Ralph Stacey on beliefs

Ralph Stacey writes that if

we believe that nature’s systems function like a clockwork and human systems move to the dictates of designing minds,1


we quite naturally believe that nature can be controlled once the laws governing it have been discovered and human systems can be redesigned from scratch once a new intention has been formed.2

If, on the other hand,

we believe that systems in both nature and human society are creative when they operate in chaos,3


we will see that it is impossible to be “in control” of the future of such systems or to redesign them from scratch.4

We will understand that people interacting in an organization may produce a pattern in their actions through self-organization, provided that the context in which they work enables them to discover and learn.5

The focus for action will shift from speculation about the future to dealing with current issues that have long-term consequences, from persuasion and propaganda to learning and discovery.6

1 Ralph D. Stacey, Managing the Unknowable: Strategic Boundaries Between Order and Chaos in Organizations, p. 125.
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..

Related post:
Ralph Stacey on rule-following

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog where he shares his reading, book reviews, and learning.

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