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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2018

Steven E. Wallis and Bernadette Wright

Current approaches to understanding and resolving the problem of poverty have not proved effective. This paper aims to provide a new explanation of why we have failed and…

Abstract

Purpose

Current approaches to understanding and resolving the problem of poverty have not proved effective. This paper aims to provide a new explanation of why we have failed and what must be done to improve our understanding, decision-making, action and success.

Design/methodology/approach

Integrative propositional analysis is used to evaluate and synthesize theoretical and practical perspectives on poverty from five academic disciplines and five disparate organizations.

Findings

Individual theoretical perspectives were found to have low levels of complexity and systemicity.

Research limitations/implications

Clear research directions are shown to accelerate improvements in understanding. Additionally, results may provide a useful guide for developing computer models of poverty.

Practical implications

The causal knowledge map of synthesized theories suggests where practice may be relatively effective and where unanticipated consequences are more likely to occur.

Social implications

Policy decision-making to address the problem of poverty is not likely to lead to successful resolution. Thus, poverty is likely to continue until we develop a more systemic understanding.

Originality/value

This interdisciplinary paper provides a new structural perspective on why we have not been able to solve the poverty problem – and shows how far we have yet to go to reach success.

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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2016

Steven E. Wallis and Vladislav Valentinov

The complexity of the modern world calls for the increasingly complex (i.e. containing more concepts) and systemic (i.e. containing more causal connections between the…

Abstract

Purpose

The complexity of the modern world calls for the increasingly complex (i.e. containing more concepts) and systemic (i.e. containing more causal connections between the concepts) conceptual systems, such as theories and mental models which may exist at varying levels of complexity and systemicity. Yet, these systems are often found to be impervious to data and counter-arguments. Examples of such disputes are found in arguments over global warming and in the many debates between political groups. The purpose of this paper is to review the reasons behind this imperviance and identify ways to move forward.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper brings together the insights from the burgeoning science of conceptual systems as well as selected ideas from the moral philosophies of Niklas Luhmann and Jürgen Habermas. The science of conceptual systems is utilized to unearth the cognitive reasons for the imperviance of conceptual systems, while the work of Luhmann and Habermas is brought to bear on the moral reasons.

Findings

The most salient cognitive reasons for this imperviance are shown to be related to the questionable validity of data, the situational inappropriateness of conceptual systems, as well as their low complexity and systemicity. The effect of the moral content of conceptual systems on their imperviance is ambivalent. For Luhmann, moral communication may enhance imperviance and induce conflicts. In contrast, the Habermasian discourse ethics may counteract imperviance by stimulating the rational moral argumentation.

Originality/value

The science of conceptual systems is uniquely positioned to analyze the pervasive problem of their imperviance, especially if this problem is aggravated by moral reasons.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 45 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 10 December 2020

Fadwa Chaker, Samuel K. Bonsu, Majid K. El Ghaib and Diego Vazquez-Brust

The instrumental-normative divide that has historically characterized approaches to societal sustainability has also resulted in a rift between underlying mental models…

Abstract

Purpose

The instrumental-normative divide that has historically characterized approaches to societal sustainability has also resulted in a rift between underlying mental models and methods destined to address the issue. This separation makes our understanding and tackling of the present global ecological problems only limited and ineffective. The present work aims to draw on theoretical background to develop a conceptual framework for transitioning to integrated corporate sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing inspiration from Luhmann’s (1995) theory of social systems, we consider the instrumental (hard) and normative (soft) methods (Jackson 2019) for corporate sustainability as “conceptual systems” that derive much of traditional social systems’ attributes. These systems are autopoietic, complexity-reducing and functionally differentiated. Following Luhmann’s philosophical grounding, we suggest that integrating the two systems of hard and soft methods boils down to constraining both systems’ internal complexity by imposing limitations on their operational structures. This translates into a decodification–recodification process whereby new methods emerge as a combination of initially disconnected structures.

