appreciate the developments that are required, it is necessary
to understand the deep-seated nature of the failures in
each of the areas mentioned.
causes and their cures are far removed from the symptoms.
understand the developments that are required it is necessary
also to understand the new theoretical (psychometric,
organisational) frameworks that have emerged from the
click a link below:
Failures of the Educational System
Failures of our Societal Learning and Management Arrangements
Theoretical Bases for the Work
Conceptualisation and Assessment of Competence
Conceptualisation and Measurement of Developmental Environments
Failures of the Educational System
failures of the educational system arise neither, as is
commonly supposed, from (1) an inability to convey requisite
information from teacher to student, nor (2) from a failure
to develop appropriate skills among pupils or students.
failures lie in:
Its inability to help pupils to identify, develop, and
gain recognition for, their idiosyncratic talents. These
talents include such things as the ability to put people
at ease, the ability to entertain others, the ability
to get people to work together, and the ability to generate
social chaos...ie the 1001 things one sees people doing
if one looks around.
Its neglect of opportunities to enable people to learn
to do things which will be important in their later lives:
to lead, to invent, to influence decisions, to put people
at ease, to negotiate, to influence social and political
reasons for these failures are multiple and deep seated.
first among the obvious reasons, there is little understanding
of the nature of these qualities or how they are to be
nurtured or assessed.
a result, there are:
no concepts or tools to help teachers or lecturers to
think about student's motives and how to harness them
in such a way as to create, for each pupil or student,
an individualised developmental programme which would
lead them to practice, and thereby develop, high-level
no tools to help those concerned to focus on what they
need to do to create more development environments, take
stock of what is going on, and identify the steps needed
to improve those environments.
more basic reasons include the fact that, for the effective
education to be widely available, it will be necessary
create a wide variety of distinctly different types of
educational or programme;
document the personal and social, short and long term,
consequences of each option; and
feed this information to the public so that they can make
informed choices between them.
only are there no concepts and tools to assess the quality
of the differential educational processes which are required
or to document the outcomes in a comprehensive way, the
very idea of generating a choice between well-documented
options conflicts with (i) the belief that public provision
should be equal and (ii) beliefs about the roles to be
performed by public servants.
information on the options available and their consequences
needs to flow outwards from public servants to the public
and not upward in a bureaucratic hierarchy to elected
representatives to take decisions binding on all. New
beliefs about public decision taking (democracy) and government
are therefore entailed.
is the necessary ferment of experimentation, monitoring,
and learning to be created? What are the institutional
arrangements, job descriptions, and staff appraisal systems
that are required?
research shows that:
the requisite institutional arrangements are non-hierarchical;
performance appraisal must focus, not on the correctness
of decisions, but on the adoption of procedures which
have been shown to lead to innovation and learning;
the supervisory arrangements to be employed to ensure
that public servants (a) initiate the collection of a
wide range of information, (b) sift it for god ideas,
and (c) act on it in an innovative way in the long term
public interest hinge on exposing the behaviour of public
servants (including teachers) to the public gaze via professionally
developed performance appraisal systems.
move forward it will be necessary to develop tools which
will make it possible to:
focus attention on the aspects of organisational climates
which promote innovation, take stock of the current situation,
and see what to do next.
recognise public servant's high-level contributions to
the process, and
focus attention on key features of the new arrangements
- the forms of democracy - required for public surveillance
of a public-service-based public management process.
the greatest organisational failures may lie in public
management, Kanter's work shows that very many organisations
fail to set aside time for the vital, non-hierarchical,
"parallel organisations activity" which is required
for innovation, and Hogan's work shows that some 50% of
American managers drive their organisations into the grounds
in their quest for personal advancement.
Resource Management" is largely restricted to personnel
selection despite the following:
The job descriptions used to guide selection are typically
grossly deficient in that they ignore the kinds of activity
which, as the work of Kanter and others has shown, are
the most important from the point of view of organisational
People typically move on to different kinds of job shortly
after having been hired.
One of the most important abilities distinguishing more
from less effective managers is their ability to build
up their own understanding of, and subsequently intervene
in, economic, political and social systems outside their
organisations to benefit their organisations.
