Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

By Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan

Paper delivered before the college graduating students of  Miriam College, Quezon City on December 5, 2005; also delivered at the National Convention of Career Development Association of the Philippines (CDAP) held at the Manila Peninsula Hotel on September 13, 2005 The perspective I bring to this conference goes beyond than the global frontier of our economy. As a corporate trainer, I will share with you the fundamentals of applied science in helping the new Kid adjust in a corporate environment. As an organization development consultant, I am inviting you to take the first step towards expanding the science and art of career counseling and step forward as a professional consultant.  As an advocate for continuous professional learning, I will walk you through in exploring a worldview based on post-normal science to orient the Kid and his/her counselor on the impact of change in our lives.

The Kid and the career/industrial counselor are already experiencing the challenges in problem solving and decision-making in an age Dr. Christine Page (2000, 2003) calls the Great Shift of the 21st century. Post-normal science shows the uncertainty factor with zero-low-high range and value-laden decision factor with zero-low-high range.

Using applied science, theories and practices acceptable to the counselee and the organization can help the Kid at the work place.  A professional consultant, because of research and experience may propose solutions that are moderately certain or uncertain with moderately high values.  At times, the counselee (Kid) and management may not fully understand what the consultant is really proposing and hesitate to take action.  Where uncertainty is very high and stakes are very high, the consultant is faced with a situation that is complex.  This complex situation, which appears to be at the last frontier of ‘science’, is in the realm of post normal science, challenging the once tested solution or routine responses of professionals.  As a worldview, post normal science deals with non-linear view of events and aperiodic manifestation of events that do not follow a pattern or defies statistical predictability (like the weather, political events or non-medical-assisted health recovery).Post normal science simply tells us that the paradigm of our discipline may not fully explain the reality of solving a problem, which we normally consider viable or non-viable.  My presentation provides a sketchy road map that begins with the science of economics as background to the corporate world of the Kid, then it moves to a discussion on the science of organization behavior (practiced by consultants) to help the Kid adjust and finally it revisits some ‘old’ classical theories Newton and Darwin (Landau, 1976) to help us understand some emerging 21st century paradigms advanced by quantum physics and chaos theory.

The Corporate Scenario

Global Economic Scenario
The Kid must understand that the economic environment in the Philippines is influence by American geopolitics. As an emerging market (EM), the Philippines, together with Ukraine, Egypt, Turkey, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico Poland and Pakistan, is under the protective tent of U.S. economy, When America catches cold, the Philippines gets the virus. The biggest economic threat the Philippine faces today is the “sharp slowdown in US economic activity,” which would likely reduce its risk appetite for investment abroad [in countries like the Philippines] and curtail employment in US mainland.

Resilient Philippine Economy:
The Kid (new employee) scrambles for a job in a market where Philippine business is competing globally. It means company size makes a difference.  Thus, companies merge to dominate the market. Others downsize to remain in the market. The result: corporate mergers (Packman effect) and downsizing to survive (Slimmer’s exercise).  There are signs of recovery in Philippine economy.  The graduate of SY 2005-2006 will definitely be in for a surprise.  Think ‘post-normal’ science!
The Kid has to use rational and super-rational means in choosing a corporate shelter.  I purposely do not use ‘home’ because job permanence and comfortable workloads are rare to find these days.  The company that employs the Kid is here today; it may be gone tomorrow.  Our shrinking economy is threatening the security of tenured employees, including corporate and school counselors. New employees are not assured of long-term working relationship that promises a golden pot of retirement at 55, 60 or 65, whether corporate or government pension plan.
Corporate sustainability of an employee is more of survival at the workplace. Will the Kid survive in the corporate world?  How can we help the Kid made it through in a shrinking economy? How can the Kid think positive amidst gloomy economic indicator and negative media about our un-abundant attitude about ourselves?

Staging One’s Career

Creative Career Option
This means getting the best deal on what is available.  At times, the Kid may have to take a job s/he is not too specialized in.  After all, education in the Philippines is still general education.
Professional entrepreneurship means looking at corporate employment as a job that is broken into tasks or activities that may not make sense to an engineering, management, or accounting graduate. Personal sustainability means creating opportunities to ‘expand’ the job or ‘expand’ with the job.  It is not only doing a job but also making something out of the job.  For example, a unit or a section will eventually become a department if cumulative tasks are found critical to business operation.  Sometimes, s/he must be willing to ‘contract’ like an accordion and expand by learning new tasks formerly assigned to others.

