Organizational Competition


One idea that appears in passing in Fukuyama’s book on Trust is that the Chinese communists recognized that they were in competition with the large extended families (often 100+ people) all tied together via the strong family loyalities that are a prime virtue of Confucism. So they labored long and hard to displace those family organizational ties with organizations and loyalities that were under the thumb of the party.

I found that an interesting idea to generalize a little. Americans at one time had a huge diversity of organizational forms: churchs, men’s clubs, sewing circles, local schools, labor unions, proffesional societies, parent-teacher organizations, YMCA, settlement houses, chambers of commerce, baseball teams, folk dancing clubs, etc. etc. These days I think you could argue that there is a stern competitive force arising out of the near religous enthusiasm for market based approachs that is laboring to compete against all of that.

If your involved in most any of the above people tend to project it into a commercial/economic framework and then ask about cash flow, marketing, affinity programs, etc. etc. It’s pretty destructive questions.

Meanwhile these small overlapping organizational forms give the substance to the tail of the power-law distribution of organizations. They help to lower the magnitude of the exponent.

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