Basic Social Math - Research Proposal


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A Qualitative Study on Reframing the Problem-solving Paradigm of Management Science.

Neither Qualitative nor Quantitative methods, as they are currently constituted, adequately resolve the problems of representation and legitimation in the management sciences. This project seeks to resolve contradictions in the ontological and epistemological foundations of social science in order to overcome shortcomings in the two major paradigms that are used in research, where different views of the same phenomena emerge and multiple realities appear to exist.

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Basic Social Math - Research Proposal

  1. 1. GRENOBLE ECOLE DE MANAGEMENT Doctorate in Business Administration Program PRELIMINARY RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEMPLATEName of the candidateFirst Name Jared LeeLast Name HansonCertificate of authorshipPlease read carefully the following statement and sign below it “I hereby certify that I am the author of this document and any assistance I received in preparing this report is fully acknowledged. I have also cited all sources from which I obtained ideas, data and words. I’m aware that plagiarism will lead to the cancellation of my application”.After printing this document put the date and your signature : 15 November 2011© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 1
  2. 2. Instructions for writing your preliminary research proposalThis preliminary research proposal is a complete description of your intended research, to be laterdeveloped under the supervision of an assigned supervisor.Research proposal evaluation criteriaProposal reviewers will look at 3 primary criteria: 1- Relevance of the research question from both a managerial and an academic perspective a. Managerial: will your research bring added-value to improve managerial practices? b. Academic: will your research bring new knowledge to your field? Is the research methodology rigorous? 2- Research feasibility a. Is your research feasible in a period of 4 years? b. Is data easily accessible? c. Will it be easy to collect primary data? 3- Proposal quality a. Writing style b. Argumentation c. Structure and organizationWhen writing this proposal, take care to to answer the following questions: How interesting andimportant is my research? Is my research feasible? Can I produce an excellent dissertation andsubsequent academic papers?Formatting requirementsPlease follow strictly the guidelines below when submitting your proposal: use only this document tosubmit your research proposal which must comply with the following formatting requirements:-Font: 12 point, Times New Roman-Title 1: 14 Times New Roman Bold-Title 2: 12 Times New Roman Bold-Title 3: 12 Times New Roman underlined-Text [Including references]: Double-spaced, justifiedAnti plagiarism policyGrenoble Ecole de Management has a very strict policy with regards to plagiarism and has thereforeput very rigorous procedures and measures of control into place. Please submit your research proposalin hard (paper) and electronic formats. Your work will be screened for plagiarism through a specificantiplagiarism software (e.g. Turnitin).© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 2
  3. 3. Finding academic and managerial referencesIf you do not yet have access to scientific databases (ABI Inform, Science Direct, etc.), you canbrowse the web and use these information sources: 1- Google scholars: 2- Google books:, to have a clear understanding of the research process and to improve the quality of yourpreliminary research proposal, we recommend that you refer to one of the books listed below: 1- Easterby-Smith, M. Thorpe, R., Lowe, A., (2002), Management Research: An Introduction, SAGE Series in Management Research, London. 2- Easterby-Smith, M. Thorpe, R., Jackson, P., Lowe, A., (2008), Management Research: Theory and Practice, SAGE Series in Management Research, London. 3- Ghauri P. And Gronhaug K. (2005), Research methods in Business Studies, 3rd edition, Prentice-Hall 4- Saunders M., Lewis P. and Tornhill A. (2009), Research Methods for Business Students, 5th edition, Pearson Education Limited, Upper Saddle River 5- Leedy P.D. and Ormrod J.E. (2009), Practical Research: Planning and Design, 9th edition, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River 6- Huff A.S. (2009), Designing research for publications, 1st edition; Sage, LondonQuoting your sourcesWhen you refer to ideas from other researchers, different rules must be applied. 1- In the core text, you should mention the name(s) of the author(s) and the date the work was published. a. If there is one author: my sentence (Allibert, 2008) b. If there are two authors: my sentence (Allibert and Bertalli, 2008). Keep the order of the names as it is in the paper/book. c. If there are three authors or more: my sentence (Allibert et al., 2008). Keep the name of the first author indicated in the paper/book d. You can also directly refer to the authors: Allibert (2008) noticed that .....Examples - Usage frequency also comes close to depth of usage (Gatignon and Robertson, 1985). - In these cases, authors mainly referred to the different situations in which the product is used (Srivastava et al., 1978; Metzger, 1985; Harvey and Rothe, 1986) - Definitions of width of usage (Gatignon and Robertson, 1985) and breadth of usage (Zaichowski, 1985) also reveal proximity with usage variety - As a fourth distinction, Oliver (1997) considered that few conceptual antecedents of perceived quality were known, whereas satisfaction was known to be influenced by many cognitive and affective processes© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 3
