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Received Date: November 16, 2015 Accepted Date: November 25, 2015 Published Date: November 28, 2015
Citation: Arthur H (2015) Doing: Self-discovery and Empowerment through Clarity of Purpose. Int J Sch Cog Psychol 2:148. doi:10.4172/2469-9837.1000148
Copyright: © 2015 Arthur H. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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In the previous chapter we ended with a discussion of morality and ethics and we addressed the emotional content to moral judgement whether the moral obligation to act and to take action in a social framework or moral value when we make reference to character, motives, or intentions. However, there are also judgements of nonmoral value or simply value "judgements". In those we evaluate, not so much actions, persons, motives, and the like, but all sorts of other things: cars, paintings, experiences, forms of government, and what not. We say they are good, bad desirable, undesirable, and so on, but we do not mean that they are morally good or morally bad, since they are generally not the kinds of things that can be morally good or bad. This chapter will focus on doing as it pertains to increasing value. One typical use of the term value pertains to quantity of one good that is exchangeable for the quantity of another good. In this context we refer to value not in terms of personal utility satisfying human wants as it relates to time, place or the possession of something that gives satisfaction. We also are not addressing here use value that is the usefulness to the individual directly. We are referring to value that persons have in a network of exchange. Let's be quite clear that we are not about to embark on a discussion
In the previous chapter we ended with a discussion of morality and ethics and we addressed the emotional content to moral judgement whether the moral obligation to act and to take action in a social framework or moral value when we make reference to character, motives, or intentions. However, there are also judgements of nonmoral value or simply value "judgements". In those we evaluate, not so much actions, persons, motives, and the like, but all sorts of other things: cars, paintings, experiences, forms of government, and what not. We say they are good, bad desirable, undesirable, and so on, but we do not mean that they are morally good or morally bad, since they are generally not the kinds of things that can be morally good or bad. This chapter will focus on doing as it pertains to increasing value. One typical use of the term value pertains to quantity of one good that is exchangeable for the quantity of another good. In this context we refer to value not in terms of personal utility satisfying human wants as it relates to time, place or the possession of something that gives satisfaction. We also are not addressing here use value that is the usefulness to the individual directly. We are referring to value that persons have in a network of exchange. Let's be quite clear that we are not about to embark on a discussion of how a person goes about accumulating assets, i.e., anything of value that is owned or capable of being owned. Although admittedly some strategy of accumulating and maintaining assets may bear upon being a resource a person's value in the context of an network of exchange. It should be obvious that this requires market oriented economies where goods and services are bought and sold and money is the medium of exchange. However there are countless situations where money is not used as a medium.
We start by drawing upon what has been advanced in this book in the chapter on thinking. In that chapter we argued for an understanding that accepts multiple realities determined by differences in socio-cultural and historical experiences and in general we attempted to bring to the forefront some of the subjective elements of understanding and thought. In the chapter on feeling we, likewise, identified how people will vary in terms of their emotional development and expression. From the standpoint of doing and value that accrues from certain human activity we must see the objective of human actions as multidimensional. Psychographics is an emerging research strategy to determine how people interact in an environment of value based upon exchange networks. This research attempts to be sensitive to demographic and economic shifts, the age of the general population, the increasing diversity of the populatign, the rise of the global economy, and consumer's expectations for the future. However, some of the research has identified relative stable psychological stances rather than shifting values and lifestyles. Typically, large samples are surveyed (2,500 people) that are -nationally representative. Table 1 represents the results of one such research effort (American Demographics, 1989).
|Results for portfolios holding varying amounts of stocks and bonds. Portfolio||1946-93|
|Number of down years||Average loss in down year||Worst
|Average annual return|
|Growth||75% stocks/25% bonds||9||-7.2||-18.4||10.5|
|Balanced||50% stocks/50% bonds||8||-4.0||-10.4||9.1|
|Income||75% bonds/25% stocks||5||-1.5||- 2.7||7-6|
|Conservative||100% bonds||5||-0.7||- 1.3||5.9|
Table 1: Results for portfolios holding varying amounts of stocks and bonds.
