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Monday, March 30, 2020

Strong and Weak Management: The Case of American Bus Companies and Regional Transit Authorities

By the end of the 2010’s, city officials in several American cities were rethinking bus service in a fundamental way; the passenger-fare revenue model was being questioned, and in some cases replaced with a model that fit better with serving poor people and changed local business environments. Yet the downside effects on the bus companies of trends, especially regarding ridership, may have been the result of internal organizational factors immune to a change in the revenue model. I contend that city officials and the managers of bus companies should resist the temptation to view a new model as a cure precisely because some problems, internal to the companies, could go on and silently undermine analysis of the new model such that it could erroneously be discontinued. To be sure, being willing to question a longstanding model is a mark of managerial strength. Indeed, it is precisely the managers of bus companies and regional authorities who are mired in longstanding assumptions who would tend to have the most difficulty in dealing with troublesome internal problems. 


Pope Benedict and Pope Francis: Power and Papacy

Power is seductive, even within religious organizations. It is like a drug in that denial can accompany an instinctual urge for immediate power even at the expense of the person’s own credibility. Put another way, self-discipline can easily succumb to the urge for power, even if the person has previously foreswore acting on that urge. Warped discernment between minor and major issues can also occur from the gravity of the instinctual urge. For example, a cleric may choose to break his or her decision to disavow acting on the urge in part because he or she incorrectly views the issue at hand to be a major one, when in fact it is not, at least as far as the religion is concerned. As in the case of a drug, perception, judgment and cognition may be impaired, or warped, by the urge itself. The Roman Catholic ex-Pope Joe Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) is a case in point.