  4. 4. BibliographyIn the last part of your research proposal, you need to indicate your reference list. Here you shoulddetail the precise references of the works mentioned in your preliminary research proposal.In this preliminary research proposal, references must be presented as follows:Hart , C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination.London, UK: Sage Publications.Gebauer, J. and Tang, Y. (2008). Applying the Theory of Task-Technology Fit to Mobile Technology:The Role of User Mobility. International Journal of Mobile Communications, 6(3), 321-344© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 4
  5. 5. Overview of the proposalResearch Proposal TitleIndicate here the title of your research proposal. The title of your dissertation proposal should beinformative and helpful in clarifying the topic and the focus of your research.Basic Social Math:A Qualitative Study on Reframing the Problem-solving Paradigm of Management Science.Research Proposal AbstractThis is a summary of your research proposal. It should be no longer than 500 words. There are foundational errors in the mathematical frameworks currently used in managementscience research. A new approach is needed in social science research and systems engineering. Thispaper examines how the new understandings of complex systems, the role of emotion in cognition,and the core dynamics of decision making can help us correct these errors and to create a generalframework for systemic innovation. It argues for the development of more rigorous linguistic toolsthat can objectively analyze social dynamics from an empirical perspective rather than from subjectivecultural frames. In order to upgrade theories and adapt practices in social and management systems,we need to first correct problems at the fundamental end of the mathematical framework that is usedfor problem representation and legitimation. In order to establish a new perspective that can foster innovation in the management sciences,better tools are needed at the fundamental level of math that is used for social analysis. Currently,subjective cultural-linguistic frames serve as the basis for most of the underlying metrics of socialinteractions in organizational behavior and decision analysis. The problem with this is that the valuestructures of different cultural-linguistic frames do not align in mathematically consistent ways.Therefore, inferences made using these frameworks cannot accurately predict performance outcomes© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 5
  6. 6. in global contexts that cross cultures. By reframing the problem-solving paradigm in terms ofempirically validated relationship dynamics, it is hypothesized that we can create a unified linguisticframework capable of producing coherent pictures of management problems that are free fromcultural bias. Rather than focusing on all the cultural differences, this project puts an alternativeapproach to the test that focuses on the common ground that all humans share from a neurobiologicaland decision making point of view. A case study will be conducted and written about a changemanagement program now underway at a large private school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 6
  7. 7. DETAILED PROPOSAL 1- Brief introduction and problem statementIn this section you should introduce the subject area, set the context for the proposed study andhighlight the relevance of this research within the broader subject area. You should indicate whyyour research question is important and why it is worthy of a dissertation-level inquiry.Typically you should try to address some of the following questions:What is the problem?Is the problem of current interest?Why is this question important and worth studying?Why are you interested in the topic area? Neither Qualitative nor Quantitative methods, as they are currently constituted, adequatelyresolve the problems of representation and legitimation in the management sciences. The source ofthese problems is two fold: 1. Qualitatively, we dont have an alternative to cultural narrative as the basis for values usedin the calculations of meaning, which creates subjectivity in representations of management problems. 2. Quantitatively, we dont have empirical measures for management problems that adhere tofundamental rigors and principles of basic math, which limits the overall legitimacy of results. “Qualitative Research is an interactive process shaped by the researcher’s personal history,biography, race, etc. There is no ‘value-free’ social science” (Patel, 2011). “Quantitative methodsrequire the use of standardized measures so that the varying perspectives and experiences of peoplecan fit into a limited number of predetermined response categories to which numbers are assigned”(Patton, 2002; Patel, 2011). The questions of ‘Whose values?’ and ‘Whose standards?’ remainunanswered within these paradigms of problem-solving, therefore any problem representations createdwithin them remain somewhat biased and subjective. Attempts have been made to catalogue thedifferences between the values and standards that are embedded in various cultural-linguisticnarratives. But so far, no innovative breakthrough has been made in methods used to reconcile suchdifferences, nor has a coherent alternative to cultural-linguistic framing been developed forrepresenting and solving problems in management science.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 7
