Anyone (=both of you ) who has followed my blog knows that I’m very skeptic to 20th century management. I realize that my skepticism to some extent is due to my personal traits, but during the 25 years or so during which I have been interested in the dynamics of organizations, more and more really clever people have been pointing at the brokenness of the dominating management paradigms and putting forward theories and examples of how work can be organized in a better way. That is, in a way that makes “workers” flourish and society prosper.
During the last decade, many of the suggestions put forward in this realm have, at least to some extent, been based on complexity thinking/theory, which gives a solid basis to understand the principles for how things (people and nature) really work, and ideas of how to design a setting where productive work can be done.
My favourite theorist/practician when it comes to adding complexity thinking into the management (or non-management) toolbox is Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge. Reading his blog and articles and participating in an accreditiation workshop in 2006 was a grat leap in my understanding and gave structure to my intuitive thoughts about these matters.
But there are lots of other inititatives around as well, and the most recent I have discovered is the Beta Codex Network. I have not yet dug more deeply into their site, but this presentation by Niels Pflaeging, which is more like a short course in post-modern organization theory, tells a lot about the thinking they represent:
The wording chosen in the presentation is for a typical business setting – I wonder how it could be adjusted to speak more to the higher education field?