This paper has two parts, namely, Part 1 and Part 2. The purpose of this paper (Part 1) is to explain an adaptive relational paradigm that can efficaciously respond to the complex issues in wicked problems. A relational paradigm can work across the disciplines and fields that characterise wicked problems. It is also methodologically plural – that is it uses various inquiry instruments together. It becomes a hybrid approach when involving narratives and structured processes enabling the adopted instruments to converge to a coherent (living) story. The purpose of Part 2 will be to provide a theoretical framework that with illustration responds to Part 1.
Wicked problems and their issues do not respect academic disciplines, and as they are multidisciplinary, they require a cross-disciplinary approach when seeking resolution. Autonomous agency theory is adopted capable of structuring cross-disciplinary inquiry processes and formulating a hybrid inquiry paradigm. The paper sets up a narrative agency approachable of delivering a structure that results in a general theory of hybrid inquiry.
The paradigm, which traditionally defines a field of study conceptualises and regulates approaches that enable inquiry into behavioural systems. Mono-disciplinary, they are not suitable for the resolution of issues that arise from cross-disciplinary wicked problems. To resolve this, a relational paradigm has been defined within which sits a cross-disciplinary hybrid inquiry system. A general theory of hybrid inquiry has been offered. It is shown that agency theory can successfully embrace a relational paradigm.
To determine the limitations of this theory there is a need to provide exemplars, which is currently premature. Another outcome is to centre on modes of practice in hybrid inquiry, but there is insufficient space for this here.
This paper makes an original contribution by formulating a structured approach on the creation of a relational paradigm capable of supporting hybrid inquiry. It also adopts cross-disciplinary theory to make its case for a relational paradigm, recognising that wicked problems are cross-disciplinary. As part of the regulatory process, it connects Rittel’s IBIS schema intended to resolve wicked problems issues and the Johari Window and explains how they would relate. A means is suggested for determining the degree of undecidability of wicked problems issues, and hence, that of the models that inquiry produces. This uses formative characteristics that define a modelling space. The paper also adopts Husserl’s concept or lifeworld, which acts as a channel for complex narrative theory through which regulative processes are enabled.
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