Complexity, Learning and Organizations takes an original and innovative look at some of the ways of understanding how organizations work, including complexity, chaos theory and quantum structures. In an accessible style, Walter Baets argues that we need a new way of looking at the world and at human systems, in organizations and in society as a whole. He proposes a holistic management approach which is in direct opposition to the short-term shareholder value-driven approach which dominates much management practice. The aim is to encourage the emergence of a new type of learning within organizations. To illustrate this, he discusses self-organizing systems; the complexity paradigm; the nature and use of knowledge; management learning at both the organizational and the individual level; and personal development. Finally, he argues in favour of considering business and economics as a network of agents that operate on the basis of synchronicity – the quantum structure of business. Encouraging readers to reflect on their own experiences, and drawing on examples from a number of real-life company cases, Walter Baets delivers a readable and thought-provoking book. For students and managers interested in complexity, knowledge management, innovation and organizational learning, this book is an invaluable guide.
Trust is at issue when someone makes oneself vulnerable to another who can harm if the trust is misplaced. The recipient of trust is either trustworthy or not, and much of the literature revolves around the evaluation of the trustworthiness of the trusted by the trustor. Trust can exist among those who know each other intimately (personal trust) and among strangers (interpersonal, social, or generalized trust). Trust can have as its object other people or institutions and organizations. In conceptualizing trust to undertake empirical research, two crucial distinctions exist: cognitive vs non-cognitive trust and personalized vs generalized trust. The more instrumental and cognitive theorists tend to treat trust as an estimate of the trustworthiness of those with whom one has relationships as individuals or within social networks. In contrast are those who claim trust is dispositional or moralistic. While each tradition treats the work trust does as an empirical question, their conceptualizations are sufficiently distinct so that both their presumptions of the role that trust plays in society and their findings are often incompatible. This leads to debate about the sources of trust and whether trust is essential for good government, economic growth, and harmony. Trust and trustworthiness are distinct but so implicated with each other that it is generally necessary to consider the second in contemplating the first. Indeed, much of the literature revolves around how to establish and assess the trustworthiness of persons, organizations, and institutions.
While neuroscientists, cognitive anthropologists, and behavioral psychologists have begun to examine the dialectical relationship between space and cognition, sociologists have remained curiously silent. Sociologists concede that cognition affects our relationship to space, but seem less willing to explore how space might affect us cognitively. In this paper I argue that the spatial configuration of our environment facilitates particular cognitive modes. I examine what I call structured versus unstructured spaces. I also focus on the structuring of space and whether that structuring is imposed or implied. The structure of the space and the articulation of that structure interact to produce different modes of thought. This relationship between space and cognition has important implications for how and, perhaps, why we use culture.
In this paper we attempt to characterize the key differences and points of convergence between two contemporary approaches to the relationship between culture and cognition in sociology which we label the toolkit and strong practice theory perspectives. We follow recent work at the intersection of culture and cognition in attempting to explicitly formulate the cognitive underpinnings of these two approaches in terms of the assumptions that they make about cultural acquisition, transmission and externalization. Our analysis suggests that in spite of very important differences in emphasis and explanatory range, toolkit and strong practice-theoretical approaches are complementary, although the specific types of modal situation for which each of them is best suited need to be more clearly specified. We develop a framework that shows how the two approaches can be deployed in conjunction as well as specifying the modal settings and situations that each will be more likely to handle best as well as those in which they will run into trouble.
This paper examines the possibility of applying the principles of cultural sociology to the study of the history of education and training. Although research into the development of education and training in the recent decades has been quite sociological in character, most sociological concepts used in such studies do not adequately addresses the issue of culture. Existing studies are mostly based on utilitarian and materialistically oriented approaches. This is why we believe it is necessary to develop more culturally-oriented perspective that would offer appropriate analytical tools to study the cultural dimension of the development of education and training. In our opinion, the cultural sociology of J. C. Alexander with its concepts of cultural codes, narratives and metanarratives offers precisely this perspective. It is precisely these tools that we apply to four problems in the historical study of education and training.