Crime in 20th Century Britain

Block 4 of my T214 course is concerned with examining crime and criminal behaviour from a systemic perspective. This is of particular interest at the moment due to the recent riots, and I’m aware that one of the concepts being raised is the viability and usefulness of prison.

I haven’t started on this yet but I did have a quick search on Google for crime statistics and found this rather interesting article on History Today about Crime in 20th Century Britain. It’s quite a long read but does give some interesting insight into how we’ve succumbed to rising crime figures over the last hundred years.

It’ll be interesting to see where this leads me.

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T214: Activity 5.8 – analysing your messy situation

This activity asks me to think about the messy situation I’ve chosen for my assignments (Marconi’s descent into bankruptcy) by thinking about my feelings around that time. The question is:

Are there any aspects of the situation that you feel critical or guilty about, or where you attribute blame to others?

Superficially, I could rant along at length about certain people on the Marconi board who ruined the company (and I would be justified in doing so) but as I’m trying to learn some academic points from this exercise I need to approach it with a clear, unranty mind.

The thinking is this: criticism of others is often grounded in tension within ourselves, something subconscious that we’re not willing to accept. There’s an emotional aspect to being critical of others (rather than just corrective) that demonstrates something within us that we may not be aware of. If we can determine why we’re being critical in any particular situation then we can take a more balanced approach to solving whatever tension is causing us to be critical in the first place.

I’m finding it difficult to find my own failings or faults in this mess. I’m critical of the old Marconi board because they were incompetent idiots that ruined a profitable company. How am I going to discover my own tensions in this situation? Continue reading “T214: Activity 5.8 – analysing your messy situation”

T214: the problem with paradigms

I’m running a little behind with my T214 study but I’m determined to make a few posts about some of the subjects brought up in my readings. I may find these useful when I come to reflect on my learning.

One of the recent readings is concerned with “self-sealing behaviour”. This describes behaviour that reinforces your current beliefs; for example, a bully might persecute someone with low self-esteem, thus reinforcing the poor sod’s dim view of themselves. The reading talks a bit about blame, guilt and criticism, which I found to be quite interesting. Apparently, firms that employ a “blame culture” (whether they mean to or not) tend to have people that won’t accept any responsibility for their actions, and so avoiding any potential blame for failure. This makes it very difficult for companies to learn from their mistakes, as they sometimes won’t admit to having made any. Continue reading “T214: the problem with paradigms”

T214: Activity 5.6 Evolution of the ecology

My systems practice OU module is starting to get really interesting. The use of metaphors to explain situations has expanded to include an organic metaphor – organisations as organisms. This seems to work for me – probably better than the “machine” metaphor – as I think that most systems that involve people can be better explained this way. People don’t (or won’t) easily fit into a machine metaphor – decisions can be a bit erratic – and they are often swayed by changes in their environment, so perhaps if we imagine organisations to be more like an organism we can better understand how they work.

(By the way, I’m writing this as I’m thinking so apologies if it does make much sense…)

In my last assignment I attributed the downfall of Marconi to some very risky business decisions linked in with the unforeseen collapse of the telecommunications market. I could see how the “environment” affected Marconi – market conditions worsened making business difficult for our customers – but I didn’t consider how it could also work the other way; that our businesses could affect the environment. Continue reading “T214: Activity 5.6 Evolution of the ecology”