Etikettarkiv: Cooperation

Liv i arbetet 5

Principen om icke-tvång

Jag nämnde i mitt förra inlägg att grundaren av sociokrati fick sina grundidéer från skolan där han gick i som barn. Detta är en berättelse om denna skola—De Werkplaats Kindergemeenschap i Bilthoven, Nederländerna—och hur den växte fram steg för steg.

Kees och Betty Boeke startade skolan på 1920-talet. Skolan är ett exempel på hur ideal som frihet, demokrati och jämlikhet omsattes i praktiken. På samma sätt som barn tycker om frihet och spontanitet så tycker de om ordning och reda. Utmaningen är att hitta en minimal struktur som stöder maximal frihet. Ordning kan förstås skapas med tvång, men rädsla hämmar all spontanitet. Frågan blir då hur man kan skapa ordning utan tvång? Detta är bakgrunden till att principen om icke-tvång etablerades.

I en bok från 1956 beskrivs hur vänliga barnen är mot alla, och hur enkelt och naturligt skolan verkade fungera. Det fanns mycket glädje och skratt. De äldre barnen hjälpte de yngre. Det fanns ingen skadegörelse och inga slagsmål. Det fanns inget tvång, eller hot om tvång. Skolan verkade genomsyras av tystnad och lugn.

Hemligheten bakom skolans framgångar låg i hur frustrationer i skollivet hanterades. Bespreking förkroppsligade andan på skolan. Samtalsandan hade växt fram från Kees och Betty Boekes ursprungliga skola. Samtalet var en samling där allt som berörde hela skolan diskuterades. Var och en på skolan hade möjlighet att säga sitt. Och idéer kombinerades så att lösningar som representerade den gemensamma viljan kunde hittas. Kees och Betty Boeke fick denna idé från kväkarna och deras samlingar, där man söker efter ”mötets mening” istället för att rösta.

Även om icke-tvång tillämpades, och alla beslut fattades gemensamt, så finns inga garantier för att skolans atmosfär kommer att bestå. Skolans framgång är beroende av dess familjära atmosfär, där minoriteten aldrig körs över. Det är den familjära atmosfären som förklarar vänligheten mellan vuxna och barn. Denna atmosfär växte naturligt fram ur de omständigheter vilka skolan grundades.

Det viktiga är att barnen respekteras som människor. Varje människa förtjänar respekt, hänsyn och kärlek. Det gick inte att bära en ”mask” på skolan. Du kanske inte vill att andra ska se hur du känner dig, men det går inte att dölja. Även om det inte alltid är lätt att vara utan en ”mask”, så ger denna spontanitet också glädje.

Skolan uppmuntrade barnens kreativitet. Aktiviteter som barnen helhjärtat kunde ägna sig åt säkerställde en atmosfär av vitalitet och glädje i livet. Poängen är att låta barnens intressen ta dem till den punkt där de vill lära sig. Och det fungerade! Effekten blev att barnen kände att deras personliga behov uppfylldes så långt som möjligt. Det var också en känsla som var viktigt för att vidmakthålla atmosfären av frihet på skolan.

Ett oväntat resultat av friheten var spontant ansvarstagande. Barnen tog ansvar även då läraren inte var på plats. Mänskliga behov sågs och blev omgående tillfredsställda. Barnen förväntandes inte organisera allt själva. Barnen ingick i en grupp, en gemenskap. Den enda faran var att de vuxna tog över och därmed tog från barnen deras eget initiativ och ansvar, så att barnen själva inte fick uppleva tillfredsställelsen av att själva organisera och skapa något.

Balansen mellan frihet och struktur måste hittas för att en gemenskap ska vara hälsosam. Skolan lyckades med detta genom att kombinera tre saker: (1) Ingen rädsla och inget tvång; (2) vänlighet vid förseelser; och (3) kontinuerligt stöd. Det innebär inte att det inte fanns några sanktioner, eller att inget gjordes om ett barn misskötte sig.

Poängen är att barnen inte dömdes eller fördömdes. Att döma och fördöma är sämre än sämst. Ingen indignation visades. Barnet fick enbart frågan: Varför gjorde du det? Känslan av skuld uppstod naturligt. Och med det kommer också önskan att gottgöra. Nästa fråga var: Vad tänker du göra åt det? Frånvaron av tvång gjorde att det inte fanns någon att motsätta sig. Valet att rätta till var barnets. Personlig antagonism undveks.

