Posts Tagged ‘taylor’

About Vocation

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

vocationsA person’s happiness and satisfaction in life is a function of how he perceives work. People perceive their work in three general categories: jobs, careers, and vocation. People who perceive their work as a Vocation report the highest Satisfaction with Life in general.

A job is just a means of earning an income. When people have a job they look forward to breaks, quitting time, the weekend, holidays, and vacation. Outside of working hours, little or no thought, time, or energy is devoted to the work.

The word “vocation” comes from the Latin vocare, or voice – meaning to follow the voice of God, or to do what we are called to do. Young children know their calling but the System of Education and often their Parents make it very difficult for them to follow their Heart.  The main reason is that schools and many parents limit the vision of the child to a specific Career.

The word “career‘ has its origins in the Latin word for a Race-Track. A career is a race and the sad thing is that in a race only one person wins and many lose. People become highly frustrated and demotivated when they realize that they will not win the career. When this happens their work changes into a job or they start to look for their real vocation.

The most important difference between a Vocation and a Job is Direct Feedback. When you are a Nurse the positive response of the patient is the reward you are looking for. When you are an Artist or a Craftsman the enthusiasm of your customers for your product is a stimulus to move on. It is not strange that people who are experiencing their work as a job spend a lot of time in contexts (e.g. a soccer-club) where direct feedback is happening.

During the Industrial Revolution work became dehumanized and compartmentalized. Every worker controlled a small part of the production chain and/or was totally controlled by the production chain. The Feedback between the Result of the Work and Work is almost completely disappeared. Humans need Feed-Back. This is the main reason why the Employees in a Burocratic Factory Organization consider the Manager of their Career, their Boss, as their most important Customer.

When you want to understand Your real Vocation You could visit a Vocational Psychologist.

The creation of Vocational Psychology is linked to the emergence of the large commercial cities in which the factory system changed the keystone of the economy from agriculture to manufacturing. The factories needed specialized workers to operate and maintain the machines. The factories were managed by the principles of Scientific Management developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor. Scientific Management, the extreme drive to work Efficiently, is still the driving force behind the Automation of Work.

child labor

During the Industrial Revolution many young man left the countryside and went to the big cities to find a job. They worked 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week. Far from home and family, they lived and slept at the workplace. Outside the shop open sewers, pickpockets, thugs, beggars, drunks, lovers for hire and abandoned children created a non-secure environment.

YMCA HistoryThe Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London, England, on June 6, 1844.

The YMCA created Dormitories, Gyms, Swimming pools, Bowling Alleys, Meeting Halls, Employment Bureaus, Libraries, Psychological Tests, Training Courses and Vocational Guidance Programs for the workers in the factories.

One of the important products of the YMCA was the Find Yourself Program that was transformed into a book by C.C. Robinson in 1912.

General Electric, the major manufacturer of light bulbs, had preliminary evidence that better lighting of the work place improved worker productivity. In 1924 AT&T’s Western Electric Hawthorne plant located in Cicero, Illinois, was chosen as the laboratory. The scientists detected that work was not only a physiological activity. The huge interest of the management in the workers of the Hawthorne Plant simply increased their productivity. This was a break with the Scientific Management School that saw work productivity as “mechanical”, and led to the decision to learn more about the psychology and the personality of the worker.

John Holland began his career as classification interviewer for the Army. In 1959 he published his Theory of Vocational Choice, in which he first described Six Types of Vocational Personalities.  In 1969, he and his colleagues at the American College Testing Program discovered that the Six Types fit a circular ordering of correlations called the Holland Hexagon. John Holland discovered that work is an Expression of the Personality.

Realistic people like well-ordered activities, or enjoy working with objects, tools, and machines.

Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature.

Artistic people like unstructured activities, and enjoy using materials to create art.

Social people enjoy informing, training, developing, curing and enlightening others.

Enterprising people enjoy reaching organizational goals or achieving economic gain.

Conventional people enjoy manipulating data, record keeping, filing, reproducing materials, and organizing written or numerical data.

There is a strong relationship between the Holland Codes and other “circular” personality theories like the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, The Big Five and the Worldviews of Will McWhinny. Statistical research shows that the spread between the different personality types is almost constant. Personality Types are also inherited from the parents.

