Waardevernietiging – Van Creveld over oorlogscultuur (2009)

Een wereld zonder oorlog?

overdenkingen met betrekking tot MGA en organisaties op basis van Martin van Creveld ‘The culture of war’ (2008)

  • Kan alles in goed overleg worden opgelost? Waar liggen de grenzen van volwassen mensen die in goed overleg tot de beste oplossing komen?
  • Wat is de rol van conflict en oorlog in onze moderne samenleving?
  • Hoe zit het met primitieve drijfveren van mensen in evolutionair perspectief?
  • Welke overeenkomsten zijn er tussen legers en bedrijven?
  • Welke overeenkomsten zijn er tussen oorlog voeren en winst maken?
  • Zijn we vergeten dat het begrip strategie zijn oorsprong vindt in oorlog voeren?
  • Een boek over oorlog, wat heeft dat te maken met strategie en organisaties? Aanvankelijk heb ik dit boek ook niet gelezen met deze bril op. Ik was op vakantie in Frankrijk en wil dan altijd een wat dikker en ‘serieuzer’ boek lezen. Dit jaar had ik met dat doel ‘The cutlure of war’ van Martin van Creveld meegenomen. Van Creveld was eerder dit jaar (2009) in Nederland om de Nederlandse vertaling van zijn boek te promoten en naar aanleiding van een stuk in de Volkskrant was mijn interesse voor dit boek gewekt.

    Tijdens het lezen van dit boek bekroop met het gevoel dat oorlog en de bijbehorende cultuur meer te maken heeft met de organisaties waarin we werken en producten maken dan ik had kunnen denken. Ik houd me in mijn vak en hier op de site bezig met drie thema’s:

  • Strategievorming
  • Mutual Gains Approach
  • Bedrijfsbegeleiding of Waardecreatie
  • Met alle drie de thema’s zijn met wat goede wil dwarsverbanden te leggen. Het systematisch nadenken over hoe je de vijand te slim af kunt zijn door hem te verrassen is in de praktijk en theorie van oorlogsvoering ontstaan vanaf de oude Grieken en staat bekend als ‘strategie’. Strategie vindt dus zijn oorsprong in oorlogsvoering. Wat de bredere oorlogsliteratuur ons bedrijfsadviseurs over strategie kan leren (wat niet al genoegzaam bekend is) vind ik een boeiende vraag en wil ik later nog eens oppakken. Dit boek van Van Creveld gaat over de oorlog en de bijbehorende cultuur en gaat dus niet expliciet op strategie ‘as such’ in.

    De Mutual Gains aanpak gaat ervan uit dat je er onderling uit moet komen bij een conflict. We zijn verstandige mensen en door het maken van goede afspraken en het op tafel krijgen van alle relevante informatie creeer je oplossingen die voor iedereen beter uitpakken. In die zin is MGA een strategie om conflict of ‘oorlog’ te vermijden. Volgens Van Creveld is het structureel vermijden van oorlog een illusie en eigenlijk zegt hij dus dat MGA alleen tussentijds en tijdelijk wat soelaas kan bieden. Dat er mogelijkheden bestaan waar wij allemaal beter van worden is blijkbaar onvoldoende garantie, blijkbaar is er meer aan de hand. MGA is win-win, oorlog heeft veel weg van loose-loose. Waarom is oorlog dan zo’n constante in onze wereldgeschiedenis?

    Wat ik bij bedrijven probeer te doen heeft alles te maken met waardecreatie. Hoe kan de omzet omhoog, hoe minder onnodige kosten te maken, hoe meer grip te krijgen op de organisatie, hoe beter meten of de gestelde doelen worden behaald, hoe tot meer winst of rendement te komen? Kortom: hoe kunnen we meer waarde creeren voor directeur, aandeelhouders, werknemers, klanten en welke belanghebbenden of stakeholders er nog meer in het spel betrokken worden. Kijkend naar de kredietcrisis en klimaatcrisis en de actuele discussies daarover is er in het bedrijfsleven meer aan de hand dan waardecreatie. Het marktdenken propageert een automatische werking van waardecreatie. Maar blijkbaar gaat het ook om het vernietigen van waarde, niet zozeer als onvermijdelijke bijkomstigheid van ons handelen (waar gehakt wordt vallen spaanders) maar intrinsiek, inherent en deels gewild, bewust en misschien zelfs opzettelijk. Oorlog gaat over de vernietiging van waarde. Als het klopt wat Van Creveld te melden heeft dan gelden zijn lessen ook voor wat we dagelijks binnen onze organisaties doen.

    Tot zover dus de legitimatie van het verwijzen naar een boek over oorlog op deze plek. Een aantal stellingen die in mijn ogen de kern van het boek van Van Creveld pakken:

    Stelling 1: oorlog is van alle tijden en plaatsen. Het vechten en oorlog voeren zit als het ware in onze genen verankerd.

    Stelling 2: oorlog heeft deels een nuttige en rationele kant, maar vooral ook een niet rationele of culturele kant.

    Stelling 3: de tijd van de grote oorlogen tussen natie-staten onderling lijkt voorbij, dat heeft vooral te maken met de introductie van atoomwapens.

    Stelling 4: oorlogen gaan ook in deze tijd van ogenschijnlijke wapenstilte onverminderd door op ‘kleinere’ schaal.

    Stelling 5: de huidige situatie wordt ook wel gekenschetst als een stability-instability paradox: het is stil maar elk moment kan de bom barsten.

    Stelling 6: een leger is een efficiente manier van oorlog voeren. Er zijn andere minder georganiseerde manieren om oorlog te voeren en ook bij een leger kan de neiging tot steeds grotere efficientie omslaan in zijn nadeel.

    Stelling 7: sexe-verschillen tussen man en vrouw verklaren veel van onze neiging om oorlog te willen voeren.

    Vervolgvragen (uitwerking ervan nog eens apart oppakken): op welke manieren kan oorlog en vernieting van waarde worden voorkomen? Bestaan er moderne vervangers van oorlog en vechten? En hoe houdbaar of duurzaam is dit allemaal?


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