Another is the tendency to think about place, and develop
the idiosyncratic talents of subordinates. This activity
extends to redeploying part of the time of personnel hired
for one purpose in the other activities involved in "parallel
organisation activity" in such a way as to utilise
all of everyone's talents for at least some of the time.
main reason for the neglect of these activities are:
there are no concepts to help think about the talents
required to understand, intervene in, and monitor the
effectiveness of interventions in, hidden societal systems
processes and political and economic systems:
there are no concepts and tools to think about and assess
high-level talents like the ability to notice problems,
make them explicit, harness the activities of others to
the task of doing something about them, conceptualising
the activity, generating publicity for it, and so on.
As a result, it is very difficult to recognise such latent
talents and take steps to ensure that they will be nurtured
there are few concepts and tools to deploy to design individualised
developmental programmes - i.e. to (i) surface latent
motives and incipient talents of individuals (ii) think
about the nature of, help plan, and monitor the effectiveness
of, the individualised developmental programmes which
are required to nurture those talents. (Such programmes
involve placement with others who share the individual's
motives so that, by working with someone who shares his
or her enthusiasms, the subordinates will learn how to
do such things as take initiative and develop more effective
strategies for selecting and achieving goals. They also
include opportunities to work at tasks which are inherently
engaging and thus offer their own reward for determination
there are no staff appraisal procedures which enable one
to find out about what people are really doing (they are
not usually doing what other people think they are doing,
still less what others think they have hired them to do)
and give credit for such contributions to organisational
effectiveness as an inventing way of intervening in political
systems, monitoring results and changing behaviour accordingly.
overcome these problems there is a need for tools to:
in guidance, placement, and development relating to high-level
competencies - i.e. tools to help identify the incipient
motives and talents of individuals and monitor their development.
Also to focus attention on the key features to be included
attention to the key features to be provided in developmental
environments, assess the effectiveness of attempts to
move forward, and identify what needs to be done next.
attention to features of the arrangements required for
innovation and learning, assess the quality of what is
currently being provided, and identify what to do next.
people credit for exercising high level competencies -
i.e. for making contributions which usually elude observation
and fail to get recorded.
Failures of Our Societal Learning and Management
our realisation that behaviour - and therefore competence
- is primarily determined by the way people think about
society and their place in it, we moved on to study the
effectiveness of the arrangements which are currently
in place for societal learning and management.
of the most striking findings were:
That the spending of about 75% of GDP is, in some sense,
under government control: we live in managed, not market
That our current societal learning and management arrangements
not only do not work very well they are actively heading
us towards the extermination of the species - indeed the
destruction of the planet - at an ever increasing rate.
There are numerous indices of these exponential changes
and their currently inevitable consequences, but most
striking is that it would require 5 back-up planets engaged
in nothing but agriculture to enable everyone in the world
to live as we do in the West: yet billions in China and
Asia are hell bent on doing so. Hardin's "tragedy
of the commons" is endemic and pervasive.
Society we need if the species and the planet are to survive
must be as different from ours as industrial society was
from agricultural society.
no-one knows, or can know, what such a society would look
innovation in every nook and cranny of society is required.
important is study of, and invention of ways of intervening
in, the hidden sociological systems processes which deflect
even well-intentioned public reforms (as in education)
from their goals and lead us all to do things which we
know to be wrong.
then are the public management arrangements required to
have been spelt out in The New Wealth of Nations: A New
Enquiry into the Nature and Origins of the Wealth of Nations
and the Societal Learning Arrangements required for a
among them are:
institutional arrangements for public management: new
forms of bureaucracy and democracy. Central here are:
of the crucial role of the public servant
main task of the public servant is: (i) to create a ferment
of innovation, to arrange for widespread experimentation,
to generate variety and choice, to arrange for the comprehensive
evaluation of options - i.e. for the compilation of information
on all their personal and social, short and long term,
consequences - and to feed that information to the public
so that they can make informed choices between them; (ii)
to initiate the collection of information, to sift it
for good ideas and to act on it in an innovative way in
the long term public interest.
we are to get them to do these things it will be necessary
to develop new job descriptions and new staff appraisal
that the function of democracy is, in Mill's words, "Not
to govern, a task for which it is eminently unsuited,
but to make visible to everyone who did everything".