Since the development of the Holland Hexagon in the seventies the statistics show a high stability in the nature of occupations. The often discussed dramatic shift in the nature of work is not apparent in these data.  Although employment in the Investigative area, the Researchers, doubled over a period of 40 year it remained only 6% of employment. The Realistic Work Type, the Craftsman, has still the most occupational titles and the largest number of individuals employed. The Artistic Work Type (the Creators, 2%) has the fewest occupational titles and the fewest number employed.

What is Happening?

Work is an Expression of the Personality and the Personality is an Expression of the Work a person is Performing.

Personality Types and Work Types are distributed according to an almost constant distribution.

Personality Types and Work Types are inherited from the Parents.

The distribution is Not Without Any Sense.

There are Many Workers (Sheep) and just a few Shepherds needed.

Somebody has to Take Care of the Shepherds and the Sheep.

Somebody has to Keep the Books.

The Mythics, The Creators, The Artists, the Goats, Shape the Future but it takes a long time before the Sheep and the Shepherds follow the Creators.

The Creators (2%) are extremely Obstinate and Willfull. They want to take Care of Themselves, don’t accept any Leader or Helper, don’t care about Bookkeeping and Money and don’t want to Collaborate. They just want to find out Everything by Themselves.

The Creators are always remembered when they are dead.

That’s Life.


About the History of Work

About The History of the YMCA

The History of Vocational Psychology, Mark Savickas, David Bakerf

A Short Introduction in Vocational Psychology

About the Hawthorne Effect

About the Big Five

About the Enneagram

About Myers-Briggs

About The Statistics of Myers Briggs

About the Holland Hexagon

A  Holland perspective on the U.S. workforce from 1960 to 2000

A Holland Perspective on the U.S. Workforce from 1960 to 1990

A Beautiful Visualization of the Changes in the Workforce between 1890 and Now

About Mythics and World Views

How to Create the Perfect Need-Machine by Analyzing Personal Activity Patterns

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

In the approach of Taylor and Ford, the employees and customers are treated as programmable machines.  The focus was on a perfect coordination of the senses, the muscles and the production system (the assembly line).  The emotions and the imagination were neglected.

In mass customization, the emotions are involved. In customer innovation, the imagination is imperative. In a demand oriented system all the parts of the human cognitive system have to play a role in a coherent and balanced way.

The human body acts on its environment with messages and action-patterns. The incoming and outgoing messages are observed by the senses and transformed to an internal format. The internal communication system sends the messages to the appropriate place in the body. The emotions are always looking for danger. They want to control the priority of the actions to make it possible for the body to react immediately. The imagination creates an image of the outside world and helps the body to generate scenario’s to improve its action-patterns. 

The senses are the connection to the physical outside world. They shield the human being from the enormous amount of signals that are trying to enter the body. They filter incoming data and transform the data in a standard internal format. When the senses detect an event, it is evaluated by the emotions. If the event is not important, nothing happens. It the event is unusual it becomes aware in the conscious. Events that are highly repeating are not noticed after some time. An internal program (an action-pattern) automates the handling of the event.

The muscles act in physical space. They acquire an enormous amount of reaction-patterns by repeated practicing. Humans learn from their failures. When the senses detect an event, many appropriate patterns are located and enabled. 

When the patterns enter mental space, they change into models. Complicated patterns are compressed into models. Humans use all kinds of compression techniques to make the world compact and therefore more understandable. Static models (e.g. an organization contains employees) compress the world in wholes (nouns) and parts (attributes). They create identities. Dynamic models (the employee sells a product) compress causal chains (event, actor, result). They make it possible to reason.

Models behave the same way as sensors do in physical space. They shield the mental space of the human being from the enormous amount of ideas that the imagination is producing.

The emotions act on hostile and friendly forces. They shield the body from physical injuries (avoiding pain) and take care of the self re-production process of the body (looking for food and a sexual partner).

The emotional system determines the amount of resources that is allocated to the evaluation and the search for adequate action patterns. If an event is dangerous, all resources in the body are used. The body reacts without thinking and uses a biological inherited and fast pattern (fight, flight, freeze, the primary emotions). If there is enough time to react, the emotional system evaluates its preferences and enables the preferred actions-patterns.

If the preferences are related to a long-term perspective, they enter mental space and the human has a choice to make. In the evaluation of long-term preferences, the other plays an important role. People want to take care of the other (family, friends, children), are afraid to get in to a conflict (dominance, status) and want to be praised by the other for what they are accomplishing.

