Positive bias in reporting Uncritical upbeat reporting Uncritical feel-good rhetoric
Organizations and social groups of all kinds have difficulties in processing negative feedback. Such feedback can take the form of external criticism of the performance of the organization or of its detrimental impact on the wider environment. It can take the form of internal reporting on such questions as well as on weaknesses in the organizational performance or on programme failures. The avoidance of such feedback may be encouraged by an insecure leadership that needs to be constantly encouraged by positive feedback. It may result from the ways in which good performance is rewarded within the organizational structure which can effectively result in career penalization if reports fail to appear positive. In the latter case reporting may focus only on positive achievements or only mention failures and emerging problems indirectly, if at all. Such avoidance prevents receipt of appropriate signals by management or the leadership, resulting in inappropriate policy formulation and a lack of ability to anticipate the evolution of events.
Frail coalitions of social forces should not be threatened by unnecessary negative feedback which would undermine their ability to act at all. It is therefore appropriate that such feedback should be filtered or made available only to certain people under certain conditions.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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