"How Should Who Lead Whom to do What?"

by Dr. Clare Graves

YMCA
Management Forum 1971-1972

From the Historical Collection of the work of Dr. Clare W. Graves
- presentations, papers, recorded transcripts, notes-
William R. Lee                                                                                                                      August 2003


cybernetical and other research. We have not done what is necessary for managers to see certain of their problems and to think innovatively in respect to them.

One foundation block laid down by cybernetical research has to do with a particular relationship between the four managerial regions included in the title of this paper - the regions of how to manage, who manages, who is being managed and what work is being managed.

In cybernetical language, how a manager should lead what people to do what work is a systemic problem. As such, to manage effectively requires at least basic knowledge of how any system operates. And one part of this basic knowledge is the foundation block to which I have alluded.

To see the significance of it, it is necessary to translate the meaning of my title into cybernetic language. What it suggests is that effective management, in different situations, derives in part from knowing certain relationships between at least four work situation subsystems.

1. The subsystem of managerial policies, practices and procedures, the subsystem having to do with the philosophy and practices of management.

2. The psychological subsystem that is the leader, the manager, supervisor or administrator, that is, his system of beliefs as to what management is as shown in his operative behaviors.

3. The psychological subsystem of the person being managed, that is, his operative values and beliefs generating how he wants to be managed, how he judges his management and how he reacts to his management.

4. The subsystem of the work to be done, that is the particular character of the work that the manager, through his methods, is attempting to get the managee to perform.

One finding which cybernetical research has brought to our attention has to do with the relation of subsystems within a larger system, to one another and to the total system of which they are a part. In our instance, the relationship of the methods of management, the manger, the managed and the work to be done to one another and of all and each to the total system, managing others to get work done.

This particular relationship says that in a system, when any part of the subsystem is out of phase with any other subsystem or the total system, then the total system suffers. Or, stating it a little differently, we can approach optimum equilibrated performance of any system only when its subsystems are all in phase and in phase with the goal of the total system. A car canít give optimum performance if three wheels are running one way and the fourth in some other direction.

 

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