The schizophrenic entity

You people should blame streaming videos for this torrent of unremitting garbage that is this blog.

Today I came home and Youtube offered this video from The Guardian on a decades old documentary on Climate Change from Shell:

[mini-rant:
BTW, newspapers doing videos, completely agree with XKCD most of the time. But some of these videos from Guardian, and some of NYT’s Op-Docs are good.
But still, if they are running short of money, could they just do more long form and fewer videos.]

Which brings me to my main rant.

I notice that journalists and commentators often seem to think that something espoused by the most senior people in a corporation represents the belief of that entire corporation. Which is why corporations are sometimes described as good or bad. But, they aren’t.

I understand that sometimes the culture is vile, and hence the organization seems to be a complete cesspool. In other cases, the culture nourishes the best of human nature. But in most cases, I’d say it comes down to the individuals.

Corporations are schizophrenic. There are different power centers with different motivations, different incentives driving it around. Somewhere in Shell were a group of people who thought it important to create a documentary that stated that their business was causing harm to people at large. But elsewhere, Shell was full of people who were working for their wage or chasing bonuses, and who refused to think deeply about the consequence of their actions.

I wonder if this – the tendency to attribute malice, or even any motivation, to a corporation – is a consequence of thinking of corporations as entities. But, it can’t be since people have the exact same problem when talking about government, or the military.

Essentially, in any large organization, there should always be a few people working at cross purpose to the stated goal of the overall organization.

2 thoughts on “The schizophrenic entity”

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