  8. 8. The following Renaissance paintings illustrate how the value calculations and underlyingstandards used to create problem representations affect the final picture that we see:Madonna Enthroned Madonna Enthroned Mona Lisa1280 1310 1503-6by Cimabue by Giotto by Leonardo da Vinci Think about the mathematical structures that underlie each of these pictures and the impactthat they have on the quality and clarity of the representation of the subject. These are the types offundamental rigors that we need to apply to our representations of management problems in order toresolve the deficiencies of current methods. Basic Social Math is a linguistic innovation that reframes the problem-solving paradigm ofmanagement science by shifting away from underlying sets of beliefs embodied in the culturalnarratives of different researchers and moving towards a culturally neutral set of beliefs embodied inthe linguistic frame of basic math. It incorporates rigors at the fundamental end of the mathematicalspectrum that can simultaneously bring conceptual alignment to abstract representations of decisionmaking and provide the means of legitimating observations and conclusions within real worldcontexts of social interaction.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 8
  9. 9. 2- Research questionIn this part you should indicate, clearly and concisely, the purpose of the study and outline the keyresearch question(s). This part should answer the following question: What are the aims andobjectives of your work? You should also indicate the field of research: industry, companies,country, period, etc. How effectively can managers operate in cross-cultural contexts, if they reframe problems interms of Basic Social Math, compared with those who frame problems in terms of existing culturalnarratives? Can the fundamental relationship dynamics of decision making effectively be used todetermine the limits of coherence in organizational engineering in the same way as aerodynamicsdetermine the limits of coherence for engineering of structures that fly? Subsequently, how appropriate is the use of Basic Social Math in structuring and solvingoperational problems that are considered complex or wicked? Are managers able to create representations of problems in cross-cultural contexts that are freefrom bias and viewed as legitimate from all stakeholders’ perspectives? In using the empirical neurobiological processes that underlie decision making and socialinteraction to standardize metrics and markers, how effectively are managers able to resolve conflictsarising from stakeholders with differing cultural values? Instead of framing management problems in terms of the many differences in culturalnarratives, Basic Social Math reframes the same problems using the few common variables thatemerge from the empirical processes that underlie decision making and neurological development.Whereas if we frame observations of social interaction in terms of various cultural value frameworks,we interpret the same phenomena in different ways leading to the conclusion that more variationsappear to be present than actually exist. The following photograph illustrates visually the problemgenerated by using different cultural value sets to frame the phenomena we observe in socialinteractions:© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 9
  10. 10. Since we have no alternative to using cultural narrative as the basis of the value calculations inour representations of the phenomena we observe, a false dichotomy has emerged that dividesknowledge generation in social science into either a Post-Positivist paradigm (where the phenomenaexist independent of the observer who objectively seeks to understand, but cultural biases remain) or aConstructivist paradigm (where understanding is co-constructed socially by the observer and thereforemany realities exist). This dichotomy is entirely generated by cultural linguistic framing. Neitherparadigm acknowledges the empirical phenomena that stand independent of our changing perceptionsof them. These differences in perception do not change the actual phenomena we observe. We fail torecognize that language is socially constructed. Itonly conveys meaning with a limited degree ofaccuracy. Hence, additional linguistic rigors arerequired in order to create a new paradigm, which isable to generate meaningful representations that areboth culturally neutral and empirically objective.Reframing is the only way to adequately resolve theproblems of representation and legitimation.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 10
  11. 11. 3- Relevance to existing literatureThe purpose of this section is to show that you are aware of significant work in the field. Byproviding a brief survey of the literature that summarizes what we know and what we do not yetknow about your particular topic, you should demonstrate how much you know about currentactivities in the subject area and your understanding of current research. In order to reframe the problem-solving paradigm of management science, Basic Social Mathreexamines the relationships between the observer, the observed, and the representations generatedthereby. It first resolves contradictions in the ontological and epistemological foundations of socialscience in order to overcome shortcomings in the two major paradigms that are used in research,where different views of the same phenomena emerge and multiple realities appear to exist. “The net that contains the researcher’s epistemological, ontological, and methodologicalpremises is a ‘paradigm’: basic set of beliefs that guides actions” (Guba, 1990; Patel 2011). Thefollowing illustration captures the relationship dynamics in question regarding paradigms of research: The problem with the Post-positivist paradigm is that it fails to acknowledge the impact of theobserver’s cultural linguistic frame on the picture of external phenomena that is created in theobserver’s brain. Thus it fails to achieve its objective of different observers being able to arrive at thesame conclusions about the same external phenomena.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 11