The psychographic groups in Table 2 are arranged in a rectangle. They are stacked vertically by their resources (minimal to abundant) and horizontally by their self-orientation (Principle, status, or action oriented). Resources include income, education, self-confidence, health, intelligence, and energy level. Most resources tend to increase from youth through middle age, then diminish with old age. The oldest psychographic segment in the one on the bottom strugglers with a median age of 61.
|Butr||z LiONV 612.0TUTH||X3 BOOM|
Table 2: Owning mutual funds.
The self-orientation dimension captures three different types. Principle-oriented individuals are guided by their views of how the world is or should be; status-oriented individuals are guided by the actions and opinions of others; and the action-oriented individuals by a desire for social or physical activity, variety and risk-taking.
Each of these orientations has two psychographic segments, one with high and one with low resources. The two principle-oriented segments are Fulfilleds and Believers. Fulfilleds are mature, responsible, well-educated professionals. Their leisure activities center on their homes, but they are well-informed about what goes on in the world, and they are open to new ideas, and social change. They have high incomes, but they are practical and pragmatic. Believers have more modest income; they are conservative and predictable and favor things of established value. Their lives are centered on family, church, community and the nation.
The two status-oriented segments are Achievers and Strivers. Achievers are successful, work-oriented people who get their satisfaction from their jobs and families. They are politically conservative and respect authority and the status quo. Things are valued and important to this group in order to show off their success to their peers. Strivers have similar values but fewer resources economic, social, and psychological. Style is extremely important to them as they strive to emulate the people they wish they were. They are the often socially maligned "wannabes." One is always subjected to social scrutiny and held to standards of authenticity.
The two action-oriented groups are Experiencers and Makers. They "like to affect their environments in tangible ways." Experiencers are the youngest of all the segments, with a median age of 25. They have a lot of energy, which they pour into physical exercise and social activities. They are avid consumers with particualr emphasis on the new. In contrast, Makers are practical people who value selfsufficiency. They are focused on the familiar - family, work, and physical recreation and have little interest in the broader world. "They are unimpressed by material possessions other than those with a practical or functional purpose." Strugglers have the lowest incomes and often too few resources, they are located below the rectangle. Actualizers have the highest imcomes and such high-esteem and abundant resources that they can indulge in any or all self-orientations. They are located above the rectangle. Image is important to them, not as evidence of status or power, but as an expression of their taste, independence , and character. Because of their wide range of interests and openness to change, their value preferences are directed toward "the finer things in life."
The process of increasing value as it relates to networks of exchange requires several factors: 1) a goal; 2) an assessment of the opportunity cost; 3) an assessment and management or risk; 4) management of the controllable; 5) interpersonal skills; 6) reassessment of goal and/or action plan.
The essential idea about a goal is that it is an ideal. It is a desired place or objective toward which people are working, a state of affairs that people value. Given the discussion in the preceding section of what motivates people, their goals will be as diverse as the types of value orientations that were identified. Goals should be short or long term or some combination thereof. They should be deeply embedded in specificity. What is to be done; who is to do it; when it is to be done? Where is it to be done; how is it to be done? And most times why? Otherwise you probably are just fantasizing, wishing, or merely dreaming.
The essential idea about opportunity cost is the value that would be derived from the employment of an individual's resources in the second best alternative. Think of it as the cost of the road not taken. In strictly financial arenas the opportunity cost is the correct discount rate (minimally the interest rate on a risk-free investment) to use in calculating the present value of a proposed project. If the present value is positive, the project uses the funds to better advantage than they are currently being used. If the present value is negative, it doesn't. It is as simple as that.
