I have studied complex systems science from following teachers:
Yaneer Bar Yam of NECSI: Physical, Biological, and Social Systems
Scott Page of University of Michigan: Model Thinking: Complex Systems in Economics and Social/Political Sciences.
Melanie Mitchell of Santa Fe Institute: Introduction to Complex Systems
Michael Kearns of University of Pennsylvania: Networked Life: Science of Networks
Ravi Iyenger of Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine: Introduction to Systems Biology
Perry Mehrling of Columbia University/INET: Economics of Money and Banking
Bottom Up Modeling
Agent Based Modeling
Santa Fe Institute
Yaneer Bar Yam
Artifical Life (A-Life)
Albert Laszlo Barabasi
Small World Networks
Scale Free Networks
J Doyne Farmer
W. Brian Arthur
Six Degrees of Separation
Non Linear Dynamics
Competition and Cooperation
What are Complex Systems?
Source: A Brief History of Systems Science, Chaos and Complexity
Key Topics in Complex Systems
Sources: Complex Systems: A Survey
Lattices and Networks
Discrete Systems and Cellular Automata
Scaling and Criticality
Adaptation and Game Theory
Agent based Modeling
Chaos and Fractals
Spontaneous Order and Synchronization
The original journal devoted to the science, mathematics and engineering of systems with simple components but complex overall behavior; publishes high-quality articles that focus on, but are not limited to, the following areas:
Dynamic, topological and algebraic aspects of cellular automata and discrete dynamical systems
Complex systems and complexity theory
Algorithmic complexity and information theory
Emergent properties of dynamical systems
Formal languages, grammars and automata
Algorithmic information dynamics
Symbolic dynamics and connections to continuous systems
Tilings, rewriting and substitution systems
Synchronous versus asynchronous models
Applications of automata to areas such as machine and deep learning, physics, biology, social sciences and others
Source: A Brief History of Systems Science, Chaos and Complexity
History of Systems and Complex Systems
Source: A Brief History of Systems Science, Chaos and Complexity
Yang-YuLiu1,2 andAlbert-L ́aszl ́oBarab ́asi3,2,4,5 1Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School,
Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA 2Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115,
USA 3Center for Complex Network Research and Departments of Physics, Computer Science and Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA 4Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA 5Center for Network Science, Central European University, Budapest 1052, Hungary
(Dated: March 15, 2016)
Physical approach to complex systems
Jarosław Kwapień a,∗, Stanisław Drożdż a,b
a Complex Systems Theory Department, Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, PL–31-342 Kraków, Poland b Institute of Computer Science, Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Cracow University of Technology, PL–31-155 Kraków, Poland
Physics Reports 2011
Dynamics of Complex Systems (Studies in Nonlinearity)
Addison-Wesley, New York, 1997; ISBN 0-201-55748-7; 800 pp.,
A complex systems approach to constructing better models for managing financial markets and the economy
J. Doyne Farmer1, M. Gallegati2, C. Hommes3, A. Kirman4, P. Ormerod5, S. Cincotti6, A. Sanchez7, and D. Helbing8
1 Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
2 DiSES, Universit Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
3 CeNDEF, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 GREQAM, Aix Marseille Universit ́e, EHESS, France
5 Volterra Partners, London and University of Durham, UK
6 DIME-DOGE.I, University of Genoa, Italy
7 GISC, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
8 ETH, Zu ̈rich
Received 1 August 2012 / Received in final form 9 October 2012 Published online 5 December 2012
Eur. Phys. J. Special Topics 214, 295–324 (2012)
THE ONTOLOGY OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS: Levels of Organization, Perspectives, and Causal Thickets*
(Canadian Journal of Philosophy, supp. vol #20, 1994, ed. Mohan Matthen and Robert Ware, University of Calgary Press, 207-274). by William C. Wimsatt Department of Philosophy University of Chicago January 4, 1994 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Universal Key to the Stability of Networks and Complex Systems
P ́eter Csermely
February 25, 2009
Weak Links: Stabilizers of Complex Systems from Proteins to Social Networks,
by Peter Csermely.
2006 XX, 408 p. 37 illus. 3-540-31151-3. Berlin: Springer, 2006.
An Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling: Modeling Natural, Social, and Engineered Complex Systems with NETLogo
Wilensky, Uri and Rand, William MIT Press: London, 2015 ISBN 978-0262731898 (pb)
Dynamics of Complex Systems: Scaling Laws for the Period of Boolean Networks
Réka Albert and Albert-László Barabási*
Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
(Received 28 April 1999)
PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS
VOLUME 84, NUMBER 24
12 JUNE 2000
Cities as Complex Systems: Scaling, Interactions, Networks, Dynamics and Urban Morphologies
Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK Email: email@example.com, Web: www.casa.ucl.ac.uk
The Encyclopedia of Complexity & System Science, Springer, Berlin, DE, forthcoming 2008. Date of this paper: February 25, 2008.
Scale invariance and universality: organizing principles in complex systems
H.E. Stanleya;∗, L.A.N. Amarala , P. Gopikrishnana , P.Ch. Ivanova , T.H. Keittb , V. Pleroua
aCenter for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA bNational Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
Physica A 281 (2000) 60–68
A pragmatist approach to transdisciplinarity in sustainability research: From complex systems theory to reflexive science
Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, U.K.
Department of Mathematics and Centre for Complexity Sciences, University of Bristol, U.K.
(Dated: March 8, 2012)
Modelling and prediction in a complex world
Michael Battya, Paul M. Torrensb,*
aCentre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, 1 to 19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK bDepartment of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Central Campus Dr., Rm. 270, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9155, USA
Available online 19 March 2005
Complex networks Augmenting the framework for the study of complex systems
THE EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL B
L.A.N. Amarala and J.M. Ottino Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
Received 12 November 2003 Published online 14 May 2004
Eur. Phys. J. B 38, 147–162 (2004) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2004-00110-5
Learning from Evidence in a Complex World
John D. Sterman Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management and Professor of Engineering Systems Sloan School of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology 30 Wadsworth Street, E53-351 Cambridge MA 02142 617.253.1951 firstname.lastname@example.org web.mit.edu/jsterman/www
Revision of May 2005
Forthcoming, American Journal of Public Health
INTERDISCIPLINARYDESCRIPTION OFCOMPLEX SYSTEMS
7(2), pp. 22-116, 2009 ISSN 1334-4684
Error and attack tolerance of complex networks
R ́eka Albert, Hawoong Jeong, Albert-L ́aszl ́o Barab ́asi
Department of Physics, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556
The Kuramoto model in complex networks
Francisco A. Rodriguesa, Thomas K. DM. Peronb,c,∗, Peng Jic,d,∗, Jürgen Kurthsc,d,e,f
aDepartamento de Matemática Aplicada e Estatística, Instituto de Ciências Matemáticas e de Computação, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 668, 13560-970 São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil bInstituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 369, 13560-970, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil cPotsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 14473 Potsdam, Germany dDepartment of Physics, Humboldt University, 12489 Berlin, Germany eInstitute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, United Kingdom fDepartment of Control Theory, Nizhny Novgorod State University, Gagarin Avenue 23, Nizhny Novgorod 606950, Russia
Uncovering the overlapping community structure of complex networks in nature and society
Gergely Palla†‡, Imre Dere ́nyi‡, Ille ́s Farkas†, and Tama ́s Vicsek†‡ †Biological Physics Research Group of HAS, Pa ́zma ́ny P. stny. 1A, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary,
‡Dept. of Biological Physics, Eo ̈tvo ̈s University, Pa ́zma ́ny P. stny. 1A, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary.
System Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World
John D. Sterman MIT Sloan School of Management Cambridge MA 02421
While plots may be “archetypal” when they exhibit certain forms, in this post we are concerned with character archetypes.
In modern storytelling, to consider them as archetypes might suggest a bit of a corset, perhaps even a straightjacket for the characters. For today’s author, to present a character as an archetype does not seem conducive to achieving psychological verisimilitude.
But an archetype is not the same as a stereotype. An advisor or mentor does not need to be a wise old man like Obi-Wan Kenobi. And an antagonist does not need to be a baddy.
Consider archetypes as powers within a story. Like planets in a solar system, they have gravity and they therefore exert force as they move.
Archetypes denote certain general roles or functions for characters within the system of the story. There is ample room for variation within each role or function. Boundaries between one archetype and another may be fuzzy. And it is possible for one character to stand for more than one archetype.
Archetypes Through The Ages
Certain archetypes are ancient and have been around as long as stories have been told. Others may have a Christian background. Some are modern interpretations of ancient archetypes seen in the light of dramaturgical principles.
We may distinguish between three sorts of archetypes.
Ancient – archetypes that we find in the very oldest stories, and in very modern ones
Classical – archetypes that we find in works of literature of the past two thousand years
Role-based – modern variants that consider the dramaturgical function of characters
This categorisation has overlaps. The ancient, original archetypes, such as the Mentor, are of course also classical. And certain role-based archetypes, such as the Protagonist, may correspond to ancient ones, such as the Prince.
The Protagonist is sometimes called the Hero, a word which in terms of ancient archetypes might refer to a number of archetypes, for instance Warrior (Achilles) or Trickster (Odysseus). In the modern sense of role-based archetypes, this is the person (or rabbit, or robot, or whatever) the story is primarily about, the one whose travails the recipient, the audience or reader, follows through to the end of the story.
The Protagonist’s opposing power is the antagonism, which may be personified in an individual Antagonist. It helps to remember that in terms of function within the story, an antagonist does not necessarily have to be a villain, but is a counterforce to the protagonist (for an ancient example, consider Agamemnon and Achilles in the Iliad).
The antagonistic force is sometimes referred to as the “Shadow”. This can be misleading, since really almost every archetype has its own shadow side. A Patriarch may be presented as benevolent or “light”, or as tyrannical and “dark”. Indeed, in one story the character (or characters) representing such an archetype might show signs of both.
Characters Wearing Hats
Several of the roles or functions that you find in all sorts of stories – such as the Mentor, the Ally, the Patriarch – do not always have to be riveted to one specific character. For instance, it is quite possible that one character may have the Mentor hat on at one point in the story, and the Ally hat at another.
The point is that such forces or functions tend to be present in stories, and characters express these forces through their role or function within the story at each point in the narrative.
There is even an archetype for a character that explicitly changes roles in the story, where it becomes part of that character’s function to jump role at one or more points along the story. That is a Shapechanger.
Some archetypes are gender specific. The Patriarch/Father/King stands for different values from the Matriarch/Mother/Queen. For other archetypes, whether the character is male or female is not the point. A Shapechanger or a Trickster is defined by what the character does in the story.
So archetypes are really little more than signposts. Assigning a character an archetype is not to pressure that character into behaving in a certain way. Calling a character an archetype is merely to give us a pointer to that character’s role and function in the story. Characters that can be labelled as several archetypes tend to be multi-facetted. Hamlet, for instance, fulfils the criteria for several archetypes. So thinking about characters in terms of which archetypal roles they may play is actually a way of making the characters richer, giving them more depth, making them appear psychologically real and ultimately human.
System archetypes are the pattern which are recurrent.
The Systems Thinker
Daniel H Kim
WHAT IS A SYSTEMS ARCHETYPE?
Source: Systems Archetype Basics : From Story to Structure
Without having to climb beanstalks or push anyone into an oven, children learn lessons from fairy tales about how to hide from powerful, cruel beings, build solid dwellings, and be respectful of old people. Literary themes also show us the hero’s journey, the trials of hard work, the outcomes of faithful love and misguided passion, and the ennui of a materialistic life. In these examples from literature, the term archetype signifies a recurring, generic character, symbol, or storyline. In systems thinking, the term has a very similar meaning. It refers to recurring, generic systemic structures that are found in many kinds of organizations, under many circumstances, and at different levels or scales, from internal personal dynamics to global international relations.
Captured in the stories, structures, and behavior over time of the archetypes are similar teachings about competition, addiction, the perils of quick fixes, and the high flyer’s downfall. And as we do with stories and fairy tales, we can use the archetypes to explore generic problems and hone our awareness of the organizational dramas unfolding around us. We can even use archetypes to sharpen our ability to anticipate difficulties, communicate about them with our colleagues, and find ways to address them together.
The systems archetypes, as a group, make up one of the 10 current categories of systems thinking tools. (See Appendix B for a complete list of these tools.) Each archetype features a storyline with a distinctive theme, a particular pattern of behavior over time that can be graphed, and a unique systemic structure that can be depicted in a causal loop diagram. The value of archetypes is that we can study them apart from a specific story, problem, or organizational situation and take away generic, transferable learnings that we can then apply to many situations in our own lives.
WHERE DID ARCHETYPES COME FROM?
In the 1960s and 1970s, Jay Forrester, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, and other pioneers of systems thinking observed several recurring systemic structures. In the 1980s, Michael Goodman, Charles Kiefer, Jenny Kemeny, and Peter Senge built on that work, in part with the help of notes developed by John Sterman, by describing, diagramming, and cataloguing these generic systemic structures as systems templates. When Peter Senge authored The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, he referred to those structures as systems archetypes. Since then, the notion of systems archetypes has become quite popularized, and systems thinking practitioners have continued to teach, apply, and write about these recurring generic structures as well as investigate and test the potential of identifying new ones.
List of Key System Archetypes
Fixes that Fail
Growth and Underinvestment
Limits to Success
Shifting the Burden/Addiction
Success to the Successful
Tragedy of the Commons
Source: Systems Thinking Tools: A User’s Reference Guide
Source: SYSTEMS ARCHETYPES I
Source: Systems Thinking Tools: A User’s Reference Guide
Source: SYSTEMS ARCHETYPES I
System Archetypes and Their Storylines
Source: SYSTEMS ARCHETYPES AND THEIR APPLICATION
Archetypes and their Applications
Source: SYSTEMS ARCHETYPES AND THEIR APPLICATION
Source: Systems Archetype Basics : From Story to Structure
Source: Systems Archetype Basics : From Story to Structure
Source: Systems Archetype Basics : From Story to Structure
Source: Systems Archetype Basics : From Story to Structure
Source: A theory of spatial system archetypes
➤ A Glossary of Systems Thinking Tools
Source: Systems Archetype Basics : From Story to Structure
Systems thinking can serve as a language for communicating about complexity and interdependencies. To be fully conversant in any language, you must gain some mastery of the vocabulary, especially the phrases and idioms unique to that language. This glossary lists many terms that may come in handy when you’re faced with a systems problem.
Anything that builds up or dwindles; for example, water in a bathtub, savings in a bank account, inventory in a warehouse. In modeling software, a stock is often used as a generic symbol for accumulators. Also known as Stock or Level.
Combined with reinforcing loops, balancing processes form the building blocks of dynamic systems. Balancing processes seek equilibrium: They try to bring things to a desired state and keep them there. They also limit and constrain change generated by reinforcing processes. A balancing loop in a causal loop diagram depicts a balancing process.
Balancing Process with Delay
A commonly occurring structure. When a bal- ancing process has a long delay, the usual response is to overcorrect. Over- correction leads to wild swings in behavior. Example: real estate cycles.
Behavior Over Time (BOT) Graph
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. BOT graphs capture the history or trend of one or more variables over time. By sketching several variables on one graph, you can gain an explicit understanding of how they interact over time. Also called Reference Mode.
Causal Loop Diagram (CLD)
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. Causal loop diagrams capture how variables in a system are interrelated. A CLD takes the form of a closed loop that depicts cause-and-effect linkages.
A systems archetype. In a “Drifting Goals” scenario, a gradual downward slide in performance goals goes unnoticed, threatening the long- term future of the system or organization. Example: lengthening delivery delays.
A systems archetype. In the “Escalation” archetype, two parties compete for superiority in an arena. As one party’s actions put it ahead, the other party “retaliates” by increasing its actions. The result is a continual ratcheting up of activity on both sides. Examples: price battles, the Cold War.
The return of information about the status of a process. Example: annual performance reviews return information to an employee about the quality of his or her work.
Fixes That Fail
A systems archetype. In a “Fixes That Fail” situation, a fix is applied to a problem and has immediate positive results. However, the fix also has unforeseen long-term consequences that eventually worsen the problem. Also known as “Fixes That Backfire.”
The amount of change something undergoes during a particular unit of time. Example: the amount of water that flows out of a bathtub each minute, or the amount of interest earned in a savings account each month. Also called a Rate.
Structures that can be generalized across many different settings because the underlying relationships are fundamentally the same. Systems archetypes are a class of generic structures.
