by Rick Brenner
In coping by Loving/Hating, the organization is driven by its relationships with other organizations, people, or ideas. Whether finally to destroy that organization, person, or idea; or to attach itself thereto in permanent adoration and ethereal bliss, it ignores almost everything and everyone else external to the focal relationship.
This is a portion of an essay on Organizational Coping Patterns — patterns of organizational behavior relative to stressful, challenging situations.
In the Loving/Hating coping pattern, the group is driven by its relationship with other ideas, people, or organizations. It ignores almost everything and everyone else external to the focal relationship. As an example of the "Hating" form of the Loving/Hating pattern, the group might be in competition with another organization, possibly one developing a competitive technology. In this form, one might hear something like: "We're competing with the mainframe upgrade for the same resources, so we have to keep this quiet until we get through the budget cycle." The competitor might be another company or institution, or it might be an internal competitor, but in either case, there's an element of vendetta in the group's behavior.
The relationship in question need not directly involve the organization. Of course, it's easier to see the relationship when the organization is directly involved, but it's no less significant when direct involvement is absent. For example, the football coach who motivates the players to such an extent that some of them engage in the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs might have moved the team into a Loving/Hating coping pattern in which the team becomes so obsessed with its relationship to Tradition that they feel that they must win the championship for the school at any cost.
How would the emergency project situation unfold when an organization is coping in the Hating mode of a Loving/Hating pattern? We might hear questions and comments such as these.
In the Loving/Hating pattern, it is perhaps most difficult to keep yourself from being caught up in the dynamic. Everyone around you expresses the Loving/Hating position — relative to a technology, or to the tactics of a competitor, or to the organizational politics of a rival. Therein lies the paradox of your personal position: unless you have first-hand information to support or contradict the organizational dogma, you must rely on the conventional wisdom. At the same time, to help transform a Loving/Hating organization to Congruence, you must begin by rejecting the conventional wisdom. This is hard to do, because you might not know which parts of the conventional wisdom are actually conventional foolishness.
To find out, look carefully at all beliefs that
lack factual foundation. If you find some, check around for differences
of opinion. If there really is no factual foundation, it's only
reasonable to expect to find some people who disagree. When you
find one of these pieces of conventional wisdom, and no naysayers,
that's a strong indication of a supporting element of a Loving/Hating
dynamic in the organization. At that point, you can ask the simple
question "How do we know that?" Top