The individual title assignments may appear at first glance to be vague and / or confusing … indeed even at second glance they may still appear vague and / or confusing.
In this note I will explain further the rationale behind this type of assignment.
I would like to see the work that we do together in this module as being informative and relevant to your careers. This may be because it helps you to make sense of moments of management practice you have seen (or heard about) or that it gives you a hint of how you may manage situations in the future. With this in mind I have a strong preference to give you as much freedom in creating the assignment that makes sense to you so you push the assignment as far as you want in the direction you want.
To start this process of I have drawn out four of Ackoff’s f-laws [you will notice the subtle word play he uses here to change a ‘law’ into a ‘flaw’]. Ackoff describes these f-laws as subversive epigrams that show how organisations really work, in order to provoke thought on how to improve them [organisations].
I have selected four of the f-laws that have a close connection to the themes we have covered in the module. Read these laws (included at the end of this note) and the brief response by Sally Bibb (an organizational development consultant) and consider whether the flawed behaviour is something you have encountered or may encounter in your future practice. In this way the f-law is meant to be a provocative statement that is a starting point for a purposeful assignment.
To support this change I want you to draw on 1 or 2 of the topics / ideas contained in the module and then explore how these ideas could be used in contemporary organisations to avoid the flaw.
The topics that we will cover include: Facilitation Systems Thinking Parallel Thinking Systems Maps / Mind maps / Rich Pictures (representing the problem situation) Cognitive Mapping Casual Loops / Systems Dynamics Soft Systems Methodology
Your treatment should be in-depth and pertinent to your particular context. When I say in-depth I mean that you need to go further than the material covered in the workshops to provide some critical insight into the use of this technique in the type of context that you want to work in. As a rough guide I would anticipate that you use a core text and five or six articles to explore the way this idea / technique provides the insight necessary to overcome the behaviour expressed in the f-law.
When I say your ‘particular context’ I am encouraging you to think about the type of organisation and culture that you are likely to work in. Also, do not treat this as a cold / hands-off assignment but one that is strongly connected to you and your preferences (as you will be the key actor in initiating change to your practice).
Finally, it would be really advantageous to link the ideas in the reading (theory) with practice. This may be through an experience you have had in your careers / internships or an aspect of your summer project that is of particular interest.
I trust this adds to your understanding of the assignment. If you wish to discuss your ideas then I am happy to do this via email or in person.