7.30.2009

Of politicians and statesmen

A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation!
- James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888)

Erupting Erap

Reading in between the lines of GMA's SONA, a very strong message has been sent. These lines are hard-hitting:

"I am accused of misgovernance. Many of those who accuse me of it left me the problem of their misgovernance to solve. And we did it….. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there!"

I read this to refer to past administration officials, who also had their fair share of scandals and misgovernance. And in apparent reference to former President Estrada and maybe other officials like him, "those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there!"

Will a person who availed of amnesty endeavor to attack the one who granted the amnesty? There is some betrayal here, and a potential destabilization
if the political attack will fuel a political crisis! Given the stature and resources of the former president, the country cannot afford to dismiss and disregard the magnitude of the political volatility.

With all the problems and scandals that seriously hound the incumbent administration, we certainly reject another major problem that will destabilize the country.

Talks of Erap doing a political come-back and possibly run for president in 2010 are exacerbating the increasing public uneasiness brought about by ConAss moves, term extension, automated elections and the unresolved corruption scandals among others. Erap threatens to run if the opposition cannot unite themselves, but I am not sure if this move will unite the country. With all its legal and political complications, I feel an Erap's comeback will stir up old tensions and foment more division.

President Erap, please do not erupt!
Probono publico
, for the good of the public,
for the good of the living generation!

The preacher James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) wrote:
A politician thinks of the next election.
A statesman, of the next generation!


May God bless this country,
and bless us with more statesmen!

7.29.2009

Denial

Never underestimate
the power of denial!

- Wes Bently

7.28.2009

SONA, sana!


Let's give it to the president! I think her SONA for this year, hopefully her last SONA, is more straightforward and has less garnishings as compared to her past SONAs. The downside is its proclivity to present the president's achievements in order to refute and discredit her critics, which makes it appear cheaply defensive. I believe SONAs are aimed at presenting the real state of the country, good and bad! It is not to be used as a bragging instrument against dissent.

The president also mentioned important commendable declarations: the extension of land reform program, implementation of sin taxes for alcohol and tobacco, the fight against terrorism, mitigating climate change, and most importantly -- addressing the Mindanao problem. The president deserves all the support for making these official statements, which somehow find themselves as unmistakable policy directions.

But the most significant semblance of assurance is the president's declaration that the 2010 elections will push through and proceed in full automation. Yes, there will be elections! It's just about time!

But here's the unwitting spoiler: "At the end of this speech I shall step down from this stage but not from the Presidency. My term does not end until next year." The president is dangerously cloaking in ambiguity. If she really intends on the second line, why make a tease on the first line? Amidst the worsening dissatisfaction ratings and increasing public uneasiness towards term extension, this ambiguity is too important to ignore. The president's men cannot and should not fault the public -- GMA promised not to run for the presidency in 2004, and she broke the promise! Public trust gets scarcer in a politics where promises are made more in breach instead of fulfillment.

This year's SONA is jam-packed with economics, despite conflicting figures and statistics of various economists (can't we convene an economics congress and tell us the reality?). But I really wondered why the president skipped on other equally important issues. I would have wanted to hear from her some categorical description on corruption and the state of anti-corruption efforts in the country.

Why did she not mention her government's anticorruption programs? I would have wanted to hear updates about AO 255 that mandates for the implementation of integrity development initiatives in all national government agencies and local government units. What about the Anti-Red Tape Act (Republic Act 9485)? I would have wanted to hear what is happening in the efforts to resolve big-time national scandals like the NBN-ZTE Broadband Bribery Scandal, the Fetilizer Fund Scam, NorthRail and SouthRail Overpricing, the WB-DPWH Expose', the DepEd Computers and Noodle Scams, inter alia!

I would love to get clear policy directions on Constitutional Change, especially the provisions that many say need to be amended and updated. As well as how the president wishes the change to proceed (ConAss or ConCon) and when (before or after the 2010 elections).

Corruption and constitutional change are two very important issues denied of official attention ascribed to the SONA. Sana nabigyan din sila ng pansin!

This is the problem when the president resort to ambiguity. The president's men can take matters on their own. If they succeed, they have the full presidential blessing. If they fail, resort to plausible deniability!

Wes Bently warns us again:
Never underestimate the power of denial!”

7.27.2009

Manic Manny?

These past days I was conducting series of lectures in General Santos City and the nearby Sarangani Province. We discussed effective management and good governance, national and political situationer, and integrity and anticorruption issues among others. Interestingly, we held mock elections as part of understanding the upcoming 2010 elections. The mock elections focused -- obviously -- on the multi-awarded World Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao, who ran and lost in General Santos, and now planning to run in Sarangani.

The General Santos audiences were a mixture of professionals and multisectoral groups, who analyzed why Manny lost in the city. Among many reasons, the most common analysis they cited -- proudly -- was that because the people in General Santos City were (and continue to be) intelligent voters! They love Manny the World Boxer, but they are more discerning to say that the Boxer can be an effective Congressman. Not money, not prestige, not even popularity -- but sheer intelligence. This is how many in General Santos City feel and decide when it comes to electing their leaders (of course there is also the minority who really support Manny).