  12. 12. The problem with the Constructivist paradigm is that even though it acknowledges the impactof cultural linguistic framing on the pictures of external phenomena that are created in the brain, itfails to recognize that the external phenomena are not changed by our changing perceptions. Multiplerealities do not exist in the properties and dynamics of the external phenomena we observe. Because these problems in the ontological and epistemological paradigms of managementresearch remain unresolved, the general belief has developed that the social sciences are not like thephysical sciences with respect to empirical studies and validation of general principles. The socialworld is too complex to be understood in such ways, or so the logic goes. However, a newunderstanding of complexity itself has emerged in the last decade, which up-ends such long-standingbeliefs. “In parallel with the current transformative revolutions in information processing andcommunication,...there is another revolution, a Kuhnian paradigm shift at the dawn of the 21st centurymuch as physics underwent in the beginning of the 20th century when quantum mechanics was addedto Newtonian physics. That revolution is in our understanding of how complex adaptive systems(CAS) gather, compute, store and communicate—from DNA to the human biopsychosocial levels—and in our use of this knowledge” (Jobson, 2011). Rather than arguing about contradictory views generated between Constructivist and Post-positivist paradigms and the differences that result from cultural-narrative framing, Basic Social Mathseeks a new paradigm based on rigorous linguistics with experientially validated correspondence toempirical phenomena. As Stuart Dreyfus states, when we look at how neurons actually function in thebrain during the generation of new knowledge, “many of the difficulties and complications that arisewhen an agent [observer] is assumed to be either a manipulator of a vast array of separatelyremembered situations or a disembodied, detached decision maker trying to make a model of itsenvironment and then respond sensibly based on that model vanish when the agent is seen as anembedded, involved, adaptive entity using only environmental feedback and its own internal state tolearn to respond in a model-free way” (2004).© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 12
  13. 13. By examining management science phenomena in terms of the dynamic processes thatindividual agents use to function, new representations of problems can be created based on empiricalphenomena instead of cultural narrative. This effort to reframe the real problems of social interactionin various management contexts follows the advice of Cambridge’s Dénes Sz!cs and Usha Goswamiwho urged that neuroscientists should not work in isolation. “Educational researchers and teachers,with their extensive practical experience, need to be involved in formulating research questions. Theirpractical knowledge should also contribute to setting strategic directions for educational neuroscienceresearch” (2007). There must be a cyclical feedback loop between the research questions investigatedand the real problems to which the findings can be applied. In other words, an active reflective processis needed. No basic framework or methodology can be found in the literature for how to systematicallyengage in a reflective process. Here, I had to search beyond the management disciplines to find usefulmodels and guides. David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle (Kolb & Fry: 1975), for example, hasbeen utilized in the teaching profession to help people engage in an active reflective practice. Thisframework provides a model of the developmental process that moves learners from the abstract to theconcrete application of new concepts. As Dreyfus states, “the agent need only observe how theprocess unfolds.” And he concludes that “the best explanation of the source of skilled behavior maywell be that experience has modified the expert’s synapses so as to produce it.” This cycle is commonto all neurobiological development and does not change based on culture. Whereas Hofstede and the GLOBE study look at the ways that national cultures differ, BasicSocial Math frames all management problems in terms of the universal empirics of neurobiologicalinteractions that underlie both learning and decision making. Hofstede looked at 5 dimensions inwhich national cultures vary. The GLOBE study looked at 9 dimensions (Javidan, 2006). In bothcases, interesting insights are produced, however, the problems of representation and legitimation arenot resolved. Fundamentally, by examining how cultures are different we do not arrive at useful toolsfor representing management problems that remove the cultural biases generated in the pictures we© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 13
  14. 14. produce. We only end up seeing that each picture is different depending on the cultural context inwhich it is produced. The following two pictures represent these distinctions: So we end up with the acknowledgement that the resulting pictures are different and theconclusion is that different approaches may be needed in order to solve problems. But so what? If, on the other hand, we look at the common variables that tell us how all cultures are thesame, then we end up with something much more powerful from an analytical and problem-solvingpoint of view. We arrive at a noise filter that can first give us a clear picture of the phenomena we areobserving and then we can use the powerful tools of math to find innovative new approaches to solveproblems. Rather than spending time counting all the differences, we can take the new understandingof how complex systems function and identify the simple underlying components that generate all thecomplex pictures in the system. In other words, rather than trying to understand all the differencesbetween pictures generated in different cultural narratives, we can just seek to understand the commonelements that are used in generating pictures of social interaction. This is the equivalent of seeking tounderstand the three primary colors and how they can be combined in order to produce an infinitevariety of pictures, instead of trying to describe how different artists create different pictures. Thefollowing illustrates the structural breakdown of the complex system that generates pictures:© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 14
