The NEP – Applying the management theory of Logical Incrementalism

In Malaysia, the NEP could be said to be the most debated political, economic and social  issue. It is often debated and viewed from the perspective of politics. In such cases participants  often have difficulty  discharging the emotions that  accompany political debates.

Then there are those who view it purely from ideological and idealistic perspective, ignoring realpolitik. That in my opinion is  also flawed.

REALPOLITIK is Governmental policies based on hard, practical considerations rather than on moral or idealistic concerns. Realpolitik is German for “the politics of reality” and is often applied to the policies of nations.

In between idealism and realpolitik, are the grey areas. Unfortunately, the grey has been abused, exploited, coloured to the extent that the very targetted group the NEP is supposed to help, feel alienated, exploited, abused.  What more to those who have been against it in the first place.

 Let us get real. The NEP with its shortcomings has been recognised as one piece of social engineering that has not failed, although to claim it a success is often debatable.  Mao did a piece of social engineering in the form of of the Cultural Revolution. The Khmer Rouge bungled up their social engineering resulting in the KILLING FIELDS. In Britain, the reenginnering of  society ,  giving opportunities  and some semblance of equality to the working class was done for a long period between the industruial revolution and the  world wars.  A proceess that took about 100 years.

Malaysians do not have to wait that long.

The Challenge is to rise above racism and chauvinism, that poverty transcends race and colour. The challenge is to see and ensure  that it is not against the social contract, that  nobody is being victimised and  that   justice is the bedrock of the nation. The challenge is to fight attempts to hijack the sacred philosophy and  holistic intent , the eradication of poverty.

I am perplexed to see the abundance of apathy amongst the opponents of NEP when the Great abuser of NEP, the Destroyer of Institutions, The Exterminator of an independent Judiciary was about to be executed. What was needed then  was a one vote majority to let loose the guillotine. The “beneficiaries” of the NEP were abandoning him.  Imagine the winner in the 1997 election was the party that advocated the abolishment of NEP as Malaysiansv were told  in IJOK. Unfortunately, Malaysians failed to rise above racism and chauvinism. Racism and chauvinism is thick even amongst those who oppose the NEP. Is it because it is all about what is for me?

And the government exploited such opportunity.  They are indeed smart in their practice of Management Strategies. So if viewed from the perspective of management the government has not done too badly, they would make many Harvard professors scrambling to see how the government has succesfully applied the Theory of Logical Incrementalism.

Logical Incrementalism (L I) is a term coined by James Brian Quinn (1980). According to Quinn, “Constantly integrating the simultaneous incremental process of strategy formulation and implementation is the central art of effective strategic management”. His adaptive approach of strategy formulation recognizes that implementing change in a large organization is complex and time-consuming and as a result a fully articulated strategic plan may actually not be possible. Instead the theory proposes a nonlinear mixture of strategic planning and flexibility for spontaneous change at any opportunity. 

Professors of LI Theory would argue that the greatest mistake done by  the the advocates of the Malaysian NEP is the annoucement of the 30% target. MBA students with good professors  and from good schools could easily recognize the flaw, that announcement of the target too early will rigidify process, cause active resistance to the goal itself, provide focal points to the oppositions which otherwise could be fragmented.

To the opponents of the NEP it could be wise to adopt the same theory to strategize the opposition.  One key feature of LI is its flexibility and adaptability.  The opportunity to totally abandon the NEP was lost in 1997.  For all you know the announcement at IJOK was just a gimmick, and KEadilan getting real. They know, It is highly unlikely that the NEP is going to be abolished  so why not exploit it politically.

I would advocate the   return to the ideals of Justice and fairplay. I urge Malaysians to fight racism and chauvinism. Poverty do not recignize color or creed.

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