of the company, which are not limited to the provision of services, but also include social functions, such as supporting the health of employees and events of all kinds. The impression of the AKV is not only created from the outside with the external image. In these days of media, companies do not leave their image to chance, but work on their standing, their self-image, by spreading their engagement in the media. This works as long as there is no Maximum Credible Accident (MCA). A good example of a face loss was the attempt in 1995 to dump the Brent Spar in the North Sea. The bad guy was Shell, not the responsible chairman Cor Herkströter.
  • The lived out convictions
    The advantageous convictions are emphasized through public relations. This includes a hopeful outlook onto the future and goes from values, concerning what is right and wrong, to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks. Thus, the company gets the attributes that we use to describe ourselves. To make these soft aspects tangible, there is the ISO Guideline 26000 that brings the social conscience to a common denominator – concerning governance, human rights, labor practices, the environment, fair business practices, customer problems and societal commitment development. And then one proclaims on its website Corporate Social Responsibility by KIK – without signature or mentioning of names.
  • The competitive key skills
    The corporate skills are defined by the knowledge and proficiency of its workforce, the management style and the existing infrastructure. By focusing on core competencies, the company bundles its strengths. As the vertical range of production becomes flatter and more and more services are provided in combination with a lot of different companies, the self-image needs clarity with regard on one’s own focal points. Do the strengths lie in the selection of the right emphasis? Or the appropriate implementation? Or the ability to quickly exploit trends? Or the strength to develop something new? Or in the skill of effectively allocating one’s own resources? We can imagine the service provider as a person, who, for example, helps large corporations to better align their IT to their business success with software – his name is Alfabet Inc.
  • The visible actions
    When looking at what is happening in the enterprise, the actions become visible – which goods and services are offered? How are the processes designed (especially at the touchpoints)? How is it controlled? What is disseminated through the media and how? How does the management level appear in public? We are measured by our actions. If a private individual evades taxes, he is publicly pilloried and sentenced to prison. Companies such as Microsoft, which divert the vast amounts of profits pass the tax office, are not tangible and get away with it – who is the responsible CEO?
  • The recognizable context
    The published image provides evidence of the perceived affiliation of a company. In addition, the business scope and the choice of partners allow drawing conclusions about how the company sees itself. How uniform does the company appear in different regions? Are the values adapted to local morality or do global standards apply? That can go as far that one loses the national bond and instead of Made in Germany introduces Made by Mercedes Benz. And then there are companies where the brand is also represented by an entrepreneurial personality consider Trigema and you think of the sole owner Wolfgang Grupp.

Bottom line: In summary, you recognize that the qualities attributed to a company correspond to those of persons. This begins with the corporate identity that is used to present yourself as young, sedate or creative personality. In the absence of differences, the values become important – those, who once damage the environment, will …. As in sporty matches, companies compete against each other in an effort to attract the customer’s attention. It is not enough to be the first, but you also have to cross the finish line with style. After the pendulum of globalization swings back again into the nation, identity becomes important again – no matter whether with “Buy American” or “Make America great again”. The personification of large groups makes it easier for the public to deal with abstract companies. That makes the human being the ideal metaphor for organizations.