119: The Hazard of Finding Truth in Scientific Research (Part 2)





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Carol’s Question for us: Review the need for a research method to examine what lies behind the study, the interpretation, and the application into business programs.

This is Part two on Paradigms of Research that was introduced in #118. Here is a Recap of the previous podcast with the three preceding world views:


  • Royalty Worldview is based on the idea that people are born to rule and lead because they are in a family of intelligence and deserve it.
  • Machine Worldview is in the belief that human are like machines and you have to import energy into them and create structure like you would a machine.
  • Behavioral Worldview focuses on observable behaviors and discounts any independent activities of the mind.


  1. Third Paradigm: Self-governing is driven by the Humanist movement which was a reaction to the Behavioral Worldview.
    1. They were clear that studying rats told us very little if anything about humans. You will know you are working with practices designed for A Self-Governing Worldview if they are speaking about people be self-directed, self-reporting on their inner thoughts and processing, gaining personal mastery and likely a reference to Self-Actualizing.
    2. The foundational ideas about humans are that they are individuals which cannot be aggregated into averages (although the Humanists did foster personality typologies as a reaction to being aggregated by the behavioral, rats, studies) which has never been tested until the Todd Rose reported Studies.  And they were repudiated and denied as valuable in understanding human nature.
    3. The methods of the Self-governing will be interviews, surveys, which are self-reporting and case studies seeking to teach more than prove a thesis.We look at why it is important to:
      1. Research their history. How did they got to their truth on these practices they are touting as scientifically proven? What Worldview are they based on?  
      2. Notice how most humanist still seem to sometimes fall back on  promoting best practices which is an ‘averaging’ method; idea (?) and using case studies/stories to prove their point. Testimonials.
    4. The real shift the Humanist were seeking to bring about was one of rejecting the idea of “external management of humans.” The idea that humans can be self-directed and able, through development; that is to see their own thoughts, actions and the effects of those, without feedback from outside sources. And they can be self-motivating; that is self-managing of their own motivation in regard to different motives.
    5. The Humanist were in a war to overcome behaviorism and see humans as individuals and not externally determined. They were so focused on waging this battle and carving out a psychological space they got a bit myopic. The left out the system in which human live and thrive or die.
    6. They created an Association, American Humanist Association (AHP) plus established several universities on the West Coast. E.g. Saybrook. It attracted so many people who were put off and legitimately questioning the Behavioral paradigm. And maybe prevented them moving to include ecosystems consideration.
    7. It never included the non-human beings and ecological systems. There was a parallel movement advancing side-by-side at the same point in time as the Humanists. That was the Environmentalist, which that excluded humans in favor of environmental, planetary, consideration; and even suggested that the planet would go on and be better off without humans. These two paradigms dycatomized the sense of the whole and each left seomthing important out.
  2. Fourth Paradigm: The Living System Worldview notes humans are embedded in Living systems with a core role to play that was critical to the evolution to Earth’s own ability to live out it potential, not just be preserved or survive as offered by the Environmental movement or just be human centric.
    1. The language to this fourth paradigm has very different word choice and research methods. Humans and all of life are seen in Systems terms.
      1. Some systems thinking schools have been built on earlier Worldviews so that systems are more mechanical behavior study  or based on human potential ideas applied to whole systems. Living systems speaks to the nested or embedded place of humans, animals, soil biota and other living beings all in a system that is only able to be understood based on a specific place and as evolving overtime. By seeing it as alive
      2. The research and studies are Place Sourced, e.g. an individual watershed or Place. You cannot extrapolate best practices from one Place, one forest, river or watershed to another. You must do as Todd Rose suggests in The End of Average, treat each Place, Being and Entity as One of One.
        1. You start with a singularly undivided whole and study it using a framework for understanding it uniquely not with the intention of scaling it or extrapolating truths from one to another, but for each system as a whole system to be examined and engaged as itself. Each child, each family, each community, each valley, each organization. There is not aggregating for the average or best for all. You examine it for the Essence it has, what makes it itself. How does it process itself in a system? what purposes does it serve, not compared to, but on its own. There are not only no averages, no isolated variables or teaching case stories, as in the other Worldviews.
      3. The earlier interpretive research methods, when converted to best practices, are irrelevant for a system if it is to be distinctively actualized, increasing its realizing its potential. Each system stands alone to be understood, singularly.
      4. So, Living systems methods tend to be not knowledge seeking for publishing or promoting it, but thinking methods which allow understanding at the singular level and support for using that understanding in evolving the Systems Actualizing that reveals itself out of the exploratory dialogue.
      5. Stories may be told but not copied in regard what that system has done, but only to show a path to a process to find that singularity for each a new unique system. There are not best practices that can be transferred since their next system is One of One. No comparisons are made. No averages calculated. No variables defined. No scaling sought.