Graphical Function Diagram (GFD)
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. GFDs show how one variable, such as delivery delays, interacts with another, such as sales, by plotting the relationship between the two over the entire range of relevant values. The resulting diagram is a concise hypothesis of how the two variables interrelate. Also called Table Function.
Growth and Underinvestment
A systems archetype. In this situation, resource investments in a growing area are not made, owing to short-term pressures. As growth begins to stall because of lack of resources, there is less incentive for adding capacity, and growth slows even further.
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. A learning lab- oratory embeds a management flight simulator in a learning environment. Groups of managers use a combination of systems thinking tools to explore the dynamics of a particular system and inquire into their own understand- ing of that system. Learning labs serve as a manager’s practice field.
An area where small change can yield large improvements in a system.
Limits to Success
A systems archetype. In a “Limits to Success” scenario, a company or product line grows rapidly at first, but eventually begins to slow or even decline. The reason is that the system has hit some limit— capacity constraints, resource limits, market saturation, etc.—that is inhibiting further growth. Also called “Limits to Growth.”
Management Flight Simulator (MFS)
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. Similar to a pilot’s flight simulator, an MFS allows managers to test the outcome of different policies and decisions without “crashing and burning” real companies. An MFS is based on a system dynamics computer model that has been changed into an interactive decision-making simulator through the use of a user interface.
Policy Structure Diagram
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. Policy structure diagrams are used to create a conceptual “map” of the decision- making process that is embedded in an organization. It highlights the fac- tors that are weighed at each decision point.
See Behavior Over Time Graph.
Along with balancing loops, reinforcing loops form the building blocks of dynamic systems. Reinforcing processes com- pound change in one direction with even more change in that same direc- tion. As such, they generate both growth and collapse. A reinforcing loop in a causal loop diagram depicts a reinforcing process. Also known as vicious cycles or virtuous cycles.
Shifting the Burden
A systems archetype. In a “Shifting the Burden” situa- tion, a short-term solution is tried that successfully solves an ongoing prob- lem. As the solution is used over and over again, it takes attention away from more fundamental, enduring solutions. Over time, the ability to apply a fundamental solution may decrease, resulting in more and more reliance on the symptomatic solution. Examples: drug and alcohol dependency.
Shifting the Burden to the Intervener
A special case of the “Shifting the Burden” systems archetype that occurs when an intervener is brought in to help solve an ongoing problem. Over time, as the intervener successfully handles the problem, the people within the system become less capable of solving the problem themselves. They become even more dependent on the intervener. Example: ongoing use of outside consultants.
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. A computer model that lets you map the relationships that are important to a problem or an issue and then simulate the interaction of those variables over time.
Draws out the accumulators and flows in a system, giving an overview of the major structural elements that produce the system’s behavior. Also called flow diagram or accumulator/flow diagram.
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. A structure- behavior pair consists of a structural representation of a business issue, using accumulators and flows, and the corresponding behavior over time (BOT) graph for the issue being studied.
The manner in which a system’s elements are organized or interre- lated. The structure of an organization, for example, could include not only the organizational chart but also incentive systems, information flows, and interpersonal interactions.
Success to the Successful
A systems archetype. In a “Success to the Success- ful” situation, two activities compete for a common but limited resource. The activity that is initially more successful is consistently given more resources, allowing it to succeed even more. At the same time, the activity that is initially less successful becomes starved for resources and eventually dies out. Example: the QWERTY layout of typewriter keyboards.
A field of study that includes a methodology for constructing computer simulation models to achieve better understanding of social and corporate systems. It draws on organizational studies, behavioral decision theory, and engineering to provide a theoretical and empirical base for structuring the relationships in complex systems.
A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements form- ing a complex whole. Almost always defined with respect to a specific pur- pose within a larger system. Example: An R&D department is a system that has a purpose in the context of the larger organization.
One of the 10 tools of systems thinking. Systems archetypes are the “classic stories” in systems thinking—common patterns and structures that occur repeatedly in different settings.
A school of thought that focuses on recognizing the inter- connections between the parts of a system and synthesizing them into a unified view of the whole.
See Graphical Function Diagram.
A tool used to identify systems archetypes. To use a template, you fill in the blank variables in causal loop diagrams.
Tragedy of the Commons
A systems archetype. In a “Tragedy of the Commons” scenario, a shared resource becomes overburdened as each person in the system uses more and more of the resource for individual gain. Eventually, the resource dwindles or is wiped out, resulting in lower gains for everyone involved. Example: the Greenhouse Effect.
The above glossary is a compilation of definitions from many sources, including:
Innovation Associates’ and GKA’s Introduction to Systems Thinking coursebooks
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge
High Performance Systems’ Academic User’s Guide to STELLA
The American Heritage Dictionary and The Random House Dictionary.
Systems Thinking Tools
Source: THE “THINKING” IN SYSTEMS THINKING: HOW CAN WE MAKE IT EASIER TO MASTER?
Source: Systems Thinking Tools: A User’s Reference Guide
Source: Systems Thinking Tools: A User’s Reference Guide
Systems Thinking: A Review and Bibliometric Analysis
Niamat Ullah Ibne Hossain , Vidanelage L. Dayarathna, Morteza Nagahi and Raed Jaradat *
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA; email@example.com (N.U.I.H.); firstname.lastname@example.org (V.L.D.); email@example.com (M.N.) * Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
SYSTEMIC THINKING FOR POLICY MAKING – THE POTENTIAL OF SYSTEMS ANALYSIS FOR ADDRESSING GLOBAL POLICY CHALLENGES IN THE 21st CENTURY
17-18 September 2019, OECD Conference Centre
Edited by Gabriela Ramos, William Hynes, Jan-Marco Müller and Martin Lees
A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Use of System Archetypes to Accelerate, Advance, and Deepen Systems Thinking Skills of Nurses
Daniel J Pesut PhD RN FAAN Professor of Nursing Population Health and Systems Cooperative Unit Director of the Katharine Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership University of Minnesota School of Nursing 308 Harvard St. SE
MPLS MN 55455 USA
Judith Pechacek, DNP, RN, CENP University of Minnesota, School of Nursing
Clinical Associate Professor Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program 308 Harvard St. SE
Interaction as a cause of frame production, reflection, learning and frame alignment.
Differing perspectives on a current issue. Contesting and competing.
Frames of Possibilities
Farmes of possible future due to uncertainty. Scenarios of future states.
Media Frames and Audience frames
Dielectics between media frames and audience frames
Frames – Sociological and Psychological
Source: CONCEPTUAL ISSUES IN FRAMING THEORY: A Systematic Examination of a Decade’s Literature
Conceptually, framing can be said to have two broad foundations—sociological (Entman, 1991; Gamson & Modigliani, 1987; Gitlin, 1980; Goffman, 1974) and psychological (Domke, Shah, & Wackman, 1998; Iyengar, 1991; Kahneman & Tversky, 1984). Framing research that grew from sociological foundations refers to the ‘‘frames in communication’’ (Chong & Druckman, 2007b, p. 106). In general, this research tends to focus on the ‘‘words, images, phrases, and presentation styles’’ (Druckman, 2001, p. 227) that are used to construct news stories and the processes that shape this construction.
Goffman (1974) was one of the first scholars to have developed the general concept of framing. As such, frames help people organize what they see in everyday life. Goffman calls frames the ‘‘schemata of interpretation,’’ a framework that helps in making an otherwise meaningless succession of events into something meaningful (p. 21). Gitlin (1980) defines frames as devices that facilitate how journalists organize enormous amounts of information and package them effectively for their audiences. He sees frames as ‘‘persistent patterns of cognition, interpretation, and presentation, of selection, emphasis, and exclusion,’’ organizing the information for both the journalists and their audiences (p. 7). According to Entman (1993), framing involves selection and salience—‘‘to frame is to select some aspects of perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described’’ (p. 52). Framing could have significant connotations as frames highlight some aspects of reality while excluding other elements, which might lead individuals to interpret issues differently.
Besides examining media frames, researchers have most enthusiastically studied the processes involved in the formation of the audience frame. There is much research that demonstrates how news framing influences information processing and the subsequent decision-making processes. Kahneman and Tversky (1979, 1984) were the first to demonstrate how different presentations of essentially the same information can have an impact on people’s choices. They found that individuals were inclined to take risks when ‘‘losses’’ are highlighted. But when the same information is presented in terms of ‘‘gains,’’ individuals shy away from risks. This approach, called ‘‘equivalency’’ (Druckman, 2001, p. 228), examines the influence of different but logically equivalent messages. In this approach, all factual and stylistic elements are comparable so that the pure influence of the frame can be observed. The ‘‘equivalency’’ perspective draws extensively on the experiments of risk-gain research (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979, 1984).
The ‘‘emphasis’’ (Druckman, 2001, p. 230) approach to framing demonstrates that accentuating certain considerations in a message can influence individuals to focus on those particular considerations. Scholars (Domke et al., 1998; Iyengar, 1991; McLeod & Detenber, 1999; Nelson, Clawson, & Oxley, 1997; Valkenburg, Semetko, & de Vreese, 1999) aligned to this interpretation of framing maintain that it is not always possible to manipulate a frame without changing some of the facts. Druckman (2004) aptly points out that in many cases, especially with political issues, there is not always a way to present a situation in different but equivalent ways. Instead, emphasis framing effects refer to situations when, by ‘‘emphasizing a subset of potentially relevant considerations,’’ individuals are led to focus on these considerations in the decision-making process (Druckman, 2004, p. 672). Thus, for political issues the concept of framing usually refers to ‘‘characterizations’’ of a course of action where a central idea provides meaning to the event (Sniderman & Theriault, 2004, p. 136). It is within ‘‘emphasis’’ framing that scholars have again differentiated frames—episodic versus thematic (Iyengar, 1991); strategy versus issue (Cappella & Jamieson, 1997); in terms of values (Brewer & Gross, 2005; Shah et al., 1996) to name a few.
The dual nature of framing research—frames in the news versus frames in the individuals’ minds—is evident. Scholars have examined both areas of literature in the past decades.
Source: CONCEPTUAL ISSUES IN FRAMING THEORY: A Systematic Examination of a Decade’s Literature
Moreover, in previous experimental research, scholars have focused largely on how different frames can affect the audiences’ attitudes, their learning, or political behavior. These studies have mainly focused on the difference of framing effects in single frame conditions, for instance, strategic versus value framing, loss versus gain, or episodic versus thematic (Iyengar, 1987, 1991; Nelson, Clawson, et al., 1997; Shah et al., 1996). However, there has been little research on the effects of multiple frame conditions, where the same subjects get alternative frames of an issue (Shah, Kwak, Schmierbach, & Zubric, 2004; Sniderman & Theriault, 2004). In general ‘‘the role of multiple competing frames has gone largely unexplored’’ (Chong & Druckman, 2007a, p. 101).
To be able to capture what actually happens in politics, ‘‘it is necessary to have an additional condition in framing experiments, in which opposing frames are presented together’’ (Sniderman & Theriault, 2004, p. 146). The authors consider ‘‘ambivalence’’ as key for framing effects (p. 137). They argue that the very nature of politics requires choices to be made between competing values. So value conflict is critical to the link between issue framing and political judgment. As such, the present study examined the published literature for the presence of studies exploring mixed frames.
Frames, Frame Effects, and Multiple Frames in Interaction
Sources: Toward a Relational Concept of Uncertainty: about Knowing Too Little, Knowing Too Differently, and Accepting Not to Know
Framing research has important roots in the work on cognitive biases and decision heuristics (Tversky and Kahneman 1981, De Martino et al. 2006). From this perspective, frames are representations of the external world, but these heuristic representations are biased when compared with accurate, decision theoretical representations (cf. Tversky and Kahneman 1981). This view has been adopted in classical decision-making theory, and served as a basis to study inconsistencies underlying judgment and choice (e.g., Kahneman and Tversky’s (1996) work on judgmental heuristics and limitations of intuitive choice). In this context, “framing effects” represent a violation of the standard economic account of human rationality. Having different formulations of what decision theory considers to be the same problem (in terms of expected utility) elicits different preferences: risk aversion can be encouraged by framing the situation in terms of gains, whereas risk seeking is encouraged by framing the situation in terms of losses (Tversky and Kahneman 1981). Although we do not share the assumption of the decision-heuristic approach that there is always a unique and correct decision theoretical formulation of a decision problem, this research does demonstrate that formulating a problem in a different way may elicit distinct decision preferences (Tversky and Kahneman 1981), affecting the meaning of and the importance attributed to uncertain information, and pointing toward different actions.
We understand frames as sense-making devices (Weick 1995) that mediate the interpretation of reality by adding meaning to a situation. The same situation can thus be framed in multiple, equally valid ways. For example, a situation of water shortage can be framed as a problem of “insufficient water supply” by one actor and, one of “excessive water consumption” by another. When a problem is framed as insufficient water supply, the most relevant uncertainties will be those associated with the amount of water available, and technical solutions that help avoiding water shortage can be favored (e.g., adopt a more efficient irrigation technology, Koundouri et al. 2006). However, when the problem is framed as an excessive water consumption issue, other solutions can be considered, such as changing the way in which water is used and consumed (e.g., diversification of crops). In this case, uncertainties associated with how society will react to a change in land use, or policies that stimulate the change (e.g., Common Agricultural Policy) will be the most important. In this way, frames significantly affect how meaning is inferred and how a situation is understood, serving to define a problem relative to core values and assumptions and to determine how to respond to it (Nisbet and Mooney 2007).
There have been two main approaches to framing research, namely, a cognitive approach where frames are defined as “cognitive representations,” and an interactional approach where frames are defined as “interactional co-constructions” (an in-depth comparison of both approaches can be found in Dewulf et al. (2008)). The cognitive approach has focused on frames as knowledge structures. It is based on the idea that frames are memory structures that help us organize and interpret incoming perceptual information by fitting it into pre-existing categories about reality (Minsky 1975). In contrast, the interactional approach focuses on how parties negotiate frame alignments in interactions. It considers frames as communicative devices, that is interactional alignments or co-constructions that are negotiated and produced in the ongoing interaction through “metacommunication” that indicates how a situation should be understood. From this perspective, frames are co-constructions of the meaning of the external world. This view has been adopted in multiparty collaborations and is exemplified in Dewulf et al. (2004) and Putnam and Holmer (1992).
Here, we adopt an interactional approach, where framing is defined as the process through which the meaning of a situation is negotiated among different actors (Putnam and Holmer 1992, Gray 2003a, Dewulf et al. 2004). Thus, framing is thought to be an interactive process where actors are engaged in developing an understanding of problems and alternative solutions. It is through the joint activities of framing, and reframing, that the actors can arrive at a joint problem definition. From this social experience, a common language and a new sense of community can emerge, opening up possibilities for further creativity and developments, and fostering learning and change (Bouwen 2001).
In our definition of uncertainty, we incorporate the concept of multiple frames, in order to capture the difference among multiple forms of knowledge. We consider each frame to represent a potentially valid view of a situation, reflecting the viewpoint of a particular community of practice (Bouwen 2001). Under the rationale of an interactional approach to framing research, we acknowledge the social processing of uncertain information and capture the interactions among actors during deliberative processes of framing and reframing. However, during these processes, encountering multiple frames that are incompatible is unavoidable, and results in ambiguity about the meaning and importance attributed to uncertain information.
Next, we discuss and describe some of the implications of ambiguity in the conceptualization of uncertainty.
Source: Towards a relational concept of uncertainty: Incorporating the human dimension
Source: Towards a relational concept of uncertainty: Incorporating the human dimension
Source: More is not always better: Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management
Strategies for dealing with Multiple Knowledge Frames
Source: Towards a relational concept of uncertainty: Incorporating the human dimension
Multiple or conflicting views about how to understand the system often represent different kinds of knowledge that are difficult to reconcile or integrate. The incompatibility in frames may result from different scientific backgrounds, from differences between context-specific experiential knowledge and general expert knowledge, from different societal positions of ideological backgrounds, and so forth.
In relational terms, actor A has a certain knowledge relation to phenomenon X, and actor B has a different knowledge relation to the same phenomenon X. In these kind of situations, relevant strategies address the relation between A and B and have something to do with dealing with differences.
We draw on a Table (Table 2) from Bouwen, Dewulf & Craps (2006) to give an overview of relevant strategies to deal with multiple knowledge frames.
