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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1989

Peter Axel Nielsen

Argues that a set of distinctions between methods for informationsystems development is useful for learning about the methods and theirrelation to practice. Examines three…

Abstract

Argues that a set of distinctions between methods for information systems development is useful for learning about the methods and their relation to practice. Examines three projects conducted in three similar branches of the same bank. Evolves a set of distinctions: the context, the consequences and the conditions, for application of the models. Suggests areas of further research.

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Office Technology and People, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0167-5710

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Mike Zundel, Anders La Cour and Ghita Dragsdahl Lauritzen

George Spencer Brown is best known for his book Laws of Form, which elaborates a primary algebra of distinctions and forms capable of dealing with self-referential…

Abstract

George Spencer Brown is best known for his book Laws of Form, which elaborates a primary algebra of distinctions and forms capable of dealing with self-referential equations reflective of paradoxes in logic. The book has received little attention in mathematics, but it has greatly influenced cybernetics, communications, and ecological theories. But Spencer Brown also published poetry and stories, often under different names, and he practiced as a psychotherapist. Our chapter elaborates the utility of Laws of Form relating to organizational paradox before considering Spencer Brown’s other works in relation to his mathematics. Invoking philosophy, psychoanalysis and art, we suggest that these indicate a further distinction that sets all forms against the “nothing”: a wholeness or unity from out of which all distinctions, all words, meaning and life – but also all silence, nonsense and death – emerge in paradoxical opposition. Reading Spencer Brown not through the prism of mathematics, but as an evocative invitation to engage with the fissures that animate art and human life, highlights the paradoxical interplay of organization and violence; and how tragedy, suffering, sympathy and love should be more prominent in organizational research.

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Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8

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Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2011

Anders la Cour and Holger Højlund

Purpose – To analyze the emergence of new organizational forms in the Danish welfare sector.Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on Niklas Luhmann and Gunther Teubner…

Abstract

Purpose – To analyze the emergence of new organizational forms in the Danish welfare sector.

Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on Niklas Luhmann and Gunther Teubner, the research analyzes governmental documents, policy programs, action plans, and strategic documents.

Findings – A partnering structure has emerged with a new politics of voluntarism, complex forms of integration and new imaginary distinctions between voluntariness and public care. This can usefully be conceptualized as aspects of the stabilization of a “third-order system.” The research identified a number of different managerial strategies for involvement in the system.

Practical and social implications – Social welfare has become a mix of public and civil society values and norms, and extensive resources have been invested from both governmental and nongovernmental sides to build up shared competences for the new forms of partnering-based organization. However, to act according to the new principles of partnering, at the strategic and managerial level, the voluntary organizations have to behave in a schizophrenic manner – as both individual organizations and cooperational partners within the system.

Research implications – The concept of “third-order system” is especially useful in analyzing mixed forms of management in the welfare sector.

Originality – Different forms of radical organizational analysis are combined to develop a notion of “third-order system” in the welfare sector.

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2001

Anders Örtenblad

This conceptual paper looks at and discusses differences between the concepts of organizational learning and (the) learning organization. Since there still seems to be…

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Abstract

This conceptual paper looks at and discusses differences between the concepts of organizational learning and (the) learning organization. Since there still seems to be confusion regarding the meaning of the two concepts, aims to clarify the two main existing distinctions – that organizational learning is existing processes while learning organization is an ideal form of organization. Also distinguishes between a traditional and a social perspective of organizational learning, which the existing distinctions have not – at least not explicitly. Thus, distinctions are made between three concepts. In addition to the improvement of the existing distinctions, suggests two complementary ones – entities of learning and knowledge location. These two distinctions might make it easier to distinguish also between the two perspectives of organizational learning.

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The Learning Organization, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2004

Julian Warner

The distinction between a meta‐ and an object‐language has become increasingly familiar in information science, through the diffusion of the concept of metadata. A…

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750

Abstract

The distinction between a meta‐ and an object‐language has become increasingly familiar in information science, through the diffusion of the concept of metadata. A significant antecedent to this distinction can be found in the development of formal logic. This paper proposes an analogous distinction for information retrieval research, between the metalanguage of discourse about information retrieval systems and the object‐language of transformations within systems. In formal logic, acceptance of a meta:object distinction has had a clarifying and simplifying effect. An understanding of potential object‐language transformations as the writing, erasure, and substitution of symbols has also been developed. The existing metalanguage of information retrieval research has displayed a founding assumption (the value of delivering all, and possibly only all, the records relevant to a given query), some central concepts, entities for evaluative purposes, and derived measures. An alternative founding principle of enhanced informed choice is endorsed. The emerging view of operations within information retrieval systems such as transformation, sorting, and partitioning is strongly analogous to the more fully established account of possible object‐language transformations in formal logic. Analytical clarity has been obtained and economy in research effort is made possible.

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Aslib Proceedings, vol. 56 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 3 November 2014

Tirumala Rao Vinnakota, Faisal L Kadri, Simon Grant, Ludmila Malinova, Peter Davd Tuddenham and Santiago Garcia

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and clarify possible distinctions between the terms “cyberneticist” and “cybernetician” with the intention of helping the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate and clarify possible distinctions between the terms “cyberneticist” and “cybernetician” with the intention of helping the growth of the cybernetics discipline in new directions.

