Monday, 26 March 2012

Commedia dell' Arte part II

So women often beguile men by being perky and wilfully misrepresenting facts. More over it offends my love of truth and it appals me that people I like have to fake emotions just to please me. But is that such a problem?

To answer this question we must first understand the women themselves: What makes them tick?

The perky young women at the office have some vision the way the department should be. Lord knows I agree with the need for a culture change. So if I was a perky young woman in an old, stale, male environment with lots of cash and no inspiration, how would I feel? Insecure because I am a new kid on the block and people might not take me seriously? Restricted because culturally woman are supposed to wait for men to save them? Frustrated for seeing what needs doing and not being able to? Maybe all but frustration seems the more plausible explanation. But then again does manipulation constitute a valid countermeasure?

My primary response would be that the end justifies the means. What then are valid change tactics? Luckily for me there are only a few:

  1. education
  2. participation
  3. facilitation
  4. negotiation
  5. coercion

Only the first and the third apply in this situation. So yes, it is good to be perky to the extend that you can use it to overcome resistance (facilitation). Manipulation is not mentioned by HBR but it is by other authors. Still, it may backfire. The choice for education has not been made.

Is manipulation so bad? Yes, it goes against my primary belief in the freedom of choice. No, others find it acceptable. The only possibility for manipulation to be acceptable is when the manipulator has superior knowledge, is able to be the better judge of the manipulees best interests and the manipulee would concur with the judgement had he the same information, e.g. a mother coaxing a child to step away from the ravine.

Facilitation seems OK, but it does leave the question why the women feel so drained afterwards. I think it is a sex thing: women want to feel part of a group and are afraid of making mistakes, and consequently not fitting in. More so than most men. Annoying side effect is that women do tend to extend this perfectionist outlook on life to the surrounding men (which never works since most men do not relate to that kind of thinking). My guess is that this is where the energy drain and frustration comes from: discrepancy between reality and the desired state. So if the facilitation is to be a success I must provide moral support to the women, but also correct them if they get stuck in repetitive thought patterns.

Pfew. Way more deep thought than I am used to.


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