Systems Intelligence in Leadership and Everyday Life

The Systems Intelligence approach that we have developed with a number of associates and students in the course of the past five years at Helsinki University of Technology, offers a major opening for the understanding of leadership. The perspective is rich in terms of potential relevance for the actual conduct of leadership, we believe. This is because of the fruitful crossfertilization the approach creates between conceptual and theoretical considerations on the one hand, and an interest in actual praxis, on the other.

Our starting point is the conviction that there is holistic, systemic ingenuity to human action and to human leadership action that should be met head-on. This calls for the description, analysis and conceptualization of actual practices in a mode that takes for granted the intelligence of those practices even when that intelligence cannot be approached with conventional methods or in terms of explicit knowledge or strict objective rationalism. The Systems Intelligence perspective wants to bring back the human element of leadership – categories such as choice, subjectivity, experience and shared experience, instinct, sensitivity, inspiration, emotional energy and association, without dismissing the more traditional categories of control and prediction, analysis and calculation, and objectivity.


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Systems Intelligent Leadership

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Emotional Intelligence in Teachers’ Activities

Emotional intelligence (EQ) development is becoming a more important issue among such significant factors as competence and efficiency due to the constant and rapid social transformations, new challenges, high social norms, and setting high professional standards. The ability to control emotions and recognize them is especially important for a future teacher who faces two objectives that make a success or failure when establishing communication: developing the personal abilities that provide a basis for emotional intelligence and developing students’ emotional intelligence. A future teacher should be involved in searching for new approaches and tools for understanding and controlling emotions, as well as developing the ability to empathize. The aim of this research is to help a teacher acquires effective skills to build optimal relationships with colleagues and students. This search is also due to the need to develop the skills to exercise self-knowledge, understand the motives and goals in a professional teaching environment, to influence the emotions of other people, and to improve the leadership qualities. The article describes the results of an experiment carried out at the Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology of Naberezhnye Chelny State Pedagogical University and at the Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy of Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University named after K. Minin in 2019. The experiment was aimed at measuring the development level of students’ emotional intelligence that affects the quality of various aspects of professional activity. The authors discuss the main criteria for assessing the level of future teachers’ emotional intelligence and give characteristics of each criterion. We have come to the conclusion that developed skills of emotional competence are of great importance to teachers and children, and to the successful social interaction. The findings of the research can be applied when working out the programs to develop emotional intelligence in order to resolve conflicts and forecast their consequences in a professional teaching environment.


Posted in Emotional intelligence, Teachers | Tagged ,

Embeddedness and empathy: How the social network shapes adolescents’ social understanding

Based on theories of social-cognitive development, the present study investigated the yet unknown social structure that underlies the concept of empathy in adolescence. A total of 3.159 seventh graders (13.67 years, 56% girls) from 166 school classes participated by providing information on empathy, related psychosocial factors, and friendship patterns. Social network analyses were used to measure a comprehensive representation of adolescents’ social environment by covering individual, group, class, and school characteristics. Multilevel models revealed that individual characteristics as well as contextual factors predict adolescents’ level of empathy. Findings indicate that empathy is mirrored in the social structure of adolescents supporting the hypothesis that social demands, which continuously grow with the amount of embeddedness, shape their social understanding.


Posted in Adolescents, Embeddedness, Empathy, Social network, Social understanding | Tagged , , , ,

Health promotion should focus on loneliness in our pandemic age

Loneliness is a subjective experience of social isolation and occurs when people feel disconnected from others. One can be surrounded by others but still feel lonely, and conversely, one can be alone, but not feel socially isolated. It refers to a negative perception of one’s relationships. Whilst loneliness can be a distressing feeling, it serves a function as it prompts us not to depend solely on our own resources.

For more than 4 decades, we have known that social networks affect health through a variety of mechanisms, including provision of social support (both perceived and actual), social influence (e.g. norms, social control), social engagement, person-to-person contacts (e.g. pathogen exposure, second-hand cigarette smoke) and access to resources (e.g. money, jobs, information).


