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Article
Publication date: 18 March 2020

Heiko Kleve, Steffen Roth, Tobias Köllner and Ralf Wetzel

This conceptual article aims to contribute to the design of a theory of family-influenced firms by a framework for the management of business-family dilemmas.

Abstract

Purpose

This conceptual article aims to contribute to the design of a theory of family-influenced firms by a framework for the management of business-family dilemmas.

Design/methodology/approach

It combines systemic principles with the tetralemma, a tool from ancient Indian logic that families and businesses can use to manage and reframe dilemmas without dissolving the dilemmatic tensions or blurring their boundaries.

Findings

In applying the tetralemma, the article offers a range of suggestions, such as observing business and family as two discrete, yet codependent, social systems and envisioning conceptual and methodological imports from codependency research and therapy into family business research and practice.

Originality/value

The article proposes a framework for the selective and flexible navigation of family-business tensions without dissolving them or blurring their boundaries.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Steffen Roth

Cross tables are omnipresent in management, academia and popular culture. The Matrix has us, despite all criticism, opposition and desire for a way out. This paper draws…

Abstract

Purpose

Cross tables are omnipresent in management, academia and popular culture. The Matrix has us, despite all criticism, opposition and desire for a way out. This paper draws on the works of three agents of the matrix. The paper shows that Niklas Luhmann criticised Talcott Parsons’ traditional matrix model of society and proceeded to update systems theory, the latest version of which is coded in the formal language of George Spencer Brown. As Luhmann failed to install his updates to all components of his theory platform, however, regular reoccurrences of Parsonian crosstabs are observed, particularly in the Luhmannian differentiation theory, which results in compatibility issues and produces error messages requesting updates. This paper aims to code the missing update translating the basic matrix structure from Parsonian into Spencer Brownian formal language.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on work by Boris Hennig and Louis Kauffman and a yet unpublished manuscript by George Spencer Brown, to demonstrate that the latter introduced his cross as a mark to indicate NOR gates in circuit diagrams. The paper also shows that this NOR gate marker has been taken out of and may be observed to contain the tetralemma, an ancient matrix structure already present in traditional Indian logic. It then proceeds to translate the basic structure of traditional contingency tables into a Spencer Brownian NOR equation and to demonstrate the difference this translation makes in the modelling of social systems.

Findings

The translation of cross tables from Parsonian into Spencer Brownian formal language results in the design of a both matrix-shaped and compatible test routine that works as a virtual window for the observation of the actually unobservable medium in which a form is drawn, and can be used for consistency checks of expressions coded in Spencer Brownian formal language.

Originality/value

This paper quotes from and discusses a so far unpublished manuscript finalised by Spencer Brown in April 1961. The basic matrix structure is translated from Parsonian into Spencer Brownian formal language. A Spencer Brownian NOR matrix is coded that may be used to detect errors in expressions coded in Spencer Brownian formal language.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 46 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2020

Steffen Roth, Vladislav Valentinov and Lars Clausen

This paper aims to probe the limits of the empirical-normative divide as a conceptual framework in business ethics.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to probe the limits of the empirical-normative divide as a conceptual framework in business ethics.

Design/methodology/approach

A systems theory perspective debunks this divide as a false distinction that cannot do justice to the conceptual complexity of the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) scholarship.

Findings

Drawing on the systems-theoretic ideas of Niklas Luhmann and the “Laws of Form” by George Spencer Brown, the paper shows that the divide may be dissected into a four-cell matrix constituted by two other distinctions-descriptive vs prescriptive and categorical vs hypothetical-the latter of which was seminally suggested by Donaldson and Preston (1995).

Practical implications

The emerging four-cell matrix is shown to centrally embrace the multiplicity of normative, empirical and instrumental approaches to CSR. This multiplicity is exemplified by the application of these approaches to the phenomenon of CSR communication.

Social implications

A more general implication of the proposed argument for the field of business ethics is in tracing the phenomena of moral diversity and moral ambivalence back to the regime of functional differentiation as the distinguishing feature of the modern society. This argument drives home the point that economic operations are as ethical or unethical as political operations, and that both economic and political perspectives on ethical issues are as important or unimportant as are religious, artistic, educational or scientific perspectives.

Originality/value

In contrast to the empirical-normative divide, the perspective is shown to centrally embrace the multiplicity of normative, empirical and instrumental approaches to CSR.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 8 March 2021

Steffen Roth

Abstract

Details

George Spencer Brown's “Design with the NOR”: With Related Essays
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-611-5

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Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2021

Eugenie A. Samier

This chapter provides an overview of the postcolonial literatures and their critiques relevant to internationalising curriculum in the educational administration and…

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the postcolonial literatures and their critiques relevant to internationalising curriculum in the educational administration and leadership field. The aim is to both examine the problems culturally and institutionally with primarily Anglo-American globalised curriculum that still holds a hegemonic position internationally as well as identify proposals in diversifying the field to reflect context, policy requirements and practices, and cultural values and principles. Discussed also are a number of initiatives that have been taken that provide a foundation for furthering this kind of curricular development, and a set of principles for internationalising the field that indicate the various levels and factors involved.

Details

Internationalisation of Educational Administration and Leadership Curriculum
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-865-9

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2018

Laura Appignanesi

The purpose of this paper is to find a leading idea of the mid-twentieth century, demonstrating the pervasive nature of some concepts belonging to second-order systems…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find a leading idea of the mid-twentieth century, demonstrating the pervasive nature of some concepts belonging to second-order systems theory. To achieve this objective, the paper looks at the art and literature of this era, to identify the principles developed by Luhmann in his late works. In particular, Escher’s drawings, Calvino’s stories and Luhmann’s concepts seem to express, in different ways, the same functioning mechanism of the complex social system.

Design/methodology/approach

With reference to theoretical approach and methodology, this paper carries out an interdisciplinary demonstration by alternative modes of logos and mythos. Some of the pillars of general systems theory are examined through the logical articulation of concepts developed by Spencer-Brown, von Foerster, and first of all through the late works of Luhmann, as well as through the analysis of Escher’s artworks and Calvino’s literary works. This paper interprets these artistic and literary works using cybernetic principles and systemic concepts, in particular, “two-sided forms,” “system–environment differentiation” and “second-order observation.”

Findings

In general, the main finding is the similarity of fascination with paradoxes and forms, with post-ontological reasoning, in twentieth century. The result of the cross-reading of Escher, Calvino and Luhmann reveals the presence of what Simmel called the “hidden king”: a philosophical paradigm of an era. In mid-1900s, this leading idea seems to express itself in the discoveries of biology and cybernetics, such as in Luhmann’s theory, art and literature. Escher’s drawings, Calvino’s stories and the concepts of Luhmann are projections of second-order system theory, in its constructivist value.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies mainly in the demonstration of theoretical concepts through the alternative modes of logos and mythos. These reflections can provide a new perspective to investigate social sciences from a cultural angle. This particular approach allows a deep awareness of the theory. The concrete value is to provide a better understanding to manage complexity.

Details

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

Keywords

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