Accept. ofInterde- pendence
Persuasive Communic ationApproach
Exposure to persuasion
Adoption or imitation
Unequal involvement or competence
Mutual Interactive Learning
Joint discovery and exchange
Mutual understandi ng and synergy
Tit for that, deal making
Negotiation tactical phases
Fair deal, settlement
Opposition al Modes ofAction
cold or hot conflict
Low or negation
Keeping distance or escalation
Freeze or dominance
Mutual negation or fight
Table 2. Strategies to deal with multiple frames
The first strategy can be called the persuasive communication approach. This consists of trying to convince others of your own frame of reference, not by imposing it but by presenting it as attractive and worthwhile. This strategy is successful if others can be convinced to adopt your own frame of reference.
The second strategy is the dialogical learning approach, where the aim is to understand each other’s frames better through open dialogue and encourage learning on all sides. The literature on participation, organizational learning and consensual group decision making documents extensively this approach (Argyris and Schön, 1978; Wenger, 1998). The emphasis is on the interactive nature and reciprocal quality of the communication. Actors engage with each other as equally valuable partners and inclusion of all actors is the overall goal.
The negotiation approach aims at reaching a mutually beneficial and integrative agreement which makes sense from multiple perspectives or frames. Theories of conflict in organizations deal extensively with these negotiation strategies. Actors engage in a mutual calculative information sharing and positioning strategy. They develop alternative packages for giving and taking to come to a balanced sharing of positives and negatives. The negotiation can have a dominantly ‘integrating’ quality when both actors develop in common some synergetic win-win outcomes. The negotiation can rather be ‘distributive’ when the actors take a win-loose position and they distribute equally profits and gains in an antagonistic way.
The fourth strategy is the oppositional mode. When parties have a history of rivalry for resources or they don’t have any history of collaboration, taking or holding distance is likely. In conflict theory the distinction is made between cold and hot conflict. Cold conflict means that there is no recognition of mutual interdependence and distancing from each other is a dominant mode of operating. Hot conflict refers to heated opposition as a result of an adversarial experience of the mutual interdependency. Parties try by force a strategy to change the power difference in the relationship. When it comes to some form of collaboration, parties will move their strategy in the direction of a negotiation approach.
1Institute for Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, 2Public Administration and Policy Group, Wageningen University, 3Center for Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Ambiguity: the challenge of knowing and deciding together
M. Brugnach a,*, H. Ingram b,c
a Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands b Southwest Center, University of Arizona, United States c School of Social Ecology, University of California Irvine, United States
environmental science & policy 15 (2012) 60–71
Agenda-Setting, Priming, and Framing Revisited: Another Look at Cognitive Effects of Political Communication
Framing, Agenda Setting, and Priming: The Evolution of Three Media Effects Models
Dietram A. Scheufele1 & David Tewksbury2
1 Department of Life Sciences Communication and School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706 2 Department of Speech Communication and Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801
More is not always better: Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management
M. Brugnach a, b, *, A. Dewulf c, H.J. Henriksen d, P. van der Keur d
a Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands b Institute for Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück, Germany c Public Administration and Policy Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands d Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark
Journal of Environmental Management xxx (2010) 1e7
Issue Framing in Conversations for Change: Discursive Interaction Strategies for “Doing Differences”
Art Dewulf1 and René Bouwen2
The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science XX(X) 1–26 2012
Contrasting frames in policy debates on climate change adaptation
Defining Uncertainty A Conceptual Basis for Uncertainty Management in Model-Based Decision Support
W.E. WALKER1, P. HARREMO€EES2, J. ROTMANS3, J.P. VAN DER SLUIJS5, M.B.A. VAN ASSELT4,
P. JANSSEN6 AND M.P. KRAYER VON KRAUSS2
Integrated Assessment 1389-5176/03/0000-000
The Constructionist Approach to Framing: Bringing Culture Back In
Baldwin Van Gorp
Department of Communication Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HC Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Source: PROBLEM STRUCTURING IN PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS
Problem structuring methods provide a methodological complement to theories of policy design. Arguably, structuring a problem is a prerequisite of designing solutions for that problem.4 In this context, problem structuring methods are metamethods. They are “about” and “come before” processes of policy design and other forms of problem solving.
Source: Strategic Development: Methods and Models
SODA Strategic Options Development and Analysis
SSM Soft Systems Methodology
SCA Strategic Choice Approach
Critical Systems Heuristics
Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing
Viable Systems Model VSM
Problem Structuring Methods PSM
Group Model Building
Behaviour Operational Research
Community Operations Research
Ill-structured versus Well-structured Problems
Wicked Versus Tame Problems
Ill-Defined versus Well-Defined Problems
Problem Structuring Methods
Source: Past, present and future of problem structuring methods
The problematic situations for which PSMs aim to provide analytic assistance are characterized by
Partially conflicting interests,
The relative salience of these factors will differ between situations (and different methods are selective in the emphasis given to them). However, in all cases there is a meta-characteristic, that of complexity, arising out of the need to comprehend a tangle of issues without being able to start from a presumed consensual formulation. For an introduction to PSMs, see Rosenhead and Mingers, 2001
Source: Problem structuring methods in action
Strategic options development and analysis (SODA) is a general problem identification method that uses cognitive mapping as a modelling device for eliciting and recording individuals’ views of a problem situation. The merged individual cognitive maps (or a joint map developed within a workshop session) provide the framework for group discussions, and a facilitator guides participants towards commitment to a portfolio of actions.
Soft systems methodology (SSM) is a general method for system redesign. Participants build ideal-type conceptual models (CMs), one for each relevant world view. They compare them with perceptions of the existing system in order to generate debate about what changes are culturally feasible and systemically desirable.
Strategic choice approach (SCA) is a planning approach centered on managing uncertainty in strategic situations. Facilitators assist participants to model the interconnectedness of decision areas. Interactive comparison of alternative decision schemes helps them to bring key uncertainties to the surface. On this basis the group identifies priority areas for partial commitment, and designs explorations and contingency plans.
Robustness analysis is an approach that focuses on maintaining useful flexibility under uncertainty. In an interactive process, participants and analysts assess both the compatibility of alternative initial commitments with possible future configurations of the system being planned for, and the performance of each configuration in feasible future environments. This enables them to compare the flexibility maintained by alternative initial commitments.
Drama theory draws on two earlier approaches, meta games and hyper games. It is an interactive method of analysing co-operation and conflict among multiple actors. A model is built from perceptions of the options available to the various actors, and how they are rated. Drama theory looks for the “dilemmas” presented to the actors within this model of the situation. Each dilemma is a change point, tending to cause an actor to feel specific emotions and to produce rational arguments by which the model itself is redefined. When and only when such successive redefinitions have eliminated all dilemmas is the actors’ joint problem fully resolved. Analysts commonly work with one of the parties, helping it to be more effective in the rational-emotional process of dramatic resolution. (Descriptions based substantially on Rosenhead, 1996.)
Given the ill-defined location of the PSM/non- PSM boundary, there are a number of other methods with some currency that have at least certain family resemblances. These include critical systems heuristics (CSH) (Ulrich, 2000), interactive planning (Ackoff, 1981), and strategic assumption surfacing and testing (Mason and Mitroff, 1981). Other related methods which feature in this special issue are SWOT (Weihrich, 1998), scenario planning (Schoemaker, 1998), and the socio-technical systems approach (Trist and Murray, 1993). Those which are particularly close to the spirit of PSMs in at least some of their modes of use, and therefore thought to merit inclusion in Rosenhead and Mingers (2001), are the following:
Viable systems model (VSM) is a generic model of a viable organization based on cybernetic principles. It specifies five notional systems that should exist within an organization in some form––operations, co-ordination, control, intelligence, and policy, together with the appropriate control and communicational relationships. Although it was developed with a prescriptive intent, it can also be used as part of a debate about problems of organizational design and redesign (Harnden, 1990).
System dynamics(SD) is a way of modelling peoples’ perceptions of real-world systems based especially on causal relationships and feedback. It was developed as a traditional simulation tool but can be used, especially in combination with influence diagrams (causal–loop diagrams), as a way of facilitating group discussion (Lane, 2000; Vennix, 1996).
Decision conferencing is a variant of the more widely known “decision analysis”. Like the latter, it builds models to support choice between decision alternatives in cases where the consequences may be multidimensional; and where there may be uncertainty about future events which affect those consequences. What distinguishes decision conferencing is that it operates in workshop mode, with one or more facilitators eliciting from the group of participants both the structure of the model, and the probabilities and utilities to be included in it. The aim is cast, not as the identification of an objectively best solution, but as the achievement of shared understanding, the development of a sense of common purpose, and the generation of a commitment to action (Phillips, 1989; Watson and Buede, 1987).
There are a number of texts which present a different selection of “softer” methods than do Rosenhead and Mingers. These include Flood and Jackson (1991), who concentrate on systems-based methods, Dyson and O’Brien (1998) who consider a range of hard and soft approaches in the area of strategy formulation; and Sorensen and Vidal (1999) who make a wide range of methods accessible to a Scandinavian readership. There is clearly an extensive repertoire of methods available. In fact it is common to combine together a number of PSMs, or PSMs together with more traditional methods, in a single intervention––a practice known as multimethodology (Mingers and Gill, 1997). So the range of methodological choice is wider even than a simple listing of methods might suggest.
Source: Are project managers ready for the 21th challenges? A review of problem structuring methods for decision support
Benefits of Problem Structuring Methods
Source: Are project managers ready for the 21th challenges? A review of problem structuring methods for decision support
Although it might be argued that the social drama is a story in [Hayden] White’s sense, in that it has discernible inaugural, transitional, and terminal motifs, that is, a beginning, a middle, and an end, my observations convince me that it is, indeed, a spontaneous unit of social process and a fact of everyone’s experience in every human society. My hypothesis, based on repeated observations of such processual units in a range of sociocultural systems and in my reading in ethnography and history, is that social dramas, “dramas of living,” as Kenneth Burke calls them, can be aptly studied as having four phases. These I label breach, crisis, redress, and either reintegration or recognition of schism. Social dramas occur within groups of persons who share values and interests and who have a real or alleged common history. The main actors are persons for whom the group has a high value priority. Most of us have what I call our “star” group or groups to which we owe our deepest loyalty and whose fate is for us of the greatest personal concern. It is the one with which a person identifies most deeply and in which he finds fulfillment of his major social and personal desires. We are all members of many groups, formal or informal, from the family to the nation or some international religion or political institution. Each person makes his/her own subjective evaluation of the group’s respective worth: some are “dear” to one, others it is one’s “duty to defend,” and so on. Some tragic situations arise from conflicts of loyalty to different star groups.
Victor Turner is professor of anthropology and a member of the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Virginia. His many publications include Schism and Continuity in an African Society, The Forest of Symbols, The Ritual Process, and, with Edith Turner, Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture
Social Dramas and Stories about Them Victor Turner Critical Inquiry 7 (1):141-168 (1980)
Victor W Turner
David M Boje
Higher Order Cybernetics
Below, I am reposting an article by David Boje on Victor Turner’s theory of social drama.
Victor Turner’s Postmodern Theory of Social Drama:
Implications for Organization Studies
David M. Boje, Ph.D., New Mexico State University
August 1, 2003
I review Victor Turner’s more postmodern moves, such as process, indeterminacy, liminality, fragmentation, and metatheatre.
The contribution to organization theory of studying Turner’s social drama is in developing a postmodern theatrics that is more processual and dynamitic than dramaturgical theories advanced by Burke and Goffman. Turner acknowledges the influence of Burke and Goffman in his postmodern theatre concepts, but moves off to explore the indeterminacy, liminality, and fragmentation aspects (defined below). This postmodern dramaturgy allows us to explore how patterns emerged in the seeming chaos of successive situations.
Most reviews of theatre theory focus on contrasts of Burke and Goffman (Boje, Luhman, Cunliffe, 2003; Gusfield, 1989; K’rreman, 2001; Oswick, Keenoy & Grant, 2001), while hardly mentioning Victor Turner’s work (1969; 1974, 1982a, 1982b, 1985). Goffman (1959, 1974) is often criticized, in these reviews, for using theatre as metaphor and for being less sociological than Burke. Burke (1937, 1945, 1972), by contrast, is said to view theatre as part of everyday life and extend literary criticism to politics and sociology. Goffman is also criticized for engaging in “sociological reductionism” and for not being “particularly dramaturgical at all” (K’rreman, 2001: 96, 107).
Turner acknowledges roots to Burke (Turner, 1982a) and to Goffman (Turner, 1985: 181). Burke and Goffman have been applied to organization and public administration studies. Within organization studies, there is a growing body of research taking Goffman seriously. His approach fits neatly with Mintzberg’s (1973) managerial roles and more recent studies of charismatic leadership behavior as dramaturgic (Gardner & Alvolio, 1998; Harvey, 2001), emotional improvisation (Morgan & Krone, 2001) where the leader is the spokesperson and dramatist of organizational life. Work by Czarniawska-Joerges (1997), Mangham (1990), Mangham and Overington (1987), and Rosen (1985, 1987) also seeks to apply tools and devices from theatre to organizational realities and the dramaturgical perspective has become quite central to charismatic leadership studies (Conger, 1991; Gardner & Alvolio, 1998; Harvey, 2001; Howell & Frost, 1989; Jones & Pittman, 1982).
Theatre for Burke is not a metaphor used in some areas of organizational or social life; human action is dramatic (Gusfield, 1989; p. 36; K’rreman, 2001, p. 106). As Maital (1999) puts it, “organizing is not like theatre — it is theatre” (as cited in Oswick, Keenoy & Grant, 2001, p. 219). Burke’s dramatistic pentad has been used widely to analyze organizations as theatres of action (Czarniawska-Joerges & Wolff, 1991; Mangham & Overington, 1987; Pine & Gilmour, 1999). Pine and Gilmour (1999) use Burke’s dramatism to assert work is theatre and every business is a stage. Czarniawska (1997) explores how the identities of organizational actors are constituted theatrically through role-playing and image construction.
We see this critical postmodern integration in the writings of Guy Debord (1967) on “spectacle,” Mikhail Bakhtin (1984) on “carnivalesque,” and Augusto Boal (1972, 1992, 1995) on Theatre of the Oppressed.
Social drama, says Turner, is defined as aharmonic or disharmonic social process, arising in conflict situations (1974: 37; 1985: 180). Social drama is defined by Turner (1985: 196), as an eruption from the level surface of ongoing social life, with its interactions, transactions, reciprocities, its customs making for regular, orderly sequences of behavior. Turner’s social drama theory has four phases of public action:
Breach of norm-governed social relations that have liminal characteristics, a liminal between more or less stable social processes;
Crisis, during which there is a tendency for the breach to widen and in public forums, representatives of order are dared to grapple with it;
Redressive action, ranging from personal advice and informal mediation or arbitration to formal juridical and legal machinery, and to resolve certain kinds of crisis or legitimate other modes of resolution, to the performance of public ritual.
Reintegration of the disturbed social group, or of the social recognition and legitimation of irreparable schism between the contesting parties.
There is a sequence of processual acts and scenes across the four phases of social drama, with dynamic shifts in scripts, characterizations, rhetoric, and symbolism. The processes were more dynamic, rapid, and forceful during the crisis, and now there is a lull in the action. There are six key concepts which we can use to explore the dialectic of spectacle and carnival, as well as reactionary counter-carnival theatrics.
Conflict Conflict situations between patriotic nationalism and the peaceniks make us aware of the beaches in the societal fabric. Conflict seems to bring fundamental aspects of society, normally overlaid by the customs and habits of daily intercourse, into frightening prominence (Turner, 1974). People are divided, taking sides, using theatre to dramatize their differences. In the weeks leading up to the war, and during the war, a cleavage occurs between antagonistic groups. At the same time in crisis, there is the flash of imaginative fire, an inspirational force to be harnessed. The conflict escalates locally, as a reflections of the globally conflict in the Middle East. Some crises spread, and more and more people turn out for vigils, marches, parades, rallies, and teach-ins. For Turner, public crisis has a liminal quality, betwixt and between, more or less stable phases of the social process. Antagonists dare and taunt each other, to deal with liminal forces. For example, the majority accept U.S. occupation of Iraq, even though no weapons of mass destruction were found. On May 30th, members of the administration disclosed that there never had been proof of WMD, but saying they were there, served as a way to rally the nation to go to war.
Within the spectacles and carnivals there are factions. There were a series of social dramas in the U.S. that weakened the solidarity of the peace movement. Acts of repression under the U.S.A. PATRIOT act and Homeland Security were used to make peace people fearful of being blacklisted. They have a chilling effect on free speech. We resist being reintegrated back into that social fabric of the status quo; communitas is broken, and our freedoms are curtailed.
