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Author Topic:   Pavlov's Theory of Bureaucracy
Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
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posted 18 February 2000 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Subject: Demonstration Of Pavlov's Theory of Bureaucracy

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey will make an attempt with the same response -- all of the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Keep this up for several days.

Turn off the cold water. If, later, another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them.

Now, remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Replace the third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs.

Why not?

"Because that's the way it's always been done around here."

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David Mullins
Forum Contributor

Posts: 248
From:Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 20 February 2000 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Mullins   Click Here to Email David Mullins     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pros and Cons here. I know of several companies who have re-invented the wheel several times, each time doing the project the same way, and always with the same results.
I think there is nothing wrong with revisiting a topic, provided that there is grounds for appeal (so to speak). That is, that there is something different about the approach that increases its likelihood of success.
If we know (measured fact) that the water is cold, it is on (system ready), and the triggering mechanism is functional, then an alternative approach must be used whereby the water is not triggered or you don't get wet when it does spray.
I always remember the bushmen who catch monkeys by digging a hole in rock and putting food in it. The hole opening is big enough for the monkey to get it's hand in, but small enough that when the food is grabbed the monkey can't get it's hand out. When the monkey grabs the food, it is too stupid/desparate to let go, and the bushmen simply walk up and catch the monkey - AND THE MONKEYS KEEP GETTING CAUGHT!

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