The Paradox of Control and Creativity in Organizations

Oliver S. Crocco

One of the seminal texts of Human Systems Change is The Social Psychology of Organizations by Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn published in 1966 and again in 1978. In short, the book is about Open Systems Theory, which says organizations are open to being affected by their external environments and that the character of every organization is continually in a state of flux. In the sixties when the book was published, this was a fairly revolutionary idea but is taken as a given in organizational literature today.

In class, we discussed the idea that to some extent, all organizations in one way or another are in the business of controlling people’s behavior. Maybe the word “control” isn’t the best. This book was published in 1978, after all, and its language is a little outdated. But the idea remains true: every organization has to ensure people do what they are supposed…

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Stay or Change

a splendid adventure


The white and red stitched round blazing through diamond dust headed right for its leather home.

Curveballs start off at one height, one velocity, one direction. You see it, prepare for it, make adjustments to your position to make contact with it, and then it does what every good curveball does. It drops.

The thing about curveballs is you don’t know it’s a curveball till it’s, well, curved. Changed its direction, dropped a few inches, thrown you off your game. At that point there’s nothing you can do to change its direction or make it do what it seemed like it was doing before.

Once the curveball has revealed itself to be the curveball you were not expecting, you have a choice.
You can keep your position and go out swinging, maybe get lucky and tip it off.
Or, you can change positions, drop your chin, and go in…

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