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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
There is no doubt that this is a changing world ... and as one person dealing with client systems that are changing rapidly, I too find myself caught in the whirlwind.
The articles represented in this issue of Empowerment in Organizations reflect the views of two successful professionals, each viewing the world from their frame of reference. It strikes me that here, in this section of the journal, that discussing this frame of reference seems to be "right action".
When I speak of a frame of reference, I refer to the position of the author relative to what is discussed. In John Shotter's Conversation Realities: Constructing Life through Language (1993), Shotter describes different positions from which an individual, in this case an author, can take relative to an argument. He discusses several perspectives:
the "ontological" perspective, meaning from the point of view of an individual as he or she looks out on the world;
the "systems" perspective, meaning from the larger, social arena which an individual experiences as he or she moves the world;
the margin, meaning that the position of the individual discussing the topic discusses it from a relational point of view which is not a part of what is being discussed, but rather from a remote, detached point of view;
and a position from within the topic being discussed, as in being a part of it.
In the articles represented in this journal up-date, we see evidence of these literary positions. John Burdett argues convincingly for a redesign of the executive search industry. He raises articulate and passionate points of view regarding the value of the search industry to a changing marketplace. He does so from the margin, looking at the effect (or lack thereof) of the current search philosophies on the business community today.
Cheryl Alexander of Alexander Companies argues convincingly for each of us as individuals to "empower" ourselves to be aware of our changing world, and to think proactively about our skill sets and experiences. As an individual aware of our changing world, proactivity will allow us to be more flexible to the demands and currents of the marketplace today. As an individual actively engaged in executive search, Cheryl argues from a position within the executive search community and industry. Her point of view is also argued convincingly and rationally.
Michael Strawser, author of Both/And (1997), informs us through a review of the work of philosopher Kierkegaard that we are now living in a world which has moved beyond either/or. We are now living in a world within which our social interaction requires us to hold the positions of multiple realities, while holding on to our own personal point of view.
As you read the points of view of these authors, you experience the tradition of Kierkegaard's "both/and". The authors do a remarkable job of positioning their arguments, and argue convincingly for their point of view, and have led me to value the both/and integration ... a provocative skill for today's intensely communicative world.
Linda S. WingEditor
Shotter, J. (1993), Conversational Realities: Constructing Life through Language, Sage Publications, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi.
Strawser, M. (1997), Both/And: Reading Kierkegaard from Irony to Edification, Fordham University Press, New York, NY.