Friday, January 07, 2005

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Dilip 1 7

Why is credibility important? Trust is a component; it was a factor in the ’04 election, Bush claimed he never wavered from a position, while Kerry was known as a waffler. The president was once the country’s most credible person, but that conception has eroded; it may have begun with the U2 incident and President Eisenhower. Eisenhower claimed a missing U2 spy plane was not used to spy on the Russians, but after a 3-day delay, Khrushchev revealed that pilot Gary Powers was in Soviet custody.

Kouzes and Posner (Credibility) discuss a credibility deficit in American corporations. A feature of a manager is that he or she is a dependence junkie, and his or her success depends on the cooperation of others; every function of every employee depends on others. Reciprocity is a way of inducing cooperation. The command structure of the military makes a lack of cooperation actionable by superiors. Though 9-5 jobs are no longer the rule, a manager’s ability to get an employee to stay until 5:01 or 7:00 is a matter of credibility. Money does matter, but only to a degree, e.g. marginal returns will have to increase a great deal if an employee is highly compensated. Increasingly, a manager can’t increase a financial upside adequately to motivate an employee to stay until 7:00, so credibility is important is more is needed from an employee.

In political campaigns, a politician can build on a record, or rely on a constituency that knows him or her for support. Almost 78% percent of executives have their resumes in circulation; executives who move need the cooperation of others quickly, and start leadership campaigns to get it. In corporations, the temporal dimension is missing; people are not known for long, the temporal element that builds trust is missing. (Strange’s Time/Space compression)

Competence, Trustworthiness, and Goodwill are the components of credibility. As Michiavelli says, competence is not enough; to be known as competent is at least as important. With less time to know a manager, President, or other person, how can appearances be relied upon? Did Kerry really care about a draft, or was it just campaign rhetoric? Does my boss care more about me or Wall Street?

A social instinct at work is inhibited by a lack of time. According to Skinner, people can only do 3 hours of effective work per day; even creative work puts strain on a worker. Stress and a lack of time put a strain on sociability. Goodwill is the element that assures credibility, but it is difficult to attain because time is short.

Credibility is also a cultural concept. Aristotle’s Ethos is really credibility, but the audience in ancient Greece was limited to full-born Athenians, a homogeneous group. The American workplace is heterogeneous; how does a manager get credibility in this environment? Time spent together can help bridge gaps between managers and employees from different backgrounds.
For the 15th, Read essays, comment on one of the essays.


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