Findings

The proposed conceptual integration framework is applied to the case of the Sustainability Balanced Scorecard (SBSC) which has been recently subject to inconclusive controversy. Our work demonstrates that redesigning the SBSC’s architecture following the presented framework leads to embracing complexity, tensions and conflict all the while offering a systematic approach for properly identifying and quantifying cause–effect relationships. Moreover, the proposed framework scores high in Complexity and Systemicity measures, making it both durable and practically useful. More generally, this work drives home the point that an integrated approach to sustainability management is not only important but also feasible and theoretically durable.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, the present work underscores the contribution of systems theory, and particularly the Luhmannian perspective, to transcending some of the most salient “divides” in approaches to societal sustainability. The decodification–recodification process not only enables integrating two distinct conceptual systems, but it also transforms the divide into an opportunity to gain a fresher perspective on one of the most challenging issues of our time. This process may demand, however, some adjustments as we move across various function systems, which requires solid knowledge and understanding of the underlying “codes” that define the systems subject to integration.

Practical implications

This work implies that integration of varied and sometimes outwardly opposed function systems can and must be carried out to achieve larger societal impact. With respect to the illustrated case, the emerging dynamic SBSC offers a viable strategic planning platform whereby managers and stakeholders can concurrently define, forecast and adjust the societal strategy that maximizes triple bottom-line indicators and sustainable development impact.

Social implications

Providing decision and policymakers with integrated sustainability management approaches and instruments will have a direct benefit on enhancing the way systems, and large corporations in particular, treat and deal with nature and human beings.

Originality/value

We propose that proper integration of multiple function systems, employing integrative, unbiased and structured methodologies, can be decisive in challenging current practices in sustainability management and in providing informed guidance for making the high-stake decisions needed in the transition towards sustainable development of business and society.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Vladislav Valentinov

The rise of the general systems theory in the twentieth century would not have been possible without the concept of feedback. Of special interest to the present paper is…

Abstract

Purpose

The rise of the general systems theory in the twentieth century would not have been possible without the concept of feedback. Of special interest to the present paper is Niklas Luhmann’s reconstruction and critique of Wiener’s cybernetic approach to the feedback concept. Luhmann has suggested that the operation of the feedback-controlled systems potentially poses problems of sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to explore this suggestion in more detail.

Design/methodology/approach

The reconstruction of the arguments of Luhmann and Wiener shows that both scholars approached the feedback concept from the “system-environment” perspective. Luhmann takes system-environment relations to be inherently precarious. Wiener underscores the importance of the sensitivity of the feedback-controlled systems to their environment.

Findings

Drawing on Norbert Wiener’s and Niklas Luhmann’s ideas, the paper shows that every specification of the feedback mechanism implies the drawing of the moral boundary that demarcates those parts of the environment to which the relevant system is sensitive from those to which it is not. A likely outcome of this boundary drawing is the maintenance of intra-systemic complexity at the cost of the deteriorating sustainability of the system in its environment.

Originality/value

Until today, the general system theory has sought to explain organized complexity and rightly underscored the role of feedback in maintaining it, thereby inadvertently creating the chasm between the complexity and sustainability dimensions of human civilization. The present paper pleads for reorienting of the systems-theoretic analysis of the feedback concept toward closing this chasm.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 46 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Robert P. French II

The purpose of this paper is to explore conceptualizations of mindset across disciplines with particular attention to scholars’ care in defining and operationalizing the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore conceptualizations of mindset across disciplines with particular attention to scholars’ care in defining and operationalizing the construct of mindset. Theories of mindset have witnessed increased attention through a variety of disciplines for their applicability as processes with the potential to influence individual and/or organizational outcomes. Exploration of mindset conceptualizations and characterizations reveal substantial divergences.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper generally examines the utilization of mindset constructs via a multidisciplinary review of literature and specifically details three mindset theories (implemental and deliberative, global and growth and fixed mindsets) to illuminate such disparities.

Findings

This paper categorizes the significant variations of the mindset construct and research via three distinct streams. Each stream highlights knowledge as instrumental in the mindset construct; however, the ways in which varying aspects of knowledge, knowledge mechanisms or knowledge as a component of an individuals and/or organization’s identity correspond to the inherent presuppositions of varying articulations of mindset theory and praxis.