Däremot kunde vissa barn uppleva att det moraliska trycket ibland blev så stort att de upplevde det förtryckande och gjorde uppror. Några lämnade t.o.m. skolan, även om de flesta var tacksamma för hjälpen de fick med sina svårigheter. Skolans metoder hjälpte t.o.m. barn som hade mentala svårigheter. Det tog en eller två terminer.

Skolgemenskapen är ett samarbete mellan barn och vuxna. Den underliggande idén är att barnen vill lära sig, så det är upp till barnen att bevara den ordning som krävs för inlärning. Ursprungligen fanns endast en kommitté, Bespreking, som möttes en gång i veckan eller oftare om nödvändigt. Alla andra kommittéer föddes ur denna.

Från den ursprungliga Bespreking utvecklades Ronde. Dess syfte var att hantera ordningsfrågor. Alla medlemmar i Ronde var lika ansvariga för att lösa ett problem de var inblandade i. När det är problem, beror det vanligtvis inte bara på ett barn. Atmosfären i en grupp är lika ansvarigt för att något går fel, som brist på kontroll av en viss individ.

Mycket av skolans organisation lämnades medvetet flytande. Mänskliga, och inte tekniska, faktorer var avgörande. Detta inkluderade sammansättningen av kommittéerna. Kommittéer skapades spontant som ett resultat av skolans kraftiga tillväxt, när organisationen inte längre kunde hantera det stora inflödet av barn.

Barn håller sig inte alltid till reglerna, även när de har gjort dem själva. De lär sig från sina misslyckanden, så de måste få möjlighet att göra misstag. Konflikter uppstår alltid. När en lösning hittas, flyttas vanligtvis konflikten någon annanstans. Barn är spontana och handlar impulsivt i ögonblicket utan att tänka på konsekvenserna för andra. Viktigare än själva ordningen är lärandet i sig. Det finns alltid barn som inte lyssnar. Och det finns alltid en minoritet som inte låter sig påverkas av något.

Spontanitet förväntades på De Werkplaats. Det är naturligt för barn att vara spontana. Atmosfären blev outhärdlig för vuxna som irriterade sig på det. Inflödet av nya lärare ökade svårigheterna. Handling och reaktion hörde till ordningen för dagen. Vad vi gör och säger påverkas av det vi känner. Inget kan förhindra detta, så en ärlig ödmjukhet tillsammans med en villighet att erkänna misstag krävs. Där fanns också den ständiga känslomässiga belastningen som finns i alla grupper som arbetar tillsammans. Dagliga svårigheter uppstår i alla grupper.

Auktoriteten låg hos gruppen och inte hos läraren. Principen om icke-tvång fick såväl lärare som barn att ta sin del av ansvaret i det som gick fel. Detta krävde en villighet att se hela situationen utan beskyllningar. De Werkplaats tog för givet att alla vill vara vänner, och att det är bättre att vara kärleksfull än att hata. Aggression smälter bort i en atmosfär av ömsesidigt givande och tagande. Tillsammans kan vi göra livet finare och rikare för alla.

Relaterade inlägg:
Book Review: The Werkplaats Adventure

Organizing reflection 25

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
It’s not ok to sell, to buy—or to rent—human beings.

Today’s reflection is based on David Ellerman‘s arguments against the rental of human beings at the Abolish Human Rentals website. (The contents of the website are also available as an ebook., which is compiled by Daniel Trusca.) This site examines the standard employment relationship, the human rental, and seeks to promote an understanding of the problems associated with it. The abolition of human rentals is a profound idea, which has revolutionary implications. David Ellerman writes (my emphasis in bold):

Inalienable rights are based on the already broadly held principle of the non-transferability of responsibility for one’s actions. That principle, taken to its logical conclusion, means the rental of humans have no more legitimacy than their sale. The issue is not one of coercion, willfully choosing to be rented, or the treatment and compensation of workers. Humans cannot choose to be rented for the same reason people cannot choose to sell themselves into slavery or sell their vote, regardless of their consent or how much they are paid.

The alternative to human rentals is universal self employment in democratically managed worker owned businesses, or worker cooperatives. Workplace democracy eliminates the alienation of decision making power, and worker ownership means workers appropriate any resulting profits or losses, thus bearing financial responsibility for their actions.

Human rentals involves two key features.

