Friday, September 17, 2010

List of Honolulu Mistakes 16

Let's use modern psychology, psychiatry and analysis to specifically describe the curse of the Muses. In inference by narration, it was strongly suggested in blog post #11 that the Honolulu symphony insulted the Muses, who withdrew inspiration from the insolent organization.

In a modern sense, we can examine a list of how inspiration can be withdrawn. These are mistakes almost certainly made by the Honolulu symphony board on its way to bankruptcy – though these are not normally “caught” as illogical methodology by the modern witch doctors of management and organizational leadership:

Anchoring: people are still buying tickets, especially the elderly, so there is no need to review the repertoire nor consider broadening the selection of music

Bandwagon effect: everyone else on the board knows that clashing dissonant music is the wave of the future, so there is no price to pay for this assumption.

Interloper effect: the belief in the objectivity of an outsider hired to offer an opinion (perhaps the Honolulu Symphony hired consultants who found it prudent to flatter the board rather than suggest changes that would threaten the board's sense of taste in music?)

Mere exposure effect: – the tendency to express undue liking for things merely because of familiarity with them (which in the case leads to an inability to comprehend the confusion and disgust of the audience with music they hear as ugly)

Normalcy bias – – the refusal to plan for, or react to, a disaster which has never happened before (we've always gotten away with this before without going broke!).
Selective perception – the tendency for expectations (of audience gratitude for being exposed to the avante garde) to affect perception (such as repertoire selection).

Semmelweis reflex – the tendency to reject new evidence (such as the success of soundtracks with the Cincinnati Pops under Kunzl or the Prague Symphony) that contradicts an established paradigm.

Status quo bias – the tendency to like things to stay relatively the same

Authority bias – the tendency to value an ambiguous stimulus (e.g., an art performance) according to the opinion of someone who is seen as an authority on the topic (such as books like The Rest Is Noise).

Availability cascade – a self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse (or "repeat something long enough and it will become true"). (This can happen merely because a majority of the board wants to educate the public in avante garde music rather than entertain the public and certainly rather than keeping melodic instrumental music alive and vibrant)

Stereotyping bias – expecting a member of a group to have certain characteristics without having actual information about that individual (if the board has a simplistic model of the audience and the values of those individuals)

False consensus effect – the tendency for people (the board) to overestimate the degree to which others (the customers and patrons) agree with them.

Projection bias – the tendency to unconsciously assume that others (or one's future selves) share one's current emotional states, thoughts and values (especially artistic values – among management this may be some omnipresent that herd instinct takes over)

System Justification – the tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest. (See also status quo bias.) (The methods of disparaging alternatives will be mentioned in the subsequent blog entry).

Rosy retrospection – the tendency to rate past events more positively than they had actually rated them when the event occurred.

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Conclusion: most modern organizations are subject to cognitive biases that are difficult to diagnose, as well as dangerous or fatal to the organization itself. This unsettling potential creates risks for others connected with such organizations.

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