Systemic thinking, lived redescription, and ironic leadership: creating and sustaining a company of innovative organisational consulting practices
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AbstractThis thesis is about the growth and sustainability of a systemic consultancy that for more than ten years has experienced continuous growth and development. It sets out to describe the kind of distinctive dialogical relational practices (Shotter, 2006, 2008) that enables the conditions for a continuous creation of novel and innovative practices which has been expressed into an ever growing and mutating practice both within the community but also in relation to clients. It is argued that it is the distinctive systemic way of being irreverent towards one's own practice; that is privileging curiosity over certainty (Cecchin, 1987), imagination over inference (Rorty, 1989, 1991a), that is perhaps the most specific difference between systemic theory-practitioners and other ways of consulting. Through cases these ideas are described from within the experiences of those participating offering unique expressions of how this difference is lived in a day-to-day conduct. The treatment of these episodes leads to the hypothesis that innovative practices become a 'way of being' in the world rather than a special feature applied on practice which means that it is not only something we do it is also how we see ourselves grow and develop as individuals as well as a community. How this is expressed into client relationships is explored through two cases of innovative consultancy. The thesis is also a self-reflexive portrait described through neo-pragmatic ideas as found in Rorty's (1980, 1989, 1991a, 1991b, 1999) writing. This project is providing a tension within the project of developing the thesis re-viewing my previous systemic vocabulary through the use of new words and metaphors, through which the reader is invited into an extension of the idea of 'irreverence' with Rorty's writing on irony and redescription. During the course of this project a portrait of the kind of leadership practice that facilitates a relationally dialogical way of being in an organisation is described, which serves as a kind of self portrait. The research methods applied is best captured by the notion of participant research (Lindlof, 1995. Wadel, 1991), which entails using a series of data such as interviews, on the spot observations, written material, post episode reflections and participant dialogues in relation to the different meanings an episode can have. All the data used is discussed and related to the theoretical project within the thesis.
CitationStorch, Jacob. (2011) 'Systemic thinking, lived redescription, and ironic leadership: creating and sustaining a company of innovative organisational consulting practices'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionSubmitted for the degree: Professional Doctorate in Systemic Practice
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