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The Klinal Papers





Theo E. Klinal

(Published in Harpenden Parish Magazine, December 1970)

Was there ever a time when a boss resorted to physical violence to obtain the performance he required from his employees? According to psychologist Professor Herzberg, the KITA - which roughly translated means ‘kick in the posterior region' - was frequently used for motivation. It acted as an intimidating, or negative, stimulus to the employee's nervous system. One great disadvantage however was that the employee might respond by kicking the boss back and another was the damage done to the benevolent image of the company.

According to Fred Herzberg the preference nowadays is for psychological rather than. physical KITA. A great variety of psychological wounds may be inflicted, ranging from the pinprick of a snide remark about a past failure to the trauma of relocating a man's office in a remote part of the factory while he is on holiday. The possibility of retaliation by the employee in either physical or psychological terms is very remote and there is not likely to be any damage to the reputation of the company since there is no evidence of assault. Indeed, if the employee complains he can always be accused of being paranoid.

The boss can derive considerable pleasure in choosing a vulnerable target in his subordinate and then exercising his ingenuity in delivering the most suitable psychological KITA. It gives him a sense of one-upmanship which is heightened by his ability to appear above it all and entirely unconnected with the processes he has initiated.

Encouraging, or positive, psychological KITA are also widely used. Typical are hints of honours, "stick with me and you'll rise to the top" and carefully contrived success in the direction in which the boss wants his employee to go. KITA is a suitable term for encouraging as well as intimidating stimuli. Professor Herzberg regards the carrot as only another form of the stick; neither motivate - they merely encourage movement.

We all use positive and negative psychological KITA in everyday relationships. What is emerging is their skilled, professional use - in power games as well as for motivation. The KITA merchants are here to stay. Engineers be on your guard!


Theo E. Klinal

(Published in Harpenden Parish Magazine, January 1971)

The carrot and stick approach to man management - by the application of positive and negative psychological KITA - can range from simple, single incidents to complex campaigns or systems of events. The single KITA is sometimes extremely useful, as for example when a large negative stimulus is included in a letter to deter the recipient from showing it to anyone else. Much more effective, however, are systems of KITA. Their total effect is far greater than the sum of the individual incidents in the system.

There are several types of systems:

Coincident KITA  The simultaneous arrival of positive and negative KITA to steer the employee in the required direction. The negative ones indicate a blocked path while an open route is signposted by the positive stimuli.

Impulse KITA  Generally, a massive negative KITA is delivered which increases the employee's suggestibility to a modest positive one.

Alternating KITA  Positive and negative KITA are presented in succession. A softening-up or ‘unfreezing' process. Kept up for long enough, it can produce inertia, confusion, hysteria.

Sequential KITA  A series of KITA presented in sequence over a period of time so that the required attitude or emotional state may be built up. For example, by presenting a series of positive KITA, a feeling of euphoria may be created.

Reverse Impulse KITA The sudden reversal from a long period of sequential KITA of one sign to an impulse KITA of opposite sign is very effective in producing a required response from the employee.

Direct/Indirect KITA  KITA of one sign are delivered outwardly - for example by the written word - while at the same time KITA of the opposite sign are delivered indirectly, through hints, etc. Where the direct KITA are negative, the employee is led to prefer and becomes dependent on the encouraging indirect stimuli, i.e. conditioned to respond to hints, nuances, etc., rather than to the direct word.

Quote: "We have ways of coercing people without their knowledge."

Query:  Can the use of these techniques be justified?


Theo E. Klinal

(Published in Harpenden Parish Magazine, February 1971)

All that is needed for the effective application of psychological KITA is a detailed catalogue of the employee's characteristics - his history, habits, preferences, successes, failures, affairs, friends, associates, contacts etc., etc. - and a grasp of the fundamental mechanics of KITA.

The simplest form of psychological KITA is directly administered, i.e. delivered face to face. The intensity of these may be varied from the mere nod or smile of approval to lavish praise and hospitality or from the frown of disagreement to a blistering attack. Somewhat less direct but still face to face KITA are the hint and innuendo. The most effective KITA, however, are those delivered indirectly. Any communication input to the employee may be used. A negative KITA may be delivered: by circulating a notice implying that the status of the employee has been lowered. A positive stimulus may be administered through an. intermediary by prevailing upon a professional associate of the employee to be highly supportive of one of his pet theories or fields of activity. Intermediaries need not know they are engaged in delivering KITA - indeed, with a little ingenuity, they may be induced to impart negative stimuli while thinking they are acting in favour of the employee.

Theoretically, the employee's or other target's environment may be totally controlled by KITA and he may be moved in any required direction, while remaining at large in a free society. 1984 could come much earlier and less obviously than expected; so far as particular individuals are concerned.

KITA are usually distinguished from everyday human interactions by the fact that: they are consciously delivered and are organised as part of a KITA system for the explicit objective of man-management. However, a boss who practices the techniques or is exposed for a long period to a environment where they are in constant. use, develops a ‘belly feeling' for KITA. He becomes quick to spot needs and vulnerabilities in his subordinates so that his dispensing of KITA becomes ingrained, automatic and even to some extent unconscious. This makes it very comfortable for him.


Are KITA techniques objectionable if the employee is unaware that they are being used?

If the employee becomes aware of their use, what action should he take?

What, if anything, should be done about a boss in whom the dispensing of KITA has become ingrained?

What safeguards can be maintained against the excessive use of KITA techniques?


(Not published but incorporated in later papers)

The dispensing of psychological as well as physical stimuli to control behaviour was used by Pavlov in his famous experiments with dogs. The positive stimuli were favourable to the dogs while they reacted against negative stimuli. In electrical terms, the situation can be envisaged as one in which the dogs were negatively charged and their movement could be controlled by applying positive signals to attract them and negative signals to repel then.

When did the term KITA first appear? Professor Frederick Herzberg used it in a paper on Motivation in the Harvard Business Review in 1968 but was this its first mention? Whatever may be the origin, KITA is not a good term for psychological stimulus. It conveys Prof. Herzberg's distaste for the method but there are several disadvantages.

How can a non-physical "kick in the a . ." be delivered? How can a caress, inducement or other encouraging act be identified by the term "positive kick in the a . ."? Why "a . ." when physical assault can be anywhere and psychological stimuli are to the mind anyway. The term KITA may provide very good training in relating an unnatural mixture of concepts but the terminology is clearly in great need of tidying up.

Henceforth, a Negative (Intimidatory) PSYCHological stimulUS will be called, by this writer at least, a NIPSYCHUS and a Positive (Encouraging) PSYCHological stimulUS will be called a PEPSYCHUS. The plural will be _PSYCHI. Similarly, with _PHYSUS and _PHYSI for physical stimuli. Where no distinction need be made between psychological and physical stimuli or where it is clear which is being referred to, the shortened NIP and PEP may be used.

The electrical analogy is much more satisfactory than the carrot, stick and donkey model. The dispensing of PSYCHI can be an extremely complex process and this is well matched by the sophistry of electrical and electronic devices. Systems of PSYCHI, for example, correspond to some extent to machines like linear accelerators or to devices like cathode ray tubes. Just as by the application of various kinds of electrical signals we can control the movement of a charged particle, so by the use of NIPs and PEPs we can make a man dance to a tune of our calling - provided always that he behaves like a ‘thing'.



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