This presentation was made at a conference called EPIC, designed to promote and encourage cross disciplinary collaboration. The theme of managing which is a ubiquitous idea and only rarely is it considered in a critical light. Here, managing is exposed as a natural process which is our manner of living with others. Managing is conversing, nothing happens without talking. It s also a learning process, and one that maintains and also destroys social systems. The theory underpinning the whole is the biology of cognition from Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, with contributions from Stuart Kauffmans’s work and actor-network theory.
These are the disciplines I’ve drawn on to create a new vision of the managing process.
Managing is conversing, which is not about communicating information but co-ordinating social actions. Result of conversing is a frame of reference, a guide we use unconsciously and consciously to co-ordinate our actions and those of others toward a goal.
This definition of conversation is markedly different to the conventional view of language. What we commonly call ‘language’, communication and information transfer by symbols, M&V see as a grave misinerpretation and goes beyond what we can observe and therefore describe if we were scientific observers. As observers of behaviour we can only infer physiological changes are taking place. This correspondence between the flow of changes in the relations between the two people in the picture is crucial to understanding how ‘objects’ emerge from the interactions called conversations.
Two people conversing is a complex system. Complex or nonlinear systems are unpredictable. The outcomes of conversations is unknowable.
Peter Bond Learning Futures firstname.lastname@example.org. http://e-equalsmc3.com/
1. Conventional (systems) theory of managing
2. Complex systems science. Theory of complex or nonlinear
Biology of Cognition Humberto Maturana and
Francisco Varela (biologists, neuroscientists)
Unconventional explanation of language
Supracritical systems behaviour —Stuart Kauffman
3. Actor-Network Theory (John Law)
4. Art and agency (Alfred Gell)
Language is ‘….a system of cooperative consensual interaction
between organisms’ (Maturana & Varela: 1980, p. 31),
a process that results in
‘...the creation of a cooperative domain of interactions between
actors or speakers through the development of a common
frame of reference’ (Maturana & Varela: 1980, p. 57).
Frame of reference worth comparing with Bourdieu’s
Conversing is an intertwined
or braided flow of emotioning and languaging
Relational or behavioural domain
Coordinated (social) actions or
IN CONVERSATIONS THERE IS CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN FLOWING
INTERNAL PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES AND EXTERNAL BEHAVIOURS
coordinations of action
I love you
I hate you
I love you
She loves me
She loves me
CONVERSATION ARE UNPREDICTABLE – NONLINEAR - COMPLEX
Complex, nonlinear, unpredictable
Inventive, innovating process
Habitus generation process
Languaging (a system of co-ordinating actions)
Tends to supracriticality (conversations)
Meaning creating/destroying too.