Thus flat, non-hierarchical, structures are required to
supervise the work of the public service (and others).
conducive to innovation and learning based on the work
of Donald Schon and Rosabeth Kanter.
is the task of the psychologist to develop:
Means of taking stock of climates conducive to innovation
Means of finding out whether public servants are performing
their key role of creating a ferment of experimentation
and learning, sifting information for good ideas, and
acting on it in an innovative way in the long term public
Means of recognising the wide variety of contributions
people make to societal evolution, noting that evolution
has never been "efficient" in bureaucratic sense.
A better understanding of forms of public management which
do not assume that there are somewhere some all-knowing,
wise, and benevolent authorities who will act on the insights
gained from systems thinking about the hidden processes
which determine the course of history and assessingprogress
Theoretical Bases for the Work
clarifying the, somewhat surprising, developments that
are needed to move forward, our work has indicated the
need to rethinking, amounting to a paradigm shift, in
the way we think about, not only human resources and institutional
arrangements, but also the way we assess them.
the developments required are:
To refocus our basic way of thinking away from concepts
involving "abilities" and "motivation"
to thinking in terms of generic high-level, self motivated,
To shift from attempting to describe, or "assess",
people in terms of a profile of scores on small numbers
of internally-consistent factors, or variables, to making
statements (in a form analogous to the descriptions of
compounds in Chemistry) about the motives and components
of competence that individuals display in specified environments.
To develop ways of thinking about emergent properties
displayed by groups made up of different kinds of people
(in a manner analogous to the way one thinks about the
emergent properties of compounds in Chemistry).
To better conceptualise, and find ways of assessing, the
nature of the Developmental Environments which engage
the motives and interests of a wide variety of individuals
and lead them to develop and display a range of high-level
To better conceptualise and assess Institutional Arrangements
Conducive to Innovation, based on the work of Rosabeth
Kanter and Donald Schon.
To further extend that work to thinking about and assessing
the Societal Arrangements Required for Innovation and
Conceptualisation and Assessment of Competence
century of work has demonstrated that, so long as we try
to work within the mainstream psychometric tradition,
it is impossible to get very far. "g and not much
in parallel with this fruitless activity, a growing number
(now amounting to some 700) studies of the competencies
which distinguish more from less effective performance
in a wide range of occupational roles have documented
the importance of a range of high-level generic competencies,
or motivational dispositions.
problem is to develop a suitable framework for summarising
, thinking about, and assessing such competencies.
possible frameworks have been published: One (in Competence
in Modern Society) by Dr. John Raven and, the other by
Lyle and Signe Spencer (in Competence at Work).
are grounded in the framework for thinking about, and
assessing, "motives" developed by David McClelland
and his co-workers.
understood, McClelland's measures are not measures of
motivation, but measures of the competence to carry out
valued activities...defined in such terms as inventing
a new scientific theories or putting people at ease.
measure the respondent's competence to carry out selected
tasks by finding out how many of a number of identifiable,
cumulative and sustainable, components of competence he
or she displays spontaneously while carrying out specific
kinds of activity.
this procedure makes clear is that the usual, internal
consistency-based, measures of such things as "creativity",
"self-confidence", etc. are off-beam: Someone
who displays a great deal of creativity when, for example,
putting people at ease is unlikely to do so when asked
to think of as many uses as possible for a brick.
of these insights leads to the realisation that psychologists
have probably been misguided in their attempt to classify
people in terms of scores on variables (as in physics).
They should rather have been seeking to describe people
in terms of their motives and the components of competence
they display when carrying out valued tasks, in a manner
analogous to the descriptive statements Chemists make
in which this alternative way of thinking about competence
and its assessment has been translated into practice and
has led to some extraordinary reversals of some of the
most "well established" findings in educational
and occupational psychology.
task now is to refine the concepts and tools which have
been developed to assist in:
the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational
the evaluation of the pupils and students who pass through
the evaluation of the teachers and lecturers who administer
staff guidance, placement, and development in the workplace,
performance appraisal systems in the workplace.
