Constructivist family therapy offers a model for the application of Maturana’s theories to practice. This paper describes key concepts of a constructivist approach and draws on family therapy to provide guidelines for applying them in an organizational setting. It offers a view of the organization as a network of conversations in which change occurs through the coconstruction of new conversations which widen or change the rational domain in which a problem occurs.
In this paper Bateson’s (1972) ideas on levels of learning are used to analyze processes involved in learning gender stereotypes. In his theory there is a distinction between learning a behaviour (level one) and learning that a behaviour is stereotyped (level two). Such classification of behaviour occurs in social contexts, a fact which contributes to our understanding of both their role in identity and their resistance to change. Third level learning, which may be needed to change stereotypes learned under level two processes, reduces conflict between different stereotypes but at the cost of change in an individual’s identity. Misdirected attempts to promote level three learning may be counterproductive if the challenge to identity is threatening. Questioning or counterexamples which allow re-consideration of stereotypes, or activities which make caricatures out of the stereotypes, are offered as ways of promoting change which are not threatening by being respectful of the learner’s identity.
Lenartowicz M. (2015) The nature of the university. Higher Education 69(6): 947–961. https://cepa.info/2619
Higher education research frequently refers to the complex external conditions that give our old-fashioned universities a good reason to change. The underlying theoretical assumption of such framing is that organizations are open systems. This paper presents an alternative view, derived from the theory of social systems autopoiesis. It proposes that organizations, being open systems, are yet operationally closed, as all their activities and interactions with the environment are aspects of just one process: the recursive production of themselves, according to a pattern of their own identity. It is their identity that captures exactly what can and what cannot be sustained in their continuous self-production. Examining the organizational identity of universities within the theoretical framework of autopoiesis may hence shed new light on their resistance to change, explaining it as a systemic and social phenomenon, rather than an individual and psychological one. Since all processes of an autopoietic system are processes of its self-production, this paper argues that in the case of traditional European universities, the identity consists in the intertwinement of only two processes: (1) introducing continuous change in the scope of scientific knowledge and (2) educating new generations of scholars, who will carry on this activity. This surprisingly leaves at the wayside seemingly the most obvious “use of the university’: the adequate education of students for the job market.
Walker B. M. & Crittenden N. (2012) The use of laddering: Techniques, applications and problems. In: Caputi P., Viney L. L., Walker B. M. & Crittenden N. (eds.) Personal construct methodology. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester: 71–87.
This chapter provides a clear understanding of the process of laddering, a powerful technique designed to elicit constructions of the world in increasingly superordinate order. Its developmental history, beginning with Hinkle’s landmark thesis on approaching change and resistance to change within a constructivist framework, is described and its utility for the exploration of hierarchical construing by practitioners and researchers from a wide range of areas (including psychology, psychotherapy and counseling, marketing, education and organizational understanding) is illustrated. Problems with its application are outlined, along with suggested solutions.