Disobedience

Over at the Babson Knowledge Management blog, Don Cohen has an interesting piece he calls "One Way to Stifle Creativity," but it is really an entry about disobedience.

Generally, society frowns on disobedience. Disobedience threatens order and authority.

But Don shows us how disobedience can lead to innovations and breakthroughs. He recalls a story from the early days of Hewlett-Packard:

David Packard responded to an engineer who had disregarded an order to stop working on technology that turned into a successful product by calling a meeting of engineers and presenting him with a medal for “extraordinary contempt and defiance beyond the normal call of engineering duty.”

Hmmm. It seems that disobedience can lead to organizational renewal. A paradox?

How do we (in HR, OD, and leadership development) help build organizational cultures that do not stifle bootlegging, skunk works, and other forms of healthy "contempt and defiance?"

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 10/04/06

Comments

Vijaya Devi said…
Terry, I don't have a direct answer to your question. But I am trying to draw an analogy to what I have been trying to do with my daughter recently. I have come to understand that her disobedience is not something that should always be discouraged. There has to be exceptions when I should encourage her defiance. But when is the important question. Then the next question that comes is "how", how do I channel that
disobedience into 'experiment and risk'. I should also know that I will be sending her conflicting signals compared to the rest of the worls. But for this to happen, I think I need a fundamental change in the way I approach her especially in those instances when she is learning. I think I need to come out of the mother-daughter relationship slightly to be able to do this but at the same time not lose my sensitivity to the fact that I have a big responsibility towards her growth and the society at large.
Terrence said…
Hi Vijaya,

Welcome to my blog.

As a parent (my sons are now huge teenagers), I can relate to what you are doing.

Some of the rules we set as parents are non-negotiable and are in the child's best interest (e.g. Do not ever touch a hot stove).

Others are challenges, e.g "Do not go up those stairs." We know that eventually the baby has to learn how to go up the stairs. So, when he starts to attempt the stairs, we know it's dangerous, but we are so proud that he is so fearless.

Yes, as a parent we have a great responsibility. To keep our children safe, but also to help them learn so that, some day, they can be self-reliant.

Best wishes!

Terry
Thank you very much.Very nice a blog

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