Thursday, November 13, 2014

Organization Thinking vs. Systems Thinking in Emergent Psychologies

It occurred to me last night that the two tiers of Gravesean social psychological theory makes a pretty clear dividing line between hierarchical organization thinking (1st Tier) and scale-free network processes, or systems, thinking (2nd Tier). The 2nd Tier thus goes through all of the levels of the 1st Tier, but as a systems thinker rather than as a hierarchical thinker.

Most people want to turn our scale-free systems -- aka, spontaneous orders -- into hierarchical organizations; that is because most people have 1st Tier psychologies. 2nd Tier psychologies understand our social systems are exactly that -- systems. And they understand that hierarchical organizations are components of those systems.

More, we can see an evolution of the kinds of organizations that develop over time based on one's psychological level. Let me use business structures as an example:

Tribalist/familial level -- family-owned business/cottage industries

Heroic/Power level -- single proprietorships/small businesses with strong boss

Authoritative level -- larger, more hierarchical businesses/mercantilist businesses

Entrepreneurial level -- Entrepreneurial businesses/creativity-driven businesses/rapid-growth businesses

Egalitarian level -- Bureaucratic corporations/shareholder corporations

We are in the last social stage in our economy here in the U.S. Such businesses are typified by the presence of huge bureaucracies and dissipated ownership through shareholders, which ensures that nobody is responsible for anything that happens in the business. The result is businesses which exhibit behaviors similar to sociopaths. These are also your megacorporations, which tend to have maximum decentralization for an organization. Entrepreneurial businesses are the more creative kinds of large businesses -- having enough capital to engage in major innovations. Google and Apple are primarily entrepreneurial businesses. Authoritative businesses have gotten large enough to become local/state-wide rent-seekers. They seek protectionist measures to solidify their business and protect themselves from competition. Single proprietorships or small businesses are the most common nowadays (beyond the family-owned/cottage industries, which have mostly been regulated out of business). Just about every business starts off as a family business or a single-proprietor small business; those that survive and grow become mercantilist businesses; those that survive and grow become entrepreneurial businesses; those that survive and grow become bureaucratic shareholder corporations. 

The emergence of the Egalitarian level style of corporate structure, being large and a kind of decentralized hierarchical structure, means many confuse it with the spontaneous order of the market itself. This is the origin of central planning schemes, corporatist governance, and various attempts to fuse corporate structure, government, and the economy into a single whole. All forms of socialism are attempts to impose corporate hierarchical structures onto the scale free network structures of the spontaneous orders. Anyone who confuses hierarchical organization and spontaneous order is a 1st Tier psychology, since to a certain degree the spontaneous orders cannot really be "seen".

With the emergence of 2nd Tier psychologies, there is an understanding that our social systems are spontaneous orders. The first level -- the integrationist level -- is just concerned with trying to figure out how to ensure the survival of the various spontaneous orders, and personal survival within them. The second level -- the holistic level -- is concerned with developing his/her spontaneous order family. That family may be the market order, the monetary order, the artistic orders, the philosophical order, the religious order, etc.

In fact, one can probably figure out what each of the 2nd Tier levels ought to be concerned with given the understanding that the two levels map on each other, with the 1st seeing the world as hierarchical organizations and the 2nd seeing the world as spontaneous orders.

Survival level -- mere survival  : Integrationist level -- systems survival

Tribal level -- family business   : Holistic level -- health of the different systems, esp. one's preferred system

Power level -- small business   : Control level -- trying to control system structures

Authoritative level -- mercantilist business : Law level -- understanding the laws of complex systems

Entrepreneurial level -- creative business  : Creative level -- trying to create new systems

Egalitarian level -- bureaucratic business  : Civil level -- global civil society as non-hierarchical integration and interactions among the different spontaneous orders and civil societies

In current Gravesean theory, only Integrationist and Holistic have been officially named. I am making up names for the next four in parallel with how they ought to develop if they are going to parallel the 1st Tier.

This suggests that people through the 2nd Tier will mostly concern themselves with understanding and developing their own pet spontaneous orders and think that order to be the most important one. This will likely differ from culture to culture. But in the end, we will come to understand these orders are all of equal importance to the full development of not just the human being, but of the systems themselves, both individually and as parts of healthy global civil society.
Post a Comment