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Complex methods of inquiry: structuring uncertainty

BEDNAR, PETER LU (2016)
Abstract
Organizational problem spaces can be viewed as complex, uncertain and ambiguous. They can also be understood as open problem spaces. As such, any engagement with them, and any effort to intervene in order to pursue desirable change, cannot be assumed to be just a matter of ‘complicatedness’. The issue is not just a need to cope with dynamics of system. It is also the perceptual ‘boundedness’ of multitudes of assumptions about scope of whole and limitations of organization as system. Furthermore, explicit attention to complexities of feedback loops is an extremely important aspect of any systemic discussion. How can we help teams of competent professionals to engage purposefully with such uncertain and ambiguous problem domains? The author... (More)
Organizational problem spaces can be viewed as complex, uncertain and ambiguous. They can also be understood as open problem spaces. As such, any engagement with them, and any effort to intervene in order to pursue desirable change, cannot be assumed to be just a matter of ‘complicatedness’. The issue is not just a need to cope with dynamics of system. It is also the perceptual ‘boundedness’ of multitudes of assumptions about scope of whole and limitations of organization as system. Furthermore, explicit attention to complexities of feedback loops is an extremely important aspect of any systemic discussion. How can we help teams of competent professionals to engage purposefully with such uncertain and ambiguous problem domains? The author suggests that we can only address this effectively through pragmatic efforts to incorporate a multitude of boundary-setting assumptions, explored as part of active (self-) reflection and practical engagement. This must be undertaken without resorting to an overly simplistic application of convergent thinking in our efforts to support problem solving. Instead, we need to pursue divergent thinking and ‘complexification’ in our effort to support problem resolving. The main contribution of this thesis is to present a collection of principles that taken together, provide support for this engagement ntervention. A core feature of this result is the framework for Strategic Systemic Thinking, which includes examples of pragmatically useful methods and tools. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor emeritus Flensburg, Per, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
information system, Contextual Analysis, Contextual Dependencies, Systems Approaches, Systems Thinking, Organizational change, Complex adaptive systems, Uncertainty management, Organizational Emergence, Change Management, Organizational Learning, Human Activity Systems
pages
240 pages
publisher
Lund University Press, Lund, Sweden
defense location
EC2:101, Holger Crafoord Centre, Tycho Brahes väg 1, Lund
defense date
2016-05-13 10:00
ISBN
978-91-977186-8-4
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b8f3f911-7f63-4455-bd7a-e91937440711 (old id 8871409)
date added to LUP
2016-04-15 11:48:10
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:20
@phdthesis{b8f3f911-7f63-4455-bd7a-e91937440711,
  abstract     = {Organizational problem spaces can be viewed as complex, uncertain and ambiguous. They can also be understood as open problem spaces. As such, any engagement with them, and any effort to intervene in order to pursue desirable change, cannot be assumed to be just a matter of ‘complicatedness’. The issue is not just a need to cope with dynamics of system. It is also the perceptual ‘boundedness’ of multitudes of assumptions about scope of whole and limitations of organization as system. Furthermore, explicit attention to complexities of feedback loops is an extremely important aspect of any systemic discussion. How can we help teams of competent professionals to engage purposefully with such uncertain and ambiguous problem domains? The author suggests that we can only address this effectively through pragmatic efforts to incorporate a multitude of boundary-setting assumptions, explored as part of active (self-) reflection and practical engagement. This must be undertaken without resorting to an overly simplistic application of convergent thinking in our efforts to support problem solving. Instead, we need to pursue divergent thinking and ‘complexification’ in our effort to support problem resolving. The main contribution of this thesis is to present a collection of principles that taken together, provide support for this engagement ntervention. A core feature of this result is the framework for Strategic Systemic Thinking, which includes examples of pragmatically useful methods and tools.},
  author       = {BEDNAR, PETER},
  isbn         = {978-91-977186-8-4},
  keyword      = {information system,Contextual Analysis,Contextual Dependencies,Systems Approaches,Systems Thinking,Organizational change,Complex adaptive systems,Uncertainty management,Organizational Emergence,Change Management,Organizational Learning,Human Activity Systems},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {240},
  publisher    = {Lund University Press, Lund, Sweden},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Complex methods of inquiry: structuring uncertainty},
  year         = {2016},
}