Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Form of Unmanagement

Towards a Definition of Unmanagement

In the Sutra of Unmanagement I elaborated on what management is not. The fictitious dialogue between manager Wen Bo and the old sage Lao Tse by deductive argument debunks common myths that management is widely constructed upon. The sutra leaves the reader with the somewhat puzzled view that management is not control, not motivation, not planning, not organizing, and is not leadership

        Using the Spencer-Brownian mark of distinction one can formalize the message as follows:

        The mark of distinction separates constructions from their environment, i.e. creates them from the void by distinction, in the above case as mere explanatory principles for the term management. The denoted term is written below the mark, with the empty space across denoting the infinite rest. Strictly following Spencer-Brownian conventions, the mark symbolizes and is read as not, the equal sign as can be confused with. Thus, the above line reads:
"Management can be confused with not control, not motivation, not planning, not organizing or not leadership."

        This exactly paraphrases the content of the sutra. To elaborate, another distinction between management and unmanagement has to be made. Unmanagement is created in relation to management as "not what management can be confused with":

        Substituting management in the above formula one obtains a definition of unmanagement:


        Not control, not motivation, not planning, not organizing and not leadership are the contents of management. As unmanagement is beyond the realm of management, it does not share a common border with management's contents. Thus there cannot be a content relationship between unmanagement and the content of what management is not. Control and the related principles are rather extent of unmanagement. Unmanagement knows and elaborates on these principles as imaginary, virtual contents, but neither are they constituents of unmanagement nor does unmanagement contain them. Additional principles may be added as they appear.

        Instead, to get things done, unmanagement focuses on everything that management can not be confused with.