So the analysis went to why Manny chose Sarangani, realizing that he can never win in General Santos. Manny also did not choose Manila, Laguna or even Davao where he can easily establish residency (he has mansions in these places). Is he thinking that he can easily make it in Sarangani? Is he thinking that the people in Sarangani are not the breed of intelligent voters? There were pros and cons, emotional discussions on either side of the camp.

In one Sarangani seminar, we had a mock election on who they will vote as the lone Representative of the province. The audience consisted of provincial and municipal officials -- mostly Administrative Officers and Heads of Offices. There were 40 of them.

Of the 40 who voted, 15 officials (38%) said they will vote for Roy Chiongbian, who is touted to replace his father in Congress. Only 8 officials (20%) voted for Manny Pacquiao. Interestingly, there were 17 officials (43%) who were undecided!

The reasons given for voting undecided --- they are not really sure if Manny Pacquiao knows how to legislate; not sure if Manny Pacquiao has the competence to enter into politics and governance; not sure of who will really run in 2010; and they will still have to study their candidates.

While it is really too early to conclude, the Sarangani mock election showed that the people (at least those who participated) were thinking people -- the mark of intelligent voters! The big margin of undecided voters is a revelation.

But there is one question that fortunately unified the participants -- they all wonder why Manny needs to run and join politics (again a mark of intelligence)
. Manny already has all the pesos (money), prestige and popularity, and so he now goes for power! Is Manny becoming manic in going for power? Even if he already has all that he has? Is Manny frantic in looking for places where he can win? Is he manically satisfying the insatiable urge for getting more, at all cost?

There's a lot to learn from the intelligent voters of General Santos City. If Manny Pacquiao loses in Sarangani, the province must be endowed with intelligent voters. If he wins, the people must belong to a different breed of intelligence.

Or by any good chance, by a heavenly intervention, Manny Pacquiao suddenly realizes that the boxing ring is totally different from the political ring, and that he lacks the necessary skills and competencies needed for technocracy, and by so realizing he decides to reconsider his political plans and instead endeavor to prepare himself in the future, I should say Manny Pacquiao is not just an excellent sportsman! He should be an intelligent man!

May God bless the people of Sarangani!

7.26.2009

Ang Lupang Hinirang



Ang alab ng puso
sa dibdib natin ay buhay
!

7.23.2009

Mind conceives, achieves

Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve!
- W. Clement Stone (1902-2002)

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction

The law of attraction is based on the best-seller book entitled The Secret (2006) authored by Rhonda Byrne. The law of attraction is the secret!

Primarily, the law of attraction (can be Byrne's Law) is --
Like attracts like!

When you think a thought, you are attracting like thoughts to you. We attract what is happening. What we think about and say about, we bring about! And the secret is unearthed: "Everything that's coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it's attracted to you by virtue of the images you're holding in your mind. It's what you're thinking. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you."

The secret law applies to several dimensions: attracting positive thinking, attracting love, attracting money, attracting health, and attracting relationship.


Law of Attracting Positive Thinking


You are like a human transmission tower,
transmitting a frequency with your thoughts.
If you want to change anything in your life,
change the frequency by changing your thoughts.

Nothing can come into your experiences (or existence)
unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.

It is impossible to feel bad and at the same time have good thoughts. So try hard to feel good always.

Nurture and tap your 'secret shifters', such as pleasant memories, enjoy nature, watch a good movie, or listen to your favorite music. They can change your feelings and shift your frequency in an instant.

Process of the law of attraction: (also known as the 'creative process'):
ASK, BELIEVE AND RECEIVE.

Create your day in advance by thinking the way
you want it to go, and you will create your life intentionally.

Develop the habit of saying thank you. Inculcate a sense of gratitude -- the so called 'attitude of gratitude.' Always be grateful for what you already have, and you will attract more good things.

Expectation is a powerful attractive force. Expect the things you want, and don't expect the things you don't want.

At the end of everyday, before you go to sleep, go back through the events of the day. The events or moments that were not what you wanted, replay them in your mind the way you wanted them to go.

Anything we focus on, we do create. So if we're really angry, for instance, at a war that's going on, or strife, or suffering, we're adding our energy to it. We're pushing ourselves, and that only creates resistance. What we resist persists.
There is a need to positivize!

Learn from Mother Theresa, she knew the law of attraction. She said: "I will never attend an anti-war rally. If you have a peace rally, invite me."

So if you're anti-war, be pro-peace instead. If you're anti-hunger, be pro-people who have more than enough to eat. If you're anti-corruption, be pro-integrity. If you are anti-a-particular politician, be pro-his opponent. Often elections are tipped in favor of the person that the people hate because he's getting all the energy and all the focus.

What you resist, you attract, because you are powerfully focused on it with emotion. To change anything, go within and emit a new signal with your thoughts and feelings.

You cannot help the world by focusing on the negative things. As you focus on the world's negative events, you not only add to them, but you also bring more negative things into your own life.

The essence of law of attraction is that you must think abundance, see abundance, feel abundance, believe abundance. Let no thought of limitation enter your mind.