For example, suppose that the federal government, alarmed by an increasing number of oil barge and tanker accidents in coastal waterways, contemplates a project to improve the charting and marking of marine hazards. For simplicity, assume that this project is to be financed entirely by a tax on upper incomes, and that the individuals hit by the tax will pay it by reducing the amounts they save. If they are currently earning 8 percent interest on these savings, then the opportunity cost of the funds for the project is 8 percent. The estimated stream of costs and benefits from the project should therefore be discounted at 8 percent, and if this arithmetic produces a present value of net benefits greater than zero, the project should be adopted. If the present value is negative, it should be rejected. Pursuing it would in that case mean using funds in a way that society values less highly than the alternative use in the private sector.
Another example may be even more to the point. Let us say that you have a choice between going off to college and studying engineering - computer related at that - and working as a laborer in a good paying job at an automotive plant. If the total income over a lifetime is greater for the engineer while factoring in the cost of the education and income loss during the five years in college; then pursuing engineering is the preferred choice.
Before anyone commits to an important goal - short or long term - there should be an assessment of what is at stake when one puts all the chips on just one number. There has to be some consideration of what benefits would accrue if some other options - the best one at that - was pursued. If one has the luxury -minimally the time and the skills to quantify - please do so. Once the numbers are calculated, the difference in benefits will positively guide one's decision making and not intuition alone.
Profiles of financial risk takers fill the business sections of newspapers and magazines, and advertising plays upon Americans' respect for the risk-taker by suggesting that a beer be handed to the man who sky dives or survives a whitewater raft trip. However, there is a downside to various manifestations of risk-taking behavior. Smoking, overeating, drug use, and unprotected sex in the era of AIDs all otherwise controllable behaviors can lead to disease or early death.
"Risk-taking is engaging in something with an uncertain outcome," says University of Wisconsin psychologist Frank Farley, who has studied tens of thousands of people for the last 25 years for their propensity to take risks. Excelling in life will take some degree of risktaking. But there is no doubt that some people are more prone to be "T" types than others. Farley's "T-type" individual is the risk-taker (sometimes thrill seeker). "These people down play risk, they have less fear of the unknown, are self-confident and willing to go around the rules." Farley's depiction of the people at the other end of the spectrum - the small "t" types - are risk adverse - try to reduce risk. They are motivated by order and structure and familiarity with tradition and rules. In the grand scheme of things we all should be valued for who we are - and that's enough in itself - but if one is to be valuable - in the context of networks of exchange - then risk taking is imperative.
Marvin Zuckerman, a psychologist at the University of Delaware at Newark, is one of a number of theorists who believes risk-taking behaviour is more than a personality trait. In at least some cases biochemical predisposition may be a factor. "There's a range across the whole species for risk-taking," says Zuckerman, who has designed a four-part sensation-seeking scale that measures the tendency to take risks from a chemical perspective.
In a study Zuckerman conducted, EEG results showed how much the brain could be stimulated by a flashing light at various intensities. Zuckerman discovered that a person's nervous system works to fill in gaps. "When you get the stimulus to a certain intensity, some people show a protection against over-stimulation while others show an increase in stimulation (biochemically)", he concludes "low-sensations seekers tend to minimize stimulus. They like bland foods, they are reliable and predictable, don't like excitement or intensity, and if overloaded, they shut down.
"By contrast, the high-sensation seekers tend to like excitement, rock 'n' roll, may even use drugs to enhance this sensation. The nervous system seems to provide what each of these kind of people need." Low levels of monoamine oxidose (MAO), an enzyme that regulates brain systems, including dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline systems, are found in high-sensation seekers. MAO keeps the system balanced. Researchers agree that low levels of MAO are related to risk-takings, but no one knows how it works. The fact that the male hormone testosterone is linked to risk-taking may help explain why more men than women are risk-takers particularly at younger ages. Nevertheless, human progress is embedded with the risk-taking type. The risk-takers changed the course of human history. Einstein was clearly a "T" type according to Farley. Winston Churchill, Margaret Mead, Charles Darwin were other examples. Great human advances have taken place because these people did not stick to the rules. In some instances such individuals prompted change in the fundamental ways we view the world paradigm shifts.
