Conquering complex and changing systems through recognition of individual uniqueness

Peter Bednar, Christine Welch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


From the point of view of each individual's sense-making, an organization is an emergent property of inter-individual sense-making processes and activities. The organization is a result of emergence from individual sense-making perspectives. A critically informed approach to research involves recognition / understanding of this emergence. Without the recognition of the uniqueness of each particular individual's experience of organizational life this critical approach may be undermined. Within a logical empiricist tradition (LE), the focus of a researcher's attention rests on increasing the precision and clarity with which a problem situation may be expressed. This can lead to an artificial separation of the theory from praxis, of observation from observer and observed. 'Knowing' about organizational context may be deeply embedded and inaccessible to individuals concerned. Knowing is formed by on-going construction of meanings through synthesis of new data with past experience. A hermeneutic-dialectics (HD) perspective emphasises self-awareness of human individuals. It goes towards emancipation and transparency rather than clarity and precision. A researcher adopting an HD perspective will recognize that there are ambiguities inherent in socially-constructed world views. Critical Systemic Thinking assumes a critical position with regard to informed academic practices. However, a problem for critically-informed research is also a pedagogical one. The research audience needs not only to be engaged in a dialogue regarding a transformation of modern research practices, but also needs to be informed about which foundations these practices supposedly draw upon. So there is a two-fold challenge: the subject-matter of research, and unfamiliarity with critical perspectives by the audience for that research. It may be difficult to establish a dialogue with regard to critical of ways of thinking, if those ways are unknown to the audience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 6th european conference on research methods in business and management
EditorsD. Remenyi
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781905305506
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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