The Career Trajectory
Intentionally, the term trajectory is used and not career path.  The rapid changes in job descriptions due to the economy of scale and the impact of technology do not anymore guarantee the Kid a secure path in the corporate jungle. Passively waiting for a promotion as one becomes a senior employee is no longer the rule.  The Kid may have to try a Bullet Train, Snail Approach, Frog Leap, and MBA paradigm to propel him/her to a trajectory of career choice.
1. Bullet Train: Fast tract entry of the Kid as a management trainee gives him/her a better chance to move up the ladder. How does a Kid get to be picked as a trainee?  S/he has to have academic and non-academic record of excellence, and the network to link him/her to the corporate world. Off hand, I am familiar with the Ayala youth leadership program, Unilever business week and Accenture youth leadership program. In networking, unless there is ‘pure talent’ a political workhorse will not launch the Kid’s career.
2. Snail Approach: The long and winding road of an office clerk begins at ground level at a comfortable pace. Corporate managers may not have the mechanism to push him/her up the ladder. With lean work force, chances of creating new units or departments may not happen at all.  Mergers create an oversupply of potential officers.  Downsizing means also oversupply of manpower.  Unless s/he endeavors to make an impression as the best among the best, it will be a long wait for promotion.
3. Frog Leap is jumping from one job to another, using the first job as a stepping stone to a next higher paying job or more satisfying job.  In today’s mergers and shrinking corporate personnel, this approach appears to be most popular.  Though it does not guarantee long-term benefits like retirement pay and long-term loans, the take home pay looks attractive enough to compensate for the slow-moving career path in one corporation.
4. MBA is Marriage By Association.  Literally, it means marrying the job and its owner.  This means, the employee marries the key figure or better still, the owner of a corporation.  This model is that of a carpetbagger or a gold-digger.  While the terms used are derogatory, high stakes in high society do require some kind of a trade affiliation where corporate relationship ends up in a personal (family) relationship. If money is the sole concern of a relationship, it will seek to rise or sink to that level.  There is a close relationship between sex and money. Money and power.  Power and sex.  If that is the only value in a work relationship, then when money is no longer flowing, the employee swings to a corporate setting where it pays more.  You have to play it smart.  A growing corporation has a lot of room for growth.  A big corporation has a lot of compensation for slower progress up the ladder.
Success formula at the workplace is being a professional [PRO]. Performance predicts the future.  This means producing results; results come by being on the job (attendance) and getting it done on time or ahead of time, even beyond the 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM schedule (overtime, even without pay). Yes, the Kid assigned as clerk is ready based on performance.  Relationship builds synergy and is key to producing results through and with others. Opportunity is a decisive moment. It indicates that it is the Kid’s turn in God’s time to move up the ladder. Be a Pro, Kid.

No Kidding on the Block
The Kid meets the Boss. She needs to study the leadership style of her boss.  The managerial grid of Blake and Mutton (1985) is a good place to start. It talks about five styles: 1.1 Puro Utos (work-oriented), 9.9 Paki Sama (team player), 1.9 Puro Kape (country club) 1.1 Walang Paki (apathetic) and 5.5 Pa Tama-tama (average performer).
1. Three Interaction Principles.  How shall we help the Kid survive with his/her boss and co-employees?  Development Dimension International (DDI) sets three guiding principles:  First, s/he must maintain and enhance the self-esteem of others.  Second, s/he must listen and respond with empathy.  And third, s/he learns to ask for help to solve a problem.
2. Four Steps to Job Maturity. To relate with the Boss, the Kid needs to mature. How do we get the Kid to mature on the job?  The road to job maturity according to Hersey & Blanchard (1982) entails:  First, the Kid listens to the Boss to learn; executes what s/he is told to do.  Second, s/he is willing to be part of a team; cooperate with the Boss and officemates. Third, s/he must have the guts to participate and contribute his/her talent.  Fourth, as job mastery comes along, s/he must learn to accept responsibility and accountability.
3. Five Ways to Resolve Conflict. The must be trained to face conflict at the workplace by learning to find win-win solution. Other options are open: I win-you lose, I lose-you win, and I give half-you take half.  The Kid must learn how to play the corporate game with finesse.
Kenneth Blanchard’s situational leadership operates on employee maturity based on three factors: 1. High production goals, 2. Education and training skills, and 3. Willingness to take responsibility. Situational leadership has Blake and Mouton’s four styles: 1. Telling – similar to Puro utos, 2. Selling – Kasama, 3. Participatory – Puro Kape, and 4. Delegation – Walang Paki.
4. Seven Personality Skills.  The Kid needs to have an inventory of skills related to attitude towards work.  The Personality and Preference Inventory is a useful tool to help the Kid discover her work preference related to the following factors: 1. Active dominance, 2. Conscientious persistence, 3. Openness to experience, 4. Sociability, 5. Work tempo, 6. Aggressiveness, and 7. Seeking to achieve.  High and low scores in these factors will prepare the Kid to discover her strength and weaknesses in these areas.  Remember balance is key to personality development.

