STOP 16. Attend Some Deprogramming
main site http://web.nmsu.edu/~dboje/TDgameboard.html
Shallow understanding from people of good will is
more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
- Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
TD approaches on the Gameboard, including several I have
grown up in are in desperate need of deprogramming. Several tend to be guru
schools that have taken hold of major university consultant training program. It
is time for interdisciplinary critique. See TD Gameboard
Rules of the Transorganizational Game.
And thus the need to deprogram shallow understanding
of the political economy of Transorganizational change work. Critical
Management Web Site (press
Collins, Alvesson and Willmott and Fulop & Linstead
among many others have been doing work that uses Critical Theory to critical
the guru consulting that happens in micro and macro OD.
The approach is rooted in in Marx, the Frankfurt
School's resituation of Marx's labor process and in the work of the postmodern
implications of Nietzsche.
See Table 7: Four Knowledge Quadrants - Contrasts
many guru consulting, business education, postmodern and critical theory
books on Managing and Organizing (press
here). To see "Four Knowledge Perspectives on Organization Theory"
- David M. Boje September 1, 1999 (press
if you have no background in Marx, please
read Chapter 10- of Das Kapital - The Working Day (press
Deprogramming - I am using the
term "deprogramming ironically and self-reflexively. I am concerned as
I stated in my letter (click
here) that each of the approaches on the Game Board, by in large in
insular from other approaches. For a list of guru change models (Click
There are many exceptions to this statement as I
have attempted to explore in these presentations. It would seem that Joanne
Martin was right in observing, for example, that between Appreciative Inquiry
and Narrative Therapy/Deconstruction there is much that is in common. And,
we can look at ways of working in TD inter-disciplinary praxis. This would
involve a deeper understanding and respect for our epistemological and
At the same time, I must be honest. I spend a good
deal of time giving presentations these past 20 years on large system change.
And, what I observe is that people are trained in just one way and have
a good deal of difficulty breaking out of their box. I know I get stuck
in my own. I therefore look to some ways to get us to all to think out
of the boxes. I have presented cross-ties between the TD Game Board paradigms
of TD. In doing so I seek more rhizomatic understanding and an appreciation
for how TD is situated in the political economy theories.
I think one place to begin is to get a good critical
reading of TD and Macro OD. Collins (1998) is a starting point for me.
1998 Organizational Change: Sociological Perspectives
( Routledge NY/London).
Following Burrell & Morgan's classic
4-paradigm model, Collins posits four approaches. I have much disagreement
with the 4-part model. Some of you have read the on-going debates in Organization
Studies. Yet, it is a place to start, so I will not get into all that here.
This is my own summary of his work and concerns the more macro TD implications.
FOUR MODERNERNIST THEORY
1. Unitarist/Functionalist TD (What I have been
calling Guru TD1).
2. Pluralist TD
Focus - Organizational effectiveness, adaptation and
Limits - Focus on harmony excludes conflict (except
psychological). No credibility with expressions of discontent. Restructuration
is done without sense of human consequence.
ODC - No opposition to management, therefore it is tool
of management to impose a TD vision on workers; to overcome resistance.
Open Systems theory is one of the dominant models in
organizational analysis represents a unitary modeling of organizations"
It asserts harmony is natural state of affairs in many, but not all applications.
Focus - Organizational effectiveness and adaptation
by conflict management to maintain stability.
Limits - narrow view of conflict (psyche-rooted). No
state view or Eco-view of context.
Implications - Allows opposition expression. Negotiate
compromise on ends and processes of change
METAPHORS - Dialogue, Stakeholder Systems of systems.
Political sovereignty doctrine-Final absolute authority
is in society
Assumption - Need consent of competing interest groups;
disputes are the motor of change
Process- Collective bargaining to encourage dialogue
3. Radical Humanist TD
Focus - Change society to change workplace; industrial
Limit - participation is easily reversible; Management
hijacks participation rhetoric of empowerment to Unitarist ends/processes
(A good deal of critical theory management writing debunks popular empowerment
Assumptions - Open, equal & democratic forms of
production and power with no evidence of managerial commitment to this
State plays a key role in conditioning and socializing
the workforce to accept status quo (p. 157).
The factory-discipline of school days is fading.
H. Clegg (not S. Clegg) - Argues against co-management
since it damages independent stance of trade unions. Keep the oppositional
4. Marxist ODC TD
So What? Collins does not give many solutions
to how to go beyond these four. He certainly points out the need to look
at differences in ontological and epistemological assumptions of the various
TD approaches. The various TD approaches look at managing the stories,
metaphors, systems, and networks among organizations. And it seems that
TD does occur with in several political economies. Some TD approaches take
an interpretativist or social construction approach that is removed a bit
from material conditions. Others assume a social engineering approach to
the material conditions without much attention to symbolic universes. I
think TD is creative social engineering of more or less democratic networks
among stakeholders invited to some OD events. Collins 91998: 193) does
argue for a shift from top-down to bottom-up views. And many of the TD
approaches do take a grass roots approach, but that does not mean that
we can not work with both top and bottom, as well as the stakeholders excluded
from the varied approaches to search conference. Since the world of organizations
is exceedingly complex and multifaceted as well as fragmented it seems
to me that a multiplicity of TD approaches are necessary. There is no one
best TD approach. There are some that I think do more damage to people
and ecology than others.
Focus is on the workplace as a key site of control and
domination. Views society within a political superstructure.
Limitation - Structural arguments tend to predominate.
Marxist arguments tend to demonize management.
Implications for TD - Management's focus on change and
their inability to solve management problems is indicative of structural
problems that define capitalist social relations of production.
If you are bound up in one best way to TD or
just want to break out of TD all-together, I suggest the following.
Places to Begin Our TD Deprogramming Journey
If you need some background on differences in perspectives
start here. For contrasts of postmodern, poststructural, social construction,
and critical theory consult a more advanced treatment from my qualitative
research methods course (press
here) for map and (press
here) for that syllabus.
--More on Critical Theory and Cyberspace (press
More general references on Critical Social Theory (press
here) start here.
1999 Critical Management Theory Conference Papers (press
here) for Adobe download of following (look for them in various categories
of proceedings). Download the following.
CRITICAL MANAGEMENT LINKS
Asaro, Peter M.
Transforming Society by Transforming Technology - The
Science of Politics of Participatory Design
Hayes, Niall Safe Enclaves, Political Enclaves and Knowledge
Hislop, Donald , Newell, Sue, Scarbrough, Harry and
Swan, Jacky- Networks, Knowledge and Power: Decision making Politics and
the Process of Innovation
Johansen, Per Viktor Ideology in Management Carr, Dr.
Adrian & Zanetti, Dr. Lisa A. Rethinking "production" of identity in
the work context
Leung, Alicia S.M. and Chang, Ludwig M.K.
The Impact of Organisational Downsizing: Psychological
Dynamics on Surviving Managers
Pant, Laurie W. The Growing Role of Informal Controls:
Does Organization Learning Empower or Subjugate Workers?
Read EJROT (Click
Here) Volume 2 No 1 Boje, David M. Response to: Post-Modernity or High
Modernity- Getting Off the Runaway Train
Web Site (press
here). Following links suggested by Charles Booth.
geography forum) (press
Statistics group) (press
Uses of Critical Thinking in Accounting) (press
a Sustainable Future (press
here) also host a number of lists, including:
Press to return to TD Game
Board or dfor
a TD narrative.
Journal of Radical Philosophy
with online index of issues since 1972 (press