Friday, May 26, 2006

Autopoiesis for Beginners

Autopoiesis means self-creation, but why is that concept so interesting?

It was coined by the Chilean biologist Humberto Maturana around 1970. It was picked up by familiy therapists, social constructivists, organizational psychologists and, famously, the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann.

But what does it mean? I have come across countless incomprehensible explanations. In what follows I’ll share my understanding, developed when I was associating with some of Maturana’s and his pal Heinz von Foerster’s groupies in California in the early 1980’s. Forgive me if my terms are a little rusty, I haven’t been keeping up.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Horseshoe Dive: A Model for Transformative Research

Many social and organizational researchers want to improve organizational life or transform some such corner of the world. That seems like a contradiction in terms, for is research not a matter of figuring out how things are and letting others do the changing? Well, yes, that's the classical view. Today, how may we conceptualize social research as an attempt to improve action?