  15. 15. Management science emerges from decision making in social contexts. Making decisions isthe most fundamental component of managing people. It is the central process that underlies everyissue and every problem we encounter in organizations. Decision making is to management aselectricity is to electronics. The only way to harness its power is through an accurate understanding ofits fundamental nature. Thus, innovation revolves around decisions. Strategy revolves around decisions. Coping withchange in operational environments revolves around decisions. Any social interaction that requiresleadership revolves around decisions. The dynamics of decision making are as critical to managementscience as aerodynamics are to flight. And yet, there is no common, empirically-based view of social decision making in themanagement science literature. Ideas about how decisions can and should be made vary widely acrosssocial disciplines and cultures. This lack of clarity at the underlying, fundamental level creates a verycomplex and obscured picture of problems encountered in management science. Without conceptual alignment at the underlying, structural level, where value calculations takeplace, our representations of management science problems remain rudimentary and unsophisticated,despite the incorporation of sophisticated quantitative techniques. Since cultural narratives serve as© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 15
  16. 16. the basis of value calculations in most qualitative problem representations, they do not provide arigorous foundation for relating scales or magnitudes that accurately correspond to phenomena in thereal world. Quantitatively, we lack empirical standards. Qualitatively, we use cultural values. Observers from different cultures often create vastly different representations of the same setof interactions because they are calculating different factors with different values that are notmathematically consistent. Here is an easy visual example from a Chinese artist that I met in Xi’anwho painted a portrait of me, an American. So, when we attempt to reconcile the problem representations created in different culturalframes, we conclude that the calculations are extremely complex and difficult because nothing seemsto align concretely. Investigating social and management problems is not a “hard” science, likephysics, we conclude. In operations research, for example, these problems have come to be labeled,“soft,” because of the shifting nature of problem representations created from the differingperspectives of stakeholders. The math that has been developed so far and put into practice stillcontains uncorrected errors. Jonathan Barzalai, professor of industrial engineering at DalhousieUniversity elaborated on what is needed: “The construction of the mathematical foundations of any scientific discipline requires theidentification of the conditions that must be satisfied in order to enable the application of themathematical operations of linear algebra and calculus. Because these conditions have not beencorrectly identified in the literature, the fundamental problem of applicability of mathematicaloperations to scale values has not been solved and these operations are applied in error in game© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 16
  17. 17. theory, economic theory, psychology, and other social sciences. In particular, addition andmultiplication are not applicable to any scale values in decision theory.” (Barzilai 2007) This is where reframing can have a profound impact on the conclusions we reach aboutmanagement science problems. The following comparison between Roman and Arabic numeralsillustrates how linguistics affects calculation: LXXVIII 78 – XLIV vs. – 44 Even a casual look a the history of Arithmetic from Wikipedia gives us a sense of howimportant this linguistic innovation was in the development of science: “...the characteristics of the particular numeral system strongly influence the complexity of themethods. The hieroglyphic system for Egyptian numerals, like the later Roman numerals, descendedfrom tally marks used for counting.... “The gradual development of Hindu-Arabic numerals independently devised the place-valueconcept and positional notation, which combined the simpler methods for computations with adecimal base and the use of a digit representing zero. This allowed the system to consistentlyrepresent both large and small integers. This approach eventually replaced all other systems.… “The flourishing of algebra in the medieval Islamic world and in Renaissance Europe was anoutgrowth of the enormous simplification of computation through decimal notation” (2011). Jonathan Barzalai has demonstrated conclusively, that the math used in fields such aseconomics, operations research, decision analysis, and game theory has uncorrected errors at thefoundational level (2007). So, it is at the fundamental end of the mathematical spectrum that we nowneed to focus, if we want to improve our capacity to represent problems and to fully legitimateconclusions we reach in the management sciences. By correcting these foundational errors, thisproject calls into question many widely held beliefs about the nature of management science and ourinability to use scientific methods to solve the ‘wicked’ problems that arise from complex socialinteractions.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 17
