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Philosophy of Management

Volume 4, Issue 1, 2004
Organisation and Decision Processes

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Displaying: 1-7 of 7 documents


1. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Leonard Minkes, Tony Gear Guest Editors’ Introduction: Organisation and Decision Processes
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2. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Howard Harris, Saadia Carapiet, Chris Provis ‘Adaptive and Agile Organisations’: Do They Actually Exist?
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Management are increasingly using adaptive and agile organisations as a means to competitive advantage. In these organisations there is a flux in membership of work groups and organisation in response to external environment. The theory of complex adaptive systems suggests that the application of a few simple rules can lead to complex structures. But is there a relationship between the members of the organisation? Do they constitute a group, or an organisation? The paper advances a number of reasons why adaptive and agile enterprises may not be organisations in the accepted sense of the word. Implications are drawn with respect to the current demands for accountability and for the application of management processes and management development techniques which are based on groups.The paper draws on the work of Amelie Rorty on identity, Margaret Gilbert on groups and Chris Provis on trust. It is also informed by activity in the multi-national SYMPHONY project, which is developing management tools for networked enterprises which have a high knowledge component in the value stream and operate in rapidly changing and uncertain environments.
3. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Bernd Carsten Stahl Reflective Responsibility: Using IS to Ascribe Collective Responsibility
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While work in modern corporations tends to take place in groups or teams it is not quite clear which status these groups have. Are they genuine agents or are they simply collections of individuals? The question is important because the answer is often held to determine whether collectives can be viewed as subjects ofresponsibility. This paper raises the question of collective responsibility and focuses on the impact the use of information systems (IS) has on it. Starting with an analysis of the concept of responsibility it argues that the ascription of responsibility is admissible if it achieves certain social goals and it reviews the argumentsconcerning responsibility and collective subjects. Turning to information systems, it argues that their use can affect the process of ascribing responsibility both negatively and positively. It proposes the idea of ‘reflective responsibility’ and employs the reflective approach as a basis for using IS to support and enablethe ascription of collective responsibility.
4. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Mark R. Dibben Exploring the Processual Nature of Trust and Cooperation in Organisations: A Whiteheadian Analysis
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Process philosophy was on the periphery of academic thinking for much of the twentieth century. Whereas the focus of intellectual development was for the most part on scientific analysis, process philosophy argued for a more encompassing synthesis as well. Although the drive – the corpus delecti of formal researchassessment funding exercises – for separate, discrete and latterly measurable bodies of knowledge arrived at from within increasingly autonomous academic disciplines has undoubtedly led to significant advance in many areas it has, at the same time, rendered opaque the interconnectedness of all things and therebydiminished the perceived value of ideas developed in one field, in terms of their relevance to others. At its heart, this trend has arisen from a reliance upon a metaphysics of stasis; things are constant and can thus be analysed and re-analysed into ever finite and thoroughly separate elements. In contrast, a metaphysicsof process suggests that change and interconnectedness are the predominant characteristics of nature. As such, it provides new directions for contemporary thought by enabling the development of ideas via an otherwise unavailable framework of coherence and comprehensiveness.One area in which process thought has proved helpful is organisation studies. This paper examines the role of interpersonal trust in organisations from a Whiteheadian perspective. As such, it aims to show how Whitehead’s thinking can be applied to complex human experiences in such a way as to reveal the nature of the processes that go toward their development. The paper begins with a theoretical explication of trust derived from the contemporary social scientific literature. The development of trust, a key component of human society, is argued to be a subjective and processual phenomenon. In the light of this discussion the paper uses appropriate elements of Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism to provide a description of trust’s development in an individual for another individual, and its consequent impact on their cooperative behaviour. It thereby attempts to uncover the hitherto inaccessible micro-processes that go towards thedevelopment and continuation of interpersonal trust in organisational settings. In so doing, the paper seeks to demonstrate the explanatory power of an aspect of Whitehead’s work, his elucidation of human ‘emotional experience’, that is perhaps too often overlooked as a comparatively minor and non-technicaluse of his categoreal scheme.
5. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
John Darwin Preventing Premature Agreement
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The paper makes use of two frameworks to develop a discussion on the merits of delaying agreement in partnership contexts. The first framework – the Arenas of Power –is helpful in understanding the different contexts in which negotiation and discussion take place. Four Arenas are identified, depending on the potential for agreement between parties who may hold very different worldview perspectives, and the power distribution between the various parties involved. Each leads to different ways of working, and to different goals in terms of what can constructively be agreed and what could prove false or artificial. The second framework develops the idea of alethic pluralism through the use of Wilber’s four quadrants. The two frameworks are then related to four processes taken by ‘alternative’ systems of knowledge which illustrate examples of how things play out in and between the Arenas: annihilation, systematic exclusion/segregation, assimilation, and integration/accommodation.Several approaches are then outlined which can be used in these Arenas. They include Drama Theory (a development of Games Theory which has proved particularly useful in settings where there are dilemmas facing the parties which cannot be resolved through rational analysis), Principled Negotiation and WholeSystems Interventions. A number of practical examples are given which develop and enrich the argument, including cases where delaying agreement has proved beneficial, and cases where premature agreement has proved problematic.
6. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Petia Sice, Ian French Understanding Humans and Organisations: Philosophical Implications of Autopoiesis
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There is a large body of literature by the Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, usually referred to as Autopoietic Theory. This theory describes the dynamics of living systems; dealing with cognition as a biological phenomenon. The theory, however, has found far wider application thanmay be suggested from its biological roots. This is because the theory builds from its cognitive base to generate implications for epistemology, communication and social systems theory. Since, in essence, there is no discontinuity between what is social and what is human, from the perspective of their biologicalroots.This paper presents some of the key elements of autopoietic theory and explores their application to organisations and their management. The topics considered are: i) the epistemological qualities of our knowledge and its relevance in understanding organisation; ii) human enterprises as autonomous selforganisingsystems; iii) the meaning of communication and the role of language in organisations. The paper also describes a new approach to organisational inquiry. This brings together, in a co-determinate fashion, a pragmatic attitude to human experience and language, and the value of theoretical insight.
7. Philosophy of Management: Volume > 4 > Issue: 1
Gordon R. Foxall Beyond the Marketing Philosophy: Context and Intention in the Explanation of Consumer Choice
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The intentional stance and the contextual stance are inextricably interdependent in the production of a comprehensive explanation and means of predicting complex human behaviour. This is illustrated in the context of the expectation of attitudinal-behavioural consistency which has long lain at the heart of bothmarketing science and social psychology. In practice, cognitively-inclined attitude theory and research leans on the contextual stance in order to formulate the heuristic overlay of mental interpretation in which it primarily presents its predictive and explicative accounts of behaviour. Behaviour analysis has traditionally eschewed this approach, maintaining that it can generate an exclusively extensional account of complex behaviour. It is argued that while the cognitive and behaviour analytic approaches produce equally effective predictions of behaviour, an adequate explanation of human activity requires the addition of the kind of interpretive overlay advocated by Dennett in which the relationship between extensional science and intensionalistic interpretation is clarified. The resulting framework of analysis, intentional behaviorism provides an inclusive paradigm.