How do you separate the organization from the people?

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
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Free Thinker
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How do you separate the organization from the people?

Postby Free Thinker » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:27 am

I'd like to discuss how people separate the entity of the SES/SoPP from the people that make up the school. This should make sense to most of you.

I had dear friends while growing up in the school, dear tutors, dear "aunts" and "uncles" whom I still hold dear. I received a lot of support in many ways while there and there are some wonderful people who are members, who are trying to be good people and to make the world a better place, etc.

Then there's the organization itself, which in some ways seems to operate on the same sort of lines as a corporation - with "personhood" and decision-making, etc. And I have many problems with the school as a whole.

But so many people there do not fit into the criteria of what I have problems with, so I think of them separately. And yet you can't have an organization without the people who make it up. Without support from its members, the school structure as it stands would not exist, including the hierarchy that I think is one of the biggest causes of trouble.

Am I the only one who struggles with this? Or is it much the same as any other organization or beurocracy that has good people but struggles with maintaining the same attitude while growing larger or while people move up to the "top" of the organization? Do I see it so strongly simply because I have personal experience?

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Postby Goblinboy » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:02 am

FT,

You're not alone.

At the risk of being unhelpful (and rude), it's not unlike how I feel about the USA. I like many Americans, but I don't like a lot of what America does. (runs away).


(wanders back)

There's a lot of work done on the "tyranny of teams" by various organisational behaviour specialists in this area, which can shed some light on this effect. Go googling and you'll find some of it.

The weekend beckons.

Seeya,

GB

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Postby Free Thinker » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:08 am

Thanks, GB. I hope you weren't running from me - because I'd go with you!

I'll do that search.

FT

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Postby a different guest » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:37 am

a good point FT - one of my (non SES) relo's was initially very worried about the (SES) relo's involvment. However having met some of the people this relo now wants to hear no 'bad' about the SES. I guess the idea is that 'the people are nice so it is OK" - no further worries that the organisation itself is seriously flawed.

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Postby mm- » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:52 am

I guess the idea is that 'the people are nice so it is OK"


That is one of the biggest problems I have found as a parent at St James today. Everyone just seems so nice.....too nice.

It is very difficult to believe that such nice and seemingly caring people could belong to a group which allowed and condoned the abuse of young children.

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Postby Joseph O'Shea » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:46 pm

'The road to (proverbial) hell is paved with good intentions.'


Since reading this board for the last few weeks I've been struck by the maturity and eloquence of both apologists and enemies of the school respectively.

It's clear that the people it attracts are often intelligent and well meaning.

Like some have said in other threads, cults often use such good intentions to work for them so that the cycle of indoctrination is self perpetuating.

In relation to the conceptual difference between 'individuals' and 'groups', system theory and cybernetics suggest that, 'a system (cult, school, group, whatever) is more than the sum of it's parts.'
At Queensgate in the early 80s until I was 7 years old. Classmates included John Frederic Arthur Farndel and Timothy Body and most importantly, James Warham!. My Grandfather used to manage Sarum Chase in London for many years.

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Postby Keir » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:26 pm

I agree,

There are many good people I met whilst at SES, and some real monsters. The real monsters tended to be in the senior groups but that was by no means a rule.

I think that the good people I knew gradually left and the monsters stayed on, possibly because of the allure of power the further up the organisational ladder they got.

I think that this whole business is an excellent opportunity for those current members that didn't realise the full scale of the problem to re-assess their respect of some senior figures based on their response to the inquiry and the criticism that is emerging.

I do not expect all good people to abandon the SES, but if they care about its continued existance I would expect them to ensure that the ignorant and hurtful practices stop.

I also hope that they will grasp with both hands the opportunity to ensure that the day schools that are run in their name at least conform to normal disciplinary practice with respect to teachers found to be abusing children in its care even 20 years later than the fact.

By their deeds shall ye know them.

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Postby NYC » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:05 pm

there's the organization itself, which in some ways seems to operate on the same sort of lines as a corporation - with "personhood" and decision-making, etc.


what do you mean by that, FT -- the "personhood" part, I mean. I get the corporate/military/Platonic approach to decision-making.
Attended Parts 1,2, & 3 and a Plato study group in the NY adult school 2004 - 2005. Also explored advaita philosphy in other organizations since 1995, and continue to do so.

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Postby Free Thinker » Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:43 am

I'm not saying that they use that concept in the same way but that there are school decisions and school opinions, etc. that seem much more personal than would normally be attributable to an organization.

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Ben W
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The organsation v the individual

Postby Ben W » Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:01 am

Hi FT,

Your opening post of this thread is an interesting topic. Those writing in Harvard Business Review and other similar journals have a lot to say on this subject under the banners of Organisational Behaviour (culture) and Leadership (individuals).

Organisations are often thought of as having their own culture and I'm sure the SES is no exception. Clearly, culture is not static and is influenced by strong individuals.

The question I have here, and which I suspect is at least part of where you are coming from, is "What are the cultural features which attract, tolerate, develop, promote "good" and "bad" people?"

Ben
Child member of SES from around 1967 to around 1977; Strongly involved in Sunday Schools ; Five brothers and sisters went to ST V and St J in the worst years


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