My recognition of issues vol.1: the bias for the visible
In my first article, “What is the paradigm for integrating contradictions in management?” I discussed the 3+1 consciousness model (micro and differential perspectives) and the overall picture of management that integrates contradictions (macro and integral perspectives).
What is the paradigm for integrating contradictions in management?
Thank you for your interest in this note. In this note, I would like to share the most fundamental questions that I…
An overemphasis on what we can see
First and foremost, I feel that the first issue is an overemphasis on what we can see. Specifically, it could be financial results such as sales, profits, stock price, etc., or it could be the business model, products, services, strategies, HR systems, etc. that “take shape as a result.”
All of these elements are very important to the success of a business, but on the other hand, they are only one aspect of whole businesses that is easily visible, aren’t they?
If you think about the process or the history of creating something visible/tangible, such as sales, profits, stock prices, business models, products, services, and human resource systems, you will find that the organization and people who create them take actions, and behind these actions are the ideals, motivations, and efforts of each individual.
For example, every company has a story in which the founder’s passion and philosophy create the culture of the organization, which is expressed in the form of a management philosophy, and then the business, organizational structure, and personnel system are created to embody it.
If a company has a long history, it may have a number of stories, not only about the founder, but also about how a single employee’s idea, which gained the sympathy of many people, became a new product or a service.
However, as time goes by, the market and competitive environment changes, and the nature of the organization and its members change, the connection between the “original passion and philosophy” and the “actual form of business and organization” fades and becomes a skeleton. What remains in the form of a skeleton remains as an established fact, and no one is able to propose its dissolution or improvement.
Isn’t this a common scene in today’s Japan?
For example, speaking of education, the current school education system was formed during the Meiji era (1868–1912) in the context of absorbing Western civilization as early as possible to civilize the country, and it was based on the idea of providing a uniform education that would enable students to read, write, and do the abacus well.
Some of the ideas from that time have been carried over to the present day, and this is the reason why Japan is said to have high academic standards in elementary education. On the other hand, many people may be uncomfortable about whether or not this type of education is really a good idea when considering the changes of the times.
For example, an education that implements all curricula in a uniform way, a teaching style where the teacher explains and the students listen and the idea of fostering the ability to quickly and accurately answer questions that have a single, fixed answer.
I don’t deny all of these teaching styles, and I personally believe that this type of “mastering the pattern” learning is important, and I think it’s worthwhile to do it “uniformly” across the country.
However, I am not sure if this style of education, which was good in the Meiji era (1868–1912) because of its connection to the philosophy at that time, should be totally maintained in this era of Reiwa.
The inner creates the outer
We have discussed the importance of the connection between the “visible” things, such as business models, organizational structures and HR systems, and the “invisible” things, such as individual thoughts, wishes and principles.
This is a figure based on Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory.
In Integral Theory, there are four aspects of the way we perceive things. Which of these four aspects do you usually focus on in business? Or which one is usually communicated in the media?
I think it’s “organization x external.” This is because the results are easy to see and understand. Within an organization, financial results such as sales and profits, strategies and HR systems are easy to verbalize and share. For individuals, they will also know the results of their efforts through evaluations, promotions, salaries, etc., which are defined by “organization x external”.
However, if too much emphasis is placed on “organization x external”, the connection between the inner workings of the organization and the inner workings of the individual is severed. When this connection is broken, energy is not supplied from within, and the organization loses its vitality, and as a result, it becomes unprofitable as a business.
On the other hand, if the thoughts and ideals of each individual are aggregated to create an organizational culture, which in turn creates a vision, human resource system, and business model, there is a constant supply of energy from within, and as a result, the business will be successful.
What I would like to emphasize is the “social implementation of the subjective truth”, which begins with the subjective truth in “Individuals x Interior” and ends with the social implementation in “Organization x Exterior”, and the connection between the two is maintained. The starting point is not “Organization x Exterior” but “Individuals x Interior”.
I’m not talking about “Organization x Exterior” being a bad thing. I have a sense of challenge that the connection with “Individuals x Interior” is broken, and more importantly, that when the connection is broken, it remains a skeleton and the connection cannot be regained.
Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)
・In your company, organization, or school, which is the focus of the group consciousness among the four quadrants of integral theory? What events did you see that make you think that?
・When you think of stories that started with “Individuals x Interior” and influenced “Organizations x Exterior,” what kind of stories come to mind?