Law of Attracting Love


The feeling of love is the highest frequency you can emit.
The greater the love you feel and emit,
the greater the power you are harnessing.


Law of Attracting Money


To attract money, focus on wealth.
It is impossible to bring more money into your life
when you focus on the lack of it.

Feeling happy now is the first way
to bring money into your life.


Law of Attracting Relationship


When you want to attract a relationship, 
make sure your thoughts, words, actions and surroundings
do not contradict your desires.


Treat yourself with love and respect,
and you will attract people who show you love and respect.


To make a relationship work, focus on what you appreciate
about the other person, and not your complaints.
When you focus on the strengths,
you will get more of them.


Law of Attracting Health


Every unpleasant thought is a bad thing 
literally put in the body.


Laughter attracts joy, releases negativity 
and leads to miraculous cures.


Disease is held in the body by thought,
by observation of the illness,
and by the attention given to the illness.


If you are feeling a little unwell, don't talk about it --
unless you want more of it.


If you listen to people talk about their illness,
you add energy to their illness.

Instead, change the conversation to good things

and give powerful thoughts to seeing these people in health.


INSIGHTS: The Law of Attraction is a pat on the back, as compared to the Murphy's Law. This could be Byrne's Law versus Murphy's Law in terms of our outlook in life. But maybe just like the Murphy's Law turned upside down, Byrne's Law of Attraction makes a lot of sense on how we could live the everyday life and handle its many problems. The law basically challenges us of disposition. Even as in generating this insight, it is a vote of disposition!


References:

Byrne, Rhonda. 2006. The Secret. New York: Atria Books

Law of Attraction at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Attraction

The Secret at http://www.thesecret.tv/

7.22.2009

Tempting Men

Sometimes wrong things are good things that are off-limits. On other occasions, wrong things are good things in excess!
- Bill Perkins, When Good Men Are Tempted (1997)

Sutton's Law of the Impunity of Profit

The heated discussions about the resistance of the pharmaceutical and drug companies to reduce the cost of exorbitantly priced medicines in the country have actually opened a bigger can of worms. The issue has unearthed a long disregarded (mal)practice among medical doctors and medical representatives to deceive, consciously or unwittingly, the patients in particular and the public in general -- all in the name of profit. A senseless and unmindful profit!

This is Sutton's Law at work --
"go where the money is!
"

The Sutton's Law is often cited in medical schools to teach and train new physicians to spend resources where they are most likely to pay off. This is classical economic principle of maximization, as well as conventional management rule of efficiency. We all want the highest yield and return and output for every input and resource we have invested. No problem with that, if done in fairplay, transparency and with a sense of justice, and not through deceptive marketing, irresponsible sweet-talking, and deliberate coaxing. Interestingly, Sutton's Law is named after the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton (1901-1980), who when asked why he robbed banks, allegedly claimed to have answered -- "because that's where the money is!"

Pharmaceutical and drug companies have all the resources and money that medical doctors seek (all professions seek for it by the way), and medical representatives indeed act with all skill and adroitness to rake in all the profits, at all cost! Go where the money is, because that's where the money is!

The Chief of the Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Philippine Health Services Cooperative Federation, Dr. Jose Tingco candidly wrote about the manipulation between medical doctors and medical representatives:

"The first to manipulate him (doctor) would be the transnational drug companies. Even in his internship year, when he has just begun to write prescription medicines, the drug companies are already hot and heavy on his trail. They bribe him with commissions on each capsule that he prescribes. They shower him with little colorful plastic ball pens and doodads. They treat him to sumptuous meals and little snacks. They sponsor sports fests and bowling tournaments and drinking sessions. They tempt him with leggy, sexy med reps. During residency, they sponsor training trips for him abroad. All in exchange for prescribing their brutally high priced medicines!"

Dr. Tiongco further shared: "The exploitation goes even more high gear in private practice. Here the med reps take notes of how many patients he has and classify the doctors along the number of patients he/she sees a day and the number of prescriptions he/she makes; Grade A, being the highest. And the perks become more or less depending on his level of classification. The perks become heavier: cars, appliances, shopping trips to the malls, medical equipment and yearly trips abroad to attend specialty conferences, even training seminars. If he is a subspecialist and practicing in Manila, they sponsor lecture tours in the provinces to bolster his reputation as well as sell their high priced drugs. The run of the mill doctor in the provinces gets a yearly airplane ticket to Manila to attend the various specialty conferences and a free four-day stay in a five star hotel. If he has a good practice (Grade A), he will probably be fetched at the airport by an unfortunate medical representative bearing his name on a piece of cardboard, who together with his car, is assigned to him on a 24 hour basis. This med rep is responsible for the doctor's entertainment during his entire stay and even for the procurement of female company, if the doctor so desires!"

This is impunity of profit!

We beg and kneel before our medical doctors and medical representatives -- stand firm, and be upright, ethical and honorable! Stick on your Hippocratic Oath to keep the people from harm and injustice. Do not sell your soul!

The businessman and industrialist Henry Kravis found his secret of success: "If you don't have integrity, you have nothing. You can't buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing!"

Sutton's Law

Sutton's Law

Go where the money is!