Performance Processes A society is defined by Turner (1985: 44, Paraphrasing) as a set of interactive processes that are punctuated by situations of conflict, with intervals between them. Turner’s theatrical approach, being processual and dynamic, is more appropriate than Burke or Goffman’s to explore the rise and fall of social movements. In his 1985 book, (On the Edge of the Bush: Anthropology as Experience), Turner develops a postmodern treatment of social drama. He explores the contingent, ad hoc, and emergent character of the phases of social drama (breach, crisis, redress, & reintegration), focusing on how conflicts run their course. The situations interact over time. One set of interactions influence the premises for the next (Turner, 1985: 48). During periods of intense global conflict, such as the outbreak of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, we became a dense network of social organizing. During the week leading up to March 19th war in Iraq, we had events, such as rallies, teach-ins, retreats, marches, and vigils happening daily. We joined the millions of people who tried to persuade the administration not to go to war. Once war happened we persisted with our vigils and marches, trying to bring a swift end to the conflict. After the administration declared an end to the war (though the fighting continued), our numbers dropped off, and many people reintegrated into more normal patterns of social life.
As the antagonist to disputation play out the conflict phases of social drama, there is resistance to acts of suppression and repression (Turner, 1985: 44). Contentious issues are kept in abeyance in ritual situations, but can surface again in public situations; some political situations threaten to turn violent, both in their protest and in their repression. Solidarity of a nation at war, for example, has a chilling effect on political rivalry, so as not to threaten the safety of troops deployed in battle theatres. The unresolved conflicts and rivalries carry over into subsequent ritual situations in ways that affect behavioral patterns. In this way as Pondy observed, conflict events are interdependent over time.
The performance events interact such that situations develop spontaneously out of quarrels with domestic and foreign policy which rapidly acquire formalized or structural character (Turner, 1985: 45). For example, contending factions draw apart, consolidate their ranks, and develop spokesmen who represent their cases in terms of a rhetoric that is culturally standardized (p. 45).
Liminality Key to Turner is the ‘betwixt and between’ features that have liminal qualities (Turner, 1985: 113). Liminality is defined by Turner (1974: 52), as being ‘between successive participations in social milieu.’ There is a grander ‘liminal transition’ in the peace movement, and seemingly no way to stop the growth of fascism that embeds American governance (Turner, 1974: 47). There is liminality in the transition from the conceptual system of democracy to another one, we in the movement call, fascism (Turner, 1974: 51). There is also liminal decay, a reluctant reincorporation into the charade and facade of polite society, into more stable social processes. The reentry is accompanied by rituals of humiliation for the peace movement heroes, such as Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, Gore Vidal, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky. For example, status degradation and social leveling are indicated by the distribution of playing cards depicting peace heroes as traitors, and most wanted. The tricksters have won the symbolism wars, and liminality is existentially untenable to those of us hanging in with the peace movement.
Each situation in the peace movement affects the premises of the next one. There is am emergent pattern to the inter-situational events. The successive events have liminal spaces between them. Liminal space is Turner’s concept of what is betwixt and between situated events. In the liminality between situations, a leader is without a situation to rally around. For example, as the Iraq invasion drew nearer, the number of local organizing events that I lead and facilitated was denser, and in the final weeks, there was an event every day. Now that the invasion has morphed into an occupation, local events are few and far between. This liminal space is a time for mourning our failure to get our President to stop the war; it is a time for rest and reflection, a time to plan for the next situation. For a few weeks in late April and early May, it looked like Syria would be the next campaign. But, that has subsided. The 2004 election is a bit far off to worry about.
I am neither what I have been nor what I will become. Similarly, peace consciousness is a liminal space, not yet what it will be. The peace movement refuses reintegration until the social order transforms to something more non-violent than what it is.
Summer vacations, the exodus of students from a university town, also decreased our numbers. Our rebellion is low-key, smoldering factionalism divides us. Members of PeaceAware slip back into anonymity of daily routine. Only a few die-hards persist with vigils or demonstrations outside Congressman Peace’s events.
Indeterminacy Indeterminacy is always present in the background of any ritualized performance, ready to intrude. Spectacles, even with expert choreography, scripting, and stage handling, fail to contain the embedded chaos. For example, the search for weapons of mass destruction slips into a sea of indeterminacy along with the war on terror. Each emplotment unravels. The exact meaning of a speaker’s utterance or performance is a contextualized exchange in which meaning is often indeterminate. Various stakeholders will apprehend different views of the performance. Aristotle’s poetic elements of theatre are in constant flux, with ever-shifting indeterminate plots, characters, themes, dialogs, rhythms, and spectacles. All the president’s men cannot bind chaos with the most advanced theatrics. The spectacle is always self-deconstructing. Yet, chaos can be used to confuse. There is a sequence of rhetoric switching in the justification and legitimation for war.
The rhetorical and speech styles have shifted since the war was a way to find weapons of mass destruction hidden from the UN inspectors, to war being way to protect the troops, to a way to support the president. On 30 May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair, they the administration did not believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; officials thought it was best way to get officials to go to war. “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on,” says Wolfowitz. It was also a way to get the public on board. In this sense, the spectators cannot determine the cause for the war, and now that war is declared officially over, the original premises no loner matter.
Spectacle cannot fix the fluidity of context, nor bind the shifting context from infecting performance processes. The situational adjustments of President Bush’s handlers, betrays the flux and fluidity, and indeterminacy of everyday life. This indeterminacy, says Turner (1985: 185), ‘is towards postmodern ways of thinking’ about social life.
Fragmentation – Fragmentation is definable as a persistent dialectical ‘opposition of processes’ with many ‘levels of processes’ (Turner, 1985: 185). Postmodern theory spotlights moments when fragmentation takes center stage, revealing how social reality invades spectacle during moments of conflict. Spectacle role-playing is not able to cover the breakdowns between official perspectives and countless counter stories revealing fragmentation. For Turner ‘the truly ‘spontaneous’ unit of human social performance is not role-playing sequence in an institutionalized or ‘corporate group’ context; it is the social drama which results precisely form the suspension of normative role-playing, and in its passionate activity abolishes the usual distinction between flow and reflection, since in the social drama it becomes a matter of urgency to become reflexive about the cause and motive of action damaging to the social fabric (Turner, 1985: 196).
There are moments in institutionalized spectacle, where the social drama of conflict emerges, and Bush engages in reflection. In such moments the fragmentarity of the social fabric becomes temporarily visible, ‘as factors giving meaning to deeds that may seem at first sight meaningless’ (p. 196). These are moments of reflection when we can see an irreparable schism between war and peace factions.
The more the Bush handlers defragment, the more Bush’s performance processes reveal oppositions and layers. The thespian nature of his performance unmasks itself, resulting in a media that begins to reflect upon the fragmentation covered over by performance controls. The president is detected as a performing actor.
Metatheatre – Turner (1985: 181) invents the term ‘meta-theater.’ Where for Burke and Goffman, all the world is a theatre stage, for Turner, ‘meta-theatre’ is the communication about the communication process, spectators and actors reflect upon how the actors do what they do on stage, ‘the ability to communicate about the communication process itself’ (p. 181). In contrasting his own dramaturgy work with Goffman’s, Turner (1985; 181) says that for him ‘dramaturgical analysis begins when crises arise in the daily flow of social interaction.’ Turner continues, ‘Thus, if daily living is a kind of theater, social drama is a kind of meta-theater, that is, a dramaturgical language about the language of ordinary role-playing and status-maintenance which constitutes communication in the quotidian social process’ (p. 181). Metatheatre then is for Turner, reflexivity by everyday actors about the communication system, where they consciously show spectators what they are doing. Turner studies reflexivity in crisis phase of social interaction, but also within the redressive phase. Turner theorizes four phases, breech, crisis, redressive action, and reintegration in what he calls ‘social drama.’
Metacommentary, is a term Turner, 1982a: 104) borrows from Geertz, ‘a story a group tells itself about itself’ or ‘a play a society acts about itself.’ Metatheatre then builds upon the idea of metacommentary, ‘an interpretive reenactment of its experience’ (Turner, 1982a: 104). In the positive, metatheatre reenacts conflicts, giving them contextualization, so that with metacommentary, facets are illuminated and accessible for remedial action. Through multiple reflections, spectators are able to provoke transformations in everyday life. On the negative side, the metatheatre distorts event and context in ways that provoke conformity. For example, our weekly street theatre is a metacommentary on global, national, and local conflicts, a time for reflection and reflexivity. Our signs are commentary, and we resist conformity. We are opposed by metacommentary of our critics, what see our acts as traitorous, seditious, and rebellious. Both sides use drama to provoke and persuade.
Metatheatre is about the dialectic process of framing through theatre, in ways that appeal to the frame of mind of the spectator; resistance is about bringing counter-frames to bear on dominant frames.
In the next section I apply Turner’s constructs of conflict, performance processes, liminality, indeterminacy, fragmentation, and metatheatre to that antagonism of the war and peace movements.
Aristotle (written 350BCE). Citing in the (1954) translation Aristotle: Rhetoric and poetics. Introduction by F. Solmsen, Rhetoric. (W Rhys Roberts, Tran.); Poetics (I. Bywater, Tran.). New York, NY: The Modern Library (Random House). Poetics was written 350 BCE. Custom is to cite part and verse (i.e. Aristotle, 1450: 5, p. 23) refers to part 1450, verse 5, on p. 23 of the Solmsen (1954) book. There is also an on line version translated by S. H. Butcher http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/poetics.html or http://eserver.org/philosophy/aristotle/poetics.txt
Bakhtin, M. (1981). The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (Caryl Emerson, Michael Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bakhtin, Mikhail M. (1973). Rabelais and His World. Translated by H’ l’ ne Iswolsky. 1st ed. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Best, Steve & Douglas Kellner (1991) Postmodern Theory. NY: Guilford Press.
Best, Steve & Douglas Kellner (1997) Postmodern Turn. NY: Guilford Press.
Best, Steve & Douglas Kellner (2001) Postmodern Adventure. NY: Guilford Press.
Boal, A. (1992). Games for actors and non-actors. (A. Jackson, Trans). A conflation of two books, Stop C’est Magique (Paris: Hachette, 1980) and Jeuz pour acteurs et non-acteurs (Paris: La D’couverte, 1989) with additions by Boal. London, UK: Routledge.
Boje, David M. (2001). Carnivalesque resistance to global spectacle: A critical postmodern theory of public administration, Administrative Theory & Praxis, 23(3): 431-458.
Boje, David M. (2003). Theatres of Capitalism. NJ: Hampton Press. In press.
Boje, David M. John T. Luhman, & Ann L. Cunliffe (2003). A Dialectic Perspective on the Organization Theatre Metaphor American Communication Journal. Volume 6 (2): 1-16.
Burke, K. (1937). Attitudes toward history. Las Altos, CA: Hermes Publications.
Burke, K. (1945). A grammar of motives. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Burke, K. (1972). Dramatism and development. Barre, MA: Clark University Press with Barre Publishers.
Carr, Adrian (1996) Putative Problematic Agency in a Postmodern World: Is It Implicit in the Text–Can It Be Explicit in Organization Analysis? Vol 18 (1): 79-.
Debord Guy (1967). Society of the Spectacle. La Soci’t’ du Spectacle was first published in 1967 by Editions, Buchet-Chastel (Paris); it was reprinted in 1971 by Champ Libre (Paris). The full text is available in English at http://www.nothingness.org/SI/debord/index.html It is customary to refer to paragraph numbers in citing this work.
Fox, Charles J. and Miller Hugh T. (1996) Modern/Postmodern Public Administration: A Discourse About What is Real. Vol 18 (1): 41-.
Fox, Charles J. and High T. Miller. (1995a). Postmodern Public Administration: A short treatise on self-referential epihenomena. Administrative Theory & Praxis 15(2): 52-70.
Fox, Charles J. and High T. Miller. (1995b). Postmodern Public Administration: Toward Discourse. Thousand Oaks :Sage Publications, Inc.
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books.
Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis. New York, NY: Harper Books.
Gusfield, J. R. (1989). The bridge over separated lands: Kenneth Burke’s significance for the study of social action. In H. Simmons & T. Melia (Eds.), The legacy of Kenneth Burke, pp. 28-54. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.
K’rreman, D. (2001). The Scripted Organization: Dramaturgy from Burke to Baudrillard. Pp. 95-111 In R. Westwood and S. Linstead (Eds.) The language of organization. London: Sage Publications.
Kristeva, Julia (1980a) Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Edited by L’on Roudiez. Translated by Alice Jardine, Thomas Gora and L’on Roudiez. New York, Columbia University Press, London, Basil Blackwell
Kristeva, Julia (1980b) “Word, Dialogue, and Novel.” Desire and Language. Ed. Leon S. Roudiez. Trans. Thomas Gora et al. New York: Columbia UP, pp. 64-91.
Kristeva, Julia (1986). Word, dialogue, and the novel. In T. Moi (Ed.), The Kristeva reader. (pp. 35-61). New York: Columbia University Press.
Oswick, C., Keenoy, T. & Grant, D. (2001). Dramatizing and organizing: Acting and being. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 14 (3), 218-224.
Paradoxes, Contradictions, and Dialectics in Organizations
Source: The role of paradox theory in decision making and management research
In our increasingly complex, global and fast-paced world, competing demands on individuals and teams continually surface in the context of organizational life. Individuals face challenges between work and family, learning and performing, collaborating and competing. Teams grapple with tensions between individual and collective accomplishments, specializing and coordination, and meeting creativity and efficiency goals. Leaders need to maintain both distance and closeness, treat subordinates uniformly while allowing individualism, and ensure decision control while allowing autonomy. Moreover, in an increasingly global environment, individuals and leaders must increasingly act globally, while dealing with local demands or nuances. Perhaps as an even greater challenge, they may value nationalistic concerns, while simultaneously embracing multiculturalism and a global mindset.
Conflicts of Interest
This and That
This or That
Inclusion and Exclusion
Networks and Boundaries
Outside and Inside
Before and After
Japanese Zen Koans
Chinese Yin Yang
Verbs: working with (through), addressing, resolving, combining, embracing, mediating, simultaneously achieving, managing contradictions, achieving balance, dealing with, coexisting, aligning, reconciling, solving the struggle between, enabling multiple interests, negotiating tensions, facing, synthesizing opposites, mastering the paradox, overcoming;
Organizational paradox offers a theory of the nature and management of competing demands. Historically, the dominant paradigm in organizational theory depicted competing demands as trade-offs or dilemmas that could be resolved by choosing one option. In the late 1960s, scholars such as Joan Woodward, Paul Lawrence, and Jay Lorsch introduced contingency theory, suggesting that individuals resolve these tensions by taking the context and environment into account. Paradox theory offers an alternative approach, suggesting that these tensions cannot be resolved. By depicting competing demands as tensions that are not only contradictory, but also interdependent and persistent, paradox theory argues that actors need to accept, engage, and navigate tensions rather than resolve them. Foundational work on paradox in organizations emerged starting in the late 1970s and 1980s. This work drew from rich insights across a variety of disciplines, including Eastern philosophy (Taoism, Confucianism), Western philosophies (Hegel, Heraclitus), psychodynamics (Jung, Adler, Frankel), psychology (Schneider, Watzlawick), political science (Marx, Engel), communications and sociology (Taylor, Bateson), and negotiations and conflict resolution (Follett). More recent work has advanced foundational building blocks toward a theory of paradox. Underlying the theory of paradox is ontologies of dualism—two opposing elements that together form an integrated unity—and dynamism— ongoing change. Scholars have defined paradox as tensions that are contradictory, interdependent, and persistent, noting their dynamic, everchanging, cyclical nature. Some scholars describe the origins of paradox as inherent within systems, while others highlight their social construction through cognition, dialogue, and rationality. Still others explore the relationship between the inherent and socially constructed nature of tensions, depicting tensions as latent within a system, becoming salient through social construction and external conditions. Moreover, some scholars focus more on understanding the poles of paradox, while others depict the ongoing dynamic interaction and evolution. As paradox theory continues to grow and expand, scholars have also added complexity to our understanding, emphasizing paradoxes as nested across levels and as knotted and interwoven across various tensions, while also taking into account the power dynamics, uncertainty, plurality, and scarcity of systems within which paradoxes emerge. This article identifies scholarship that depicts these varied approaches and ideas, providing the foundations of paradox theory for scholars new to this field and in-depth analysis for those seeking to expand their understanding. Section 1 offers foundational work. Section 2 introduces early scholarship that launched the field. Section 3 includes work describing foundational building blocks toward a theory of paradox. Section 4 highlights research that recognizes the nested nature of paradox and describes how this theory has been applied across different levels. Section 5 includes papers that address the meta-theoretical and multi-paradigmatic aspect of paradox theory, noting how these ideas have been applied across phenomena and across theoretical lenses. Section 6 describes papers that draw on the varied methodological traditions associated with paradox. Finally, section 7 identifies several handbooks and special issues that offer an introduction to or integration of paradox theory.
