Perception management versus Preparation management : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Seventy years ago, sociologists W.I. Thomas and D.S. Thomas came up with the Thomas Theorem, a psychological phenomenon. Basically this states that if we define situations as real, then they are real in their consequences. Perception becomes reality. It has been stated by Mr. Koskinen that perception management is job number one. While well-intentioned, I think this approach runs the risk of having the opposite effects than that intended with Y2K. I am not arguing the validity of the Theorem, only its application to Y2K.

Perception management should be replaced with preparation management. Y2K failures are inevitable since not everything that needs to be fixed will be. The best defense against a panic, which lies at the heart of why perception management is job number one, is the offense of organized and coordinated preparation by us all. The Y2K perception management approach actually reduces peoples awareness of the need to prepare and subsequently their ability to prepare. Most important, the longer this misguided approach is continued, the less time to accomplish the preparation that is possible to get done given the inexorable ticking of the worldwide clock. When you are faced with a real threat, you prepare as best you can against it. In preparing, we greatly reduce the odds that we will be panicked. We need to make preparation management job number one. If we prepare, our perceptions will come along for the ride.

-- Rob Michaels (, May 23, 1999


See also...

A Preparedness Proclamation To Make September National Awareness Month 000rXI


In related developments, it is our understanding that Koskinen is about to announce a program that will encourage cities all over the United States to focus on community preparedness. We'll provide more details about this as soon as possible.


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 23, 1999.

Between the 60 minutes piece just now, Mr. Yourdon's testimony in the Senate next Tuesday, and a possible Koskinen announcement, we can only hope that the strategy shift from perception to preparation will happen soon or has begun. I think it is inevitable, and am wondering if this whole perception management startegy was just to buy time for an organized and hopefully well thought out preparation effort to be put together. Perhaps I am just dreaming out loud. Each previous time we all got a little excited about Y2K coming onto J. Q. Public's radar screen something came along to bury it and Y2K was forgotten.

Anyway, consider the stakes of each approach:

What is the result if they shift to a preparation management strategy, and Y2K turns out to be mild in impact? No big deal. A whole lot more people who have some extra food, water, toilet paper, etc.,

Compare this to the risks of continuing to sing the praises of perception management and having that many more unprepared people later on in an even mild Y2K impact. Bad News.

-- Rob Michaels (, May 23, 1999.

New question:

If it is true that the major networks are 'in bed' with our official 'leadership', than does the 60 minutes report signal the beginning of the strategy shift from avoiding panic to raising awareness and preparation?

What do you think?

-- Rob Michaels (, May 24, 1999.

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