Monday, October 09, 2006

Albrecht's Law of Collective Stupidity (2)

Albrecht believes that smartness can be learned, just as dumbness is learned. He defines organizational intelligence (OI) as "the capacity of an organization to mobilize all of its brain power, and focus that brain power on achieving the mission." There are seven organizational components of organizational intelligence (OI). These are:

- strategic vision
- appetite for change
- alignment and congruence
- performance pressure
- knowledge deployment
- heart
- shared fate

Many managers have an unconscious belief about workers or employees as being separate from, and maybe not quite as good as, "the organization." To this day, many of our OI practices and assumptions, and many management practices, may still be based on the assumption that employees are basically interchangeable parts of a production machine.
Albrecht thinks this belief impacts OI. He suggests that this belief can be traced back to Taylor, the Father of Scientific Management (Frederick Winslow Taylor 1856 - 1915) who concluded two things from his studies. First, that work procedures were inefficiently designed and second, that the fundamental motivation of hired workers was to do the least amount of work as possible. Further, Taylor is quoted as saying, "Most executives want workers who are house-broken. They talk a good game about wanting highly motivated employees who can add value, but when it comes down to particulars they really value obedience. Many executives are threatened by smart people below them."

Albrecht argues that these believes are somehow still to be found in companies today. He gives many examples of this happening in businesses that he is consulting with currently. It occurs on many different levels. It can be just the way management refers to employees as "a resource" (which according to Albrecht is patronizing and trite). At its worst, Albrecht calls it the "rabble hypothesis" or the view of employees as the "great unwashed: unintelligent, unmotivated, socially naive, and incapable of original thought."