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6 September, 2012

Achieving and holding a position of power and influence generally requires some kind of differential expertise — possession of information not available to others from the general pool of information.

There are two basic ways of achieving differential expertise.  In the first, information is discovered through research, extensive personal experience or some like endeavor.  The problem is that one can only make the possession of differential expertise known by revealing the information to others.  Once that information is available in the general pool of information, differential expertise ceases to exist, forcing one to do more time consuming, tedious research.

          The second way of achieving differential expertise is to manufacture information.  The most common type of manufactured information is generally referred to as “policy”, and is produced by people generally referred to as “administrators”.

While the policy maker is under a similar constraint to make his or her differential expertise known, this approach has advantages over the first method.  It is far easier to manufacture information than it is to discover it through research or learn it through long experience.  (In fact, it is possible to generate endless supplies of policy information with minimal effort.)

Unlike information from research, which could come from any quarter, policy can come only from an administrator.  That being the case, the administrator can make his or her job of manufacturing policy even easier with a little procrastination.

 From these circumstances we derive the


 “The current policies of an organization cannot be a part of the general pool of information available to its personnel.”

 As hinted above, the prime principle sets up something of a paradox since policy eventually does have to be made known and yet may not be allowed to be generally available to the people who need it.  Fortunately, certain `natural laws’ exist which take care of the problem.  These laws, and associated corollaries, follow:

 I.        Policy information can be manufactured faster than it can be  disseminated.

Corollary IA:   The more up to date a policy is, the less likely it is that those who need to know it will know it.

Corollary IB:   If one knows what a policy is, it will always be outdated.

Corollary IC:   The most up‑to‑date policy is always unknown.

   II.      The time required for manufacturing and disseminating policy information is inversely proportional to the need for a policy.  (While unnecessary policies come down like rain, critically needed policies take forever to be formulated.  This creates a deliciously power‑enhancing dependency on the policy maker ‑‑ conditions rather like those used in brainwashing.)

  III.      Any attempts to unmask (clarify) a policy will cause that policy to become proportionately vague.  (A typical situation would be an employee approaching an administrator for clarification of a policy and being told that the question will be considered and decided upon.  Not only does the policy-dependent underling fail to get a clarification, the entire policy falls into question.  Another good example would be completely confusing ten‑page clarifications of only slightly vague, one‑page policies.)

 IV.      Any attempt to formalize a policy in writing and disseminate it will automatically result in informal, unwritten, undisseminated modifications of that policy.

 V.      If a policy and its ramifications accidentally becomes known to all who have need of such knowledge, it will be replaced automatically with an as-yet undisseminated policy.

 VI.      If a policy and its ramifications accidentally becomes known to all who have need of such knowledge, and that policy is neither modified nor replaced, a second policy exists which contradicts it.

 VII.     Any clear policy which is not masked, modified, replaced, or contradicted will be unrelated to the professional field it governs.

 Corollary VII (A):   If a policy is known and makes sense, an error has been made.

 Corollary VII (B):   Any perceived relationship between a policy and reality indicates that the policy has been misunderstood, that there has been a distortion of reality, or both.

 VIII.    When a policy is unfounded in reality, the policy itself will be assumed to be reality.  (“Your questions are irrelevant.  That is the way things are.”)

 IX.      Whatever the internal logic of a policy, it automatically invalidates any logic external to it.

 This information having been disseminated, the author is hard at work on an undisseminated, modified, contradictory, unrealistic version.  See how it works?


From → Social Work

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