EROSION OF GOALS
In the "erosion of goals" archetype, gaps between current performance and desired achievement sometimes generates pressure on stakeholders to improve via corrective action. But corrective action is often difficult, time consuming, and/or expensive. In such cases, the response may be to lower expectations and goals, since this can often be done quickly and cheaply. Erosion of goals relieves pressure and reduces the need for corrective action, but often results in a vicious cycle of worsening performance (a downward spiral of lowering goals, then performance, then goals…). The systems thinking module below includes a problem of practice, a systems thinking map, and application.
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Problem of Practice No. 2 explores how University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill engaged in alleged academic misconduct. For almost 18 years, 188 different lecture classes as well as hundreds of independent studies were offered that had no coursework expectations, no attendance requirements, and no assigned faculty member resulting in approximately 3100 students receiving "one or more semesters of deficient instruction." Lowering academic standards was the equivalent of academic steroids that boosted several college athletes' GPAs, keeping them eligible to play.