Leadership... and The Borg LO11933

Eric Bohlman (ebohlman@netcom.com)
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 00:29:27 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO11918 --

On Tue, 14 Jan 1997, Granade, Ben wrote:

> It is disappointing to me to think that in the 23rd Century the dominant
> leadership/management style is still presented as the military command and
> control model. Where is the systems thinking, the process modelling and
> simulation, the learning organization? Where is the shared data (except as
> presented in the dread enemy...The Borg Collective), the knowledge
> network? Why are promotions and punishments still decided on a Captain's
> whim? Why do crew members still find their place in the social and
> organizational structure through complicated and unruly processes rather
> than through careful assessment, guidance and training? Why are there
> still narrowly defined roles and responsibilities among the bridge crew?
> Why is the virtual presence of the computer limited to a mechanical
> hands-free cellular phone? (with the exception of the emergency medical
> hologram)

Somewhat cynical answer: because a command-and-control style of management
is the only way to make decisions fast enough that all that goes on in an
entire episode can be crammed into one hour minus time for commercials.
Since this is fiction, we can overlook the fact that making faster
decisions isn't the same thing as making better ones.

Most if not all Star Trek plots revolve around how the Enterprise crew
handles some sort of crisis. Therefore it makes sense that the crew is
going to be shown constantly operating in crisis-management mode. An
episode that centered around the ways that the crew prevents crises would
come across as boring to most viewers. We don't notice things when
they're going smoothly, only when they go wrong (part of the reason that
the average American feels that government messes up everything it does is
that when government does something right, we treat its outcomes as if
they were part of the background, but when it does something wrong, we
notice it right away. When, for example, highway construction causes
traffic jams, we perceive the government to be mismanaging the project,
but when that construction is finished and traffic is flowing smoothly, we
act as if that government-built highway was a natural feature of our
planet. In general, we recognize the work it takes to put out a fire, but
discount the work involved in preventing one).


Eric Bohlman <ebohlman@netcom.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>