Working of Systems: Governed by Synergy or Anti-Synergy?

In: The Value of Work in Contemporary Society

This chapter focuses on the methodologies adopted by individual work efforts in pursuit of chosen objectives while operating within the larger systemic framework and attempts to conceptualise the situations in which misalignment or conflict develops in individual and systemic goals and its resultant impact. The value added by the system as a whole, beyond that contributed independently by the parts, is created primarily by the relationship among the parts. In essence, a system constitutes a set of interrelated components working together with a common objective- fulfilling some designated need. Every system has some objectives and prescribes an appropriate methodology to achieve them. Similarly, the individual components participating in the working of the system do so with some individual objectives. As long as objectives of the individual components are concentric to, and methodology adopted in pursuit of these objectives is in alignment with that prescribed by the system, the result will be synergetic. Misalignment in the functioning of individual stakeholders vis-à-vis the system arising on account of A. Conflict in short or long-term objectives, B. Adoption of inappropriate methods by individuals to realize their objectives, C. Inability of system to effectively put in place a mechanism to check anti-systemic individual practices, D. Adoption of sub-optimal strategies by system to realise its objectives that sets a self-defeating process into motion, E. Non-development of institutional environment fostering circular self-regulation through affiliation at informal levels among components beyond professional engagement. Will in the long-term culminate into a situation where individuals are able to advance their misaligned objectives at the expense of the system. This may be reflected in the distortion of internal dynamics wherein the overall value added by the system is lesser than the cumulative benefit (real or perceived) derived by individual stakeholders; a situation that the chapter understands is governed by anti-synergy.

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