The Perils of Specialization: How To Recognize Failed Management In An Age of Abundant Change

The rate, depth and pace of social change remains manageable for those who train their perception to find trends and exploit advantages of prescient knowledge developed in prudence.  This post will explore the general characteristic that fortifies an expectation of future failure.  Although this characteristic is given explicitly in nature, one can quarry either history or the work place for sufficient material to acknowledge both past and imminent failure.

Their are social and historical antecedents; characteristics that display arrested development, the two most conspicuous are caste and specialization.  Even though political correctness dominates most academic departments, any ardent study of history displays evidence that entire civilizations succumbed to dominate challenges.  The Eskimo’s, Nomads, Spartans, even the Monarchies of western Europe; all were defeated by a mortal challenge, a threat they were not capable of resolving.

Biologists tell us that animal species which have adapted themselves too nicely to highly specialized environments or survival techniques have no future.  This characteristic is demonstrated socially throughout our contemporary civilization: just witness the anguish unions or educators are experiencing in any liberal state challenged by the social or political impact of digital technology!  Gone is the rubric of stability.  We must adapt and gain traction in our responses to challenges or succumb and suffer breakdown.   Parallels are quarried if we study the fate furnished in studying either the imaginary human societies in utopias, prison life or social insects.   All have the same outstanding features that dominate arrested peoples/civilizations:  caste and specialization.

What is achieved is a false sense of security disguised as an invincible stable equilibrium whose aim to which all other social ends are lethally subordinated or if need be sacrificed.  (Read the dystopic fiction of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ or Orwell’s ‘1984’) the embrace of such negative inspiration is a profound hostility to natural change.  The political and cultural dynamics of the Peloponnesian War continue to be studied for similar reasons:  after the death of Pericles Athenian democracy repudiated all achievements, performed the judicial murder of Socrates and cultivated a crazy militarism in subjugating resident aliens for agriculture.  Athenian leadership desperately sought to re-establish, politically ratify and impose an equilibrium beneficial only the the Athenians, this required extreme social specialization.  All failed miserably in their attempt to recognize either inadequate perception or failed technique in grounding a response.

If we study the nemesis of creativity in the idolization of an ephemeral technique we find numerous examples in physical nature, for nothing fails like success.  A creature which has become perfectly adapted to its environment, an animal whose whole capacity and vital force is concentrated and expended in succeeding here and now, has absolutely nothing left over with which to respond to any radical change.  In an equal field of play, such an animal may defeat all competitors, but should that field change, it must die.  It is the success of efficiency which seems to account for the extinction of an enormous number of species.  Although not extinct, the Shark remains a great example of failed contemporary management in an unwillingness to embrace innovation.  For the Shark, water became their only element.  This meant that their power of being stimulated  by new circumstances was greatly limited; the Shark remains a Mesozoic (250 million years b.c.) creature to this day.

It was the lack of armor that permitted hominoids to be stimulated, irritated to where our psychic constitution began formulating strategies of survival.  Our sensitiveness, awareness, the varied unrelenting stimulant to being exposed strengthened our capacity to overcome challenges.

How open is your management to recognizing trends that must be mastered?  How is perception communicated in an act of resolve?  Does caste dominate relations at work?  Is specialization so attenuated that every relation is conceived as a threat?  Do all initiatives feel like a cage?

Its simple:  innovate or die.


About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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