Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Sociopath Problem Type in Business Organisations - Some context

In designing a learning experience, that addressed the problem solving mind-set, I conceived of at least four types of problems for the context. 1. Person-situation 2. Inter-Personal 3. Polarities or Paradoxes (as problems that need managing than solving per se) and 4. Intra-personal (dealing with cognitive biases). With sufficient practice in classifying and framing such problem-issues, the mind-set for critical thinking around problems is likely to improve. The client is however a business organisation. The mind-set that arises from requisite socialisation is likely to be virtuous as in rationalist exemplars of superior thinking, relatively freer from cognitive biases, and embodied in a context that people anchor by values for productive action and meaningful presence.

Several business organisations suffer from both the convenient and unconscious numbness distributed amongst employees due to autocratic power. Vice laden success in capitalist economic models are assailed with alarm in the short-term. These are forgotten without much effort in the long-term. Despite the radical transparency of our interconnected times, we often lack the interpersonal gravitas to engage in complex systems thinking to effect virtuous change.  

There are residual problems, however, that would take a great deal of practice. Integrating substance in solutions with the form of the problem itself takes time to master. For example, I am still struggling with introducing intra-psychic problems as a genre that can be addressed in group mode!

Psychologists would earmark such problems using differential diagnoses based on theory. The lesson is not lost on the business outcomes of the organisation. Lesson : “manipulating a profit is not the same as earning one”. If you find willing accountants and crooked business leaders in concert, what craft can lead you to pin down their veneers of effort and impact? Sociopaths are difficult to detect in normal conversation. Why, even work related psychometry may not surface the neurotic factors of personality enough for such figures to be detected during selection or placement to roles that accentuate such anomie. 

However, the effects of sociopaths are revealed by courageous victims who endure their leader's shameless deceptions. An employee of a large organisation who wished some developmental insights, recently shared, that her leader would label anyone on the line of sight command as ‘anti-team’, if a different opinion contrary to the fancy ideas packaged for personal glory of the leader is voiced. Existential conflicts in employees of today’s corporations and enterprises are a silent epidemic precipitated by the sleight of septic sociopaths, it would appear.

This dimension surely relates to our conscious Model of Human being. Is man a rational being, a sentient being, a transcendental being or an animal evolving in a chance universe? We underrate values education in school or value clarification exercises at work as necessary to human excellence. We do know that it took close to 100 years since the advent of psychology to embrace the study of consciousness. Or to accept that the unconscious is positive in its intent! We even play truant with the theme as adults, often pitting a model of universality over another, merely to feel apparently saner or temporally safer in an exclusive in-group.

These need systemic intervention. Across the level of the individual, the group and the organisation, effectiveness is premised from personal and inter-personal competence. It is a state of denial in which we assume that synthetic integration of technology and social systems will enable total system effectiveness.  The denial is about human ignorance in a sea of irresponsibility. Critical thinking is labelled as negative at worst, and any view resembling critique dismissed as arrogant irreverence. It takes inner knowing to accept a moment in eternity, howsoever paradoxically it may emerge. 

Even the larger governance in India is critiqued for us to reflect on. Ever thought why centralization and decentralization are bandied about in federal Indian polity? Are they touted more so as to be sophisticated crutches upon which ineffectiveness is justified? Emergent truths, that when systemically perceived, reveals a lack of acceptance of what we as a nation have become. We are indeed mind-blind to facts that electoral outcomes engender. Mind-sightedness on the other hand requires us to take care of our own effectiveness as social beings.

Empathy is a short-coming for those we term as sociopaths. It is said of a crude translation from Hindi that the distance between naivete and stupidity is narrow. The distance between fully a effective being and culpability in promoting sociopaths is its parallel. Would you have a similar feeling? What is your insight?