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AOB in Management Literature




Examples of Behavioural Technology abound in Management literature and have been applied over several decades:-

Managerial Psychology  by H. Leavitt, Professor at Carnegie Institute of Technology, contains a chapter on "Manipulation".  Of the manipulation by A of B, Leavitt writes:-

 ..... step 1 is to develop the relationship with B so that B comes to value it; step 2 is to use the now-valuable relationship itself as a bargaining weapon in bringing about change ..... we make a person feel love and loyalty towards us, and then we demand of him that he changes the beliefs he holds dear ..... places him in a dissonant state he must choose between his beliefs and his feelings towards us .....  If we're clever he changes his beliefs ..... the next step is the use of group pressures; pressures by other people, C's and D's.

(Changing is) facilitated greatly if the influence agent saturates the environment with the new message or attitude to be learned.

If we are to develop a sound theory of career development which is capable of including not only many of the formal procedures discussed in this paper but the multitudes of informal practices, some of which are more and some of which are less coercive than those discussed, we need to suspend moral judgements for the time being and evaluate influence models solely in terms of their capacity to make sense of the data and to make meaningful predictions.

In Attitude Change and Social Influence, A.R. Cohen has written:-

Family, friends, classmates, team-mates, instructors, counselors - these and many others constitute reference points for us and our opinions and our actions are partly shaped by them ..... every person depends upon others for his view of the world around him, for his standards of right and wrong and for the establishment of his ideals and aspirations ..... When we consider this intimate relationship between the person and the social group, we can understand. how breaking up a person's stable relationship with the group about him can be an effective precursor to influencing. him ..... disrupting the relationship creates chaos within him and makes him vulnerable.

In Learning for Leadership, A.K. Rice of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations wrote:-

..... the conference is therefore designed to take members as quickly as possible into that series of events that experience has shown creates the greatest anxiety .....  A conference management that creates situations in which stress and strain are inevitable always has to face the possibility that some members ..... will be unable to tolerate them .....  Those that leave, leave; as individuals they move out of the boundaries of the conference and hence out of the area of responsibility of conference management .....  The very task they (the conference management) are trying to carry out precludes them from caring for one individual at the expense of the conference as a whole.

On Intriguers in Organisations, R.L. Clarke wrote in The Professional Engineer:-

The grapevine is the unofficial communications network which usually surpasses the official one in effectiveness and speed.  Though formed for defensive purposes only, it can be used by the unscrupulous for planting true or partly true information which is harmful to rivals, which is unsafe or at any rate not respectable to report direct ..... getting things done by personal relationships, often by methods amazingly indirect.

Other Behavioural Technology topics covered in management literature include:-

T-Groups  The use of unstructured groups for training purposes was covered in many publications. T-Groups have been used in several fields, including the Church.

One more time, how do you motivate employees by Fred Herzberg.  Psychological carrots and sticks (KITA) are described as non-motivating.

Management & Machiavelli by Anthony Jay.  Large companies are now the size of states in Machiavelli's time - they can be run the same way.


These examples are from the 1960's and will have conditioned the thinking of many managers until well into the 1980's.  Inevitably, what was taking place in the real world during that period was far more developed, complex and uncontrolled than was described in the literature.  The same disparity undoubtedly applies to practices linked to present-day management literature.



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