Example: Tell Employees what you want them to Strive For (in as few  in Harvard Business Review, by David Rock Feb, 22, 2018 Using what we have learned, we can see the focus of this organization is:

    1. External vs. Internal (outsiders manage it) , Fixed vs. Growth and Development (the way something is, and not a stage of development). The result is that a superior has to manage the organmizational or individual reactivity, vs develop higher potential of a person to be self-managing); Either you using the idea of boss literally rather than as an organizing concept, which means direction is given by boss in terms the desired behavior vs. specific customer groups organized by Corporate direction. Improve current existence and ideals vs. potential based on specific buyer nodes.
    2. Rock gives examples of what I call dumbing it down” in order to match what he says the brain studies show is what works “best”. Amazingly, all study of brain response to stimulus is based on undeveloped brain and mind (not functioning in higher potential way). We will also see this again in the next article Rock offers.  E.g. he says this is based on what the brain research shows is necessary in order to make it easy for people to remember.
    3. Second Opinion: There is no “do this instead of that’  we can offer, because you don’t substitute practices, but rather start with different assumptions and a different paradigm. The Rock advise assumes that at least SOME people are machines and need to have energy (e.g. instructions in this case) imported into them as if they were rats (i.e. you have to manage to the level of capability and control them).
    4. Second Opinion: Humans can be developed but will use different methods;  Machines can not be developed and become more than they are without external engineers doing that to them.  The equivalent here is to tell them what to do, and accommodate to their limitations). The Human Potential paradigm, at least, sees humans with open ended ability to develop and use their mind.
      1. Brain Research: Research with an fMRI are studies on a limited part of human functioning and leave out most of the potential. They are studying what a machine can because it is seen as, fixed,at a point in time, and as an average based on some statiscally significant answer.
      2. There is research from a Human Potential paradigm that shows that people have the capacity for imaging life at work, they can regenerate the meaning in a situation, discern what is needed and can then act independently without a scripted rule or instruction to remember. That is when innovation happens. But you can’t study that with an fMRI which is what Neuroscience is limited to.
      3. A behavioral paradigm assumption that inner processes are not real because you can’t have independent observation; even though Rock continually says they are not using a behavioral paradigm, they only use externally observable evidence. The foundation of the study itself is based on externally observable objectively obtained, which is the foundation of the behavioral paradigm.
      4. Second Opinion: If a business person comes to know the customer’s lives well, similarly to how we know our spouses at home, we don’t need a program of instructions to memorize.  WE act from deep understanding of outcomes and effects.
      5. The process that Rock recommends of dumbing it down, making it pithy and therefore memorable, having people say it over and over to re-enforce it getting stuck in the brain, like a catch melody, is the process of making people mechanical, like machines, rather than develop capacity for consciousness, imaging, discerning and working independently in market defined teams.
      6. Second Opinion: The boundaries in a Development Organization come from Corporate Direction, which is the boss, metaphorically but also literially. It is ot a boss nwhoot delegation from top down, but a ‘boss; which internal driven by each person, and external focused on real customer lives (not needs or experiences with the product) and market outcomes (for the business and the customer. The ask the question, “how can our company uniquely serve these sends. Usually only market and strategy people think about this.  The connect the Essence that comes out of the Origin story of the founders, and global imperatives which are imbeds into the Direction instead of what is usually done. E.g. put planetary and social questions, into a special and separate (fragmented therefore) corporate citizenship or social responsibility office. One cannot study such ideas with technology and observation, but only outcomes. This is however, exactly what Apple, and many businesses, use to attract people, grow people to work for them and buy from them. Knowing the lives so well, they can innovate to make their lives better. They are using a Human Potential paradigm, embedded in, surrounded by and guided by a Living Systems Paradigm
  1. Example Articles: Managing with the Brain in Mind: Neuroscience research is revealing the social nature of the high-performance workplace. (needs author and citation)
    1. Hypothesis:  people often feel rejected by others in their workplace including their bosses. The research cited here is based on research design which tricks people into thinking they are playing an online game with two other people. Half way through they cut out one person who is the test subject and  continue with the other two who are controls in the research. Even when the subject is told it was a controlled study, the snubbed player felt angry, alienated and judged. The point is, that we do this as persons even if we tell them. The recommendation is that you must protect them from this harm to the subjects in an organization in how you design engagements among people. Assumption: Humans are fixed in their ways and brain/thinking processes and have no choice about their response. So we must manage the environment around them including how leaders engage their direct reports to foster productive change. Based on these studies with the brain, NeuroLeadership Rock, recommends to “minimize danger, maximize reward.”
    2. Second Opinion: We find two issues with this assumption: One is it assume people have no choice about their responses. The entire field of Cognitive and many other Psychologies is based on the idea of Choice over emotions and responses if one develops the capacity and associated skills. The Rock models is an anti-freewill paradigm being advocated. Protect the lower people (a little benevolent ruler idea here) from themselves.
    3. The second problem, is it ignoring the core difference in the top (Living Systems)).  It accepts the borromg two paradigms,isnoring even the human potential paradigm (Humans can be developed and very self-directed in that process, but only for this limited practice. They adopt the human potential in others cases.
      1. E.g.Businesses, like Microsoft are often offering program based on development of workers, consistent with Human Potential never noticing the conflict in paradigms. In the HBR article, Rock points out that NeuroLeadership ideas are going beyond the behavioral ideas of carrot and stick and even beyond empathy and counseling practices. But they stop short of the development ofhuman potential. Instead, they  have developed accommodating practices which come more from the Machine worldview when the machine cannot change itself and must have different energies imported into it, like different gasoline or repairs, this is not beyond behavior in the usually meaning of the word. It is regressive to an older paradigm on humans as machines who are controlled with a hardwired brain which we can accommodate to if we understand. Like a computer we learn to use.