The Pillars of the Paradox: Foundational Papers
The early foundational work in organizational paradox dates back to the late 1970s and 1980s, and it established paradox as a core lens through which to understand organizational phenomena. These different insights emerged out of multiple traditions. One of the earliest pieces, Benson 1977 draws on the work of Hegel, Marx, and Engels to introduce the idea of dialectics in organizations. Discussion continues to this day about the distinctions and synergies between dialectical and paradoxical perspectives (see, e.g., Hargrave and van de Ven 2017, cited under Different Traditions and Influences). Putnam 1986, a foundational work, draws its roots from communication and sociology from writers such as Taylor, Bateson, and Watzlewick, while the core insight of Smith and Berg 1987 grew out of work on psychodynamics from scholars such as Jung, Adler, Frankel, and Freud. In 2000, Marianne Lewis wrote her AMR paper, “Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide” (Lewis 2000), which brings together these traditions and has inspired the next generation of those examining paradox. In doing so, she won AMR’s best paper of the year award.
Benson, J. Kenneth. “Organizations: A Dialectical View.” Administrative Science Quarterly 22.1 (1977): 1–21. Benson draws heavily on insights from Marx and Engels, providing a dialectical perspective of organizations in which contradictions morph and change over time into new integrations. This piece constitutes an early introduction to thinking about organizational systems as embodiments of oppositional tensions. Benson suggests that understanding these tensions depends on four basic principles: social construction, totality, contradiction, and praxis.
Cameron, Kim S. “Effectiveness as Paradox: Consensus and Conflict in Conceptions of Organizational Effectiveness.” Management Science 32.5 (1986): 539–553. Cameron reviews the areas of consensus and conflicts in the literature on effectiveness and in doing so describes the inherently paradoxical nature of effectiveness in organizations. He argues that to be effective an organization must own attributes that are simultaneously contradictory, even mutually exclusive.
Clegg, Stewart R., ed. Management and Organization Paradoxes. Advances in Organization Studies 9. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2002. Scholars debate the source of paradox as socially constructed and symbolic or inherent and material. Clegg organizes this edited volume to address this paradox of paradoxes. The first section addresses “representing paradoxes,” highlighting the role of symbols and discourse to create paradoxes. The second section focuses on “materializing paradoxes,” describing paradox within various organizational phenomena.
Clegg, Stewart R., João Vieira da Cunha, and Miguel Pina e Cunha. “Management Paradoxes: A Relational View.” Human Relations 55.5 (2002): 483–503. The authors offer a relational view of paradox. They discern four regularities from the literature: first, the simultaneous presence of opposites is the everyday experience in management; second, a relationship is often found between the opposing poles (synthesis); third, this synthesis emerges when the relationship’s structural side is kept at a minimal level, and the relationship is mutually reinforcing; finally, this relationship is local, it cannot be designed but emerges from situated practice.
Lewis, Marianne. W. “Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide.” Academy of Management Review 25.4 (2000): 760–776. This article advances foundational ideas of organizational paradox. Lewis defines paradox as “contradictory yet interrelated elements—elements that seem logical in isolation but absurd and irrational when appearing simultaneously” (p. 760). She develops a framework that starts with tensions (self-referential loops, mixed messages, and system contradictions), identifies defense mechanisms that lead to reinforcing cycles, and explores management strategies to tap into the power of paradox. She further categorizes paradoxes of learning, organizing, and belonging.
Poole, Marshall S., and Andrew H. van de Ven. “Using Paradox to Build Management and Organization Theories.” Academy of Management Review 14.4 (1989): 562–578. The authors explore how paradox thinking can be used to improve our approaches to theorizing. They describe paradoxes as “social paradoxes” that exist in the real world, subject to temporal and spatial constraints, and they propose four strategies for addressing social paradoxes: opposition, accepting the contradiction and using it; spatial separation, defining clear levels of analysis; temporal separation, taking time into account; and synthesis, adopting new term to overcome paradoxes. They illustrate each of these four approaches by exploring the paradoxical tension between structure and agency.
Putnam, Linda L. “Contradictions and Paradoxes in Organizations.” In Organization-Communication: Emerging Perspectives. Edited by Lee Thayer, 151–167. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1986. Putnam draws on theories of discourse, communication, and group relations to introduce a categorization of three types of paradoxes: contradictory messages in which words conflict with actions or in roles; paradoxes or double binds, which highlights self-referential interactions due to the dynamics between actors; and system contradictions in which the tensions are embedded within the organizational structures.
Quinn, Robert E., and Kim S. Cameron, eds. Paradox and Transformation: Toward a Theory of Change in Organization and Management. Cambridge MA: Ballinger, 1988. This edited volume includes essays from luminaries in organizational theory offering insights about how paradox can inform and is informed by strategic thinking, organizational change, communication, and group dynamics. These now classic essays provide foundational insights for applying paradox theory to organizational phenomena.
Smith, Kenwyn K., and David N. Berg. Paradoxes of Group Life: Understanding Conflict, Paralysis, and Movement in Group Dynamics. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987. Smith and Berg define paradox as “a statement or set of statements that are self-referential and contradictory and trigger a vicious cycle” (p. 12). They trace the roots of paradoxical thought drawing heavily on psychoanalysis, and they highlight twelve paradoxes within groups and merge them in three different categories: paradoxes of belonging, paradoxes of engaging, and paradoxes of speaking. This text offers an early approach to exploring paradox within organizational phenomena.
SWG 09: Organizational Paradox: Engaging Plurality, Tensions and Contradictions
Organizational life faces unprecedented complexity. Multiple and contradictory goals, competing stakeholder demands, and fast-paced change increasingly give rise to persistent and interwoven tensions, such as today and tomorrow, social missions and business demands, centralization and decentralization, stability and change. Whereas traditional management research emphasizes contingency approaches to make explicit choices between alternatives of a tension, a paradox approach underlines the value of embracing competing demands simultaneously (Lewis, 2000). A paradox depicts a tension’s elements as contradictory and inconsistent, yet also interdependent, synergistic, and mutually constituted (Farjoun, 2010; Smith & Lewis, 2011). Engaging competing demands simultaneously enables long term organizational sustainability.
The aim of SWG 09 is to advance our understanding of plurality, tensions, and contradictions to better engage them for managerial practice (see Putnam et al., 2016; Schad et al., 2016).
Throughout continuous sub-themes at EGOS Colloquia, we have been able to further our understanding of tensions and contradictions, and thereby define clear boundaries and definitions. Building on a thriving community of scholars, we now seek to apply new theoretical terrains and discuss methodological possibilities to uncover the full potential of paradox research.
This SWG aims to specifically explore and advance research on plurality, tensions, and contradictions as follow:
Understanding the sources of tensions: Tensions are depicted as inherent to organizing as well as socially constructed (Smith & Lewis, 2011). Recent research explains that tensions can be rooted in complex systems, which is why they can be latent and become salient (Schad & Bansal, 2018).
Multiple, interwoven tensions: Given the pervasiveness of multiple tensions, scholars may study co-occurrence of tensions (Jarzabkowski et al., 2013), which span levels of an organizations (Andriopoulos & Lewis, 2009), and can be interrelationships among tensions (Sheep et al., 2017).
Microfoundations: What are the microfoundations of paradoxes (Miron-Spektor et al., 2018)? What is the role of emotions – anxiety, ambivalence, vulnerability – in sustaining or leveraging paradoxical tensions (Vince & Broussine, 1996)? What are the consequences for management and organization (Hahn et al., 2014)?
Paradoxes of grand and complex challenges:Given the changing landscape of organizations and the environment they are embedded in (social values, political orientations, technological, etc.) how does paradox as a lens inform in dealing with grand and complex challenges?
New methods in paradox research: What are new methods or combinations of methods that can help us examine paradoxes empirically (Andriopoulos & Gotsi, 2017; Jarzabkowski et al., 2019)? Are there new ways of triangulation informed by paradox theory, combining qualitative, quantitative and experimental approaches? Can paradox theory benefit from the analysis of big data or simulations? How can paradox be used to explore tensions between theory and methods?
The challenge of managing paradox: Addressing paradoxes is challenging (Denis et al., 2001), since tensions surface uncertainty and ambiguity (Tsoukas & Chia, 2002). What are the risks of engaging paradoxes (Pina e Cunha & Putnam, 2019)?
Abdallah, C., Denis, J.L., & Langley, A. (2011): “Having your cake and eating it too Discourses of transcendence and their role in organizational change dynamics.” Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24 (3), 333–348.
Andriopoulos, C., & Gotsi, M. (2017): “Methods of Paradox.” In: W. Smith, M. Lewis, P. Jarzabkowski & A. Langley (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 513–528.
Andriopoulos, C., & Lewis, M.W. (2009): “Exploitation-Exploration Tensions and Organizational Ambidexterity: Managing Paradoxes of Innovation.” Organization Science, 20 (4), 696–717.
Denis, J.-L., Lamothe, L., & Langley, A. (2001): “The Dynamics of Collective Leadership and Strategic Change in Pluralistic Organizations.” Academy of Management Journal, 44 (4), 809–837.
Farjoun, M. (2010): “Beyond Dualism: Stability and Change as Duality.” Academy of Management Review, 35 (2), 202–225.
Hahn, T., Preuss, L., Pinkse, J., & Figge, F. (2014): “Cognitive Frames in Corporate Sustainability: Managerial Sensemaking with Paradoxical and Business Case Frames.” Academy of Management Review, 39 (4), 463–487.
Jarzabkowski, P., Bednarek, R., Chalkias, K., & Cacciatori, E. (2019): “Exploring inter-organizational paradoxes: Methodological lessons from a study of a grand challenge.” Strategic Organization, 17 (1), 120–132.
Jarzabkowski, P., Lê, J.K., & Van de Ven, A.H. (2013): “Responding to competing strategic demands: How organizing, belonging, and performing paradoxes coevolve.” Strategic Organization, 11 (3), 245–280.
Lewis, M.W. (2000): “Exploring Paradox: Toward a More Comprehensive Guide.” Academy of Management Review, 25( 4), 760–776.
Miron-Spektor, E., Ingram, A., Keller, J., Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2018): “Microfoundations of Organizational Paradox: The Problem Is How We Think about the Problem.” Academy of Management Journal, 61 (1), 26–45.
Pina e Cunha, M., & Putnam, L.L. (2019): “Paradox theory and the paradox of success.” Strategic Organization, 17 (1), 95–106.
Putnam, L.L., Fairhurst, G.T., & Banghart, S. (2016): “Contradictions, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizations: A Constitutive Approach.” Academy of Management Annals, 10 (1), 65–171.
Schad, J., & Bansal, P. (2018): “Seeing the Forest and the Trees: How a Systems Perspective Informs Paradox Research.” Journal of Management Studies, 55 (8), 1491–1506.
Schad, J., Lewis, M.W., Raisch, S., & Smith, W.K. (2016): “Paradoxical Research in Management Science: Looking Backward to Move Forward.” Academy of Management Annals, 10 (1), 5–64.
Sheep, M.L., Fairhurst, G.T., & Khazanchi, S. (2017): “Knots in the Discourse of Innovation: Investigating Multiple Tensions in a Reacquired Spin-off.” Organization Studies, 38 (3–4), 463–488.
Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2011): “Towards a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Organizing.” Academy of Management Review, 36 (2), 381–403.
Vince, R., & Broussine, M. (1996): “Paradox, Defense and Attachment: Accessing and Working with Emotions and Relations Underlying Organizational Change.” Organization Studies, 17 (1), 1–21.
The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox
Edited by Wendy K. Smith, Marianne W. Lewis, Paula Jarzabkowski, and Ann Langley
Organizations are rife with paradoxes. Contradictory and interdependent tensions emerge from and within multiple levels, including individual interactions, group dynamics, organizational strategies, and the broader institutional context. Examples abound such as those between stability and change, empowerment and alienation, flexibility and control, diversity and inclusion, exploration and exploitation, social and commercial, competition and collaboration, learning and performing. These examples accentuate the distinctions between concepts, positing their potential opposition; either A or B. Yet the social world is pluralistic, and comprises multiple, interwoven tensions, in which the relationship between A and B persists in a dynamic, ever-changing relationship. In the last thirty years, the depth and breadth of paradox studies in organizational theory has grown exponentially, surfacing new insights and applications while challenging foundational ideas, and raising questions around definitions, overlapping lenses, and varied research and managerial approaches. In this book, renowned organizational scholars draw from diverse lenses, theories, and empirics to depict paradox within organizational studies and provide a range of lenses and tools with which to understand and conduct research into such phenomena. In doing so, we hope these chapters re-energize continued insight on organizational paradox, plurality, tensions, and contractions.
Contradictions permeate and propel organizational life – including tensions between reaching globally while focusing locally; competing while also cooperating; performing reliably while experimenting, taking risks, and learning; or granting autonomy while constraining freedom. These tensions give organizational members pause, but also spur them to take action; they may be necessary for preserving the social order, but are also required to transform it. Drawing on the Eighth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies, Dualities, Dialectics, and Paradoxes in Organizational Life examines how contradictions fuel emergent, dynamic systems and stimulate novelty, adaption, and transformations. It uses conceptual and empirical studies to offer insight into how process theorizing advances understanding of organizational contradictions; to shed light on how dialectics, paradoxes, and dualities fuel persistence and transformation; and to explore the convergence and divergence of dialectics, paradox, and dualities. Taken together, it offers key insights to inform persistent, contradictory dynamics in organizations and organizational studies.
Elgar Introduction to Organizational Paradox Theory
Elgar Introductions to Management and Organization Theory series
Marco Berti, Senior Lecturer in Management, UTS Business, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, Ace Simpson, Reader in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour, Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, UK, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Fundação Amélia de Mello Professor, Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal and Stewart R. Clegg, Professor, University of Stavanger Business School, Norway and Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
This insightful Elgar Introduction comprises the first effort to provide a succinct overview of the field of organizational paradox theory, exploring contradictions and tensions in organizational settings. By conceptually mapping the field, it offers guidance through the literature on paradox, making space for new interpretations and applications of the concept.
Opening with a critical analysis of research to date, the authors explore ideas related to dialectics and ambidexterity in organizations, as well as pragmatic approaches to organizational paradox. Chapters propose new ways to analyse responses to paradox, bringing together influential contributions that consider the nestedness of paradox, the relation between power and paradox, and paradoxes of positive organizational scholarships.
Providing novel approaches to the discipline, this cutting-edge book is crucial for graduate students and management scholars interested in employing organizational paradox theory as a conceptual framework for their research.
