I STOP 16. Attend Some Deprogramming Classes
SUMMARY of TD16: STOP - Attend Deprogramming Classes in Critical Theory. See work by David Collins on critical sociology of OD, and critical theory work by Matts Alvesson, Hugh Wilmott, and Steve Linstead). It is rooted in Marx, Frankfurt School & Nietzsche and it actively debunks guru change models w/ Illich/Collins
Similarities to other TD methods:
  • %  13. Spectacle, Festival, & Carnival
  • O 1. Community Organizing
  • 11. Restorying

Dissimilar to other TD Methods:

  • ?  7. Reengineering
  • {  6. Appreciative Inquiry


Critical Management Links

  main site http://web.nmsu.edu/~dboje/TDgameboard.html


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 here)

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.  
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 here).

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 ontological differences.

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.

David Collins

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.


1. Unitarist/Functionalist TD (What I have been calling Guru TD1).

2. Pluralist TD  

3. Radical Humanist TD


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.

 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

  1. 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.

  2. --More on Critical Theory and Cyberspace (press here).
  3. More general references on Critical Social Theory (press here) start here.
  4. 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 Additional Links  Press to return to TD Game Board or dfor a TD narrative.