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September 08, 2004


David Locke

Another reason that negotiation fails is that only line people are invited to the table. I've worked in enough engineering companies to know that nothing I said was going to be heard. That was instituitionalized.

Even in a future employment agreement, the lawyers came back and told me that the corporation had no interest in my ideas, because I was not an engineer.

So what do you think happens to my concerns? What do you think happens to my definitions and ontology? Do I lose my own when the company defines it own? Is this a comfortable place to work?

David Locke

The ability to do this

" Getting all users to buy-in on central domain categories and issues, finding a common language, controlling term variations"

is an absolute myth. The way this happens is if the manager trying to achomplish this exerts their power to overrule the underlying domain culture. This application of power destroys the underlying functional unit semantics.

Yes, you can get a bunch of line people in a room and they can agree. But, this agreement will happen in the absence of the functional unit. The line people will never know what they did. The functional people will not tell them. This sets up a form of passive agressiveness.

The functional people are in their careers, because of their underlying psychological dispositions. In HR negotiation classes, the line people achieve their preferred stance better than 50% of the time (I'm not remembering the numbers here), and functional unit people, who occupy the remaining three categories of negotiators win no better than 8% of the time going as low as 1% of the time. Line people win exponentially more than functional people.

What seems rational to a line person will be seen as irrational by the functional person, but the functional person knows they can't win and lets the functional person believe what they will.

Failure ensues. It's built in.

Translation what is needed, not agreement. Agreements don't mean zip.

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