Exploring Possibilities
The Kid and the counselor need to have faith in exploring the 4th window of Johari (1961).  Fear of the unknown is a most common deterrent in moving forward in a corporate setting. Where sacrifice is involved, especially when it comes to the family, women employees would sometimes prefer to sacrifice their career promotion for the sake of the children.  We have to encourage both male and female corporate members to take the opportunity build their career.  Post normal science invites us to explore possibilities of the unknown in order to have a handle on a complex, out-of-the ordinary situation that calls for solutions on a personal, global and even cosmic scale.

Worldviews on Financial Sustainability It’s not just attitude anymore that matters.  A wider perspective on what our world is may help dispel the dark clouds that veil our vision. When the counselor is confronted with a seemingly unsolvable case or if both counselor and counselee are faced with the impossible, post normal science tells them that what used to be need not happen again.  Let me take you to some basics in how we see our world.  Sustainability may be viewed from a Newtonian and Darwinian organizational model or from a Quantum Physics and Chaos Theory perspective.

1. The Newtonian model views the solar system as being held together by the gravitation pull of the sun at the center with the planets in their respective places whirling around. Newtonian management is based on ‘check and balance.’ An office is centered on the boss and s/he holds everything together and puts everything in place. The boss is controlled by manager as a matter of check and balance.

2. The Darwinian model upholds the survival of the fittest.  For the Kid in a corporate jungle, this means the brute has the force to have his/her way of getting things done. On a personal level, the Kid may have to learn to be in harmony with others at work as a matter of survival. From an organization development point of view, business survival requires that the company as a living organism must remain compatible with its environment (customers, competitors, suppliers, etc) as things change over a period of time or else it will die. This the Kid must understand at a macro level.

3. Quantum Physics provides a perspective beyond the physical science.  It is in fact metaphysics.  Its basic tenet provides us the power of quanta, which is smaller than the atom, structurally broken down quarks. Quarks when observed behave differently.  In organizational behavior, Hawthorne Effect proves that attention to a particular work group increases productivity. Quarks, the basic-basic element of matter, is energy within us and is controlled by the power of our mind.  Chopra’s (1993, 2006) quantum healing is a manifestation of this power.  Easier when explained from our personal experience of coincidence or thought-creating immediate realization.  Examples: Have you wished someone would call you and immediately the phone rings?  Have you wished you had extra Pesos and someone handed it to you?  Do you know that the flapping of butterfly wings in the Philippines can cause an avalanche in Switzerland? Apparently, quarks are thinking particles.
1. Common sense tells us that an electron in a box has a definite location even if we do not know where it is (A).  The Copenhagen interpretation says that the electron exists as a wave filling the box, and could be anywhere inside (B).  Now we look for the electron, the wave function collapses at a certain location (A).
2. Common sense tells us that if we slide a partition into the box without looking, the electron must be in one half of the box (C). The Copenhagen interpretation says that as long as we do not look, the electron wave still occupies both halves of the box (D), and it only collapses on one side of the barrier when we look inside (C).
3. As long as we don’t look, even if we move the two halves of the box far apart the wave still fills both boxes E.  Even if the boxes are light years apart, it is only when we look into either one that the electron wave function collapses, instantaneously, and the electron ‘decides’ which box it is in (E (Gribbin: 1998).