This is the Sutton's Law which is often cited in medical schools to teach and train new physicians to spend resources where they are most likely to pay off. This is classical economic principle of maximization, as well as conventional management rule of efficiency. We all want the highest yield and return and output for every input and resource we have invested.

Not only doctors and medical practitioners, but all professions involved in commerce have to go by the Sutton's Law. After schooling and training, it is time for pay back. It is time to go and earn where there is pay off.

Sutton's Law is named after the prolific and legendary bank robber Willie Sutton (1901-1980), who when asked why he robbed banks allegedly claimed to have answered -- "because that's where the money is!" Interestingly, after serving most of his life in prison and became a free man, Sutton advocated for prison reforms and did consultancy on anti-robbery techniques. Indeed, experto crede -- believe one who speaks from experience!

INSIGHTS: There is no problem in going where the money is for maximization of profit, if done in fair play, transparency and with a sense of justice, and not through deceptive marketing, irresponsible sweet-talking, and deliberate coaxing. This is the reason why we need to train and equip managers and leaders with development perspectives. There is such a thing as corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, human resource development, triple bottomline and just investment.


References:

Willie Sutton at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Sutton.

Sutton's Law at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutton%27s_law.

Sutton's Law at http://www.drhull.com/EncyMaster/S/Suttons_law.html.

7.21.2009

Hofstadter's Law

Hofstadter's Law

Ever wonder why people always beat the deadline (just in the nick of time) or despite deadlines, people always ask for extension. To a certain extent, it is because of poor planning (miscalculated the time required), or due to many unexpected intervening factors (Murphy's Law?), or sheer inability to meet the deadline. Regardless of how much time there is, time is always lacking and there is always the need for more time! This is Hofstadter's Law.

The Hofstadter's Law is a self-referencing time-related adage, coined by the American Pulitzer Awardee Prof. Douglas Hofstadter - "It always takes longer than you expect!"

The Hofstadter's Law could be a derivative of the Parkinson's Law - time expands to fill the time available! The amount of time does not matter. People will always aim to work by maximizing the time allowable. And if they can, people will always try to extend the time possible. It always just simply takes longer than is expected.

INSIGHTS: To be conscious of time needs discipline, determination and dedication. Time is never enough; we might not be able to finish on time, but just keep on working and waste nothing. Jim Rohn was very practical in his line: “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Alice Bloch was also correct to observe: “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves!” The Hofstadter's Law might also therefore mean that we always simply take ourselves longer than we expect! And so we always say better late than never -- but never late is better!
Harvey Mackay was nicely melodramatic:

"Time is free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it, you can never get it back.!”

References:

Uris, Auren. 1986. 101 of the Greatest Ideas in Management. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Douglas Hofstadter at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Hofstadter

Why research?

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought!
- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

7.20.2009

Snowballing Sampling Technique

Snowballing
Sampling
Technique

Sampling is easy to establish in quantitative research designs. The sampling frame can easily be extracted once the population universe is established and the appropriate sampling formula is identified. However, qualitative research is not as lucky. Establishing the sample and the sampling process in qualitative inquiry is almost often a subject of contention, and takes much more time in persuading panel members during research defense sessions. A systematic sampling process in qualitative research designs is rarely established. Often, what is used is a very arbitrary and uninformed purposive sampling technique (sample identified on purpose). It is indeed difficult, but should not be impossible.

The snowballing sampling technique is a systematic non-probabilistic purposive sampling method that is very apt for qualitative research. Highly qualitative and exploratory studies call for a purposive non-probability sampling design, which is not after the representativeness of samples. A purposive non-probability sampling design relies heavily on the availability of respondents, especially those who are difficult to locate for interviews.

A snowballing sampling technique can be employed to seek out informants or respondents, who are otherwise difficult to locate and identify. The snowballing sampling method is akin to the opportunity sampling technique, the chaining sampling technique and the referral sampling technique (referred informants). The works of Dr. Earl Babbie, Dr. Fely David, Dr. Roberto Padua, Dr. David Garson and Dr. Wilfredo Arce have all provided the foundational, philosophical and procedural bases in employing the abovementioned sampling techniques.

The snowballing sampling technique is most proper when the members of the target respondents are difficult to locate. A snowball is the process of accumulation of referrals as each located and interviewed informant suggests other informants whom they happen to know and locate. For Arce, it “results from one key informant being interviewed and asked for suggestions on who else might be good informants, and the next informant is chosen on the basis of this suggestion.” As an opportunity sampling technique, the informants were selected and interviewed mainly because they were located and made available for and in a particular study. David used accidental non-probability sampling technique as a derivative of the opportunity sampling technique. In accidental sampling technique, the respondents were chosen as they become available. This technique resembled that of Garson’s chain sampling method, where the aim is to “obtain a saturation of informants….to reveal common cultural understanding....in a chaining process.

The question is: when does the sampling process of snowballing, chaining, referring and opportunity-seeking stop?

Simple! It stops when the so-called saturation sample is spotted. A saturation sample is a point of sampling where new respondents are now unable to give new information that generally depart from those given by previous respondents. A saturation respondent or informant does not give new data-value, thus this is the signal that getting new samples is not anymore necessary.

