From: John Conover <>
Subject: Thanks
Date: Sat, 10 Sep 1994 11:30:27 -0700 (PDT)

> In response to John Conover's desire for a discussion on the determination of
> priorities (Digest 150) and Dale Long's and Dave Rader's (digest 161)
> subsequent responses. John writes:
> >What Arrow's so called "Impossibility Theorem" states (in a nut shell)
> >is that there is no logical process that can be used for determination
> >of priorities in groups.... But it does seem that the premise (paradigm) of
> most
> >"management tools" is to address the issues of priority determination
> >through a logical process (particularly, MBO,)...

> Studies of management policy making do indicate that the forming of priorities
>  is a continuous process and does follow a logic. It is not scientific or
> formal logic, but a natural human logic. It is a part of the natural adapting
> mechanism of organizations. Briefly, the human logic of goal formation can be
> described as follows (for a more complete description see Hall, 1984):

Thank you for taking the time to author such an in depth response. I
agree with your arguments that, as I understand them, state that
priority setting is a "rational," as opposed to "logical," human

As a side note, there is something epistemological in your arguments
that I think was first proposed by the Oxford mathematician Roger
Penrose ("The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the
Laws of Physics," Oxford University Press, 1989.) The argument
proceeds as follows: if there exists no logical process for the
determination of priorities, then it can never be automated or
mechanized by a computing machine. But humans do determine priorities,
eg., there is a qualitative difference (as opposed to a quantitative
difference,) between computing machinery and the human mind. He
proposed this argument in the context of a discussion of the
limitations of artifical intelligence.

I would propose that another choice of "word smithing" would be that
the determination of priorities is a strategic, (as opposed to
tactical,) agenda, since tactical issues can be resolved by a logical
process. So, in some sense, I think there may exist a formal
differentiation between the words "strategic" and "tactical." I only
bring this up since, in my opinion, we tend to use the two words

Under this choice of wording, the term "business strategy," would mean
the reconciliation of the business intransitives, which include, for
example, the determination of priorities.

        Thank you,



John Conover,,

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