Conceptualisation and Measurement of Developmental Environments
the course of our research we have studied the nature
of development environments as they occur in homes, schools,
universities, and workplaces. To our surprise, a common
pattern has emerged.
the developmental environments, parents, mentors, and
managers tend to create the following for their children,
pupils, students, or subordinates:
Opportunities to practice and develop important components
of competence while undertaking activities which the tutee
is intrinsically strongly motivated to carry out. These
components of competence include making observations,
developing better ways of thinking about things, using
feelings to initiate action, monitoring the results of
that action, and taking corrective action when necessary,
persuading others to help, intervening in wider social
and political processes outside the institution concerned,
and persisting over a long period of time.
Opportunities to experience satisfactions which come from
the completion of a difficult and demanding activity .
It is the experience of these satisfactions which will
lead the individual to put up with frustration in order
to do similar things in the future.
Opportunities for the tutee to work with others who, importantly,
share his or her basic concerns, values, or motives and
(i) share their (normally private) psychological components
of competence - e.g. use of feelings to initiate, learn
from, and adjust action- while engaged in those activities
and in such a way that the tutee can learn from and copy
them, and (ii) enable the tutee to see them gaining the
very satisfactions the tutee most importantly wants from
carrying out those activities.
Opportunities to gain insights along the lines just mentioned
from literature and research-based case studies.
Opportunities to "try on for fit", or experiment
with, alternative ways of behaving in a non-threatening
situations in which a mistake does not bring dire consequences.
Placements with mentors who think in terms of multiple
talents and try to create working groups made up of people
with very different, but complementary, talents in order
to create "teams" with dynamic, emergent, properties.
how developmental environments engage with the motives
or values of individuals: it is as irrelevant to record
features of the environment which do not engage with those
values as it is to record features in the "environment"
of chemical substances which do not engage with the elements
of the substance being studied.
is needed, then, are measures of developmental environments
which draw people's attention to these findings, enable
them to take stock of the current situation, see what
needs to be done to improve it, and monitor progress.
The measures need to include questions to find out if
there has been a serious attempt to identify individual's
motives and talents and redeploy personnel in such a way
as to use all available high-level talents for at least
part of the time. And to complement these, there is a
need for tools to enable managers and others to recognise,
develop and utilise the idiosyncratic talents of individuals.
that these tools are of crucial importance for the evaluation
of teachers and managers: Have they been able to create
developmental environments and climates of dedication
Creation of Climates of Enthusiasm, Innovation, and Action
in the Interests of Clients and the Long-term Public Interest.
have seen that delivery of effective education and health
and welfare services, and, still more importantly the
introduction and administration of a sustainable society,
demands new forms of bureaucracy and democracy.
have seen that these new ways of thinking about public
management must incorporate new ways of thinking about
the role of the public servant.
have need to charge our public servants with responsibility
for creating a ferment of innovation and learning and
hold them responsible for initiating collecting information,
sifting it for good ideas, and acting on it in an innovative
way in the long term public interest.
therefore need tools which can be used to take stock of
the extent to which the requisite climates of innovation
and learning have been created and, by so doing, direct
people's attention to the developments that are required.
of the features which should be incorporated into such
measures have been discussed in connection with innovation
in organisations. At a societal level, more attention
will have to be paid to:
the investigation of, and development of strategies to
influence, the hidden sociological systems processes which
deflect most public-improvement action from the achievement
of its goals, and
the formal arrangements for advancing understanding and
especially, for obtaining comprehensive, systems-oriented,
evaluations. [Current beliefs about the appropriate procedures
required to advance scientific understanding are wide
of the mark. The only way to move toward a focus on comprehensive,
systems-oriented, thinking (instead of on accuracy in
relation to one or to isolated specifics) is to provide
resources to a wide variety of people who have very different
- currently unsubstantiated - perspectives.]
features to be incorporated into tools designed to direct
attention to the key features of new forms of public surveillance
of public servants as managers charged with the duties
which have been mentioned are less clear. But there is
no mistaking the need to move from concepts of government
and supervision based in hierarchy to concepts of democracy
grounded in fluid, network-based, and issue-oriented arrangements.