References:

Amorado, Ronnie V. 2007. Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines. Davao City: Ateneo de Davao University - Research and Publication Office.

Amorado, Ronald V. 2005. Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines. A Doctoral Dissertation. Davao City, Philippines: Ateneo de Davao University-Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Arce, Wilfredo F. 2001. Systematic Qualitative Data Research: An Introduction for Filipino Practitioners (2nd ed). Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University – Office of Research and Publications.

Babbie, Earl. 1998. The Practice of Social Research (8th ed).
Wadsworth: Thomson Learning Inc.

David, Fely P. 2002. Understanding and Doing Research: A Handbook for Beginners. Iloilo City: Central Philippine University – Social Science Research Institute.

Garson, G. David. 2004. “Ethnographic Research.” Course Syllabus on Ethnographic Research. North Carolina State University. Raleigh, North Carolina.

Padua, Roberto N. 2000. Elements of Research and Statistical Models. Cagayan de Oro City: MPSC Publishing House. USA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

FGDs


FGDs

Focus
Group Discussions (FGDs) are very popular in social science research. In fact, it has become an over-used, abused and misused method of gathering data and information. It has become a cliche method, sometimes utilized as an excuse for not knowing other methods and techniques, and oftentimes wrongly employed and applied by many researchers. There is a need to re-educate ourselves, to go back again to the basic FGD method, and to revisit its methodical philosophy and procedure.

In her book, Understanding and Doing Research (2002), Dr. Fely David described the FGD as an “informal in-depth discussion in which a small number of participants, under the guidance of a moderator or facilitator, talk about topics of special importance to a particular research issue.... participants are purposely selected from a defined target population whose opinions and ideas are relevant to the research….”

But I vote for Kenette Ellison's work on basic group facilitation methods, where he analyzed and identified the logical steps in conducting FGDs: contextualizing, brainstorming, clustering, titling/labeling, and reflection. These logical steps are very helpful in establishing discernible patterns and thematic trends generated from the group discussion. Ellison (1997) describes in detail the FGD workshop method as a process that organizes the participants on their journey towards deepening the discussions and insights of a group.
  1. The first of these steps is the context, at which the parameters for the group discussion are defined and set. Usually, this is in the form of a focus question that the group will seek to answer.
  2. This is then followed by the brainstorm, at which data and ideas are generated at three levels – first individually, and then in small groups, and finally in plenary.
  3. Once the ideas have been generated, the third step asks the group to cluster these ideas. Similar themes or topics are grouped together.
  4. With similarly intended (or defined) ideas clustered, the group then proceeds to give a title (or label) to each of the clusters, which directly respond to the focus question (or a set of guide questions) they sought to answer.
  5. And finally, after the group’s ideas were articulated and presented in plenary, the workshop session ended by a brief collective reflection at which the implications of the many ideas were reviewed, elaborated further and appreciated.
Conducting FGDs requires discipline and fidelity on the part of the researcher. The researcher needs to be meticulous in probing the discussions through focus questions, as well as in documenting the responses. More importantly the researcher needs to be faithful to the group responses, applying extra care in distilling and categorizing these responses without contaminating the same. Contamination occurs when the researcher over-interprets the responses (especially upon consolidation and analysis), thereby reducing the reliability of the discussion outcomes.

References:

Amorado, Ronnie V. 2007. Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines. Davao City: Ateneo de Davao University - Research and Publication Office.

Amorado, Ronald V. 2005. Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines. A Doctoral Dissertation. Davao City, Philippines: Ateneo de Davao University-Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

David, Fely P. 2002. Understanding and Doing Research: A Handbook for Beginners. Iloilo City: Central Philippine University – Social Science Research Institute.

Ellison, Kenette H. et al. 1997. Technology of Participation: Basic Group Facilitation Methods. Associates in Rural Development (ARD) and Governance and Local Democracy Project (GOLD). Philippines: USAID.

Management

What is Management?
Adopted from M. Scott Myers' Rhymes of the Ancient Manager (1994).

The purpose of all management

is to cultivate motivation
and manage innovation.
Perpetuating the status quo
is leadership abdication.

Managers who bluff their way
as though they know it all,
not hearing voices from below,
will self-destruct and fall.

Managers are like other folks
who reach life's half-way mark;
some arrive enlightened,
some are in the dark.

For most it is the zenith,
beginning downward trends
few go beyond the middle rung
in growth that never ends.

Most managers follow
the path where others go;
few take the path less traveled,
to seek the next plateau.

Insights from the less trod path
presented on our life's pages,
are tips for self-renewal
gleaned throughout the ages.

7.19.2009

Deming's 14 Points

Deming's 14 Points

Dr. Walter Edwards Deming (1900-1993) wrote and published the Out of the Crisis (1982), a book that contains -- read: warns -- of the basic crises managers will encounter. Dr. Deming is known as a Management Guru, who became popular in his design troubleshooting techniques borne out of his business consultancy experiences in Japan and the US. Dr. Deming was also acknowledged by his business philosophy (could be a Deming's Law) -- when quality tends to increase, costs fall over time!