Humans imagine (by creating pictures connected with feelings) what events they like to happen (a wish). When they are pessimistic, they imagine what events they do not want to happen (a fear).  The imagination is the innovative part of the human mental space that generates all kinds of new connections (ideas). The imagination is also the most free to play with new ideas. People can simulate and practice in their imagination without getting into trouble. The imagination produces the idea of the identity.

The imagination uses visual metaphors to create an understandable world. On the lowest level the metaphors are connect to the action patterns. The image of a cup is connected to picking up the cup, holding the cup and moving the cup. New structures are blended with old familiar structures.

Many metaphors make use of the human understanding of technology.  Freud based his theory of the unconsciousness on his understanding of the steam-machine (“I am steamed up with emotions”). Many theories of the mind are based on the metaphor of the computer. People always relate new phenomena to something they already understand. They sometimes do this (in the eyes of others) in very strange ways.  A skilful teacher knows this and tries to find the bridge (the right metaphor, a story) between his world and the world of the student.

In the human body, all the sub-systems (e.g. the services, the organs) are connected by shared communication-channels. There are fast (the nervous system) and slow reacting shared channels (the endocrine system). All the sub-systems use specific messenger-molecules to communicate their actions and act on incoming messengers.  Messengers materialize with every thought we create and with every emotion we feel. When a messenger enters the boundary of a sub-system, (e.g. a cell) it triggers messengers that are specific for that sub-system.

The action patterns make the muscles move according to a movements-plan that is stored in memory. The movement-plans of the muscles enable people to walk, to work (using tools) and to talk. In this last case, people communicate their intentions. The human communication contains a complicated mix of signals that are related to the emotions (e.g. visual expressions, gestures), the patterns (assertions) and the imagination (visual images, ideas).

People resist change. The patterns they have acquired control their behavior and determine their potential. People do not want to change their patterns dramatically. They want to acquire new patterns (by doing) without noticing the change. Only a major event (a critical moment), mostly with negative impact, can have a radical effect. If this event happens it takes a very long time to recover and get into harmony again. When people have to adjust their patterns too often, they experience stress and on the long run get sick.

If people cannot adjust their patterns, they have to involve the other parts of the cognitive system. When they involve the emotions, they have to set priorities and make a choice. People do not like making choices. They are incapable of evaluating all the possibilities. They can also make use of the senses and look at the real opportunities in the outside world. People are almost incapable of doing this because their imagination produces the images it wants to see. If the imagination really faces the facts, the identity is attacked. It feels powerless and unable to control his path of destiny. The last possibility a human has is to adjust the imagination. He has to realize that the possibilities he imagined were just illusions.

If everything stays the same, people get bored. They hope that an event will occur that relates to their wishes. People are the most satisfied if their environment produces just enough change (a challenge) they can cope with. They want a balance between the will (what they want, the imagination, variation) and their capabilities (what they are able to do, predictability, the patterns, their skills).

In a perfect demand oriented economy, a supplier has to provide a challenge to the customer. To provide this challenge the supplier has to understand the wishes and the fears (the imagination) of the customer, his behavior (the patterns) and the balance between the two parts. If the customer is out of balance the supplier has to help the customer to acquire new patterns (learning), help him to make a choice (advice) or show him the real opportunities (scenario’s) taking care of the customers identity.  

It is very difficult for a supplier to get accurate information. Most people are unable to make their behavioral patterns conscious. When people are asked about their opinion (an aspect of the emotions), they often do not want to offend the other and give proper answers. People only want to share their most secret wishes with people they trust (partner, family, friends). Correct information about the customer can only be acquired by carefully observing and analyzing the activities of the customer (what he is doing).  It is completely impossible for a company to observe the activities of all their customers. The only one who can do this is the customer himself.

Customers can observe their activities if they were able to gather personal activity-patterns, get the opportunity to analyze their behavior, and share their activity-patterns with others to get an advice. Most of the needed data is somewhere already available (patient records, buying behavior, payments etc) or can be made available by making connections to the tools the consumer is using in his personal- and work-environment (Emails, Content). The only thing that has to happen is that companies and government agencies make these patterns, which are most of the time privately owned by the customer, available.

It can be envisioned that all personal data is kept in a private space. Only the customer (the owner) can make the data available to others. This approach would prevent many problems in the current situation (e.g. spam).