Risk-takers have a love of life. Experience is enormously important. It is about getting your feet wet and obtaining one's sense of self. Unless there is room to change or innovate, a risk-taker will move on, according to Farley. For those interested in determining their level of risk-taking behavior you can write to: Frank Farley, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin 1025 W. Johnson StreetMadison, WI 53706 Dr. Farley has devised a questionnaire that asks things such as
1. Whether you are willing to start your own business
2. Take a job that requires lots of travel
3. Willingness and the amount one would gamble
4. Willingness to generate new ideas
5. Need for job security
6. Speculative investment
7. Broaden one's horizons
8. Investing in a new business or venture enterprise
9. The need for excitement
10. Energy level
11. Ability to generate money making ideas
12. Preference for less secure job with a larger income as compared to more secure job with an average income
Another way to consider what Farley has alluded to is what people in the financial community refer to as the risk-reward ratio. Graphically that ratio would be represented as positively sloped with a direct relationship between risk and reward; as the level of risk increases the reward or rate of return increases. For example, putting your money in stocks versus bonds usually entails greater risk but historically the rates of return, financial gain, have been greater than bonds. If you are setting out to make yourself a more valuable person in the context of which we speak, then you have to assume higher levels of risk become a risk-taker. Table 3 illustrates this concept as it pertains to financial markets (Wall Street Journal April 8, 1994).
Table 3: Criterion or the criterion of optimism.
To guide you in that process there are certain stipulations even tools one should be aware of. First, risk and uncertainty are somewhat different concepts. Risk is present in situations in which the possible outcomes and the probabilities of their occurrence are known or can be predicted tolerably well. In such instances, standard statistical techniques can be applied which aid decision making. Uncertainty, however, exists when such knowledge is lacking. One must then proceed with only partial information and rely on other indicators. One way that most people deal with risk and uncertainty is through offerings in the marketplace which employ the pooling mechanism of insurance.
Second, when several known outcomes are possible in a given situation, this is a situation dealing with risk. The degree of risk-here refers to the extent to which outcomes are subject to variation. The more the known possible outcomes diverge from each other, the more risky the situation is. In order to analyze risk, we must be able to assign probabilities to the possible outcomes. The probabilities of the outcomes in a given situation can be assigned when roughly comparable current or historical cases are known. However, the reader is reminded that there is a highly subjective aspect embedded in this process. As observed in the discussion in the earlier chapter there is an inherent logical flaw in thinking that history will repeat itself no matter the times it has repeated itself. When such probability information is not available, but the possible results are known, probability can be assigned, but only on subjective grounds. Of course, no probabilities can be assigned if the outcomes themselves are not known. When the outcomes are unknown or probabilities cannot be assigned, we are said to be facing uncertainty.
Let us examine a few strategies to deal with uncertainty. We start with a typical financial investment scenario. Table 4 presents a matrix where xl = economic bust, xz = low growth economy, x3 = economic boom, yi = speculate stock, yz, = stock mutual fund and y3= bonds fund (government treasuries). There are four well known ways to deal with uncertainty. The first was suggested by Abraham Wald and is referred to as the maximin criterion or the criterion of pessimism. This says assume the worst case scenario that by nature things will turn out unfavorably. According to this approach one should select a strategy (y l, yz, or ys) which offers the best of the worst outcomes or the largest minimum payoff - the maximum minimum or the maximin. In this instance owning bonds would offer the best of the worst outcomes. The payoff of 4 under any economic scenario (a fixed rate of return) is better than 2 under strategy yz , owning mutual funds.