  18. 18. “Wicked problems always occur in a social context, and there can be radically different viewsand understanding of the problem by different stakeholders, with no unique “correct” view (Horn andWeber 2007). Thus, their wicked nature stems not only from their biophysical complexity but alsofrom multiple stakeholders’ perceptions of them and of potential trade-offs associated with problemsolving” (Batie, 2008). “Wicked problems often crop up when organizations have to face constant change orunprecedented challenges. They occur in a social context; the greater the disagreement among stake-holders, the more wicked the problem. In fact, it’s the social complexity of wicked problems as muchas their technical difficulties that make them tough to manage” (Camillus, 2008). The value of reframing then is that much of the wickedness is neutralized due to theconceptual alignment that is created at the underlying level of calculation that produces the problemrepresentations (level of primary colors). It more effectively harnesses the power of abstraction bycreating alignment based on the universal empirical processes that underlie decision making in socialcontexts. This greatly simplifies the calculations and reduces the overall complexity of the mentalprocessing required. If we examine how abstraction works in thecomplex systems of language, we can get a betteridea of how we can harness its power to help us insolving the wicked problems of complex socialinteraction. In Chinese, abstraction works at the surfacelevel of the language. An abstract symbol isderived from a pictorial drawing of a word. Since there are thousands of different words, there arethousands of different abstract symbols required to calculate meaning in the written language. Whilefunctional, this is the least efficient usage of abstraction.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 18
  19. 19. When abstraction is applied at the structural level of a language, then much more of its powercan be harnessed. Rather than having symbols account for the variation in words, Arabic usesdifferent symbols to represent the sounds from which words are constructed. Since there are roughly30 sound variations from which the entire complex system of the language emerges, only about asmany abstract symbols are required to do the same job that requires thousands of symbols to calculatemeaning in Chinese. The lesson we learn here is that if we try to account for all the differences at the surface levelof a complex system, we will not be able to effectively harness the power of abstraction. If, however,we work at the structural level, we can find the points of alignment that can be abstracted into a muchsmaller set of component parts that can represent all of the calculations within the system. So, when we talk about values and standards that are embedded in different cultural narratives,it will be much less efficient to try to account for all the differences in decision making betweencultures than to work at the structural level of the decision-making process itself. By creatingabstractions of the underlying parts of the process, we end up with a much smaller set of variables.The resulting calculations simultaneously capture all variations in the system and better harness thepower of abstraction. So, where the GLOBE Study tries to do the enormous job of accounting for the many culturaldifferences that affect calculations in management problems, Basic Social Math only requiresevaluation of 8 simple variables based on the neurobiological interactions that underlie learning anddecision making that are parallel across all systemic levels and cultures. By reframing the problem-solving paradigm in this way, it is hypothesized that a manager will be better able to harness thepower of abstraction to calculate solutions and operate more effectively in any context.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 19
  20. 20. 4- Research methodologyHere you should state the type of research method you intend to use (quantitative, qualitative ormixed-method). You should also define the rationale for the selection of participants, methods ofdata collection (e.g. survey, focus groups, interviews) and analysis.Please do not forget to state how you will gain access participants.You should also include a statement about the delimitations (boundaries) of your research. Viewed from a much broader perspective, Basic Social Math is a framework for the study offundamental patterns, dynamics, and cycles related to social interaction at all levels; from themicroscopic neurobiology of the brain to the macroscopic socio-cultural systems of the globaleconomy. It’s a mathematical framework for identifying and validating universal constraints,operating rules and general laws of social interaction that can be used to deconstruct, analyze,simulate, and engineer various social systems in education, business, and government. In order todetermine if such a framework can contribute to our understanding of social systems and/or improveinteractions within these systems, a case study conducted in a live management setting is required. The problem is where to find a context in which you can test the validity of Basic Social Mathin a real world operation. Where do you get participants who are willing to take the risks of learning tofunction within a new paradigm in real time? What about the financial risks of the drops inperformance that are part of the developmental process? Most business people are not willing to takesuch risks or make such efforts without some very compelling motivation for doing so. In some cases,firms may lead the way for reasons of competitive advantage. Others may be forced to make the shiftdue to changes in the conditions of their operating environment. The educational setting, in which I am now working, provides a unique context where variousdecision making concepts can be tested in low risk settings. In other words, you can try differentapproaches without the risk of serious financial losses. That way different risky approaches can betested for their social consequences without incurring financial losses if things dont turn out as© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 20