4. Chaos Theory defies the linear statistical program of events around us.  It says that there are two forces around us: order and chaos.  Without chaos, there is no order.  Have you experienced something extremely difficult before you attained a victorious, triumphant undertaking?  This has happened many times, but we do not learn that before order, there are difficult tasks, seemingly insurmountable disorder that must be addressed.  The second key point of Chaos Theory is that there is an aperiodic manifestation of an incident/event in a series of recurring, regular events.  We want our lives to be predictable and yet there are events that defy logic.  Seen positively, Chaos Theory brings serendipity into our lives.  There is a breakthrough, something out of the ordinary happens.  Post-normal science is the brainchild of two philosophers of science, Silvio Fonowicz and Jerry Ravetz.

  • Ravetz: In pre-chaos days, it was assumed that values were irrelevant to scientific inference, and that all uncertainties could be tamed.  That was the ‘normal science’ in which almost all research, engineering and none-engineering was done.  There was always a special class of ‘professional consultants’ who used science, but who confronted special uncertainties and value-choices in their work.  In post-normal science, quality replaces Truth as the organizing principles.
  • Fontowicz: But in a world dominated by chaos, we are removed from the securities of traditional practice.  In many important cases, we do not know, and we cannot know, what will happen, or whether our system is safe.  We confront issues where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.  The only way forward is to recognize that this is where we are at.  In the relevant sciences, the style of discourse can no longer by demonstration as from empirical data to true conclusions.  Rather, it must be dialogue, recognizing uncertainty, value-commitments, and a plurality of legitimate perspectives.  These are the basis of post-normal science.
  • Fontowicz: In the heuristic plane of post-normal science, no particular view can encompass the whole.  The task now is no longer one accredited expert discovering ‘true facts’ for the determination of ‘good policies.’  Post-normal science accepts the legitimacy of difference perspectives and value-commitment from all those stakeholders around the table on a policy issue.  Among those in the dialogue, there will be people with formal accreditation as scientists or experts.  They are essential to the process, for their special experience is used on the quality control process as the input.  The housewife, the patient, and the investigative journalist, can assess the quality of the scientific results in the context of real-life situation.
  • Fontowicz: We call these people an ‘extended peer community.” And they bring ‘extended facts,” including their own personal experience, surveys, and scientific information that otherwise might not lave been in the public domain.
  • Post-normal science does not replace good quality traditional science and technology.  It reiterates or feedbacks, their products in an integrating social process.  In this way, the scientific system will become a useful input to novel forms of policy-making and governance.

For the New Kid on the Block, s/he must be ready to interact and speak out his/her truth to be able to contribute to the development of the organization. S/he cannot just be a receiver or order taker. S/he must have the courage to think things through, make stand and present his/her point of view.
The New Kid Takes a Leap
The graduate takes a leap of faith and lands in a corporate world — from an academic greenhouse to a real world.  S/he may creep like a snail in the beginning but I will not underestimate the hand of nature and the hand of super nature.  Who knows s/he will do a frog leap. (She needs to develop those frog legs).  Who knows she meets her Prince Charming, the CEO or chairman of the board! (He was once a frog?).  I encouraged once a young graduate to take what is available in the market to get his feet wet.  He took the job and made a frog leap to an ice cream factory.  Then another leap to a cigarette manufacturer that gave her a brand new car, a powerful cell phone and a trip to Singapore for training. In three years’ time, her trajectory overshot everyone’s expectation. I trained a marine biologist in a non-insurance company to become an assistant manager for marine hull and cargo.  Before her training was over, she decided to leave.  A year later, I met her and she handed me a calling card.  Her title was Vice President of XYZ non-life insurance company. Overjoyed, I congratulated her and asked how she got there.  She proudly told me, ‘I am the wife of the owner!” Indeed, she married a career and the insurance carrier. Dear graduates, the world is in your hands.  In addition, the world awaits your hands that will toil for your own survival, your family and ultimately this country. Embrace the world of work with confidence in your academic skills, personality traits, and God-given gifts.

Prosperity in a Shrinking Economy In spite of the global threat of an economic overheat and meltdown, there are plenty of reasons why we should think prosperous.  As Christian nation, I invite you to turn to the Holy Book for inspiration. As counselors, we know how powerful words can be.  The Word says:

Happy are they who obey the commands of the Lord;

Your work will provide for all your needs.

Your spouse shall be like a fruitful vine;

Your children like olive branches around your table;

And you see your children’s children.

Psalm 128


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