Table 4: Given the information in the matrix
Even if we were dealing with some other situation assuming no fixed rate where in the bottom row there was 6 and 10 in the last two columns, respectively, we could still choose strategy y3 since 4 in column one of the bottom row is better than the 2 in column one of row 2 (or strategy
The second way to deal with uncertainty was suggested by Leonard Hurwicz and is referred to as the maximax criterion or the criterion of optimism. Briefly, let's retain the three strategies yd., Ira, or ys but collapse the columns to only two the best scenario and the worst scenario as follows:
We ignore any of the values under the low growth scenario. But let's say you are not sure as to how optimistic you should be regarding the economy, again as an example we could do as a gambler would do and rely upon a gut feeling and assign a value between 0 and 1, lets say. 50 about 50/50 chance. After multiplying .5 by each value in the two columns, we get 4, 5, and 4 for the third column and 5 is best of the best we should choose strategy y1, the investment in mutual funds. Let us suppose that you felt the odds were 60/40 in your favor then .6 probability would be applied to the best set of outcomes, while .4 would be applied to the worst set of outcomes - the alternate column. If one were unusually optimistic with a probability of one instead of the gambler's call, then that would be the classic application of the criterion of optimism and returning to Table 4 one sees that all the highest values are underlined twice (i.e. =) with 20 being the maximum of the maximum values and strategy yd. - investment in speculative stocks - would be chosen. If a probability of 0 is assigned then we are back to the criterion of pessimism.
The third way of dealing with uncertainty was suggested by Leonard J. Savage and is referred to as the criterion of regret. Returning to the matrix in Table 4 what would happen if we had the best outcome (or payoff) under each economic scenario xd. , xa, or x3 but failed to have acted accordingly for each of the three strategies yi , yz , or yz. Table 5 below presents such hypotheticals:
|Strategy Expected Payoff|
|1/3 [0 + 8 + 20] = 9.33|
|y z 1/3 [2 + 7 + 8] = 5.66|
|1/3 [4 + 4 + 4] = 4|
Table 5: Given the information in the matrix.
The above are absolute differences (no negative values) the regret is 16, 12, and 4 respectively with strategy being the one with the least of the maximum regrets.
The Savage argument is applicable to either cost or profits matrices. If the original payoff matrix is expressed in "actual" dollars (whether profits or costs), then the savage regret valuation is equivalent to the determination of opportunity costs. It is the only strategy that is compatible with "hedging", a common strategy in the business and financial worlds.
The final way of dealing with uncertainty is referred to as the LaPlace criterion or sometimes referred to as the subjectivist criterion. This view makes an important distinction in terms of what is classifiable as uncertainty or conversely includes most events as situations entailing merely risk. This point of view does assume repeatable systems and stable systems which lend themselves to frequency counts - to assignable probabilities. However, this school of thought argues that useful information can be converted into degrees of belief concerning the likelihoods of occurences of relevant state of affairs. The criterion is simple to state. Since we don't know the probabilites with which the various states of affairs will transpire, we will assume that they are all equal. In other words, the inference is that every event is equally likely to occur. Then we calculate the expected payoff for each strategy and select that strategy which has the largest expected payoff. That is where there are n possibilities: EV (51) = rij Given the information in the matrix in Table 4 we have:
If we can assign probabilities based upon relevant information which gives one the edge in some "objective" sense; then the situation becomes one of calculating the expected value for the payoff matrix. Using P6 to designate the payoff for the strategy and j441 state of affairs and pj to designate the probability of the jth state of affairs, it follows that the - expected value of the payoff for the is' strategy, Si, is j, EV (5i) =r, r1P up) J=1 where Ev(Si) designates the expected payoff for the strategy denoted Si. Thus strategy ya would be selected since it has the largest expected value of the three strategies. There are just a few things to remember. First, whatever the endeavour or enterprise in which one may want to quantify risk and thereby make the circumstance more manageable, one has to get the model just previously discussed. Some of the techniques discussed in the chapter on thinking regarding focusing may be useful, i.e., decompose, simplify, specify, and be prepared to rethink. Second, the expected value model is itself risk neutral - indifferent to risks and payoffs. However, an individual by virtue of temperament or circumstances may still be a risk-taker and take on the longshot, in order to get the "big" reward. Conversely, someone who is risk averse will predictably accept a lower reward in order to avoid high risk.
