Re: Executive personalities

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Executive personalities
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 21:19 PST

Ivan Blanco writes:

 > [Some paragraphs omitted that were in the context of organizational
 >  politics.]

 >      I see that an OL environment could help develop and sustain that
 > consensus-based environment mentioned here!  The OL environment will help
 > members of the orgtanization learn first that they all want the same thing,
 > and second that they call all learn, contribute, etc.!

You bring up an important point, Ivan. If you look at what Kenneth
Arrow's work really says, it says that there is no methodological
(eg., rule based system, or systematic) means to arrive at a
"consensus" among the members of a group (ie., the members of a group
having to figure out what to do, by prioritizing issues.) In some
sense, politics is the "engine" that makes consensus happen, and this
is largely a learned (but dynamic and continuously changing) agenda.

It is probably a mark of managerial maturity to realize that the
"consensus process" can not be "systemized," (ie., first we gather
information, then hold a discussion where all can be heard, ... etc.)

This thread was started as some comments on executive personalities
and behavior. It is a personal observation, that the good CEO's (I
mean the really good ones,) create and operate an environment that is
conducive to the "consensus process," and have an enate capability to
foster it.


BTW, I worked for a Japanese company for many years, and it was
interesting to observe how much time was spent by the executives
fostering "consensus." This was generally done under the auspices of
"socialization," and was usually of the form "let's you and me go out
for a nice dinner and have a few drinks," ie., have a close
relationship. They spend most of their evenings doing this with the
various members of their staff, and the staffs that they are members
of. They are not necessarily forcing you into a consensus, but working
on making consensus work. The Japanese way of doing things has some
short comings, but this is worthy of merit, IMHO. Interestingly,
Arrow's deductions were inherent in the Eastern Religion, Zen, where
the writings make the same statement as Arrow, but without the
mathematical rigor. Japanese managers have an unwritten book, "Zen and
the art of LO."


John Conover,,

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