BFM2013_3_05_Managing expectations

In modern physics, quantum theory required a paradigm shift, as the old deterministic cause-and-effect model wasn’t enough.

Interestingly, while in the normal, physical world of our everyday experience this does not apply (i.e. observing does not interfere with the observed phenomenon, in normal conditions), human relations result in what is called the Hawthorne effect: observing humans influences their behaviour.

As stated in previous issues, as any other activity that involves communication and the management of knowledge, Business Continuity requires not only planning in order to achieve the intended results, but also managing perception from the intended public and any other potential stakeholder, to ensure that the message is delivered correctly.

This is a “degrees of freedom” issue: as both the human observer and the human observed have their own value systems, and multiple “community memberships”, the sheer observation can result in unpredictable side-effects. That’s why the “double blinding” methodology is used for clinical tests- to avoid that even those leading the experiment influence the subjects involved.

Therefore, introducing a Business Continuity approach adopting models derived from environments like the military is counterproductive, as those models assume that all the “human resources” have been moulded (i.e. “brainwashed”), and even in those “controlled human environments” all that behavioural training does not necessarily generate the desired responses (otherwise, we would not need to have trials about violations of Geneva Conventions).