There are factors in one's life over which we can assert much control unlike let's say the unpredictability of uncertain events. We can plan, organize, delegate, systematize and conduct what I term micromanagement.
• Base all goals on your personal values and beliefs so that none of your goals run contrary to your basic philosophy
• Write, refine, and prioritize personal goals within the framework of your life project, job, etc.
• Refine all written goals to make them, so far as possible, specific and measurable
• Write personal life goals within a balanced perspective that includes the areas of professional, financial, physical, social, intellectual/cultural, and spiritual objectives. Refine and prioritize these goals.
• With each long-range personal life goal you list, ask yourself this question: "How can I cause this goal to happen?" The answer you get, which are the more specific "action steps" that come from this procedure, are called your short-term or "intermediate" goals.
• Attempt to identify risk factors associated with your goal achievement, be it professionally, socially, spiritually, financially, intellectually and/or physically.
• Make a list of the comfort ideaS, people, physical locations, readings, actions and food to which you indulge that are inappropriate to your goals or your philosophy of life.
• Take more time and responsibility to systematically plan each day, month and year.
• Remember we are free to make mistakes while learning.
1) When starting to taper off from levels of performance, shift to another vital priority.
2) Establish an appropriate balance between work related and leisure activities.
3) Be sensitive to the vital priorities of others around you.
4) Build the self-esteem of everyone around you (high self-esteem results in high performance).
5) Build you own self-esteem.
6) Ask others: "What can I do to help you make better use of your time?"
7) Do the most vital priority now.
8) Select the best time of day for the type of work required.
9) Allow some open time daily for flexibility.
10) When discretionary time is needed, seek a quiet place to escape interruptions and distractions.
1) Earn the support of others.
2) Enlarge your discretionary/leisure time by reducing subordinates'and others' imposed time.
3) Make decisions at the lowest level possible in organizational hierarchy.
4) Instead of your subordinates bringing you problems, have them bring you solutions.
5) Analyze your work with the following questions:
(a) What am I doing that doesn't need to be done by me or by anyone else?
(b) What am I doing that others can do?
6) When delegating, ask for feedback to commitment on what is to be done.
7) In any given situation, we don't have and "today."
Try to avoid the following:
1) Redundancy and complexity
2) Unclear communication
4) Indecision assure clarity and to know "everything"
Micromanagement refers to the recognition that each of us can control within their context the impact that many of the "macro" level or societal forces has on us. Let me supply a few examples.
At the end of a long economic expansion, especially in this age of corporate restructuring and increasing foreign competition, job risk - unemployment and other factors that threaten income and benefits - is relatively high. In such a hazardous environment, individuals should safeguard their option of seeking new opportunity elsewhere.
Depending on how marketable a person's skills are and how vulnerable his or her industry is, everyone should hold between three months and a year's worth of after-tax salary in short-term cash investments. Additionally, an individual should hedge against the loss of three to twelve months of pension and other benefits. An adequate portion of after-tax salary could be invested in risky assets, such as stocks and long-term bonds.
Another example would be if someone owned or worked in a car dealership that person should avoid long-term bonds, utilities and insurance stocks. Those investments, just like the car business are very interest rate sensitive.
And a final example, many individuals aren't prepared for the loss of earning and purchasing power that comes with retirement. Most people make the mistake of not saving enough and not having their money in more risky assets early on, because they underestimate the risk of falling short late in life.
From a slightly different perspective, micro-management represents the ability we all have to marshal individual resources to take on the challenge of what may be contraining one's growth, development and/or prosperity. It's good practice to learn from the efforts of others. I identify four individuals from the world of sports and entertainment.
