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Use and Misuse in «Restoring Harmony»

Restore Social Harmony to Sustain Group Cohesion: Framework of all PH-L4s


All the emergent frameworks are dynamic states of creative effort. It is conjectured that they are activated naturally in extremis, when the options of exiting or enduring are rejected. This personal choice is an expression of autonomy and transcendence.

However, these socio-mental options have been noticed by others with a strong interest in specific goals. That interest more commonly serves money or power rather than the good of each and all. But not necessarily. Applying a framework in this way is always an imposition on another.

Judgement as to whether this constitutes a use or a misuse of human creative potential will vary. It may be there is a continuum. If the user is depersonalized or driven by some inner demon, use may tip into abuse. Each framework is examined from this perspective and the findings are compared and reviewed here.

Holding to Ransom

Well-being is desired by all: a framework that restores social harmony naturally appears useful in large organizations, firms or associations, where one sub-group can generate major disruption by taking unilateral action to improve their own position regardless of the effects on other sub-groups.

Commercial operations have numerous internal groups and success depends on the joint contribution of all. Naturally, the sub-groups vie for a share of the spoils. The leader of any significant sub-group, large or small, can force this framework into operation by taking unilateral action that disrupts or even halts functioning of the whole. This is viewed as hostile by other sub-groups, especially management (the group in charge). However, top management may hold the organization to ransom as well. In small companies, investors may act similarly.

Probably the most significant divide is found between the management and front-line workers (see details here). When most work is done at the front-line and workers are treated as replaceable automata with minimal autonomy or opportunity for creativity, they naturally unionize. However, the professional tier can also be at loggerheads with management. There may be several or many unions and they are all potentially in a battle with management.

Union organizers are political leaders seeking to improve conditions for staff within their group. Because groups (rather than individuals) are dominant here, there is an adversarial-political relationship with the management over division of spoils. The focus is therefore on finding a compromise using the framework of PH-L4s.

Using the Framework of PH-L4s

KL7: Respect Symbols. All groups are sensitive about symbols. These may be diverse: the right to park on site, wearing of special clothing, external training. Status is of the utmost importance and so any change to differentials is sensitive.

KL6: Enable Stability. The organization functioned prior to the dispute and something close to that state usually serves as an acceptable stable basis from which changes can be negotiated. Leaders of groups must take a view on the dispute and identify a stable position from which to negotiate.

KL5: Clarify Measurements. Most things come down to financial calculations. The compromises involve either pay or compensation or bonuses, or the equivalent in terms of time off, security of tenure, special benefits, or changes to working conditions. Differentials will be re-calculated.

KL4: Feel Good Compromising. All strikes end eventually, often after causing great harm to the firm or its customers, and commonly also to the staff. While it makes more sense to negotiate without the sense of threat, strikes are the most powerful tool in holding an organization to ransom.

KL3: Promote Principal Objects. All groups continue to support the purpose of the organization with its need for profitability, cost-control, and a continuing service to customers or clients. However, political leaders must recognize and support diverse specialized groups needed to deliver all that.

KL2: Rely on Ideas. The driving force behind this type of crisis is some idea that one of the political leaders has developed. E.g. in the 1960's and 70's, many UK strikes targeted society or industries rather than a particular firm; in some cases, the Board or CEO may have an idea for a radical overhaul.

KL1: Activate Repertoires. Leaders of most groups have a range of potential responses to bring to bear in any workplace. E.g. on the negative side, staff groups may work to rule, refuse to accommodate flexibly, stop cooperating, take sickies, refuse all overtime, boycott particular customers &c; and a similarly diverse range of positive actions are available.

Experience of Being Forced

Legitimate changes are introduced by Top Managements all the time and this naturally involves engagement and negotiation with the various stakeholders. Although not everything is pleasant, sufficient harmony is maintained to ensure cohesion and constructive cooperation.

When one group decides to hold the organization to ransom, the atmosphere in a company becomes poisoned. Every change becomes a battleground. Adversarial attitudes replace constructive dialogue. If this is a public sector agency, it can become increasingly inefficient and uneconomic and still persist at the taxpayers expense. That is why public sector employees generally get better deals.

If it is a private sector firm, the political dysfunction is like a parasite that saps strengthen slowly but surely. The enterprise will start to lag its competitors and sooner or later it is likely to collapse.

Last Updated: 24-Mar-2014

All material here is in a draft form. There will be errors and omissions. Nothing should be copied or distributed without express permission. Thank you.Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2018. All Rights Reserved.

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