He could be a pragmatic alarmist, but his teachings on crisis management serve as important guidance for modern managers. The management psychologist M. Scott Myers pronounced the Deming's 14 Points in poetic reference to the warnings of Dr. Walter Edwards Deming. And Myers wrote, poetically:

The renowned ancient Guru exhorted folks to scorn
shoddy ways of doing things -- of crisis he did warn,
to guide their recovery from habits obsolete
14 points are offered to help them compete:

1
Resolve to stay in business
to be the best you can
with vision and strategies
to form a master plan!

2
Quality is essential
to succeed in this age
product and service flaws
incur consumer rage!

3
Quality is not achieved
by inspectors at the end
but by folks on the line
who errors find and mend!

4
When buying from suppliers
don't hang up on price
but choose frugal sources
punctual and precise!

5
Astute management practice
helpful systems provide
alert for system errors
to be quickly rectified!

6
Training is expanded
so everyone is skilled
to reawaken motivation
that routines had killed!

7
Foremen and operators
handle quality control
with leadership support
to facilitate their role!

8
Grant workers self-control
to drive away their fear
creative effort blossoms
in a climate of good cheer!

9
Slash bureaucratic barriers
established by traditions
let teams cross boundaries
to fulfill company missions!

10
Posters, slogans and numbers
put people's minds in jail
let folks refine their systems
so initiatives can prevail!

11
Engineered work standards
intended to set goals
put ceilings on performance
and limit worker roles!

12
Let workers own a process
to manage with pride
people proud of workmanship
take challenges in stride!

13
Education and retraining
for all folks high and low
reinvigorate commitment
so all can jointly grow!

14
The top management team
led by the CEO
must orchestrate daily
to make the process go!


INSIGHTS: Management is an art! As Myers would also poetically exhort, managers are "masters of the art of living, [who] go their exuberant way, drawing no distinction between work and play! They simply pursue a vision, through dedicated action; the attainment of excellence, being the key to satisfaction!"

References:

Deming, Walter Edwards. 1982. Out of the Crisis. USA: MIT Press.

Myers, M. Scott. 1994. Rhymes of the Ancient Manager -- Leadership in the New Age. Walton Beach, FL: Choctaw Publishing.

Walter Edwards Deming at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming

7.18.2009

Research for truth

After all, the ultimate goal
of all research is not objectivity, but truth!

- Helene Deutsch (1884-1982)

Friendship as Method

Friendship
as Method


I first bumped into Friendship as Method in 2003 while surfing in Google. I was starting to design my anticorruption research for my dissertation in Ateneo, which was also part of my work for the Ehem Anticorruption Project of the Society of Jesus. I was experimenting on an appropriate method that would suit a pressing anticorruption problem that was difficult to dwell on. I was already deciding on the problem of bureaucratic fixing and the modus operandi of fixers in government offices. As a very unique and a fresh, brand-new type of research method, Friendship as Method came in very handy as I also utilized Undercover Ethnography and Network Analysis as part of my conceptual and methodological frameworks.

Friendship as Method was developed by Dr. Lisa Tillmann-Healy from the Rollins College in Florida. It appeared as a journal published by Sage in 2003. The journal was a result of her dissertation and a book in the 1990s about gay sexual relationships. As a unique discipline in qualitative inquiry, Friendship as Method is very useful in anthropological and ethnographic research designs.

Employing Rawlins (1992), Tillmann-Healy adhered to a definition of a friend as "somebody to talk to, to depend on and rely on for help, support, and caring, and to have fun and enjoy doing things with."

She further adhered: "Similar to romantic and family relationships, friendship is an interpersonal bond characterized by the ongoing communicative management of dialectical tensions, such as those between idealization and realization, affection and instrumentality, and judgment and acceptance."

Friendship as Method aims to take a special look at the processes of friendship, intimacy and understanding as helpful and useful elements in conducting qualitative research -- as a methodical frame and a fieldwork at the same time. As a methodical frame, it serves well as a qualitative inquiry using the lens of friendship -- its processes, dynamics and ethic. As a fieldwork, it sets the boundaries where human friendships take place and where people enter into these relationships as friends. In a capsule, Friendship as Method simply means to do good research with the "ethic of friendship, stance of hope, caring, justice, even love." This is a warm, engaged research with meaning. Friendship as Method serves as a good commentary to the cold, distantiated and uninvolved tendencies of the mainstream research endeavors employed by many researchers and scholars.

Tillmann-Healy's Friendship as Method is endowed with the following features that are beneficial to researchers and scholars alike:
  1. The method serves as perfect entree (entry points).
  2. The method elicits data out of natural environments (friendships).
  3. The method preserves the natural environments (ethic of friendships); the method is not to invade and exploit the processes of friendship in the name of research.
  4. The method reveals that ordinary human relationships (friendships) connect with some conceptual and theoretical frameworks. It takes some scholarly adroitness to be able to capture cognitive principles from affective relationships.
  5. The method provides an interesting challenge for theory-building.
  6. The method allows a lot of creativity for the researchers (research is art).
  7. The method evokes endless insights about human emotions.
  8. The method employs a very engaging research design; the researchers are themselves part of the research process.
  9. The method can even enhance better understanding of friends and friendship as a human process.
  10. Apart from method, friendship is also a fieldwork in the post-modern school of thought where human relationships take place.
References:

Amorado, Ronnie V. 2007. Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines. Davao City: Ateneo de Davao University - Research and Publication Office.