Posted in Coronavirus, Loneliness | Tagged ,

Collective Acceptance, Social Institutions, and Social Reality

The paper presents an account of social institutions on the basis of collective  acceptance. Basically, collective acceptance by some members of a group involves the members’ collectively coming to hold and holding a relevant social attitude (a “we-attitude”), viz. either one in the intention family of concepts or one in the belief family. In standard cases the collective acceptance must be in the “we-mode”, viz. performed as a group member, and involve that it be meant for the group. The participants must be collectively committed to what they have accepted. Social institutions are taken to be norm-governed social practices introducing a new social and conceptual status on the practices or some elements involved in those practices. This requires that some of the involved norms be constitutive norms as opposed to merely “accidentally” regulating ones. A classification of social institutions is presented. The account is broader in scope than is Searle’s.


Posted in Collective, Social institutions, Toumela | Tagged , ,

Is the Pandemic Causing Children’s Anxiety to Go Up or Down?

How are your kids managing at home? We are in the midst of a terrible pandemic. Certainly, there is cause for all of us to be anxious, but I want to focus here on the effect on children.

It is a well-established fact that anxiety levels among schoolchildren have risen to record levels in recent years. Indeed, by some estimates, as many as a third of schoolchildren suffer from anxiety sufficient for a clinical diagnosis of anxiety disorder. Although adults, especially those involved with the school system, tend to attribute students’ anxiety to almost anything other than school, kids themselves cite the pressures of school as by far the major cause.


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Coronavirus School Closures: An Educational Opportunity

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International Handbook on Child Rights and School Psychology

The school community in its optimal form is organized and designed to promote child development and learning in ways that wil serve the child and the community. In the general case worldwide, the expectations, goals, and processes of the school community fall significantly short of appreciation of the nature of children and the human condition. School psychology has incorporated that context of limited view and accomplishment. This book proposes a child rights approach infused into all aspects of school psychology as a primary force toward achieving the full realization of school psychology’s potentials to respect and serve the best interests of children and their societies. This chapter presents the rationale and context for a child rights approach framed through exploring the related context of meaning, the historical pathway to children’s rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the related responsibilities and opportunities for school psychology, and the footholds of promise  revealed by appreciative inquiry


Posted in Child psychology, Children's Rights | Tagged ,

Pedagogic affect: assembling an affirming ethics

This article takes as its focus the doing of pedagogic affect. We are not so much concerned with what pedagogic affect is as what it does and how it might do more. We revisit Spinozist concepts of affect, as taken up by Deleuze and Braidotti, in the context of affirmative ethics. Bringing assemblage thinking together with empirical material generated through two qualitative research projects, we map affect-ethics relations within a classroom-citizenship-test assemblage and a kinetic-fungi-tower-sculpture assemblage. Pedagogic affect emerges as constitutive of ethical subjectivities in a nexus of affect, pedagogy and power. We argue that attending to affective and material-discursive relationality in all pedagogic processes affords a practice of response-able pedagogy and invites an ethics of affirmation that augments the affective capacities of learner- and teacher-bodies, enlarging their potential to engage in ethical action.


Posted in Affect, Ethics, Pedagogy | Tagged , ,

On Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair

“This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.”

“There is no love of life without despair of life,” wrote Albert Camus — a man who in the midst of World War II, perhaps the darkest period in human history, saw grounds for luminous hope and issued a remarkable clarion call for humanity to rise to its highest potential on those grounds. It was his way of honoring the same duality that artist Maira Kalman would capture nearly a century later in her marvelous meditation on the pursuit of happiness, where she observed: “We hope. We despair. We hope. We despair. That is what governs us. We have a bipolar system.”


Posted in Despair, Hope | Tagged ,

The State of Surveillance

This terrain is the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon (the prison he designed in the 1870s), as seen from the viewpoint of Michel Foucault. The authors use Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison as a gateway to discussion of what they call “our strange present condition,” meaning our “disciplinary” society and its enforcement through the widespread practice of surveillance by governments, corporations, and individuals.


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The Inspection House: An Impertinent Field Guide to Modern Surveillance



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