Today, I was driving and listening to a R. Ackoff's lecture he gave a few
years ago, I was on my way to present a Leadership and systems thinking
seminar, and he spoke about Singer's work as being the most critical
scientific paper of his day, but it was not given the credit it deserves.
I think Stuart Umpleby curiosity and research on what could produce a new
philosophy and theory of management is providing us with a "Disclosive "
space for an ongoing synthesis of a philosophy of management.
I believe Ackoff's work presented an opening to move from the Machine age
to a Systems age. Stuart requested " What other authors should we look at
? " I propose the works of these three authors as people who can
contribute to a new philosophy of management : Humberto Maturana &
Francisco Valera 's The Tree of Knowledge, the biological roots for human
understanding. this evolutionary and biological work produces a different
understanding of cognition, autopoeisis, living systems, language, and
human beings. in short a new science of biology and a radical epistemology
and a new way of seeing and being in the world. the result is a new
"Observer" and a Language systems of co-existence. Peter Senge presented
this book at the second Systems thinking conference, and equated language
with systems thinking. Humberto Maturana also has written other books
where he is writing as a social philosopher basing his ideas of human
beings and society on this new biological understanding. Maturana received
last years' the Chilean national award for science. By the way in a book
by Stafford Beer in the early 1970's "Designing Freedom " Stafford
mentions the work of Maturana and says he does not understand it yet but
implies the potential impact of his theory. Fernando Flores, another
Chilean, learned a lot from Maturana and integrated the biology of
cognition into his theory of management, which he wrote in the book he
co-author with Terry Winograd, "Understanding Computers and Cognition".
this book comes across as very difficult to read, however it has a
coherent new philosophy of management. I studied with Flores, and one of
the learning practices that we learned was how to read books, including
difficult books like this one and Maturanana's. I recommend "Understanding
computers and Cognition " as a groundbreaking book for a new paradigm for
management. A book by HBS press called "Beyond the Hype " has a lot of
Flores work in it, and is easier to read. Flores understands the
management schools dilema and also what Peter Vaill is saying about "
doing management and talking management" and the problem of trying to
structure management knowledge into a science format. Flores solves this
dilema by offering a new paradigm/ontology of management in which
"Language is action". A third author is the work of Fritjof Capra. He
presented at last year's Systems Thinking conference, and I believe his
presentation on Ecological principles as a foundation or context for
business made a lot of contribution from a systems perspective. I believe
the work of Maturana presents us with those dimensions as: circularity,
the observer, language, cognition , and a social philosophy for living
together in learning and peace. I have made several presentations of
Maturana's work and will share it with you as you request. Stuart I hope
this helps in your research.
-- Manuel Manga <email@example.com>