Practical implications

Effectively influencing an individual and/or organization’s mindset necessitates an accurate assessment of the mindset construct. Further, evaluating the applicability of mindset research and/or feedback from a consultant warrants attention to the assumptions undergirding the mindset construct.

Originality/value

Generally, mindset studies and theories have scantly attended to both the historical development of mindset research as well as divergences in the research record within and across disciplines. This paper attempts to address this deficiency. Further, this paper appears to be the first attempt to compare and identify varying conceptualizations and characterizations of mindset theory and, therefore, identifies previously unidentified assumptions.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 25 September 2018

Vladislav Valentinov, Stefan Hielscher, Sebastian Everding and Ingo Pies

Public debates on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are strongly influenced by the nongovernmental organization (NGO)-led advocacy, most of which is harshly…

Abstract

Purpose

Public debates on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are strongly influenced by the nongovernmental organization (NGO)-led advocacy, most of which is harshly critical of genetic engineering. This advocacy has resulted in discourse failures marked by the disregard for the scientific consensus on the risks and benefits of GMOs. This paper aims to present a theoretical inquiry into this phenomenon.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on American institutionalism and Niklas Luhmann social systems theory, the paper explains these discourse failures in terms of the problematic relationship between institutions and technology.

Findings

Clarence Ayres would likely see these discourse failures as a form of “institutional resistance” to the progress of science and technology. In contrast, Marc Tool’s social value principle stresses the importance of democratic legitimation and public acceptance of new technologies, while being sensitive to the possibility of ideologically biased discourses. It is argued that the institutionalist understanding of the interplay between democracy, science and technology would benefit from a better account of Niklas Luhmann’s concept of “complexity reduction”.

Social implications

The study shows that some NGOs are powerful enough to actively shape, if not manipulate, public attitudes and sentiments against GMOs.

Originality/value

The case of the anti-GMO advocacy calls for a new conceptualization of how democracy, science and technology fit together.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 48 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Frieder Lempp

The starting point of this paper is the propositional model of conflict resolution which was presented and critically discussed in Lempp (2016). Based on this model, a…

Abstract

Purpose

The starting point of this paper is the propositional model of conflict resolution which was presented and critically discussed in Lempp (2016). Based on this model, a software implementation, called ProCON, is introduced and applied to three scenarios. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate how ProCON can be used by negotiators and to evaluate ProCON’s practical usefulness as an automated negotiation support system.

Design/methodology/approach

The propositional model is implemented as a computer program. The implementation consists of an input module to enter data about a negotiation situation, an output module to generate outputs (e.g. a list of all incompatible goal pairs or a graph displaying the compatibility relations between goals) and a queries module to run queries on particular aspects of a negotiation situation.

Findings

The author demonstrates how ProCON can be used to capture a simple two-party, non-iterative prisoner’s dilemma, applies ProCON to a contract negotiation between a supplier and a purchaser of goods, and uses it to model the negotiations between the Iranian and six Western governments over Iran’s nuclear enrichment and stockpiling capacities.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the current version of ProCON arises from the fact that the computational complexity of the underlying algorithm is EXPTIME (i.e. the computing time required to process information in ProCON grows exponentially with respect to the number of issues fed into the program). This means that computing time can be quite long for even relatively small negotiation scenarios.

Practical implications

The three case studies demonstrate how ProCON can provide support for negotiators in a wide range of multi-party, multi-issue negotiations. In particular, ProCON can be used to visualise the compatibility relations between parties’ goals, generate possible outcomes and solutions and evaluate solutions regarding the extent to which they satisfy the parties’ goals.