  21. 21. expected. Also, since Im working in a cross-cultural setting, all of the issues that business managersface in decision making in global operations can clearly be accounted for and tested for sustainability. As such, a real world context must be used in order to put the various assumptions thatunderlie current beliefs to the test. Experiments must be conducted in order to also put an alternativeset of assumptions, embodied in Basic Social Math, to the test, so that outcomes can be compared andevaluated. Hence, I have chosen to use a case study, conducted in a cross-cultural organization that isundergoing a major change management program, as the basis of these qualitative experiments. I havebegun a development program at a large private school in Riyadh where we are retraining teachers intheir English program to follow a more reflective practice in their approach to the operation of theirentire program. The forces of globalization are causing changes that are generating ‘wicked’ problems whichcan be seen in the operation of this school. In this global operating environment, performanceoutcomes of the school have dropped substantially. Students spend 12 years in the school’s Englishprogram, yet large numbers graduate still unable to communicate in basic English. Parents are dissatisfied because they have paid tuition to educate their children, yet they haveto pay again for their children to spend another year or two in college just learning English. Theyblame the school administration for failing to provide adequate education. The administration blames the teachers, claiming that they do not control the students properlyand that they use out-dated methods of instruction. The teachers blame the students, claiming that theydo not want to learn. They also claim that the administration has created a system of conflictingpriorities and unrealistic expectations in which teachers find it difficult to operate. Students claim the whole system is worthless and question why they should even botherputting forth the effort to learn when there are many loopholes in the system through which they canget their graduation certificates without learning anything. From a management point of view, the case study will focus on how Basic Social Math can beapplied in the following situations and what results are achieved in the live setting:1. Usage as the basis for diagnosing the problems that are producing poor results.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 21
  22. 22. 2. Usage as the technical basis for engineering sustainable solutions to the above problems.3. Usage in analyzing the interpersonal relationships involved between Parents, Administrators, Teachers, and Students.4. Usage as the basis for reconciling the competing, and often conflicting, interests, priorities, and objectives of stakeholders. This study will use multiple means of data capture from interventions and experimentsconducted, including surveys of stakeholders, filmed interviews of key management andadministrative personnel, filmed observations of class operations, filmed training sessions withmanagers, teachers, and supervisors, as well as performance results from students in the program.From this data, the case study will be written along with an evaluation of the impacts that reframinghad on the overall effectiveness of managers in this context. 5- Workplan© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 22
  23. 23. What is your timeframe to achieve this research, taking into account that you will have to submityour final thesis on Month 36 of your program. Tasks to be achieved Start date DeadlinePhase 1Determine definitive research 28 Feb 2011 01 May 2011questionDefine research model 15 Oct 2011 15 Jan 2012Define methodology 15 Jun 2011 15 Oct 2011Prepare and write literature 15 Nov 2011 31 Jan 2012reviewPrepare pilot study 01 Sep 2011 15 Jan 2012Phase 2Collect data 15 Jan 2012 15 May 2012Analyze Data 15 May 2012 01 Sep 2012Write final work 01 Sep 2012 01 Dec 2012Submit final work Dec 2012Review and defend March 2013© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 23
  24. 24. ReferencesPlease indicate your preliminary bibliography.Annual Review for 2009/10, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, p18.Adams, A. (2005) "Brain Waves: The Science and Ethics of Exploring the Mind." Stanford Medicine Magazine, Fall 2005:, Charles E. (2007) "Cognitive Accuracy and Intelligent Executive Function in the Brain and in Business." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, v118 (1) 2007: 122-141.Banks, Jerry, and Randall Gibson. (2009) "The ABCs of Simulation Practice." Analytics, Spring 2009: 16-21.Barzilai, Jonathan. (2007) Game Theory Foundational Errors and the Mathematical Foundations of Operations Research. CORS-SCRO Bulletin, Vol. 41 No. 4: Canadian Operations Research Society.Barzilai, Jonathan. (2008) Preference Function Modeling (PFM): The Mathematical Foundations of Decision Theory. Technical Report, Halifax: Dept. of Industrial Engineering, Dalhousie University.Barzilai, Jonathan. (2009) "Preference Function Modeling: The Mathematical Foundations of Decision Theory." Trends in MCDA, 1-30.Batie, Sandra S. (2008) “Wicked Problems and Applied Economics.” Amer. J. Agr. Econ. 90 (Number 5, 2008): 1176–1191Blumstein, Sheila, et al. (2006) "A Report on Grand Challenges of Mind and Brain." Workshop on Mind and Brain: Strategies and Directions for Future Research. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.Bordley, Robert F. (2009) "Making Decision Analysis More Accessible." ORMS Today, v36 (4): 10.Boyd, E. A. (2007) "Scientists Tailor-made for Today’s World." ORMS Today, v34 (4): 16-17.Brooks, David. (2009) "The End of Philosophy." The New York Times, Apr 7, 2009:© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 24
