17 February 2009

The Necessity of Speaking With One Voice, or the Problem of Speaking With One Voice?

One of my research participants observes,
if nobody’s asking questions, that implies to me that there’s not enough thinking being done ... because anybody who thinks that a business should be one big harmonious family has never had a family.
I've found that more-UCaPP organizations tend to question more, and do not see questioning and "a culture of inquiry" (as another participant described it) as a threat. In fact, they take quite the opposite view! If a decision is made and it is not a consensus decision, more-UCaPP organizations tend to come back to those decisions, and if they are problematic, tend to reopen them in a fashion that seems to be more organically responsive to the circumstances among the various members with which the organization has valence bonds. On the other hand, more-BAH organizations insist that once a decision is made the issue is closed, and all good members should "sign up" for that decision. Dissent is seen as weakening the fibre of the organization; those who continue to question decisions are seen as negative and accused of not being team players. In point of fact, they aren't team players, and that is always problematic in a BAH environment. BAH needs teams; UCaPP needs collaborators, and that makes all the difference.

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