The first aspect is the agreement to follow orders within terms of the rental. … The rented person must obey, or risk being fired.

The second aspect of a human rental is the transfer of responsibility for the actions of the person while at work. The most obvious is the transfer of responsibility for any profit or loss that results from the worker’s actions.

Since the abolition of slavery, humans ownership has been banned. People are no longer allowed to sell their labor by the lifetime. Instead they must rent themselves temporarily for a salary or wage.

The inalienability of personal responsibility is the foundation of the abolitionist argument from which all else follows. … The legal system clearly recognized this principle in the prosecution of crimes. All participants in a crime are held responsible. The law does not excuse a hired criminal because they were following orders.

The inalienability of responsibility for ones actions does not disappear when a crime is not being committed. It holds in all cases where human action is involved. In particular it applies to productive labor. However, the legal system pretends otherwise… It allows financial responsibility for profits or losses resulting from labor to be contractually transferred violating a principle it readily acknowledges in the commission of a crime.

Isolated individuals can rarely overcome a system, organization is necessary. The employment system has demonstrated a remarkable robustness in insuring human rentals remain the dominant form of labor exchange.

Progressive change is inherently a bottom up activity. It involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships, both time consuming activities. …

It is not rugged individualism which solves problems, but cooperation between people which provides the solution. …

Parallel approaches are essential, because they cater to the different assessments and abilities of individual participants. Organizing efforts can and should take place simultaneously on different fronts.

The point is that the best solution is not known. There are promising directions in the current environment, but circumstances change. History can only provide so much of a guide. Creativity and experimentation in the organizing process is a necessity.

In the end education and awareness are necessary but not sufficient, structural change is also needed. The structure of work and the employment system must be fundamentally changed.

There are many steps that can be taken to abolish human rentals. By analogy one can think of appropriate actions if we were seeking to abolish slavery.

Advocacy on this issue carries significant risk and the need for mutual support is essential. Efforts to provide support and build a viable alternative should not be neglected.

Worker Cooperatives are democratically run, worker-owned businesses. They are the alternative to the … alienating employment system, involving collaborative self-employment by groups of individuals.

While technically trivial to implement, the transaction is simple it is unlikely to happen. The primary reason this won’t spontaneously take place is that equity holders are unlikely to be willing sellers at the net asset value. It would be the equivalent of slave owners spontaneously deciding to free their slaves.1

Generative organizing involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships. Creativity and experimentation are necessary.

Notes:
1 David Ellerman, Abolish Human Rentals | Support Worker Cooperatives (accessed 2018-08-18).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 18

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
In today’s reflection I’m looking into the Cynefin complexity framework. Here is an interview where Dave Snowden, the creator of Cynefin, shares the philosophy underpinning his work. He talks about how people can apply his insights to leading and managing organizations.

Dave Snowden says among other things that (my emphasis in bold):1

We should manage the evolutionary potential of the present, rather than aiming for some idealized future state.

If you have a highly constrained environment, you can manage it through rules and objectives, because you’ve got predictability. … In a complex system, you have to manage in a different way. …

The great liberation of complexity science is that it gives you a base in science to say you’ve got a non-causal system. The minute you realize that systems can be non-causal, everything becomes simpleIf you believe causality is a necessary condition, life becomes very, very, complicated.

There’s a basic difference between … an enabling constraint and a governing constraint. A governing constraint is context freeand an enabling constraint is context sensitive. … A governing constraint is a container. … Within this boundary you can do whatever you want. A fixed constraint says, this is the way you do it. No variation is permissible.

Excessive constraints actually produces deviant behavior. … Human beings will accept constraint. … One of the great things about humans is that we actually have constraints … like laws, and also things like acceptable forms of behavior, and rituals. … We like order. We are really good at it. There’s nothing wrong with it.

But there is a big difference in Cynefin between order which is self-evident, which everybody buys into, and order which could only be understood by experts. Obvious vs. complicated, best practice vs. good practice, fixed constraints vs. governing constraints.

Cynefin is a typology, not a taxonomy. Taxonomy puts things into rigid chategories. Typology says this is different perspectives, different ways of looking at it. Actually, cynefin is a mixture of both. … The primary division of ordinary, complex and chaotic is a taxonomy. … Within that there are different gradations and that’s typology.