Design/methodology/approach

After the American Society for Cybernetics ALU 2013 conference in Bolton, a small group of conference participants continued the conversations they had begun during the event, focusing on the comparison of the terms “cyberneticist” vs “cybernetician”. The group felt the need for clearer distinctions drawn (or designed) between the terms, in order to sustain the discipline of cybernetics and to support its growth. The aim of providing these distinctions is that theory should feed into practice and practice should feed into theory, forming a cybernetic loop, so that the discipline of cybernetics is sustained while growing. The conference participants had conversations between themselves, and came up with multiple perspectives on the distinction between “cyberneticist” vs “cybernetician”. The distinctions drawn mirror the distinctions between Science and Design: the science of cybernetics contrasted with the design of cybernetics.

Findings

The findings of this paper consist of recommendations to understand and act differently in the field of the discipline of cybernetics. In particular, a clear distinction is suggested between the terms “cyberneticist” and “cybernetician”. It is also suggested that in order for cybernetics to grow and be sustained, there should be a constant flow of developments in theory of cybernetics into the practice of cybernetics and vice-versa.

Originality/value

The authors believe that some people (called “cyberneticists”) should work on the science side of cybernetics, making strong contributions to the understanding and development of cybernetics theory. Others, (called “cyberneticians”) should work on the design side of cybernetics, to contribute through their actions and through the development of cybernetics practice. The result of this will be a self-organization that evolves naturally between theory and practice of cybernetics, leading to better learning of cybernetics, and in the process, sustaining it through continued growth. In this direction, the paper proposes several radical suggestions that may not be to the liking of traditionalists, but may be better received by the scientists and designers of cybernetics who can make a difference to the growth of the discipline of cybernetics.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 43 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2013

Jennifer Earl

Over the last several decades, the social movement sector in the United States has been professionalizing, creating a large number of highly professionalized, formal…

Abstract

Over the last several decades, the social movement sector in the United States has been professionalizing, creating a large number of highly professionalized, formal social movement organizations. And yet, over the last decade, digital technologies have been used to undermine long-settled distinctions between producers and consumers in a number of areas of social and economic life as relative amateurs engage in production (e.g., citizen journalism). Drawing an analogy between protest organizers and producers on the one hand, and protest participants and consumers on the other hand, it would seem possible that digital technologies could be used to up-end brightline distinctions between organizers and participants in the protest sector as well. I outline two different ways these prosumptive forces could shape protest and then use a five year panel dataset on websites across 20 different social movement areas to understand the net effect of prosumptive versus professionalizing trends. Findings suggest that while there has been some adoption of disruptive digital technologies by protest-related websites, the majority of sites still limit and circumscribe participant participation to pre-choreographed actions. Findings shed important light on the continuing social organization of protest in the dawning of the digital age.

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Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-732-0

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2017

John B. Davis

In his 1931 unpublished “Surplus Product” manuscript Sraffa used an open–closed distinction to explain the relationship between the “economic field” and distribution. This…

Abstract

In his 1931 unpublished “Surplus Product” manuscript Sraffa used an open–closed distinction to explain the relationship between the “economic field” and distribution. This chapter examines Sraffa’s thinking in this regard, and shows how it allowed him to resolve a problem he encountered in his early objectivist representation of commodity production in economies with a surplus. The chapter argues that Sraffa adopted a view different from Bertalanffy’s general systems theory understanding of open and closed systems developed around the same time in such a way as to address the specific nature of economics. The chapter compares two related interpretations of Sraffa’s thinking in regard to the open–closed distinction developed by Arena and Ginzburg, and also addresses how Sraffa’s thinking regarding open and closed systems compares with similar thinking of Wittgenstein and Gramsci. The concluding discussion contrasts Sraffa’s causal reasoning with mainstream economics’ ceteris paribus method of causal reasoning.

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Including a Symposium on New Directions in Sraffa Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-539-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2021

Steffen Roth

This study aims to present a solution-focused approach to current problems and criticisms faced by business schools.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present a solution-focused approach to current problems and criticisms faced by business schools.

Design/methodology/approach

To facilitate the required shift from problems to solutions, this study outlines a theory method and demonstrates how it has informed my teaching at Financial Times (FT)-ranked business schools and other institutions of higher education in two subjects and on three continents.

Findings

The study reports on two student exercises showing that even advanced business school students confuse organizations with political economic hierarchies.

Originality/value

The study concludes that business schools pursuing a smart specialization strategy by challenging this reductionist view may turn into new schools of management distinguished by a broader, multifunctional concept of themselves and their impact on their environment.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2005

Humberto Maturana Romesín

To reflect on the matter of self‐consciousness.

Abstract

Purpose

To reflect on the matter of self‐consciousness.

Design/methodology/approach

The purpose is achieved through the process of answering four questions presented to me by Heinz von Foerster in the course of our many conversations.

Findings

It is not possible to understand the nature of self‐consciousness without understanding the operation of human beings as living systems that exist as emotional languaging living systems: self‐consciousness is a manner of living.

Practical implications

We human beings can become more aware of our responsibility in the design of robots that imitate us.

Originality/value

Reflects on what makes us humans special, on subjective experience, and on the world we bring forth.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 34 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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