A Critical Process For Methods Selection In Organizational Problem Solving

1. INTRODUCTION

Human beings follow a pattern of behavior based on their knowledge. It is claimed that knowledge is necessarily derived from individual experience combined with social and cultural influences (e.g. Gregory, 1992), and this knowledge can be seen as a basis for the individual's value judgment. From Burrell and Morgan's (1979) point of view, individuals always hold a particular world view (a so-called 'paradigm'), according to which they perceive reality. This world view is derived from their learning experience and personal belief. Although an individual's world view might shift, he/she cannot hold two different world views at the same time. Thus, at a particular point in time, an individual can only interpret anything according to his/her current state of awareness. The question therefore arises, how can we escape from our own value assumptions (ideological traps) and sociocultural judgments? Moreover, what can we do to deal with different social judgments and individuals' personal assumptions, in order to handle social conflict?

Commonly, the people affected by decision to use particular methods are not involved in the intervention process. Those who are affected are often unable to tell the method-users which method they think will be suitable. This means that we should not predetermine what method will be applied without first understanding the current situation, especially who is included and excluded from the method choice procedure. Many critical systems thinkers (e.g. Ulrich, 1983; Midgley, 1992, 1997a) have already acknowledged this problem, as have the authors of Total Systems Intervention (Flood and Jackson, 1991; Flood, 1995).

This paper is concerned with the underlying assumptions made by method-users, candidate meth ...
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