Isiah Thomas of the National Basketball Association (NBA) is reported to be headed for the front office of the Detroit Pistons upon retirement. This comes after a 13-year career in which he brought a struggling team to a championship team. He will receive a balloon payment between $7 million and $12 million in a final year as a player. He was also offered a 10 percent interest in the franchise now worth close to $150 million. Now the latest word is that Isiah will assume an executive role with the new Toronto franchise in the NBA. The challenge may be the greatest of his life - to build a team from scratch. Again Thomas was offered a part of the ownership - roughly 10%.
Michael Jordan, also of the NBA retired after the 1993 season - following a very successful 10 year career in which his team won three back to back championships. The chairman of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicage White Sox is Jerry Reinsdorf. Apparently, that relationship was the basis by which Jordan, after not playing baseball for 15 years was given the opportunity to display his talents on the "field of dreams", major league baseball. It is speculation that Michael Jordan's presence on major league fields would rejuvenate an interest in the sport and enhance revenue for the teams involved. Jordan himself displays indomitable spirit and modest ego by accepting tenure at the minor league level in preparation for that shot with big league baseball. Admittedly, it helps when you receive $4 million in a retirement settlement, along with an extensive sum of money from endorsements.
Earvin "Magic Johnson, sixteen months after aborting his comeback bid in response to other players' fears of competing against someone who is HIV positive, took over the coaching helm of the struggling Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson had been paid $14.6 million by the Lakers in a one year contract extension. After retiring Johnson will be further proof to people that life goes on regardless of being burdened by a dreaded disease.
Oprah Winfrey hosts a talk show which reaches 111 countries and roughly 15 million viewers a day in the U.S. alone - the highest-rated in syndication history. It grosses a staggering $180 million a year, draws 55% more viewers than its closest competitor, and has a greater audience than all three network morning shows combined. Winfrey is also the first African-American and the third woman in history to won her own studio, a $20 million, 100,000 square-foot television and film production facility in downtown Chicago. More importantly, it is a truly independent, vertically integrated production company. With this type of wherewithal, both financially and creatively, Oprah can go into any area she wants.
When people come together to share ideas, information, goals, or solve problems, there is an assumption of homogeneous (alike) purpose a common ground. But in reality heterogeneity (difference) must be acknowledged. Difference in beliefs, goals, and solutions is quite typical in a culturally diverse society. But it is not difference that seems to reduce our effectiveness. However, there are behaviors and attitudes that interfere. Issues around power and control interfere; poor communication, low levels of trust and cooperation interfere; hidden agendas impede progress. In effect there is no cohesion and interpersonal interactions can be characterized as a win-lose scenario. Graphically we can ** On March 18, 1995 Michael Jordan returned to the NBA with great fanfare. represent this as a negative shaped curve presented below:
In this scenario party X gains only at the expense of party Y or vice versa. Many times parties in this type of encounter will get to a compromise position where each party, respectively, will make trade offs at the margin in order to maximize their own benefit (still motivated exclusively by self interest). But, there is an even better position as represented by the positively sloped relationship (win-win) in which all parties win. This scenario is brought about by very high levels of trust and cooperation, high communication, few power problems (a suppression of individual egos) and mutual support/ cohesion. In this scenario important ideas are generated, significant problems are solved, individual, group and organization performance reach high levels of achievement, efficiency, and effectiveness. Outcomes are truly synergistic.
It is most important to have well established goals. Clear goals are the basis of any evaluation of one's achievement or even progress. To know how far you have come you must know where you were headed. Let me offer an analogy. I live with my family in Chicago but occasionally we like to vacation out West. There's some particular place in Colorado that we all highly appreciate and visit as often as possible. Most times we can get there without the aid of a map. If we haven't been there recently then we resort to a map. Pursuing a goal is like taking a trip to a favorite vacation spot. If you know your destination, you know when you have arrived. You may need feedback and make adjustments enroute - - given the level of familiarity with the terrain. Once you have arrived it is clear how far you have come. It is also clear that making a right choice will help avoid unnecessary adjustments and complications.