A Look at David Rock’s SCARF Model

Rock recommends using his SCARF model which predates most of the brain research he uses now, and seems to be force-fitted into the new science.

  • Status is the first letter in the Acronym.
    • It is based in the idea of having a problem with stress hormones. which are indeed programmed into us as animals. Here, the model reverts to behavioral and machine assumptions. It assumes they cannot be managed.
      • Background: We have had research for five decades from the National Institute of Mental Health, by Paul McLean showing there are three aspects to a human brain, nested together with each being more powerful that an older evolutionary part of the brain.
      • The stress response come from the oldest brain, the often called reptilian brain, based on how is responds reactively to its changing context. But the highest brain, the neocortex, was revealed to be able to manage this reptile brain, which happens by developing understanding among individuals in an organization, as a eduction endeavor,  on how we work as humans and how we can change our perception of what is happening and personally self-manage a threat response, with practice, over time.
      • This one aspect alone, protecting people from needing to evolve themselves, is devastation to the develop of humans.  To assume we would accommodate to the lowest brain in organizations rather than develop the capacity of each individual to self-manage it leaves it frozen in time.
  • The second letter represents the raving for Certainty.
    • The model again works as though it is an organizational  problem and the organization needs to make the workplace safe by providing levels of certainty to calm this process anxiety over the unknow, a process activated from the reptilian brain.
    • One begins to suspect that the designers of such ‘comfort building processes, had hard childhood upbringing and bad work experience and decided to make the world a safer place for themselves and other human beings. Setting aside the opportunity to gtow and develop them and take care of the “anxieity” challenge in the process.
    • The suggesting from Rock is to” lead by sharing” more info developed by management (e.g. business plans, rationale for decisions made, maps of organizational structure that make reporting relationships and pathways to conversation clear. Giving more specifics about restructuring when it comes up. And being more transparent about decisions to promote trust. This is the way to provide certainty as thought the world around them can be made certain by managers getting great plans and them embracing everyone into them.
    • All of these suggestions assume that a top down, internally focused organization will make everyone feel safe. Just in case it is not enough, they have one more machine world idea.
      • Break everything complex down into smaller increments to create certainty. The other three letters follow the same pattern. Accommodate to fears and threats rather than build capable needed for working in a complex, dynamic, volatile world which is core to making a flexible resilient organization that and recreate itself while running fast. That is why the upper two paradigms give what is needed for the world and industries of today. And what is needed of humans to be self-regulating and engaged citizens in communities and nations. And extraordinary members of families a society.

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Business Second Opinion Podcast_ This set of Show Notes is an overview of Business Second Opinion Podcast #119. Available where you listen to podcasts including iTunes, Audio Boom, Stitcher. Or the website.

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