PSYCHOLOGICAL GROUP CONTROL TECHNIQUES

Three techniques are used to control opinions:

Hegel's dialectic process, based on Socrates' theories of debate,

Rand Corporation's Delphi Technique,

and Deming's Total Quality Management.

The Dialectic Process (Problem Solving)_

Socrates (469-399 B.C.), in his philosophical research for truth, concluded that truth could be determined by asking multiple questions, concluding truth from the answers. (i.e., Does it look like a duck? walk like a duck? and quack like a duck? It must be a duck.)

His methods later evolved into manipulation of perceived ôtruthö by providing a series of choices through multiple paths, all of which led to a preselected goal, thus drawing false conclusions. This is most significant if one controls information available, based on responses.

An example today is successful trial lawyers, who guide a jury to a predetermined conclusion by questioning witnesses. They ask only questions that should lead a jury to the desired outcome of innocence or guilt. The art is in designing the choices.

This method appears in today's OBE techniques of guiding children to a predetermined outcome. This is especially relevant with computer technology.

Nearly two millenniums later, G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831)concluded that truth was relative and socially determined. Thus, to change "truth," one must propose an idea (thesis), determine the idea's opposite (antithesis), combine them (conflict), and discover a new conclusion (synthesis), which would be neither the thesis nor the antithesis. It's like giving the choices of a white or a black bead, and in the conflict, slipping in a red bead for the synthesis.

For example, suggesting a black bead (thesis: nuclear annihilation), offering a white bead (antithesis: Rather be Red than Deadö), and switching to a red bead (synthesis: disarmament). Or posing a thesis (failing schools), proposing an antithesis (OBE), and ending up with a predetermined synthesis (certification for jobs). Or using the thesis of no accountability in schools, offering an antithesis of charter schools, and synthesizing them into taxes and control flowing from the public to private hands.

The Delphi Technique

The Rand Corporation researched influencing public opinion (late 1940s). In the process, they discovered a method to draw groups to a predetermined conclusion with peer pressure. They named it after the Greek Oracles of Apollo at Delphi.

_ Referred to as group think, this technique uses a Socratic approach to convince a group to accept a predetermined outcome.

It requires tight control. Those being Delphi'd usually are unaware of the intended agenda and often would not cooperate if they knew.

It requires the following steps:

1. Establish a goal (predetermined outcome) (i.e., OBE);

2. Declare a problem (thesis) (i.e., failing schools);

3. Publicly acknowledge the problem (i.e., failing schools);

4. Establish a volunteer iron-triangle committee (i.e., professionals[staff]), community leaders [policy makers], and token parents [resource users] to resolve the problem;

5. Hire a facilitator to guide the group to the goal (education reform);

6. In a room, have the committee seated so they face each other;

7. Start with introductions and ice-breakers of innocuous personal information to become a team;

8. Have the group agree to "housekeeping rules": work as a team (TQM), to problem solve (compromise), to use consensus (no minority reports), and to debate issues within the group, but not outside, so that trust can develop;

9. Brainstorm solutions (avoid statistical and time-proven methods, and never discuss quantitative data like costs vs. results);

10.Have each member vote for from one to six potential solutions;

11. Control or redirect questions (few facts, but lots on feelings);

12. Develop a mission, vision, and strategic plan;

13. Use colored markers on flip-chart paper, recording each memberÆs comments;

14. Direct staff to write a quantitative (number who signed up for free lunch), not qualitative (statistical analysis of programs' results) "needs assessment" that emphasizes safety and protection;

15. Break into facilitated work groups, each with predetermined tasks to decide from proffered "assumptions;" OR provide the group a "draft" proposal for discussion and approval (i.e., rubber stamp);

16. Pressure non team players to quit, so the group can succeed;

17. When an outcome is at risk, use a survey (pre-designed questionnaire) to gather data with only the planners knowing the actual responses. Provide only compiled summaries and announce the "committee-determined" outcome;

18. Provide for public input (engage the public);

19. Publically publish (commit to) the plan, which is essentially the same as the draft;

20. Celebrate the hard work and success;

21. Use the outcome as the bible to follow;

22. If the group refuses to be Delphi'd, disband the group;

23. Establish a new committee if the goal was not accomplished.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Outcome Based Education (OBE)

Hegel's dialectic process and Rand's Delphi techniques are used extensively with Total Quality Management, which transforms management from historically-proven methods (didactic), through the thesis-antithesis-synthesis process in a group setting, to a process of continual change (conflict).

_ W. Edwards Deming,_ an American statistician who studied work place motions (time/motion studies) in an attempt to streamline move-ments to increase productivity, developed TQM. He applied his philosophy to failing Japanese businesses, where it merged with the Zen Buddhist philosophy of continual change and learning.

Japan's next decades proved successful. Coincidentally, American technology flowed to Japan about the same time, raising the question of whether their success came from the new technology or these techniques.