Rawlins, W.K. 1992. Friendship Matters: Communication, Dialectics and the Life Course. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Tillmann-Healy, Lisa M. 2001. Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship Across Sexual Orientations. Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira Press.

Tillmann-Healy, Lisa M. 2003. “Friendship as Method.” Qualitative Inquiry Volume 9, Number 5. Rollins College: Sage Publications.

7.17.2009

Technology and humanity

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity!
- Albert Einstein

Laws of Technology

Laws of Technology
Mumford's Evolutionary Model, Kranzberg's Laws,
Ogburn's Lag, Amara's Law


The Evolutionist Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) predicted the massive technological development and utilization as a necessary component of civilization. In his Stages of Technological Evolution (Evolutionary Model), Mumford correctly characterized his prediction in the 20th century Biotechnic Stage (the last stage after Eotechnic, 10th-18th centuries; Paleotecnic, early 19th century; and Neotechnic, late 19th century) where civilization has become complicated and complex. The evolution of technology is best characterized by the historian Dr. Melvin Kranzberg (1917–1995) from the Harvard University, who was known by the so-called Kranzberg's Six Laws of Technology:

1st Law:
Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.

2nd Law:
Invention is the mother of necessity.

3rd Law:
Technology comes in packages, big and small.

4th Law:
Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions.

5th Law:
All history is relevant,
but the history of technology is the most relevant.


6th Law:
Technology is a very human activity -
and so is the history of technology.


True to its origin, the Kranzberg's Laws seem to be value-free, solely based on historical chance. However, some views offer a serious departure from the fortuitous tendency of the Kranzberg's Laws, especially the Ogburn's Lag and the Amara's Law.

The rapid and uncontrolled change in technological development has resulted in many undesirable consequences. The sociologist William F. Ogburn (1886-1959) was among the first who strongly put forward the idea of social chaos brought about by the lag between technology and culture. Ogburn correctly commented: when human culture lags behind the fast-pace development of technology, social inequilibrium arises. This view has been reinforced by the so-called Amara's Law: "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run." Simply put, the overestimation of the short-term technological benefits dangerously blinds people from the utter disregard of the long-term potential technological damage. The Amara's Law was associated with Dr. Roy Amara (1925-2007) of the Stanford University in California.

INSIGHTS: The Ogburn's Lag and the Amara's Law have cautioned us from the wanton consumerism of technological development, acquisition and utilization. They have underscored the importance of technology, so important to be just left to historical chance. Technology is invented to serve mankind, and not the other way around. Problems start to develop when people begin to be enslaved by technology (who can live nowadays without cellphones?). People need to get rid of technological myopia and become really critical about long-term effects of any technological innovation. Techno-savvy, yes! Techno-slave, nope! Albert Einstein was very profound when he exhorted: "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity!"

References:

So, Alvin. 1990. Social Change and Development. London: Sage Publications.

Vago, Steven. 1989. Social Change. Englewood, NJ: Prentice Hall.

7.15.2009

Undercover Ethnography

Undercover Ethnography

Undercover Ethnography is a very useful and appropriate method in unconventional and highly descriptive qualitative research. There are research problems, objectives and data that cannot be adequately addressed and generated by conventional research methods. Problems like prostitution, criminality, drug addiction, cartels, underground movements and corruption are best understood -- deeply qualitatively -- through unconventional research methods. Undercover Ethnography is also one of the unexplored areas in general ethnographic research designs.

My book - Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines (2007) - primarily employed Undercover Ethnography. Fixing Society got the 2008 Outstanding Book Award given by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Click to view Fixing Society (2007)
Click to view Award (2008)


What is Undercover Ethnography?

Undercover Ethnography is an uncommon and unaccustomed research method influenced by and using a combination of investigative journalism and police undercover techniques in investigating corruption issues. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has perfected and made very good use of investigative journalism in exposing corruption. The many works of Gary Marx in police surveillance methods provide the excellent source of theoretical and methodological foundations for undercover research. In the context of Fixing Society, Undercover Ethnography employed a combination of decoy conversations, concealed interviews and feigning techniques complemented by the ever useful qualitative methods of nonparticipant observation (agency immersion in disguise), key informants' interviews (KIIs), focused group discussions (FGDs) and archival research.

Marx identifies some of the useful undercover strategies like feigning as decoys to infiltrate organized crime and corruption for intelligence collection purposes, whose end goal is preparedness and prevention. Thus in Fixing Society, these strategies were also very useful in gaining access to fixers only in as far as the study aimed to understand them (for preparedness) and generated recommendations to address fixing (for prevention). Because of its sensitive nature, the study was somewhat similar to the covert methods employed by investigative researchers and journalists, undercover agents, deep penetration informers, spies and scouts, detectives and moles in generating information that are otherwise difficult to gather in conventional research methods.

References:

Amorado, Ronnie V. 2007. Fixing Society: The Inside World of Fixers in the Philippines. Davao City: Ateneo de Davao University - Research and Publication Office.