‘In an era in which paradox theory, research, and practice has grown exponentially, this book is a landmark contribution to the work on organizational tensions. As a highly accessible guide to the paradox terrain, it offers a number of unique features: 1) a broad historical picture of the evolution of paradox theory, 2) a succinct and insightful discussion of both the positive and negative sides of paradox, 3) a vivid expose on paradox complexity, 4) an exploration of the role of power in exercising and responding to paradox, and 5) recommendations for extending the vitality of this theory as well as avoiding practices that might reify it. The clarity of its presentation, sophistication of its ideas, and use of rich vignettes make it a “must read” for practitioners as well as academics interested in how contradictions and tensions pervade organizational experiences.’ – Linda L. Putnam, University of California, Santa Barbara, US
‘Berti, Simpson, Cunha, and Clegg’s thoughtful map of the paradox terrain offers deep insight to any traveler – whether they are just stepping into this world for the first time looking to understand the landscape or whether they are a seasoned explorer who can see old experiences with a new lens. Their focus on how features of power inform our experiences of paradox offers important ideas that allows us to grapple with tensions in new ways. I found myself delighted with the ideas, eager to read more, and energized to engage with paradox studies in new ways.’ – Wendy Smith, University of Delaware, US
‘This book is a tour de force, covering the field of paradox theory and all of the key concepts whilst also sketching out a compelling vision of how paradox theorising can both provide novel insights and also be taken to the next level in studying the grand societal challenges of our time. I strongly recommend it for new and established paradox scholars and those who are “paradox-curious”.’ – Paula Jarzabkowski, Cass Business School, City University of London, UK
‘With this book, the exciting new wave of paradox studies comes of age. It encourages and enables readers to go beyond managerial “both-anding” rhetoric and approaches. It unashamedly exhorts paradox scholars to look up and look around, at the absurdity and contradictions embedded in our lives and work in a society of organizations and the role of power and politics in framing paradoxes and our responses to them. Its stronger and bolder approach to paradox theory will speak to those who feel trapped in iron cages of contradictions, excite critical scholars who wish to deepen the treatment of paradox, and broaden student’s understanding and appreciation of the tensions, dilemmas and contradictions that bedevil life inside and outside modern institutions.’ – Richard Badham, Macquarie University, Australia
‘This book is a true guide to organizational paradox theory. It offers a multifarious picture of the landscape of organizational paradox with its gently rolling hills but also its sharp cliffs and deep abysses. It does a brilliant job in offering guidance into paradox research without tracing out a path to follow. Every word of this book reflects the deep and long-lasting engagement, dedication, and passion that the authors have devoted to studying paradox. It is a great service to our burgeoning field and to those who want to join the fascinating endeavor of venturing the winding roads of researching and navigating organizational paradox.’ – Tobias Hahn, ESADE Business School, Ramon Llull University, Spain
Global and Local
Cooperation and Competition
Nationalism and Globalism
Nativism vs Multiculturalism
Short Term Efficiency and Long term Development
Organizational Stability and Flexibility
Shareholders and Stakeholders
Conforming to and Shaping Collective Forces in the Environment
Nurture and Discipline
Respect vs Suspect
Consistency vs Flexibility
Solidarity vs Autonomy
Types of Competing Demands
Source: Analyzing competing demands in organizations: a systematic comparison
Source: Analyzing competing demands in organizations: a systematic comparison
Source: 27 years of research on organizational paradox and coping strategies: A review
Source: Dialectic, Contradiction, or Double Bind? Analyzing and Theorizing Employee Reactions to Organizational Tension
Source: 27 years of research on organizational paradox and coping strategies: A review
Source: From Tension to Transformation How Wise Decision-makers Transcend Paradoxes and Ambiguity
Source: From Tension to Transformation How Wise Decision-makers Transcend Paradoxes and Ambiguity
Seven Pillars of Cultivating Paradoxical Wisdom
Source: The seven pillars of paradoxical organizational wisdom: On the use of paradox as a vehicle to synthesize knowledge and ignorance
Source: Grasping the dynamics within paradox – comparing exogenous and endogenous approaches to paradox using social systems theory
PARADIGMS, PRAXIS AND PARADOX IN THE ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATION CHANGE: THE GENERATIVE NATURE OF CONTROL
M. Ann Welsh
Department of Management College of Business Administration University of Cincinnati P.O. Box 210165 Cincinnati, OH 45221-0165 513-556-7136 Ann.Welsh@uc.edu
Gordon E. Dehler
Organizational Sciences Program The George Washington University 2147 F Street NW Washington, DC 20052 202-994-1880 email@example.com
A Paradox Approach to Societal Tensions during the Pandemic Crisis
Garima Sharma1, Jean Bartunek2, Patrice M. Buzzanell3, Simone Carmine4, Carsyn Endres5, Michael Etter6,7, Gail Fairhurst5, Tobias Hahn8, Patrick Lê9, Xin Li7,10, Vontrese Pamphile11, Camille Pradies12, Linda L. Putnam13, Kimberly Rocheville2, Jonathan Schad6, Mathew Sheep14, and Joshua Keller15
Journal of Management Inquiry 2021, Vol. 30(2) 121–137
Bruner (1973: xi) described this duality as follows:“our knowledge of the world is not merely a mirroring or reflection of order and structure ‘out there,’ but consists rather of a construct or model that can, so to speak, be spun a bit ahead of things to predict how the world will be or might be”
George Spencer Brown
Charles Sanders Peirce
Individual and Collective
Face to Face
Chain of Events
Sequence of Events
Choices, Conflicts, Dilemmas
Constraints, Limits, Boundaries
Networks, Connections, Interaction
Games and Dramas
LL and LR Quadrants in AQAL Model of Ken Wilber
Many Faces of Man
Backstage and Frontstage
Russell Ackoff’s Interaction Planning
Faces, Masks, and Rituals
Self and Others
Agent Based Modeling
Micro Motives and Macro Behavior
Boundaries and Distinctions
Networks and Boundaries
Jerome Bruner ON Narratives
Source: Chapter 1 Narrative Inquiry: From Story to Method
… Narrative as a mode of knowing …
In 1984 at an address to the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Jerome Bruner challenged the psychological community to consider the possibilities of narrative as one of two distinct and distinctive modes of thinking, namely the “paradigmatic” or logico-scientific mode and the narrative mode. For Bruner, each mode constituted a unique way of construing and constructing reality and of ordering experience. Importantly, neither of these modes was reducible to the other, as each was necessary in the development of human thought and action. Taking up these ideas in later writings, Bruner (1986) presents the narrative mode of meaning-making as one that “looks for particular conditions and is centred around the broader and more inclusive question of the meaning of experience” (p. 11), whilst the paradigmatic mode is characterised as one that is more concerned with establishing universal truth conditions.
Bruner has pursued the notion of “narrative” modes of thinking and explored the ways in which we draw on “narrative” modes of knowing as a learning process (1996a). For Bruner, we construct our understandings of the world “mainly in the form of narrative – stories, excuses, myths, reasons for doing and not doing, and so on” (2003, p. 44). In earlier writings, he points to the power and import of narrative as a meaning-making process, commenting that “our capacity to render experience in terms of narrative is not just child’s play, but an instrument for making meaning that dominates much of life in culture – from soliloquies at bedtime to the weighing of testimony in our legal system” (1990, p. 97). Importantly, Bruner suggests that our “sensitivity” to narrative constitutes a major link between our “sense of self and our sense of others in the social world around us” (1986, p. 69) and is the mode through which we “create a version of the world” with which we can live (1996a, p. 39).
Bruner’s work in the field of cognitive psychology constitutes one way in which narrative has been conceptualised within scholarship and has led to the establishment of the field of narrative psychology. It is perhaps serendipitous that Bruner’s account of the narrative mode of thinking occurred at a time of growing interest in the ways in which narrative might be drawn upon for research and inquiry purposes. As educators and scholars took up the “call of stories” (Coles, 1989) to provide alternative means to explore, interrogate, interpret, and record experience, “it helped that the messenger was Bruner, an enormously powerful scholar with unusual cross-disciplinary knowledge, stature, and impact, who ventured to articulate what narrative could mean to the social sciences at large” (Bresler, 2006, p. 23). Crucially, Bruner’s work leads us to consider narrative as more than a means of presenting meaning and to consider the role of narrative and narrative forms in “re-presenting,” in the sense of constructing meaning, both individually and collectively. For Bruner, narrative operates simultaneously in both thought and action, shaping the ways in which we conceive and respond to our worlds. In short, all cognition, whatever its nature, relies upon representation, how we lay down our knowledge in a way to represent our experience of the world . . . representation is a process of construction, as it were, rather than of mere reflection of the world (Bruner, 1996b, p. 95).
Here, a narrative might become a “template for experience” (Bruner, 2002, p. 34) that works on the mind, modelling “not only its world but the minds seeking to give it its meanings” (p. 27). This move from narrative as “story presented” to narrative as a “form of meaning-making,” indeed, a form of “mind-making,” has played an important role in the development of narrative as a method of inquiry in the social sciences.
Source: INTRODUCTION: BRUNER’S WAY/ David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker
Another reason why Bruner is an ideal focus is his role in two crucial paradigm shifts in twentieth-century psychology. In the 1950s, he was an instrumental figure in the cognitive revolution, which restored to psychology the inner life of the mind after decades of arid behaviourist objectivism. Cognitive psychology prospered and, in league with other fields, evolved into ‘cognitive science’, conceived as a systematic inter- disciplinary approach to the study of mind (see Gardner, 1985). Bruner, however, gradually grew more and more dissatisfied with what cognitivism had become. In 1990, he published Acts of Meaning, in which he argued that the cognitive revolution had betrayed the impulse that had brought it into being. The revolution’s principal concern, Bruner argued, had been to return the concept of meaning to the forefront of psychological theorizing. But cognitivism had become so enamoured of computational models of the mind that it had replaced behaviourism’s impoverished view of the person with one no better: human beings as information processors. In response, Bruner argued forcefully that meaning is not a given, but something made by human beings as they negotiate the world. Meaning is a cultural, not computational, phenomenon. And since meaning is the medium of the mental, culture is constitutive of mind.
In many ways, Bruner’s objection was familiar. It had often been lamented that mainstream psychology was individualistic and scientistic, representing minds as self-contained mental atoms and ignoring the social and cultural influences upon them. In the last decade, however, this well-known critique has really been gaining momentum. Besides Bruner, both Richard Shweder (1990) and Michael Cole (1996) have sounded the call for a new ‘cultural psychology’. Assorted versions of ‘constructionist’ and ‘discursive’ psychology have appeared on the scene, joining a veritable chorus of diverse voices urging that psychology treat the mind as a sociocultural phenomenon (e.g., Edwards and Potter, 1992; Harré and Gillett, 1994; Gergen, 1999). It is particularly striking that these voices no longer come exclusively from the margins. Just as the left/right divide is collapsing in political theory, so the dichotomy between mainstream ‘individualistic/scientistic/Cartesian’ psychology and radical ‘communitarian/interpretative/post-Cartesian’ psychology has become outmoded. Cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind now commonly acknowledge that no plausible account of the mind can be indifferent to the context in which we think and act, and some significant works have appeared devoted to the cultural origins, and social realization, of human mentality (e.g., Donald, 1991). A psychologist interested in culture is no longer a counter-cultural figure.
Source: The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach
From diverse sources it is possible to identify four features of a reframed narrativity particularly relevant for the social sciences:1) relationality of parts, 2) causal emplotment, 3) selective appropriation, and 4) temporality, sequence and place.43 Together, these dimensions suggest narratives are constellations of relationships (connected parts) embedded in time and space, constituted by causal emplotment. Unlike the attempt to produce meaning by placing an event in a specified category, narrativity precludes sense making of a singular isolated phenomenon. Narrativity demands that we discern the meaning of any single event only in temporal and spatial relationship to other events. Indeed, the chief characteristic of narrative is that it renders understanding only by connecting (however unstably) parts to a constructed configuration or a social network of relationships (however incoherent or unrealizable) composed of symbolic, institutional, and material practices 4.4
Source: CHAPTER 2 SELF-MAKING AND WORLD-MAKING
Narrative accounts must have at least two characteristics. They should center upon people and their intentional states: their desires, beliefs, and so on; and they should focus on how these intentional states led to certain kinds of activities. Such an account should also be or appear to be order preserving, in the sense of preserving or appearing to preserve sequence — the sequential properties of which life itself consists or is supposed to consist. Now, in the nature of things, if these points are correct, autobiographies should be about the past, should be par excellence the genre (or set of genres) composed in the past tense. So just for fun, we decided to find out whether in fact autobiographies were all in the past tense — both the spontaneous ones we had collected and a sample of literary autobiographies.
We have never found a single one where past-tense verbs constituted more than 70 percent of the verbs used. Autobiographies are, to be sure, about the past; but what of the 30 percent or more of their sentences that are not in the past tense? I’m sure it will be apparent without all these statistics that autobiography is not only about the past, but is busily about the present as well. If it is to bring the protagonist up to the present, it must deal with the present as well as the past — and not just at the end of the account, as it were. That is one part of it. But there is another part that is more interesting. Most of the “present-tense” aspect of autobiography has to do with what students of narrative structure call “evaluation” — the task of placing those sequential events in terms of a meaningful context. Narrative, whether looked at from the more formalistic perspective of William Labov (1982) or the more literary, historical one of Barbara Herrnstein-Smith (1986), necessarily comprises two features: one of them is telling what happened to a cast of human beings with a view to the order in which things happened. That part is greatly aided by the devices of flashback, flashforward, and the rest. But a narrative must also answer the question “Why”, “Why is this worth telling, what is interesting about it?” Not everything that happened is worth telling about, and it is not always clear why what one tells merits telling. We are bored and offended by such accounts as“I got up in the morning, got out of bed, dressed and tied my shoes, shaved, had breakfast, went off to the office and saw a graduate student who had an idea for a thesis…”
The “why tell” function imposes something of great (and hidden) significance on narrative. Not only must a narrative be about a sequence of events over time, structured comprehensibly in terms of cultural canonicality, it must also contain something that endows it with exceptionality. We had better pause for a moment and explore what this criterion of exceptionality means for autobiography and, incidentally, why it creates such a spate of present-tense clauses in the writing of autobiography.
Source: CHAPTER 2 SELF-MAKING AND WORLD-MAKING
The object of narrative, then, is to demystify deviations. Narrative solves no problems. It simply locates them in such a way as to make them comprehensible. It does so by invoking the play of psychological states and of actions that transpire when human beings interact with each other and relates these to what can usually be expected to happen. I think that Kenneth Burke has a good deal to say about this “play of psychological states” in narrative, and I think it would help to examine his ideas. In his The Grammar of Motives, he introduces the idea of “dramatism” (Burke 1945). Burke noted that dramatism was created by the interplay of five elements (he refers to them as the Pentad). These comprise an Actor who commits an Action toward a Goal with the use of some Instrument in a particular Scene. Dramatism is created, he argues, when elements of the Pentad are out of balance, lose their appropriate “ratio”. This creates Trouble, an emergent sixth element. He has much to say about what leads to the breakdown in the ratios between the elements of the dramatistic pentad. For example, the Actor and the Scene don’t fit. Nora, for example: what in the world is the rebellious Nora in A Doll’s House doing in this banal doctor’s household? Or Oedipus taking his mother Jocasta unknowingly to wife. The “appropriate ratios”, of course, are given by the canonical stances of folk psychology toward the human condition. Dramatism constitutes their patterned violation. In a classically oral culture, the great myths that circulate are the archetypal forms of violation, and these become increasingly “smoothed” and formalized — even frozen — over time, as we know from the classic studies of Russian folktales published by Vladimir Propp (1986). In more mobile literary cultures, of course, the range and variation in such tales and stories greatly increases, matching the greater complexity and widened opportunities that accompany literacy. Genres develop, new forms emerge, variety increase — at least at first. It may well be that with the emergence of mass cultures and the new massifying media, new constraints on this variation occur, but that is a topic that would take us beyond the scope of this essay (see Feldman, in this volume).
Though Goffman is often associated with the symbolic interaction school of sociological thought, he did not see himself as a representative of it, and so Fine and Manning conclude that he “does not easily fit within a specific school of sociological thought”. His ideas are also “difficult to reduce to a number of key themes”; his work can be broadly described as developing “a comparative, qualitative sociology that aimed to produce generalizations about human behavior”.
Goffman made substantial advances in the study of face-to-face interaction, elaborated the “dramaturgical approach” to human interaction, and developed numerous concepts that have had a massive influence, particularly in the field of the micro-sociology of everyday life. Much of his work was about the organization of everyday behavior, a concept he termed “interaction order”. He contributed to the sociological concept of framing (frame analysis), to game theory (the concept of strategic interaction), and to the study of interactions and linguistics. With regard to the latter, he argued that the activity of speaking must be seen as a social rather than a linguistic construct. From a methodological perspective, Goffman often employed qualitative approaches, specifically ethnography, most famously in his study of social aspects of mental illness, in particular the functioning of total institutions. Overall, his contributions are valued as an attempt to create a theory that bridges the agency-and-structuredivide—for popularizing social constructionism, symbolic interaction, conversation analysis, ethnographic studies, and the study and importance of individual interactions. His influence extended far beyond sociology: for example, his work provided the assumptions of much current research in language and social interaction within the discipline of communication.
Goffman defined “impression management” as a person’s attempts to present an acceptable image to those around them, verbally or nonverbally. This definition is based on Goffman’s idea that people see themselves as others view them, so they attempt to see themselves as if they are outside looking in. Goffman was also dedicated to discovering the subtle ways humans present acceptable images by concealing information that may conflict with the images for a particular situation, such as concealing tattoos when applying for a job in which tattoos would be inappropriate, or hiding a bizarre obsession such as collecting/interacting with dolls, which society may see as abnormal.