Dialectic and Delphi processes are used in Total Quality Management (TQM) for schools' site-based councils, city, county, regional, and state planning commissions, committees, boards, etc. It manipulates groups that regularly work together, rather than the Delphi technique which steers outside stakeholders.

TQM has three steps:

(1) acknowledging status quo,

(2) transition, and

(3) transformation.

Management must first (1) acknowledge present practices (status quo or tradition), because they must first question current methods before they are willing to consider a (2) transition, called a paradigm shift. This process to the (3) transformed stage takes about ten years for full implementation. If those in transition truly knew what the transformed stage ultimately did, most would revolt.

According to a former TQM facilitator,_ the best managers resist changing from proven methods the most. To circumvent that, skeptics are labeled as unwilling to work as a team member, or to cooperate, and often asked to step down.

TQM alters word definitions and forces change by destroying successful, traditional operations. Ignoring the end product, it focuses on the process, to reform existing institutions.

Time-proven standards are tossed, replaced by constant re-evaluation. This continual change forces continual dialectic synthesis, thus continual external control. Such a transformation typically only works after a paradigm shift, meaning total rejection of current methods and acceptance of a new mode. It is most successful by first implementing crisis.

To control the resulting conflict, TQM imposes the dialectic process of data collection, data review, and looping around to create conflict again. It is a constant state of flux and requires continuous change.

This dialectic TQM process usually pursues the following steps: A questionnaire requests how effective each manager (or teacher) feels he/she is, what limits his/her effectiveness, and asks if he/she would consider a new management technique, if there were one that would be more effective. A definition of effective is never made.

The next steps follow typical Delphi processes. A meeting is called; all seats face one another; the meeting starts with establishing a safe area with warm-ups of individuals revealing innocuous personal information, often humorous, to create a comfortable community or team atmosphere. One member may be chosen as a scribe (recording secretary). After the group becomes comfortable, a facilitator explains that the previous written input (survey) concluded a consensus that everyone felt they could be more effective, and that all were interested in looking at a better management (teaching) style. The leader then creates a minor chaos (like asking members to bounce a ball to one another, and adding balls until it is out of control). The facilitator asks the group to brainstorm how it could have been handled better.

All responses are recorded on a flip chart until someone reaches the predetermined outcome of needing to work better as a team.

No one ever asks about time-honored, proven procedures. The results are "continuous improvement". The new team concept emphasizes working together for prevention (of contrived problems), but eliminates individual accountability and responsibility. No one is allowed to fail, except those who do not cooperate as team members.

The final step is a company, government agency, education institution, or employee being officially recognized as achieving a quality or high performance status.

APPENDIX B_ "

Two manuals from a federal computer data bank of theoretical and technical materials on education, explained how the tests are scored for psychological information on students.

Six scores stand out -

* What is their locus of control? (Are they controlled by authority, peers, or self?)

* How are they motivated? (Is it internal or external?)

* Are they amenable to change? ("Willingness to receive stimuli" correlates to how open-minded they are, and how firmly beliefs and attitudes are held.)

* Do they conform to group goals? (How interdependent are they?)

* Do they comply with directives from an authority figure?

* What causes a change in behavior or attitude?

With these test results, a curriculum is chosen to remediate "wrong" answers. Such "weaknesses" that need attitudinal/value correction include -

-Undesirable "Weakness": ............_Desired outcome (result):__

* individualism_ ...................................* team player __

* loner_ ...............................................* group participant__

* self-sufficient_ ...................................* interdependent (peer evaluation)

* internal controls_ ..............................* self-esteem (accepts externally imposed status quo)__

* independent thinker_ ........................* consensus builder

* strong beliefs _ ..................................* problem solver (looks at all aspects)

* belief in a higher being (God)_............* decision making (values clarification?)

* loyalty (national) . .... . . . . . . . . . . . . * values clarification

* patriot_ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . * values clarification

__ Examples of techniques developed by Ralph Tyler (Carnegie) are word association like "vocabulary quizzes" (Would you be incensed if your parents...) and asking students when they would do something (like throw rocks), with no option of: "None of the above".

The test results adjusts the curriculum, which is "validated" (government approved)_ to eliminate areas of "weakness" in a classroom. This information further enlightens the question of why books are being replaced with dittos, which allows quick alteration of the curriculum in our rapidly changing world. This information is considered supplementary or strands, which circumvents approval by local school boards. It is loaned to various districts through each state's "regional" educational governance system.

_ This curriculum is available on two federally owned computer networks via regional terminals. Only "approved" curriculum developers and textbook writers are allowed on these computers.

Is there an ulterior agenda? A magazine article for school counselors on "death education" stated:

"...[D]eath education will play as important a part in changing attitudes toward death as sex education played in changing attitudes toward sex information and wider acceptance of various sexual practices."

_ Parents should listen the that internal voice that says "something is wrong."
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