Whose to Blame
Often under the problem stress created in an organizational environment the first though is to blame someone for the problem. While this does tend to reduce the problem stress in the short term, simply by changing one's focus, it really does nothing to relieve the situation in the longer term.
If the notation in Fig. 1 is unfamiliar please refer to the Causal Loop Diagram page.
With this attempt to address the symptom of the situation the problem stress is really still there, and is likely to reoccur. The more fundamental approach to this situation would be to figure out what's to learn from the problem stress and understand the system. Understanding the system would then lead to a better understanding of how to deal with the situation, or maybe even avoid it altogether. One of the annoying side effects of this structure is that as the organization begins to realize that blame game is rampant it will develop a cover up mentality which will simply further reduce the probability that any real effort will be spent to understand the system. This turns out to be a self-sealing situation.
As it turns out the structure in Fig. 1 is actually a Shifting the Burden structure and there are very well defined strategies for dealing with the structure.
- Job Stress
- MapSys used for Causal Loop Diagram
- Work Anxiety
- Kim, Daniel and Anderson, Virginia (1998) System Archetype Basics: From Story to Structure. Pegasus Communications
Systems Thinking World Discussions
Systems Thinking World Q&A * Gene Bellinger