The chief concern when pursuing a goal is something termed goal displacement. This is a way of describing the fact that people overtly or covertly (insidiously) change their goals. I caution that changing goals should be done in light of one's philosophy of life and consistent with one's true self. he Orga ization in the New Age -Max Wber, the great sociologist, saw the inevitable consequences of the modern mind's disenchantment of the world, saw the unsettling void of relativism left by modernity's dissolution of traditional world views, and saw that modern reason, in which the enlightenment had placed all its hopes for human freedom and progress, yet which could not on its own terms justify universal values to guide human life, had in fact created an iron cage of bureaucratic rationality that permeated every apsect of modern existence (Weber, 1958):
"No one knows who will live in this cage in the future or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might will be truly said: "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."
Weber's organizational paradigm which heretofore had been very influential made interesting assumptions but in today's economic, political, and social environment, it no longer holds up. Some of these assumptions are as follows:
• Organizational decisions are made on a rational basis
• Goals help define boundaries by clarifying who is and who is not working toward "the organizational goal"
• Functional unity, common interests, and consensus is vital in order to maintain survival of the system
• People have power because of the position they hold in organizations
• Those who have power are easily defined because of the limited number of positions with power
• Humans are nonvolitional, sponge-like, malleable organisms who absorb their organizational environments and adapt to them.
The economic reality that this country now confronts has changed the structure, size and dynamics of organizational life.
Human longevity is rising but corporate longevity seems to be shrinking. For example, twenty years ago Fortune 500 companies accounted for 20 percent of all American workers, now it's barely 10 percent. The behemoths like Sears, Xerox, General Motors, have been clobbered by huge debt, rising costs, international competition and the stock market's demand for maximum profit. One way to cope is to replace people with machines; another is to move overseas; another is just cut cost by cutting jobs. These big companies have lost nearly 2 million jobs over the last four years. Another 2 million jobs have vanished at smaller firms.
The above situation has been countered by small, fast growing firms latching on to narrow, even faddish, markets from health care to cookies. Those firms are growing faster than the behemoths' decline. Over the same period small businesses have added millions of jobs to the economy. The result is a net increase of 4 million new jobs.
The upshot of such economic turmoil is that young workers' disillusionment has grown. Caught in the clash for a few new jobs many have trimmed ambitions. Some have learned one of life's toughtest lessons: how to get more out of family, friends, and leisure hours than the job. So, too, older workers worry more about losing their health coverage, about having to work until late in life for financial reasons, and about whether the company will abide by the old rule that respected seniority and loyalty when budget cuts come.
What at first appears to be a crisis for most Americans is also an opportunity and organizational life is being redefined and revolutionized to empower the American worker. The new paradigm can be described as follows:
• Organizational elements are often loosely linked; consequences of activities are often uncertain
• There is a diversity of goals among organizational members and at best organizations are loose coalitions which move toward this multiplicity of individual goals; this diversity results in competition, opposition, and conflict. However, with appropriate incentives and the motivation positive sum and synergistic effects are achievable.
• Process determines structure
• Organizations are constantly changing and renegotiating entities
• Organizations have a plurality of power and holders draw their power from multiple sources
• People who have power create and control organizations
• Bindividuals are volitional, self-and other- interested
• Actors who can an do change their organizational environment
• Action is a result of human shaping and molding their destinies from the meaning they develop in interactional processes (actionbased meanings)
• Individuals hold differing meanings and therefore will act differently.
The emergence of the organization of the new age has forced the individual into a deep quandry, but one which augurs both hope and promise. Bureaucratic structure provided an iron-clad rationality that staked a claim on objective truth. Today we confront multiple realities. Truth is no longer a theoretical matter but has been transformed in to practice (the antithesis of theory). Today we are no longer inclined to say what is or is not. We are inclined to see that either response will have a series of consequences. We compare both series of possible consequences. If one of the series, say the first, is more favorable, then that would be the truth.