Goffman broke from George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer in that while he did not reject the way people perceive themselves, he was more interested in the actual physical proximity or the “interaction order” that molds the self. In other words, Goffman believed that impression management can be achieved only if the audience is in sync with a person’s self-perception. If the audience disagrees with the image someone is presenting then their self-presentation is interrupted. People present images of themselves based on how society thinks they should act in a particular situation. This decision how to act is based on the concept of definition of the situation. Definitions are all predetermined and people choose how they will act by choosing the proper behavior for the situation they are in. Goffman also draws from William Thomas for this concept. Thomas believed that people are born into a particular social class and that the definitions of the situations they will encounter have already been defined for them. For instance. when an individual from an upper-class background goes to a black-tie affair, the definition of the situation is that they must mind their manners and act according to their class.
In 2007 by The Times Higher Education Guide listed Goffman as the sixth most-cited author in the humanities and social sciences, behind Anthony Giddens and ahead of Habermas. His popularity with the general public has been attributed to his writing style, described as “sardonic, satiric, jokey”, and as “ironic and self-consciously literary”, and to its being more accessible than that of most academics. His style has also been influential in academia, and is credited with popularizing a less formal style in academic publications. Interestingly, if he is rightly so credited, he may by this means have contributed to a remodelling of the norms of academic behaviour, particularly of communicative action, arguably liberating intellectuals from social restraints unnatural to some of them.
Despite his influence, according to Fine and Manning there are “remarkably few scholars who are continuing his work”, nor has there been a “Goffman school”; thus his impact on social theory has been simultaneously “great and modest”. Fine and Manning attribute the lack of subsequent Goffman-style research and writing to the nature of his style, which they consider very difficult to duplicate (even “mimic-proof”), and also to his subjects’ not being widely valued in the social sciences. Of his style, Fine and Manning remark that he tends to be seen either as a scholar whose style is difficult to reproduce, and therefore daunting to those who might wish to emulate it, or as a scholar whose work was transitional, bridging the work of the Chicago school and that of contemporary sociologists, and thus of less interest to sociologists than the classics of either of those groups. Of his subjects, Fine and Manning observe that the topic of behavior in public places is often stigmatized as trivial and unworthy of serious scholarly attention.
Nonetheless, Fine and Manning note that Goffman is “the most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century”. Elliott and Turner see him as “a revered figure—an outlaw theorist who came to exemplify the best of the sociological imagination”, and “perhaps the first postmodern sociological theorist”.
Source: Looking back on Goffman: The excavation continues
The “descent of the ego,” then, was witnessed by both Durkheim and Goffman in terms of the mechanisms at work in modem Western society whereby the tendencies toward an unbridled egoistic individualism are continually rebuffed (Chriss, 1993). MacCannell successfully makes the case for such a Durkheim-Goffman link through a semiotic sociology which resists the temptation of explaining in solely positivistic terms why it is that in modem Western society, imbued as it is with a strong ethic of individualism, we nevertheless see persons orienting their actions toward a perceived moral universe and the accommodation of the other. Like Durkheim and many of the great students of society from Plato to Hobbes, from Kant to Parsons, Goffman was ultimately concerned with the question, how is social order possible (Berger, 1973: 356; Collins, 1980: 173)?
Burns recognizes the Durkheim-Goffman link as well, but carries the analysis even further by comparing and contrasting Durkheim’s notion of social order with Goffman’s interaction order. Durkheim’s sui generis reality was society; Goffman’s is the encounters between individuals, or the social act itself. The moral order which pervades society and sustains individual conduct constitutes a “social fact” in both Durkheim’s and Goffman’s eyes. But Burns (1992) notes also that for Durkheim this order was·seen as durable and all-sustaining, whereas for Goffman “it was fragile, impermanent, full of unexpected holes, and in constant need of repair” (p.26).
The Communication of Meaning in Anticipatory Systems: A Simulation Study of the Dynamics of Intentionality in Social Interactions
In: Daniel M. Dubois (Ed.) Proceedings of the 8th Intern. Conf. on Computing Anticipatory Systems CASYS’07, Liège, Belgium, 6-11 August 2007. Melville, NY: American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings, Vol. 1051 (2008) pp. 33-49.
What happens in the Present is not only determined by the Past but also by the Future. Karma and Destiny both play a role as to what is going on in your life Now.
Non Well Founded Set Theory
Sets as Graphs
Four Causes of Aristotle
Fifth and the Fourth in Music Theory
Hemispheric Division of Brain
One, Two, Three. Where is the Fourth?
From GENERATION OF FRACTALS FROM INCURSIVE AUTOMATA, DIGITAL DIFFUSION AND WAVE EQUATION SYSTEMS
The recursion consists of the computation of the future value of the variable vector X(t+l) at time t+l from the values of these variables at present and/or past times, t, t-l, t-2 ….by a recursive function :
X (t+ 1) =f(X(t), X(t-1) …p..)
where p is a command parameter vector. So, the past always determines the future, the present being the separation line between the past and the future.
Starting from cellular automata, the concept of Fractal Machines was proposed in which composition rules were propagated along paths in the machine frame. The computation is based on what I called “INclusive reCURSION”, i.e. INCURSION (Dubois, 1992a- b). An incursive relation is defined by:
X(t+l) =f(…, X (t+l), X(t), X(t-1) ..p..).
which consists in the computation of the values of the vector X(t+l) at time t+l from the values X(t-i) at time t-i, i=1, 2 …. , the value X(t) at time t and the value X(t+j) at time t+j, j=l, 2, …. in function of a command vector p. This incursive relation is not trivial because future values of the variable vector at time steps t+l, t+2 …. must be known to compute them at the time step t+ 1.
In a similar way to that in which we define hyper recursion when each recursive step generates multiple solutions, I define HYPERINCURSION. Recursive computational transformations of such incursive relations are given in Dubois and Resconi (1992, 1993a-b).
I have decided to do this for three reasons. First, in relativity theory space and time are considered as a four-vector where time plays a role similar to space. If time t is replaced by space s in the above definition of incursion, we obtain
X(s+ l) =f( …, X(s+ 1), X(s), X (s-l) …p.).
and nobody is astonished: a Laplacean operator looks like this. Second, in control theory, the engineers control engineering systems by defining goals in the future to compute their present state, similarly to our haman anticipative behaviour (Dubois, 1996a-b). Third, I wanted to try to do a generalisation of the recursive and sequential Turing Machine in looking at space-time cellular automata where the order in which the computations are made is taken into account with an inclusive recursion.
We have already proposed some methods to realise the design of any discrete systems with an extension of the recursion by the concept of incursion and hyperincursion based on the Fractal Machine, a new type of Cellular Automata, where time plays a central role. In this framework, the design of the model of any discrete system is based on incursion relations where past, present and future states variables are mixed in such a way that they define an indivisible wholeness invariant. Most incursive relations can be transformed in different sets of recursive algorithms for computation. In the same way, the hyperincursion is an extension of the hyper recursion in which several different solutions can be generated at each time step. By the hyperincursion, the Fractal Machine could compute beyond the theoretical limits of the Turing Machine (Dubois and Resconi, 1993a-b). Holistic properties of the hyperincursion are related to the Golden Ratio with the Fibonacci Series and the Fractal Golden Matrix (Dubois and Resconi, 1992). An incursive method was developed for the inverse problem, the Newton- Raphson method and an application in robotics (Dubois and Resconi, 1995). Control by incursion was applied to feedback systems (Dubois and Resconi, 1994). Chaotic recursions can be synchronised by incursion (1993b). An incursive control of linear, non- linear and chaotic systems was proposed (Dubois, 1995a, Dubois and Resconi, 1994, 1995). The hyperincursive discrete Lotka-Voiterra equations have orbital stability and show the emergence of chaos (Dubois, 1992). By linearisation of this non-linear system, hyperincursive discrete harmonic oscillator equations give stable oscillations and discrete solutions (Dubois, 1995). A general theory of stability by incursion of discrete equations systems was developed with applications to the control of the numerical instabilities of the difference equations of the Lotka-Volterra differential equations as well as the control of the fractal chaos in the Pearl-Verhulst equation (Dubois and Resconi, 1995). The incursion harmonic oscillator shows eigenvalues and wave packet like in quantum mechanics. Backward and forward velocities are defined in this incursion harmonic oscillator. A connection is made between incursion and relativity as well as the electromagnetic field. The foundation of a hyperincursive discrete mechanics was proposed in relation to the quantum mechanics (Dubois and Resconi, 1993b, 1995).
This paper will present new developments and will show that the incursion and hyper-incursion could be a new tool of research and development for describing systems where the present state of such systems is also a function of their future states. The anticipatory property of incursion is an incremental final cause which could be related to the Aristotelian Final Cause.
Aristotle identified four explicit categories of causation: 1. Material cause; 2. Formal cause; 3. Efficient cause; 4. Final cause. Classically, it is considered that modem physics and mechanics only deal with efficient cause and biology with material cause. Robert Rosen (1986) gives another interpretation and asks why a certain Newtonian mechanical system is in the state (phase) Ix(t) (position), v(t) (velocity)]:
1. Aristotle’s “material cause” corresponds to the initial conditions of the system [x(0), v(0)] at time t=0.
2. The current cause at the present time is the set of constraints which convey to the system an “identity”, allowing it to go by recursion from the given initial phase to the latter phase, which corresponds to what Aristotle called formal cause.
3. What we call inputs or boundary conditions are the impressed forces by the environment, called efficient cause by Aristotle.
As pointed out by Robert Rosen, the first three of Aristotle’s causal categories are tacit in the Newtonian formalism: “the introduction of a notion of final cause into the Newtonian picture would amount to allowing a future state or future environment to affect change of state in the present, and this would be incompatible with the whole Newtonian picture. This is one of the main reasons that the concept of Aristotelian finality is considered incompatible with modern science.
In modern physics, Aristotelian ideas of causality are confused with determinism, which is quite different…. That is, determinism is merely a mathematical statement of functional dependence or linkage. As Russell points out, such mathematical relations, in themselves, carry no hint as to which of their variables are dependent and which are independent.”
The final cause could impress the present state of evolving systems, which seems a key phenomenon in biological systems so that the classical mathematical models are unable to explain many of these biological systems. An interesting analysis of the Final Causation was made by Emst von Glasersfeld (1990). The self-referential fractal machine shows that the hyperincursive field dealing with the final cause could be also very important in physical and computational systems. The concepts of incursion and hyper-incursion deal with an extension of the recursive processes for which future states can determine present states of evolving systems. Incursion is defined as invariant functional relations from which several recursive models with interacting variables can be constructed in terms of diverse physical structures (Dubois & Resconi, 1992, 1993b). Anticipation, viewed as an Aristotelian final cause, is of great importance to explain the dynamics of systems and the semantic information (Dubois, 1996a-b). Information is related to the meaning of data. It is important to note that what is usually called Information Theory is only a communication theory dealing with the communication of coded data in channels between a sender and a receptor without any reference to the semantic aspect of the messages. The meaning of the message can only be understood by the receiver if he has the same cultural reference as the sender of the message and even in this case, nobody can be sure that the receiver understands the message exactly as the sender. Because the message is only a sequential explanation of a non-communicable meaning of an idea in the mind of the sender which can be communicated to the receiver so that a certain meaning emerges in his mind. The meaning is relative or subjective in the sense that it depends on the experiential life or imagination of each of us. It is well- known that the semantic information of signs (like the coding of the signals for traffic) are the same for everybody (like having to stop at the red light at a cross roads) due to a collective agreement of their meaning in relation to actions. But the semantic information of an idea, for example, is more difficult to codify. This is perhaps the origin of creativity for which a meaning of something new emerges from a trial to find a meaning for something which has no a priori meaning or a void meaning.
Mind dynamics seems to be a parallel process and the way we express ideas by language is sequential. Is the sequential information the same as the parallel information? Let us explain this by considering the atoms or molecules in a liquid. We can calculate the average velocity of the particles from in two ways. The first way is to consider one particular particle and to measure its velocity during a certain time. One obtains its mean velocity which corresponds to the mean velocity of any particle of the liquid. The sec- ond way is to consider a certain number of particles at a given time and to measure the velocity of each of them. This mean velocity is equal to the first mean velocity. So there are two ways to obtain the same information. One by looking at one particular element along the time dimension and the other by looking at many elements at the same time. For me, explanation corresponds to the sequential measure and understanding to the parallel measure. Notice that ergodicity is only available with simple physical systems, so in general we can say that there are distortions between the sequential and the parallel view of any phenomenon. Perhaps the brain processes are based on ergodicity: the left hemisphere works in a sequential mode while the right hemisphere works in a parallel mode. The left brain explains while the right brain understands. The two brains arecomplementary and necessary.
Today computer science deals with the “left computer”. Fortunately, the informaticians have invented parallel computers which are based on complex multiplication of Turing Machines. It is now the time to reconsider the problem of looking at the “right computer”. Perhaps it will be an extension of the Fractal Machine (Dubois & Resconi, 1993a).
I think that the sequential way deals with the causality principle while the parallel way deals with a finality principle. There is a paradox: causality is related to the successive events in time while finality is related to a collection of events at a simultaneous time, i.e. out of time.Causality is related to recursive computations which give rise to the local generation of patterns in a synchronic way. Finality is related to incursive or hyperincursive symmetry invariance which gives rise to an indivisible wholeness, a holistic property in a diachronic way. Recursion (and Hyper recursion) is defined in the Sets Theory and Incursion (and Hyperincursion) could be defined in the new framework of the Hypersets Theory (Aczel, 1987; Barwise, Moss, 1991).
If the causality principle is rather well acknowledged, a finality principle is still controversial. It would be interesting to re-define these principles. Causality is defined for sequential events. If x(t) represents a variable at time t, a causal rule x(t+l) = f(x(t)) gives the successive states of the variable x at the successive time steps t, t+l, t+2, … from the recursive functionf(x(t)), starting with an initial state x(0) at time t=0. Defined like this, the system has no degrees of freedom: it is completely determined by the function and the initial condition. No new things can happen for such a system: the whole future is completely determined by its past. It is not an evolutionary system but a developmental system. If the system tends to a stable point, x(t+l) = x(t) and it remains in this state for ever. The variable x can represent a vector of states as a generalisation.
In the same way, I think that determinism is confused with predictability, in modern physics. The recent fractal and deterministic chaos theory (Mandeibrot, 1982; Peitgen, Jurgens, Saupe, 1992) is a step beyond classical concepts in physics. If the function is non-linear, chaotic behaviour can appear, what is called (deterministic) chaos. In this case, determinism does not give an accurate prediction of the future of the system from its initial conditions, what is called sensitivity to initial conditions. A chaotic system loses the memory of its past by finite computation. But it is important to point out that an average value, or bounds within which the variable can take its values, can be known;
it is only the precise values at the successive steps which are not predictable. The local information is unpredictable while the global symmetry is predictable. Chaos can presents a fractai geometry which shows a self-similarity of patterns at any scale.
A well-known fractal is the Sierpinski napkin. The self-similarity of pattems at any scale can be viewed as a symmetry invariance at any scale. An interesting property of such fractals is the fact that the final global pattern symmetry can be completely independent of the local pattern symmetry given as the initial condition of the process from which the fractal is built. The symmetry of the fractal structure, a final cause, can be independent of the initial conditions, a material cause. The formal cause is the local symmetry of the generator of the fractal, independently of its material elements and the efficient cause can be related to the recursive process to generate the fractal. In this particular fractal geometry, the final cause is identical to the final cause. The efficient cause is the making of the fractal and the material cause is just a substrate from which the fractal emerges but this substrate doesn’t play a role in the making.
Finally, the concepts of incursion and hyperincursion can be related to the theory of hypersets which are defined as sets containing themselves. This theory of hypersets is an alternative theory to the classical set theory which presents some problems as the in- completeness of G6del: a formal system cannot explain all about itself and some propositions cannot be demonstrated as true or false (undecidability). Fundamental entities of systems which are considered as ontological could be explain in a non-ontological way by self-referential systems.
The logic of the formation of third-order cybernetics is based on the transition from first-order cybernetics – “observable systems”, to second-order – “observing systems”, to third-order cybernetics – “self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments”. And also on the ascent from the paradigm “subject – object” to the paradigm “subject – subject” and then, in third-order cybernetics, to the paradigm of “subject – metasubject (self-developing poly-subject environment)”. Third-order cybernetics has its own specifics and also defines a paradigm (framework construction) that includes first and second order cybernetic paradigms, similar to post-non-classical scientific rationality.
What is required in third order cybernetics? Narrative arts such as Drama, Films, Literature, Stories, Novels as means of social reflexivity for providing ethical and moral grounds for social action & justice.