Marx, Gary T. 1987. “The Interweaving of Public and Private Police Undercover Work.” In C. Shearing. and P. Stenning. Private Policing. Sage Publications.

Marx, Gary T. 1995. “Recent Developments in Undercover Policing.” In T. Blomberg and S. Cohen. Punishment and Social Control: Essays in Honor of Sheldon Messigner.

Marx, Gary T. 1995. “The Use of Undercover Methods in Corruption Investigation.” Paper presented at the 7th International Anticorruption Conference. Beijing, October 6-10, 1995.

Marx, Gary T. 1995. Undercover: Police Surveillance in Comparative Perspective. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism at http://www.pcij.org/

Posters

A picture speaks
a thousand words!

- Napoleon Bonaparte

Ehem

Ehem

The Ehem Team

Ehem on Charity

Titus on Ehem

Paano Na Lang Kaya

Integrity as Metal

Integrity as Plant

7.14.2009

Power corrupts

With power comes
great responsibility!

- Spiderman (2000)

Power corrupts

Power tends to corrupt,
and absolute power
corrupts absolutely!

- Lord Acton (1834–1902)

48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power came from the 1998 British bestselling book of the same title by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers. The authors based their book from the various experiences of adroit power wielders such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Catherine the Great, Louis XIV, Mao Zedong, Talleyrand, Otto von Bismarck, Haile Selassie and Sun Tzu among others. The main thesis of these laws are primarily Machiavellian, although they likewise find resonance in Sun Tzu's Art of War. Interestingly, much of these laws also get inspiration from Greene's works on modern courtship theory and dating models. The book is said to be amoral in approach (read: leaving the reader to weigh the ethical implications of these laws), as it adopts much of Machiavelli's pragmatic attitudes towards the acquisition and utilization of power.

INSIGHTS: The book is very pragmatic. Choose what law works. These laws, which are actually tips, will be very useful in getting one's agenda. And they reinforce one another -- one law builds on the other, so on and so forth. The proper use of these laws will really get us enough social power. However, human beings are not amoral beings. So we need to be ethical in the acquisition, utilization and application of power. The English Lord Acton (1834–1902) first expressed his opinion in his letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!" Earlier, the Earl William Pitt who served as the British Prime Minister from 1776-1778 also said in similar tone: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it!" Even Spiderman (2000) declared: "With power comes great responsibility!" So it's interesting to note how the British authors of the book ignored the ancient British virtues of Lord Acton and Earl Pitt, by going to the Italian Machiavelli and Chinese Sun Tzu!

Law 1:
Never outshine the master.

Law 2:
Never put too much trust in friends;
learn how to use enemies.


Law 3:
Conceal your intentions.

Law 4:
Always say less than necessary.

Law 5:
So much depends on reputation; guard it with your life.

Law 6:
Court attention at all cost.

Law 7:
Get others to do the work for you,
but always take the credit.


Law 8:
Make other people come to you; use bait if necessary.

Law 9:
Win through your actions, never through argument.

Law 10:
Infection: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky.

Law 11:
Learn to keep people dependent on you.

Law 12:
Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim.

Law 13:
When asking for help, appeal to people's self-interest;
never to their mercy or gratitude.

Law 14:
Pose as a friend; work as a spy.

Law 15:
Crush your enemy totally.

Law 16:
Use absence to increase respect and honor.

Law 17:
Keep others in suspended terror;
cultivate an air of unpredictability.

Law 18:
Do not build fortresses to protect yourself;
isolation is dangerous.

Law 19:
Know who you're dealing with;
do not offend the wrong person.

Law 20:
Do not commit to anyone.

Law 21:
Play a sucker to catch a sucker;
seem dumber than your mark.

Law 22:
Use the surrender tactic;
transform weakness into power.

Law 23:
Concentrate your forces.

Law 24:
Play the perfect courtier.

Law 25:
Re-create yourself.

Law 26:
Keep your hands clean.

Law 27:
Play on people's need to believe
to create a cult-like following.

Law 28:
Enter action with boldness.

Law 29:
Plan all the way to the end.

Law 30:
Make your accomplishments seem effortless.

Law 31:
Control the options; get others to play
with the cards you deal.


Law 32:
Play to people's fantasies.

Law 33:
Discover each man's thumbscrew.

Law 34:
Be royal in your own fashion;

act like a king to be treated like one.

Law 35:
Master the art of timing.

Law 36:
Disdain things you cannot have;
ignoring them is the best revenge.

Law 37:
Create compelling spectacles.

Law 39:
Stir up waters to catch fish.

Law 40:
Despise the free lunch.

Law 41:
Avoid stepping into a great man's shoes.

Law 42:
Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.

Law 43:
Work on the hearts and minds of others.

Law 44:
Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.

Law 45:
Preach the need for change;
but never reform too much at once.

Law 46:
Never appear too perfect.

Law 47:
Do not go past the mark you aimed for;
in victory, learn when to stop.

Law 48:
Assume formlessness.

Ateneo Memo

7.13.2009

Political appointments

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by
the corrupt few!

- George Bernard Shaw