  25. 25. —. "They Had It Made." The New York Times, May 12, 2009:, John C. (2008) “Strategy as a Wicked Problem.” Harvard Business Review, May 2008.Canagarajah, A. S. (1999) "Adopting a critical perspective on pedagogy." In Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching, 29. ISBN 0194421546: Oxford University Press.Carey, Benedict. (2009) "Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory." The New York Times, Apr 6, 2009:—. "When All You Have Left Is Your Pride." The New York Times, Apr 7, 2009:, Owen and Sue Dopson, (2010) “Module Overview” Understanding Management Success, Saïd Business School, 6-9 Jan 2010.Denker, John S. (1996) "Energy Awarness and Energy Management. In See How It Flies--A new spin on the perceptions, procedures, and principles of flight., 1996.Dilnot, A., and M. Blastland. (2007) "The Numbers Game: Statistics and Politics.", Stuart E. (2004) “Totally Model-free Learned Skillful Coping.” Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Vol. 24, No. 3, June 2004, 182-187. DOI: 10.1177/0270467604264813Farmer, D. J. (2007) "Neuro-Gov. Neuroscience as Catalyst." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, v1118 (1): 74-89.Feigin, G. (2008) "Has Academic O.R. Lost Its Way?" ORMS Today, v35 (1) : 16-17.Gawande, A. (2008) "The Itch." The New Yorker, Jun 30, 2008.Grant, Robert, (2010) Contemporary Strategy Analysis, John Wiley, London, 473.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 25
  26. 26. Grossman, Pam. (2009) "Teaching: No Fallback Career." The New York Times, Apr 19, 2009:, J. L. (2002) Control Freak: Harness the Power. ISBN 0595246524: Writer’s Club Press, 2002.Huhman, Kim L. Society for Neuroscience 2005 Conference. Film Interview, Washington, DC: Hearts & Minds Production LLC, 2005.Immordino-Yang, M.H., and A. Damasio. "We Feel, Therefore We Learn: The Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education." Mind, Brain, and Education, v1 (1) 2007: 3-10.Javidan, M. et al (2006) “Conceptualizing and Measuring Cultures and Their Consequences: A Comparative Review of GLOBE’s and Hofstede’s Approaches.” Journal of International Business Studies. Sep 2006, 897-914.Jobson, et al, OR/MS Today,, June 2011.Ketter, Wolfgang, and F. Jordan Srour. "Optimal or Agile? Tradeoffs Between Optimization and Agent-based Methods." OR/MS Today, June 2009: Vol. 36, No. 3.Kolb, David A., and Roger Fry. "Toward an applied theory of experiential learning." In Theories of Group Process, by C. Cooper. London: John Wiley, 1975.Lohr, Steve. "How Crisis Shapes the Corporate Model." The New York Times, Mar 29, 2009:, R. Duncan. "Interview for Documentary Film." Basic Social Math. Irvine, CA: Hearts & Minds Production LLC, 2005.Miller, Tom. "The Five-Stage Process." A C-L/CLL Introductory Workshop. Brattleboro, VT: Counseling-Learning Institutes, 2006., Tim. "Key Ideas about the Role of Leaders and Leadership." Dipl. in Org. Leadership Course. Oxford: Said Business School, Sep 8-11, 2010.Mould, Richard Francis (1980). A History of X-rays and Radium: With a Chapter on Radiation Units, 1895–1937. IPC Building & Contract Journals Ltd.. pp. 32.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 26
  27. 27. Newcomb, Simon. (1903) “The Outlook for the Flying Machine,” The Independent: A Weekly Magazine, 22 Oct 1903, p2508-12.Noonan, P. S. (2007) "Designing, Selling a Hybrid Course." ORMS Today, v34 (4): 10.Patel, Taran (2011) “Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods.” Opening Workshop for DBA Programs 2011, Grenoble Ecole de Management, 21 Mar 2011.Prahalad, C.K. and Gary Hamel, (1990) “The Core Competence of the Corporation,” Harvard Business Review, May-June 1990.Richard, F. (2001) "Mapping Language in Database Applications." Computer Programming.Saavedra, Serguei, Felix Reed-Tsochas & Brian Uzzi, “A simple model of bipartite cooperation for ecological and organizational networks,” Nature, 22 January 2009, p.457, 463-466.Shakun, Melvin F. "Applying Evolutionary Systems Design." Group Decision & Negotiation 2009 Meeting. Toronto: CORS/INFORMS International, 2009. 25.Szucs, D., and U. Goswami. "Educational Neuroscience: Defining a New Discipline for the Study of Mental Representations." Mind, Brain, and Education, v1 (3) 2007: 114-127.Taylor, Barry P. "Teaching ESL: Incorporating a Communicative, Student-centered Component." In Methodology in TESOL. Newbury House Publishers, Inc, 1987.Weaver, Gary. "The American Cultural Tapestry." Paper Presented at Al Yamamah University. Riyadh: School of International Service at American University Division of International Communication, 2008.Welsh, Patrick. "Do Teachers Need Education Degrees?" The New York Times, Aug 16, 2009:, C. C., et al. "Steering Group Report." Brain Science as a Mutual Opportunity for the Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science, and Engineering. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2006.Zernike, Kate. "Colleges Sweat Out Admissions This Year." The New York Times, Mar 8, 2009:© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 27
  28. 28. 7 Self- assessmentIn this proposal which part did you find the most difficult to write? And with which section wereyour most comfortable in completing?The most difficult part to write was the literature survey and to design an appropriate structure for acase study. I still need input from my supervisor in this section.The Introduction and Problem Statement was the most comfortable for me to write.© Grenoble Ecole de Management Doctoral School - 2010 Page 28