The last step in a perfect rational demand oriented system is reached when the personal activity-patterns are automatically transformed in standardized need-messages that are sent out to appropriate providers.

About Smart Customer Networks or How Free Love will finally Kill the Big Companies

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

For many years I read the briefings of This month their trend is named Free Love. It is all about giving away products for free. They show that when you are smart you can get almost everything for free if you are able to cope with the advertisments.

The products are given away for free because somebody else is paying the costs or the consumer is paying for something else. The major trend is to give products for free because they are payed by advertisers.

You have to understand that this is a very dangerous trend. It is a dangerous trend because when you are an intelligent customer you are able to navigate through “free space” and get almost everything you want for free. The “free love”-trend is killing business in the end.

The funny thing is that companies are paying for their own destructing. They don’t see or don’t want to see that somewhere there is a global competitor who is selling their products for a price they are unable to offer without using the same model.

The most interesting part is that the advertisement that they are paying for is not speeding up their sales at all. It is speeding up the desire to get something that looks like what they are selling.

The desire also generates the need to produce new products. To stay in the rat race they have to innovate at an increasing speed to keep up with the market.

The only companies that are able to do this are global companies that are a global brand. A good example is Nike. They produce trendy products and their customers are paying a huge price for a product that is produced for a very low cost (in China). They even give their customers an opportinity to speed up the innovation process of Nike by designing new products.

Nike and other trendy producers aim at customers who are trend-followers. By creating a customer-lab they make use of customers that are trend-generaters. If they are able to connect the trend-generaters to the trend-followers they will stay in business.

If the trend-makers are able to connect to the trend-followers without the Nike-infrastructure Nike is out-of-business. You can see this trend already in software-development. It is called The Open Source movement.

The Open Source Movement give away software for free but let the customer pay for innovation. You only pay when you want something new and you want something new when you are accustomed to something old.

At this moment many customers don’t know how to mis-use the Free Love-trend. They are “stupid” or “lazy” but like every trend in the end the amount of “smart customers” will increase. In the end they will create Smart Customer Networks.

Smart customers become smart citizens when they want to use political pressure to accomplish something. They join or create pressure groups. When a smart customer gets sick he becomes a smart patient.

He searches the Internet to find the cause of his problems, joins a community of people with the same illness, asks an expert for advice and gives all the information he has gathered to his general practitioner or his medical specialist. There he negotiates his treatment. If he does not get the medicine he wants he is able to buy it somewhere on the Internet.

Most of the companies and government agencies cannot capture the smart consumer. He is navigating from vendor to vendor, from one pressure group to another, always looking for the best fit.

The needs of this kind of customer are constantly changing and expanding. Smart customers are not only buying services in the network, they are inventing, developing and selling their own products combining components from different vendors.

Smart customers can save a company and governments a lot of money. They take over the activities of high paid specialists. Vendors that understand this issue, cooperate with the customer in every stage of their processes.

They let them sell the product (through their personal network), make it possible to assemble their own combinations, give them information about the state of the process, help them to enhance their network and skills and let them even participate in the development of new products.

Not everybody has the time, the money, the facilities, the network or the capabilities to make optimal use of all the opportunities of the Internet. The number of smart consumers and the amount of smart customer networks is growing very rapidly. They are leading a new revolution that will change the marketplace and eventually every aspect of our culture.

The Industrial age is the age of mass production. The Taylor school of management dominated the organization of business. Taylor believed one should manage people (and customers) in the same way one manages inanimate assets and the machines on which people work. Mechanization and standardization of components and interfaces, careful supervision of quality standards, and minute division of labor characterize the mass production process itself.

The division of labor was accomplished by breaking down work into simple, repetitive tasks eliminating unnecessary motion and limiting the handling of different tools and parts. The consequent reduction in production time and the ability to replace craftsmen with lower-paid, unskilled workers or even robots resulted in lower production costs and a less expensive final product.

After the phase of mass production, the industry is now in the phase of mass customization. By carefully standardizing it is possible to make a distinction between components that customers like to vary (mostly visible) and parts that are part of the essential (invisible) infrastructure. A good example is the production line of Dell computers where customers can choose their own configuration.

A next step is to involve the customer in the design-process of the product (Customer Innovation). Companies like BMW or Audi give customers already access to innovation platforms where average drivers are invited to create the next generation of cars.

