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Chapter 2 Zen & Creative Management

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We have said that the opposition and collaboration between the forces is not on a conscious level and so far we have pictured two sets of “blind” forces at work.  They are forces operating in the dark and are really forces in potential.  A third force is necessary to make this potential a reality.  This third force is to be found in the role of the president.  The role of the president allows the forces to meet in a conscious way.  The work of the president is to balance the forces at work in a company, and he does this by reconciling the conflict inherent in the opposing tendencies of the field through organization and what is known as “long range planning.”  The first counterbalances the explosive tendency; the second, the implosive tendency.

Included in the requirement to reconcile the polarity of the holon is the requirement to balance the claims of the three forces–shareholder, market, and employee–so that the commitment of each is retained.  These are not two requirements–one being to reconcile the polarity and the other to balance the forces–but two different ways of viewing the same phenomenon. 

March 12th, 2020 ~  Divinely Simple!

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Chapter 2 Zen & Creative Management

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Product

Figure 2 shows a set of interacting forces.  Some tend toward the center.  These are the integrative forces;the forces of survival.  They are the manifestation of the unity of will.  Those that tend toward the periphery manifest the expression of Will.  Everything is pressing out to being itself to the full.  This “pressing out,” this “expression” in a company, gives process; the unity, the being itself, is the structure.  From the balanced, harmonious dynamism of these forces comes growth.  The tendency toward disintegration by explosion that arises from the centrifugal forces is balanced by a tendency toward destruction by implosion arising from the centripetal forces.  As we shall see later, the exploding tendency is counteracted by the product; the imploding tendency is counteracted y the organizational structure. 

In order to give our study a wider meaning, we shall be relating some of our findings to the word of several authors.  If what we say about an organization just happens to be an accidental view, a view without counterpart elsewhere, then it may have a certain pragmatic value and that would be all.  If, however, it can be shown to have a more universal value, if it can be shown to have correspondence in other fields, then further research in those fields can give a greater understanding of organization.  One of the sad parts about most theories of organization is that they are so parochial.

One of the authors whose work has considerable bearing on our present study is Arthur Koestler.  Koestler coined the word “holon” and our description of a company is the description of a holon.  A holon is “Janus-faced”; that is it has two faces, one inward and the other outward.  Furthermore, it has the characteristics of being both a part and a whole.  A company is a holon in that in its integrative, “centering” tendency, it is a whole; in its expansive, assertive aspect it is a part of a wider whole, i.e., society, within which its assertion is felt.  From this notion of a holon we shall later develop the notion of dilemma and show that the role of a manger is not simply that of solving problems, but also of resolving dilemmas.  We shall therefore be returning again to the holon and its characteristics.

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Chapter 2 Zen & Creative Management

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The outward tendency has its basis in the need for each to improve its financial position in opposition to the others.  This is not a conscious opposition, but as each seeks to maximize its financial benefits and because at any one time there is only so much finance, each necessarily opposes the others.  The centering tendency has as its basis the need that each has for another kind of benefit.

The employee does not only have a need for higher pay; he also has a need for challenge, recognition, and personal growth.  The customer does not only want something that is cheap, they also want something that has quality, that will last and that has pleasing features.  Likewise, the shareholder not only seeks dividends, but also wishes to see his investment grow–some shareholders even wish to see their investment grow in an enterprise worthy of growth.

The centering tendency is realized in the product of the company.  It is the product that holds a company together and each of the forces collaborate to produce the product.  Once again this collaboration is not a “conscious” one, but as each seeks to maximize its “centering” needs, a product comes into being.  Our diagram can now be expanded thus:

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Chapter 2 Zen & Creative Management

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3 Forces

The interaction of the three forces can be shown in the above diagram.

These three forces are not static.  Each is in opposition to the others and yet each is dependent upon the others.  Each seeks to maximize its return: The customer seeks to look for the best quality at the cheapest price; the employee will seek to ensure that he gets the best conditions in terms of pay and challenge; the shareholder will look for the most secure growth and best dividends.  The company, therefore, tends to lose its market, employees, and shareholders as they havea tendency to be attracted elsewhere to other means by which to get the maximum return.   This pull from outside gives an outward direction to the dynamism of the forces.

Were this the whole story, a company could not stay in business for even a moment.  However, the forces are not only in competition–in opposition–the forces are also complementary; they mutually support each other and thus there is a tendency toward the center.

March 5th, 2020 ~ This is it in a nut shell.  One of the things I try to do is gauge what customers want and need rather than look at what will sell.  When you are dealing with healthy food products, it is a bit tricky to find the right blend of healthy and profitable.  It is quite helpful to have this image in mind.  Keeping in mind all three: shareholders, employees and market (customers)–it helps focus.   There is a healthy tension between the groups.  This tension is a theme that we will be discussed more in detail, both positive and negative tension.

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Chapter 2 Zen & Creative Management

The Basic Triad As A Field

The three “commitments” of the shareholder, market, and employee can be looked upon as forces that make up the “field” of the company.  Out of this field, or behavior space, arises the product, and it is from this product that a return on investment can be provided to shareholder, employee, and market for the investment that each makes. 

The notion of the company as a field is a very important one for our study because in the first place it encourages a view of the company as a dynamic set of interacting forces, and secondly, it implies that the company is not a thing, nor simply a collection of things.  A collection of things cannot grow (in the way that that term can best be used).  Things can be added to the collection, but it is only when the interaction, the mutual relevance of these things is also taken into account, and, furthermore, when these interactions increase both in number and in complexity that growth can be considered to have taken place.  The notion of a field allows for these interactions to be taken into account.  It allows for a qualitative understanding based on the notions of “fitness,” order, harmony, emergence, and balance.  Furthermore, and perhaps this is the most important, when the company is seen as a dynamic field of forces in equilibrium an orderly expression of change is possible.

The field theory is the Western counterpart of the Buddhist idea of karma.  From the Buddhist viewpoint there are no “things,” no enduring entities, but rather each “thing” is seen to be a nexus of interacting causes and effects.  This view of the world as a field will arise if the more familiar “dualistic” view of the world is given up.  Our understanding of corporate life is bedeviled by dualities or dichotomies, by “either/ors”: management/men, staff/line, centralized/decentralized, skilled/unskilled, shareholders/employees, and so on. 

March 4th, 2020 ~Sets of three (3) are a common theme in Zen and Creative Management.  When I mention this to people, I often get a look of “huh”.  People often don’t see the connection.  Shareholder, employees and markets are seen as separate entities that aren’t connected.  It isn’t just shareholders and employees that see themselves as separated.  The market sees itself as separate.  Often times, the market doesn’t know what it wants.  The customer can help drive more custom products and the shareholders and employees should take more notice.