You are here: Start

Loser Competence

Being a competent loser? For what? Why? In an (organisational) world in which only success counts?

Perhaps this is one of the most significant blind spots of common organisational theory: it does not take it seriously enough that organisations are ‘constructed’ around conflicts. Production and distribution, for example, have, in very many questions and decision-making needs, neither the same interests, nor can these conflicts of interest normally reach consensus. The idea that all one has to do is talk to each other for long enough in order to arrive at a win – win solution, cannot be deduced or justified from a system-theoretical understanding of organisations. Quite the opposite: Opposing poles such as flexibility for the customer (distribution) and production routines (production) force organisations into decisions which have, for some of those affected by the decision, the meaning that they stand there as ‘losers’.

Therefore, on the part of the function-carrier, the psychological competence to cope with this, whilst maintaining a feeling of self-worth, is required and, on the side of the organisation, values, which do not define losing as a sign of weakness, and rules, which, after losing, do not have a negative effect on career, are also required. To put it another way: individuals, as well as organisations, cannot avoid focusing unilaterally on implementation and victory, because, if everyone must win, then no loser competence can be formed. This slows an organisation down and makes it incompetent to make good decisions, if they have to clarify who should take the bitter pill for the benefit of the whole and at what point in time.