World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics
Moscow, 16th to 18th September 2020
1.5 Cybernetics of self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments: third-order cybernetics
In recent years, much attention has been paid to the development of socially-oriented types of cybernetics, the development of second-order cybernetics (S. Umpleby, V. Lepskiy, R. Vallée, S. Bozicnik & M. Mulej, T. Ivanuša and others). An urgent problem is the analysis of the foundations and models of different types of socially-oriented cybernetics. The focus of this section is third-order cybernetics developed in Russia.
Third-order cybernetics (V. Lepskiy, 1998) is formed on the basis of post-non-classical scientific rationality. The logic of the formation of third-order cybernetics is based on the transition from first-order cybernetics – “observable systems”, to second-order – “observing systems”, to third-order cybernetics – “self-developing poly-subject (reflexive-active) environments”. And also on the ascent from the paradigm “subject – object” to the paradigm “subject – subject” and then, in third-order cybernetics, to the paradigm of “subject – metasubject (self-developing poly-subject environment)”. Third-order cybernetics has its own specifics and also defines a paradigm (framework construction) that includes first and second order cybernetic paradigms, similar to post-non-classical scientific rationality.
On the basis of post-non-classical scientific rationality it became possible to integrate ideas and concepts of humanitarian studies: ideas about the noosphere (V. Vernadsky), the concept of society as a social system (N. Luhman), activity and subject-activity approaches (A. Leontiev, L. Vygotsky, S. Rubinshtein, et al.), contributions of Russian methodologists (G. Shchedrovitsky, et al.), interdisciplinary ideas of the formation of social cybernetics (S. Umpleby), sociohumanitarian analysis of the experience of developing automated systems (V. Lepskiy), and others.
Foundations and models of socially-oriented types of cybernetics (S. Umpleby, V. Lepskiy, R. Vallée, S. Bozicnik & M. Mulej, T. Ivanuša and others).
Civilization aspects of self-developing poly-subject environments (third-order cybernetics).
Philosophical and methodological aspects of third-order cybernetics.
Third-order cybernetics is an ontological integrator of first and second order cybernetics.
The problem of complexity is third-order cybernetics.
Reflexive processes in third-order cybernetics.
Ethical aspects of third-order cybernetics.
Social Responsibility in Third Order Cybernetics.
Public participation in self-developing poly-subject environments
Organization of hybrid (subject, digital, physical) environments in third-order cybernetics.
Socio-humanitarian ergonomics of self-developing poly-subject environments.
In almost 60 articles this book reviews the current state of second-order cybernetics and investigates which new research methods second-order cybernetics can offer to tackle wicked problems in science and in society. The contributions explore its application to both scientific fields (such as mathematics, psychology and consciousness research) and non-scientific ones (such as design theory and theater science). The book uses a pluralistic, multifaceted approach to discuss these applications: Each main article is accompanied by several commentaries and author responses, which together allow the reader to discover further perspectives than in the original article alone. This procedure shows that second-order cybernetics is already on its way to becoming an idea shared by many researchers in a variety of disciplines.
Much to the surprise and delight of the co-editors, this special issue of Emergence: Complexity & Organization on complexity and storytelling appears to mark more a beginning than an ending. For, while the publication of any journal is the end of a discrete project, what we are learning from it suggests the opening moves in a game of exploration pursuing a fascinating question: Are the studies of storytelling, in its widest sense, and of complex human systems largely the same thing? At first, that seemed an obvious overstatement. Yet, in the process of developing this special issue, both of us have concluded that it is a question that is, at least, worth exploring. In this way, we offer you this special issue as an introduction to the possibility that the dynamics that arise as people tell stories, to themselves as well as to others, and then enact those stories, create the dynamic human systems – families and neighborhoods; workgroups, organizations, and economies – that Ralph Stacey’s (2001) conception of complex responsive processes seems to deny.
Some readers may say that this exploration is hardly new. In fact, nearly 30 years ago, Louis R. Pondy’s essay “Beyond open system models of organization,” included as a classic complexity article in this issue (see pp. 119-137), lays out the challenge to launch into just such an exploration as the co-editors believe this issue represents. Basing his argument on Boulding’s nine levels of system complexity, Pondy insists that organizational theorists are locked into analysis based on the lower levels of complexity. Given the then-current understanding of organizations, analysts should think of them less as ‘input-output’ machines and more as ‘language-using, sensemaking cultures’. What is needed, as a result, is “radical methodological departures [such as] ethnographic techniques more suitable for studying meaning and belief systems.” The theme articles in this issue play with a variety of such departures.
Moreover, mostly over the last five years, a significant amount of work has been compiled applying complexity and storytelling to organizations, answering Pondy’s challenge after only a quarter century. Already, three practitioners – Carl Weick (1995), Dave Snowden (see Kurtz & Snowden, 2003), and David Boje (2001) – have developed sophisticated approaches to this study. What makes this issue of E:CO new and exciting is an explosion of interest in this developing area of study. Previously, the intersection of complexity and storytelling studies had been applied largely to organizations. However, among the more than 40 proposals we received were abstracts whose subject ranged from economics and law to disaster control, healthcare, and oriental literature. As a result, we began to suspect that this evolving hybrid field could suggest a powerful approach to the application of complexity thinking to all human systems. Nor are we the first to suggest this. One contributor to this issue, anthropologist Michael Agar, has observed elsewhere (Agar, 2005), that the most effective methodology to complexity-based social studies is ethnography.
In some ways, it seems odd that the intersection between complexity and storytelling has been so little examined. For one thing, the two studies have grown on remarkably parallel tracks for the last 15 years or so. During this time, both studies have been adapted from their origins – complexity in the natural sciences and narrative/storytelling in literature – and applied increasingly to organizations, but in a somewhat limited way. Complexity studies of organizations have been largely limited to considering organizations as (narratively) coherent entities in market ecosystems, ignoring what complexity thinking suggests about the dynamics of organizations as ecosystems for the people working in them. Some work on organizations as ecosystems has begun to appear in, for example, the work of Brenda Dervin, et al. (2003) or Ken Baskin (2005b). Similarly, the vast majority of the work on narrative in organizations has explored its function on the level of the organization and in its function for managers. It’s only in recent years, as writers such as Weick, Snowden and Boje have applied the double lens of complexity and storytelling, that attention has begun to focus also on how people within organizations use narrative and storytelling quite differently. Here, a thaw of sorts is occurring, as those studying the field move from narrative, with its implications as a complete linear-construction (with beginning, middle and end), to storytelling, with its suggestion that some stories are emergent attempts to formulate and negotiate the understandings held as finished in narrative study.
In addition to these historical similarities, the two studies (story-emergence and complexity) seem an almost ideal fit for each other. On one hand, some writers on storytelling are beginning to recognize it as an emergent phenomenon, sensitive to initial states, that groups negotiate in their interactions. On the other, some writers about complex human systems are beginning to recognize that storytelling drives the human equivalent of attractors at several levels – personality, group dynamics, and culture. As a result, the principles of complexity and storytelling come together as a series of strands that, like a rope, when woven together, form a more powerful tool than either alone.
Given all that, it seems only fitting that the co-editors of this issue approach this intersection of studies from opposite directions. David Boje (2001) came to it through his study of storytelling organizations. In his studies, he has focused on the difference between ‘antenarrative’, the preliminary stories people tell as they begin to understand what might be happening around them, and the more fixed (whole, linear) narratives, which are explanations of what people believe actually happened. Along with this view of storytelling, Boje (1995) had developed the idea of the organization as ‘Tamara’, a house with many rooms in which people in different rooms simultaneously tell different stories about the same events, experienced from their differing points of view, networking with one another to make sense of the divergent storylines. Much of the dynamics of any organization, he suggests, arises in the negotiation that occur as people enact these different stories about common events in distributed locations.
On the other hand, Ken Baskin approached this intersection from his work in applying complexity thinking to organizations. His 2001 research study on workgroup cultures in three American hospitals, funded by ISCE, brought him to the conclusion that the stories people tell, to themselves as well as others, create the human equivalent of attractors – personality in the individual, group dynamics, and culture in organizations and other larger entities (2005a). His most recent work (2005b) suggests that, in addition to being coherent units existing in market ecosystems, organizations can be examined as ecosystems of storytelling groups, a concept with much in common with Boje’s Tamara.
When we first issued the call for abstracts on complexity and storytelling, we had no idea that so many people had begun thinking about the function of storytelling and complexity in the various fields in which they worked. We quickly discovered that interweaving the principles of these areas of study was proving absolutely as illuminating as we had suspected from our own work. The nine topical articles published in this issue will give the reader an idea of the variety and excitement of thought among those combining the insights of complexity thinking and storytelling:
If, in fact, this intersection between the study of complexity and of storytelling is as powerful as the co-editors suspect, an enormous amount of work remains. Those exploring it are only beginning to develop methodologies and a vocabulary.
We would like to offer a bold conclusion, one that is an answer to Boulding (1968), as well as Pondy’s (1976) challenge to system/complexity theory. We think that the difference between coherence-narrative and the more emergence-storytelling theories is the dawn of the ‘Third Cybernetics’ of dynamic complexity. Boulding made it clear that for systems theory to theorize and study higher orders of complexity, we need to differentiate between sign-representations (e.g., narratives as the ‘mirror’ of experience). First and Second Cybernetics has been dominated by master-narratives, each with a particular metaphorization: level 1 (frameworks of narrative types); level 2 (mechanistic narrative); level 3 (thermostat-control narrative); level 4 (cell of the ‘open system’); and level 5 (tree as ‘organic’ narrative). First cybernetics is the mechanistic-narrative of deviation-counteraction through the input-output-feedback sign-comparison model of communication. Second cybernetics is the open (cell) system narrative of deviation-counteracting (comparing narratives of the environment, systemically-organizing more variety to process them).
We think the articles point to a Third Cybernetics, where what Boulding calls image (managed in story, level 6), symbol (self-reflexion in story, level 7), societal discourse (social organization shaped by story, a domain of discourse, level 8), and transcendental (stories of unknowable and knowable, level 9). For Pondy, these upper levels are where language, story, and symbol, exceed the theory of ‘open system’ modeling. The problem is that narrative (conceived as linear metaphorization), does not come to grips with the needs of Third Order Cybernetics.
Agar, M. (2005). “We have met the other and we’re all nonlinear: Ethnography as a nonlinear dynamic system,” Complexity, ISSN 1076-2787, 10(2): 16-24.
Baskin, K. (2005a). “Storytelling and the complex epistemology of organizations,” in K. A. Richardson (ed.), Managing organizational complexity: Philosophy, theory, application, Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, ISBN 1593113188, pp. 331-344.
Baskin, K. (2005b). “Complexity, stories and knowing,” Emergence: Complexity & Organization, ISSN 1521-3250, 7(2): 32-40.
Boje, D. M. (2001). Narrative methods for organizational and communication research, London, UK: Sage Publications, ISBN 0761965874.
Boulding, K. (1968). “General systems theory: The skeleton of science,” in Walter Buckley (ed.), Modern systems research for the behavioral scientist, Chicago: Adeline, ISBN 0202300110, pp. 3-10. More recently reprinted in K. A. Richardson, J. A. Goldstein, P. M. Allen and D. Snowden (eds.) (2004). E:CO Annual Volume 6, Mansfield, MA: ISCE Publishing, ISBN 0976681404, pp. 252-264.
Dervin, B., Foreman-Wernet, L. and Lauterback, Eric (eds.) (2003). Sense-making methodology reader: Selected writings of Brenda Dervin, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, ISBN 1572735090.
Kurtz, C. F. and Snowden, D. J. (2003). “The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world,” IBM Systems Journal, ISSN 0018-8670, 42(3): 462-483.
Pondy, L. R. (1976). “Beyond open systems models of organization,” Annual meeting of the Academy of Management, August 12, reprinted in this issue of E:CO, pp. 122-139.
Stacey, R.D. (2001). Complex responsive processes in organizations, London, UK: Routledge, ISBN 0415249198.
Weick, K. E. (1995), Sensemaking in organizations, London, UK: Sage Publications, ISBN 080397177X.
Fourth Order Cybernetics considers what happens when a system redefines itself.
It focuses on the integration of a system within its larger, co-defining context.
* The 4th Order system is contextualised, embedded and integrated into the context
* It can thereby become representative for the integrated context.
* It therefore operates at two levels simultaneously.
* It is no longer a system, but a meta-system.
* It operates both as a system in its context, and as a system that is part of the context.
* It thereby has the capacity to integrate and disintegrate the contact between both.
* It is an active, interactive, reactive and ideally representative agent in/for/with/of that context.
* This requires a different level of description: not in relationship to the system, but to the relationship between systems.
* The Interface is now the system of reference, instead of the system.
* This relationship is the basis of the interaction.
* The transformation is the basis of the processing.
* The integration is the basis of integrity.
* The significant feature of the meta-system is its duality.
* The essence is the same, but the relevance brings inversion.
* The metasystem is an object; the meta-system is a subject.
* Whereas a system can normally be described, a meta-system can only be experienced
* The ‘pillars’ in this transition are the relationships (Second Order) and the interactions (Third Order).
* Fourth Order Design would integrate all activities in an inverted, contextualised form
* It would be embedded in its context and responsible in, and for, its actions
* The system would act as meta-system and design would act as meta-design.
* This represents the level of self-awareness.
* It is where the system reflects upon itself and steers itself (i.e. is autopoietic).
* These attributes facilitate self-regeneration, thus self-healing.
* They can therefore be managed to enable a healing process.
In mathematics, a knot is defined as a closed, non-self-intersecting curve that is embedded in three dimensions and cannot be untangled to produce a simple loop (i.e., the unknot). While in common usage, knots can be tied in string and rope such that one or more strands are left open on either side of the knot, the mathematical theory of knots terms an object of this type a “braid” rather than a knot. To a mathematician, an object is a knot only if its free ends are attached in some way so that the resulting structure consists of a single looped strand.
A knot can be generalized to a link, which is simply a knotted collection of one or more closed strands.
The study of knots and their properties is known as knot theory. Knot theorywas given its first impetus when Lord Kelvin proposed a theory that atoms were vortex loops, with different chemical elements consisting of different knotted configurations (Thompson 1867). P. G. Tait then cataloged possible knots by trial and error. Much progress has been made in the intervening years.
Schubert (1949) showed that every knot can be uniquely decomposed (up to the order in which the decomposition is performed) as a knot sum of a class of knots known as prime knots, which cannot themselves be further decomposed (Livingston 1993, p. 5; Adams 1994, pp. 8-9). Knots that can be so decomposed are then known as composite knots. The total number (prime plus composite) of distinct knots (treating mirror images as equivalent) having , 1, … crossings are 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 5, 8, 25, … (OEIS A086825).
Klein proved that knots cannot exist in an even-dimensional space . It has since been shown that a knot cannot exist in any dimension . Two distinct knots cannot have the same knot complement (Gordon and Luecke 1989), but two links can! (Adams 1994, p. 261).
Knots are most commonly cataloged based on the minimum number of crossings present (the so-called link crossing number). Thistlethwaite has used Dowker notation to enumerate the number of prime knots of up to 13 crossings, and alternating knots up to 14 crossings. In this compilation, mirror images are counted as a single knot type. Hoste et al. (1998) subsequently tabulated all prime knots up to 16 crossings. Hoste and Weeks subsequently began compiling a list of 17-crossing prime knots (Hoste et al. 1998).
Another possible representation for knots uses the braid group. A knot with crossings is a member of the braid group .
There is no general algorithm to determine if a tangled curve is a knot or if two given knots are interlocked. Haken (1961) and Hemion (1979) have given algorithms for rigorously determining if two knots are equivalent, but they are too complex to apply even in simple cases (Hoste et al. 1998).
LH Kauffman with Trefoil Knot in the back.
This slide show has been only an introduction to certain mathematical and conceptual points of view about reflexivity.
In the worlds of scientific, political and economic action these principles come into play in the way structures rise and fall in the play of realities that are created from (almost) nothing by the participants in their desire to profit, have power or even just to have clarity and understanding. Beneath the remarkable and unpredictable structures that arise from such interplay is a lambent simplicity to which we may return, as to the source of the world.
From Laws of Form and the Logic of Non-Duality
This talk will trace how a mathematics of distinction arises directly from the process of discrimination and how that language, understood rightly as an opportunity to join as well as to divide, can aid in the movement between duality and non-duality that is our heritage as human beings on this planet.The purpose of this talk is to express this language and invite your participation in it and to present the possiblity that all our resources physical, scientific, logical, intellectual, empathic are our allies in the journey to transcend separation.