The move from Mass Production to Smart Customer Networks is the move from one united production and sales model aimed at the customer, to a network-model involving the customer in all stages. The challenge is to combine large-scale mass-production with small-scale user-involvement. It will be impossible to coordinate all the processes from one single point of control. Many coordinators have to synchronize their activities.

Manufacturers, retailers and customers have to act together in a collaboration network. Retailers and suppliers have to maintain customer relationships by sharing customers, margins, and intangibles like brand, as well as jointly planning marketing, merchandising, and sales activities and becoming more like companions (in a good marriage) than master and servant.

Mass Customization and Customer Innovation puts a high strain on the customer. The amount of choices a customer has to make is constantly increasing. The number of possible combinations of components that relate to a product and to a combination of components of different products will soon surpass the complexity a human being can handle. People simply do not have the time and the cognitive capacity to make all the choices that are needed. This problem can only be resolved when product-developers take the capabilities of the complete human cognition system into account.

Mass Customization and Customer Innovation give the customer a small stake in the business cycle. The customer is treated as a consumer and not as a co-producer. All the major design-decisions are still made by the executives in the corporation. In the future customers want to be treated on an even footing.

If customers really get frustrated, they can generate an enormous collective power. With this power, they can change the policies of a corporation (e.g. the Brent Spar affair of Shell) or even take over the complete business cycle.

A war between consumers united in Smart Customer Networks and the Big Corporations is not in the benefit of both the competitors. They have to cooperate and combine their expertise. The big problem is that organizations, supply chains and their supporting systems were never designed to be demand driven. The challenge is to find an evolutionary path where a new fully collaborative infrastructure cooperates with the existing legacy-systems and business-processes.

Things you Cannot Buy

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

To define a long term strategy, we have to predict the future. To predict the future we have to understand the past. The longer we look back, the better we can look forward.

Everything is determinated by cycles. A well know cycle is the Kondratiev. This is the cycle of Innovation. Its cycles-time is about 53 years.

Fifty years ago a new innovation in computing was emerging, the IBM 360. The 360, the All Purpose Computer, became a standard in computing.

A hundred years ago the big factories of Ford and Taylor were dominating the world. It is not difficult to see that the IBM 360 was the next step in the ideal of Taylor to produce a fully mechanized production-facility.

Funny enough the most important innovation of our time, The Internet, can be seen as an IBM 360 where the connectors between the processors (now called servers) are far away.

The capacity of the current network, transporting the standardized (XML-)messages from server to server is so enormous that is it almost possible to work real-time.

Does this mean that the next step of Innovation will be one central operating system that is controlling the Internet?

To find out what will happen we have to look at a new long term cycle, the cycle of Culture. Its periodicity is about 250 years. 250 years ago we are in the time of the French Revolution.

The bourgeoisie (the new entrepreneurs) hated the decadent Kings and the people took over the Power (Liberté, Égalité, and Fraternité). In the end the Centralized State, its centralized institutions, and finally the Centralized Companies were created. At this moment we are in a comparable situation.

The Central State en the big companies are, just like the Kings in the 18th Century, loosing their power. The People, now called customers, are looking for an alternative.

The big Companies are showing ‘decadent” behavior. They are wasting valuable resources ((tax) money) and are delivering a low quality of service. The customers (and the citizens) are highly dissatisfied. If nothing is done the possibility of a new Revolution is not zero.

In software, we see the rising of the Open-Source Movement. It is a rebellion against the power of the big software companies (especially Microsoft). We are in a time of reconstruction and it will take many years before the new stable infrastructure will arise (called Web 2.0).

Of course Google will be a certain winner. It will be one of the major worldwide Powers of IT for a long time. They are centralizing the Internet.

If we look for the short term we can use the Juglar cycle (10 years). This cycle predicts a movement from Individuality (I do it Myself) to the Collective (Let’s do it together). 

Collaboration will be a major issue the next ten years. Google is utilizing this trend by buying many companies that are offering “sharing services”.

The interesting question is Will Google win or will the Open Source Movement win?

My intuition tells it will be the last one. The Open Source Movement is much more flexible in their response. Google is rich and will become richer. The Open Source Movement is not based on money but on enthusiasm (Spirit) and E-motivation (Soul) and a very important point Craftsmanship. These are things you cannot buy.