The difference between the obvious and the complicated is basically a gradient, it’s not a rigid boundary. … The point is that there are right answers. … The boundary between obvious and chaotic is a catastrophic cliff … If you become complacent you restrain a system which shouldn’t be constrained because it will break catastrophically. …

Complex to complicated is when you stop doing your multiple safe-to-fail experiments. … You’ve come out of the mist, you know roughtly what to do, but you’ve not settled yet. … You kind of know where you’re going, then it becomes complicated.

The liminal domain to chaos is drawn as a closed space. It’s open on the other one, because that’s where you dip into chaos for innovation. Or, you dip into chaos for mass sensing. No agent is connected with anyother agent. … The issue is, if you enter into chaos accidently, it leads to disaster. If you enter into it deliberately, … it’s a good thing to do. …

If people are arguing about the details, that’s liminality. … We know this is probably right, but we don’t know how to do it yet. That’s liminal. … Liminality is a good concept, because it’s a state of transition. And the longer you hold it in a liminal state, the more reliable is what comes out of it. … You’ve got a tradeoff between speed and reliability.

You move technically from deductive to abductive logic. … Deductive, if A then B. Inductive, all the cases of A have B, therefore the likely association. Abductive is a logic of hunches, plausable connections between apparently unconnected things. …

Human beings have evolved to think abductively. … Human beings have evolved to make decisions collectively, not individually. … That’s our strength, we can cooperate. … If you can increase the number of people in the collective decision-cycle, you can make it more objective.

One of the dangers we got with the engineering approaches which came in the 80s is people try to get rid of human judgment. … One of the big things over the next two decades is human judgment. … Artificial intelligence … is the second existential threat to humanity after nuclear war. … Part of the problem is that we’re reducing human beings to following rigid processes

Vector measures says am I going in the right direction, at the right speed, for the right effort. It doesn’t have a specific outcome. … It basically says I need to move in this direction, I need to shift in this direction at this pace. Am I doing it? … You still measure, but you measure appropriately.

Are you riding a wave of uncertainty, which means you have to have a sense of direction, and keep moving to maintain balance? Or are you in a highly stable position where you can say what you should achieve? Context is everything. … Always start from where people are, unless you can kill them and start from fresh, but that’s rare.1

Generative organizing is appropriate for riding waves of uncertainty. It relies on collective decision-making, abductive logic, and human judgment. Generative organizing is impossible if constraints are fixed.

Notes:
1 #12 Managing in Complexity—Dave Snowden | Being Human, 2018-06-15 (accessed 2018-08-10).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Analysis of egalitarian dynamics among the G/wi

This is a post in my organizing ”between and beyond” series. Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore the egalitarian dynamics among the G/wi-speaking people in the Central Kalahari Reserve of Botswana. The analysis is summarized here.

Background
The egalitarian dynamics among foraging societies hold clues to a deeper generative ”order” for organizing. The example below is from Politics and history in band societies edited by Eleanor Leacock and Richard Lee. George Silberbauer spent time together with the G/wi in 1958–66. The G/wi were the only permanent inhabitants in the remote and arid heart of Botswana.1 Exploration for, and exploitation of, natural resources have disrupted the lives of the G/wi. The close-knit, self-sufficient organization of the G/wi were gone already in the 1950s.2

Assumptions

The community (the band)

  • The social community is the band.3
  • The band has a stable identity as a group of people living in a geographically specific territory and controlling the use of the resources of that territory.4
  • Membership of the band is less stable than its identity. Members are free to join other bands and are, therefore, free to leave the current band.5
  • The size of the community is limited by available resources of food etc. The community is open, but is nevertheless a finite one.6

Groups (cliques)

  • Cliques are unstable groups which which shift when moving to a new campsite every three to six weeks. The group’s composition is determined by the preference for one another’s close company.7
  • Interaction within a clique is much more intense than between cliques. The exchange of goods and services is higher within the clique. The women usually form a food-gathering group, and the men assist one another.8
  • Cliques also become focuses of opinion and function as sub-units of agreement within the band.9

Leadership

  • Leadership is the extent to which an individual’s suggestion or opinion attracts public support.10
  • The leadership is authoritative, rather than authoritarian. Knowledge, experience, and firmness are characteristics which win support. Expertise in one area may be seen as not at all relevant to another area.11
  • Leadership shifts unpredictably. Many discussions and lack of competitiveness separates idea from identity.12

