Context and cultural condition given, cybernetic agency theory enables the anticipation of patterns of behaviour. However, this only occurs under “normal” conditions. Abnormal conditions occur when pathologies develop in the agency, especially within its Piagetian intelligences. An understanding of these pathologies, therefore, constitutes an appreciation of how abnormal behaviour develops. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Different classifications of pathology are considered: autopathic and sociopathic, transitive and lateral pathologies, epistemological and ontological pathologies, within a system and outside system effects of pathologies. The effects of pathologies are inefficacy, loss of cohesion within a system, emerging neurosis, and not least corruption.
Within Agency Mindset Theory, four types of pathologies are identified: being detached from the cultural system, behaviour does not conform to extant values; an inhibited figurative intelligence is disturbing self-reference and resulting in incapability to learn cognitively; the operative system does not respond to strategic intentions: operative decision making is not anchored in ethical, ideological or strategic specifications of the social system; action and behaviour of the organisation are driven by outside interests.
This part of the research could only provide a framework for theoretically identifying the systemic roots of pathologies within social systems, but not provide an in-depth analysis of the shifts in values and practices, which accompany the emergence of pathologies.
The research is indicating that emergent pathologies and moves towards corruption could be either identified through underlying shifts in values and practices, but also through reduced functions (inefficacies) of the indispensable internal processes of an organisation (a social system), be it action-oriented or learning-oriented processes.
The paper draws on earlier work undertaken in the last few years by the same authors, who in a new way are pursuing new directions and extensions of that earlier research.
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