Hsinchu Discussion of Making Group Decisions

Participants: Wilson, Angela

How do you get reluctant members –especially big guys who are only there under duress, and these guys are needed or the group is toothless- to participate as equals, and not have to pander to the big guys. i.e., not everyone is participating in good faith?

How do you get people to participate in a process like this as equals?

If it’s a non-profit, there’s no profit-conflict.

In a brainstorming meeting, this would work very well.

Everyone has to be there more or less as equals, and more or less desire to be there.

What do you mean by group, why ‘conflict in the group;”

I was thinking any group of people, bur in my mind was, the nation of Taiwan, or the nation of the US, how do people live together in a group in peace.

There’s no force in the decision: if my dad says to me, because I said so, then there’s force or violence in that. How do you solve any conflict without resorting to any level of violence. Doing things because someone said so.

29. External Hierarchical Structures
When is there not this problem?

When the board members of a corporation meet in this process.

So how do you get the people with power to lower their power?

How do you give power to the little guys?

Probably this is the biggest question facing humankind.

It’s a sham process.

In Chinese culture, we’ve had so many years of empire, all we know is hierarchy.

Do the right thing, not do the thing

A weird mix of pragmatism and having to follow the forms, and a lack of patience. A shortcut mentality, and a short-term thinking mentality.

I think it’s not the size of the group that matters, but the fact of whether there is a deadline or not if a deadline exists, then consensus is not an appropriate process.

Time deadlines are poisonous to group decision making.

Yes, and leaders use this poison effectively to stay the leader.

So group decision making is not easy.

I would say it’s because we are a. obsessed with time and b. used to leaders.

Also it’s a kind of laziness. “fine, they don’t want to listen to me” = phew, I don’t really have to deal with this.

But I think these are very effective questions for evaluating the process:
47. To judge the process, consider the following: Does the meeting flow smoothly? Is the discussion kept to the point? Does it take too long to make each decision? Does the leadership determine the outcome of the discussion? Are some people overlooked?
48. To judge the quality of the end result, the decision, consider: Are the people making the decision, and all those affected, satisfied with the result? To what degree is the intent of the original proposal accomplished? Are the underlying issues addressed? Is there an appropriate use of resources? Would the group make the same decision again?

The Chinese always say, if we had known earlier, we could have done that.

Taiwan is very seat of the pants, but the US is more about planning.

In Chinese culture we say that to maintain the relationship is the first priority.

So you’ll even buy products you don’t need from a company in order to maintain the relationship so later you can have the product you do need.

So long term relationships instead of long term planning.

So even if your company hasn’t got the technical expertise, If we have a long term relationship, I would still ask you to try to develop the product together.

So this is one reason maybe that Taiwan has such a successful culture of small businesses.



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