Power Systems: How Power Works in Different Systems

Power Systems: How Power Works in Different Systems

Gerhard Fink (Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1983-6.ch003


Three major power systems are described: The ‘inclusive' totalitarian system, the ‘non-inclusive' bureaucratic system, and the ‘exclusive' plan targeting system. The totalitarian system is aiming at controlling the whole population of a social system and based on resource exploitation. The bureaucratic system is aimed at information collection and decision making according to pre-established rules. The post-Taylor plan targeting system is aimed at determining and controlling the operative work of individual workers. As previous communist country experiences have shown, all three systems suffer from systemic constraints, that even if the three power systems are woven together, they are finally leading to the demise of a social system. Hope for change may come from moves towards cooperative management practices, as e.g. suggested by William Edwards Deming, and more complex theories with higher levels of integrity and complexity, as e.g. suggested by Steven Wallis, Foundation for the Advancement of Social Theory.
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Background And Focus

The focus of this chapter is on the principles of functioning of totalitarian systems, bureaucracies, and corporate plan target systems. It is shown why and how each of these systems has its own particular weaknesses leading to their demise. While the communist totalitarian system had also applied bureaucracy and plan targeting, the combination of the three did not alleviate their weaknesses. Hopes that management practices may change to the better are arising from the idea of a revival of the insights gained by William Edwards Deming (1993, 2000a, 2000b) and from the perspective of better management theory (Wallis &Valentinov, 2016).An important part of the background of this chapter is the broad range of personal information collected by the author in the period after World War II. Beyond that, the long-term research undertaken into the functioning of totalitarian systems and most notably into the economic systems of the communist countries of Europe during 1967-1990, and finally collected information about the management developments in the last 50 years in Western Europe.

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