Decision-making

  • The process of reaching a decision is initiated by somebody identifying and communicating a problem which calls for decision.13
  • Decisions affecting the band as a whole are arrived at through discussion in which all adult, and near-adult, members may participate.14
  • There are many ways to discuss: A quiet, serious discussion; A campaign of persuasion; Or a public harangue.15 The ‘forced eavesdrop’ avoids direct confrontation. Opponents are free to do the same.16
  • The time taken for discussion is naturally limited by the urgency of the matter. Less urgent matters can be debated for long with the subject cropping up from time to time until a satisfying solution to the problem is reached.17
  • If discussion becomes too angry or excited, debate is temporarily adjourned by the withdrawal of the attention of the calmer participants until things cool down.18
  • Public decisions cover a wide field. That which is not public is permitted to be private, but there is little which escapes the concern and insight of band fellows.19

Consensus

  • Decisions are arrived at by consensus. Consensus is a term in common use but without common meaning. It is not unanimity of opinion or decision. In the same way as egalitarian doesn’t mean equality.20
  • Consensus is reached by examining the various possible courses of action and rejection of all but one to which there remains no significant opposition.21
  • Significant opposition is the dissent of those to whom the proposal is not acceptable, who are unable to live with it, and who are not prepared to concede the decision.22
  • The fact that it is the band as a whole which decides is both necessary and sufficient to legitimize what is decided and to make the decision binding.23

Coercion

  • The consent in consensus negates coercion, and vice versa.24
  • The openness of the band gives members freedom to move to another band.25
  • The power lies in what the band decides and in book-keeping of material benefits and social balance.26
  • The leadership is facilitative, rather than forceful, seeking ways of getting things done, while accommodating dissent.27

Conclusions
The example above shows how deeply leadership and decision-making is embedded in the social context of the G/wi. The leadership is authoritative, rather than authoritarian, and shifts unpredictably depending on the situation. The decision-making is done in many ways depending on the kind of decision and the urgency of the decision. Individual band members choose freely which groups to join, and strives for cooperation in the activities he or she wishes to undertake. It is also interesting to notice how the openness of the band gives members freedom to move to another band. The freedom to move to another band is an effective way to meet coercion. The loss of many band members would be costly to those remaining. An open, egalitarian, social structure is authentic because it’s based on a natural belonging together, while a closed, coercive, social structure is counterfeit because it’s a forced belonging together.

Notes:
1 Ibid., Eleanor Leacock, Richard Lee (editors), Politics and history in band societies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 23.
2 Ibid., p. 24.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid., p. 26.
7 Ibid., p. 28.
8 Ibid..
9 Ibid..
10 Ibid., p. 29.
11 Ibid..
12 Ibid..
13 Ibid..
14 Ibid., p. 26.
15 Ibid..
16 Ibid., p. 27.
17 Ibid..
18 Ibid., p. 29.
19 Ibid., p. 30.
20 Ibid., p. 31.
21 Ibid., p. 32.
22 Ibid., p. 34.
23 Ibid., p. 32.
24 Ibid..
25 Ibid., p. 33.
26 Ibid., p. 34.
27 Ibid..

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Teamwork and creative problem solving

Wintergatan: The making of Visa från Utanmyra

Wintergatan’s Marble Machine is going viral right now with 1.5 million views per day. I also found this video which shows the band’s making of a Swedish folk song, Visa från Utanmyra. It’s a great example of teamwork and creative problem solving! The video is in Swedish with English subtitles. The producer says (my emphasis in bold):

”I like when a band really is a band, where everyone has a unique role, and where everyone is listening, and everyone is cooperating in the making of the music. They have something special together. They have a huge amount of patience and can compare two sounds and discuss them for hours to know which way to go. It’s a straightforward creative process without nonsense. They’re going somewhere with the music. And they do it in this caring, collective way which I like a lot.

When you’re recording music it’s like taking a photograph of the emotional state of all people in the room. You can’t use editing tools to get that emotion. You won’t get that by moving or edit parts perfectly. If you’re after the emotional moment of people efforts, then you need to capture it, you can’t edit it.

See also:
Wintergatan: Visa från Utanmyra
Jan Johansson: Visa från Utanmyra
Monica Zetterlund: Visa från Utanmyra

Other music by Wintergatan:
Wintergatan: Full Album in HQ Audio
Wintergatan: Sommarfågel