Originality/value

In contrast to standard game-theoretic models of negotiation, ProCON does not require users to provide data about their preferences across their goals. Consequently, it can operate in situations where no information about the parties’ goal preferences is available. Compared to game-theoretical models, ProCON represents a more general approach of looking at possible outcomes in the context of negotiations.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2021

Babak Ziyae, Hossein Sadeghi, Mina Shahamat Nejad and Mehdi Tajpour

Today, urban entrepreneurship is considered one of the vital strategies that directed cities toward self-control by reducing the unemployment rate and its arising…

Abstract

Purpose

Today, urban entrepreneurship is considered one of the vital strategies that directed cities toward self-control by reducing the unemployment rate and its arising problems, creating sustainable revenue and preparing the ground for citizens’ independence. This paper aims to present an integrated foresight framework and establish the boundary conditions for urban entrepreneurship of women breadwinners. The study explains how particular women solve workplace-specific poverty and foster urban wealth by developing startups, new businesses or ventures.

Design/methodology/approach

The current research uses a qualitative method and uses the grounded theory approach. Data were collected by selecting 24 outstanding women entrepreneurs using snowball sampling and semi-structured interviews in Tehran Metropolitan.

Findings

The results of the study reveal that the main aspects of the model of urban entrepreneurship consist of causal factors, intervening factors and contextual conditions. By shaping the policies and organizing educational plans, training courses and empowering of women, as well as the establishment of supportive units for the development, identification of the opportunities, developing protective rules, the factors as mentioned above lead to cultural, social and economic development, tendency toward entrepreneurship and development of entrepreneurship among women.

Originality/value

This study undertakes a first of its kind cross-disciplinary conceptual analysis at the level of how women breadwinners foster urban wealth using developing new businesses, startups or ventures. Despite the importance of urban entrepreneurship, theories for understanding the nexus of urban contexts remain underdeveloped. Therefore, there is still a theoretical gap and lack of research; hence, the current study tries to shed light on the topic and fill this gap in the body of knowledge.

Details

foresight, vol. 23 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1969

HARRY J. HARTLEY

The major purpose is to provide a philosophic basis for the study and practice of educational administration. An explicit assumption is that logical, propositional thought…

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2381

Abstract

The major purpose is to provide a philosophic basis for the study and practice of educational administration. An explicit assumption is that logical, propositional thought is a desirable prelude to action. Reason, which is defined as an organic harmony of impulses, is related to administration via three levels of discourse: 1) philosophic values (WHY), 2) hypothetico‐deductive theory (HOW), and 3) observed behavior (WHAT). The first level is defined by the discursive thought of the moral philosopher Santayana. His definition of rational ethics provides a foundation for administrative‐organizational theory in general, and the concept of bureaucracy in particular. The second level includes Weber's pure‐type structural model that has rationality as its dominant characteristic. The third level, administrative practice, or praxeology, is portrayed as a derivative of rational thought. Current approaches, including systems analysis and program budgeting, are rooted in the union of the logic of Santayana's ethics and Weber's structural model for human groupings.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 15 September 2021

Jung-Chieh Lee and Chung-Yang Chen

Software process tailoring (SPT) plays a critical role in contemporary software development. Because SPT determines how a software project proceeds, its effectiveness…

Abstract

Purpose

Software process tailoring (SPT) plays a critical role in contemporary software development. Because SPT determines how a software project proceeds, its effectiveness should be investigated. Specifically, SPT is a collaborative yet highly conflictual process, and the existing literature has paid little or no attention to how team members coordinate and to how power distance (PD) influences coordination under this conflictual situation for the purpose of fostering SPT effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

A propositional research method is utilized by reviewing the extant literature regarding SPT, team coordination and PD. Accordingly, several propositions are developed to theorize the contributive and moderating effects of team coordinative capabilities and PD on SPT effectiveness.

Findings

This study advances the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the four distinct coordination capabilities in performing SPT, which will help software firms comprehend the moderating effects of PD on the relationships among coordinative capabilities and SPT effectiveness.

Originality/value

This study extends coordination theory and reveals four coordination capabilities that nurture SPT effectiveness. Moreover, this study demonstrates how power plays a role in the coordination of a team through the collaborative yet divergent SPT decision process to yield an integrative tailoring solution. In particular, we take a fresh viewpoint of PD considering the member-member relationship in exploring its moderating effects in the SPT context.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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