Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Comparative systems analysis at Cal Poly Pomona

I really wish that I had the time to join this course … but I’m trying to stay focused on completing my dissertation over the next few years!

At the Sonoma 2006 meeting of the ISSS in July, Len Troncale, Lynn Rasmussen and Todd Bowers had a workshop describing the study of 80 systems processes. They’re now maintaining a blog with a report of their experiences from fall 2006, and have announced of a new session beginning January 2, 2007.

In my work with the ISSS, one of my concerns is that the systems movement needs to advance and continue to move forward. A lot of people in business come to systems thinking through writers like Russell Ackoff, but I claim that the last significant influential systems writing in management was published by Eric Trist in 1981, for the Ontario Quality of Working Life Centre. (When was the last time you heard about Quality of Work Life?)

The problem that I have with systems theory is that a lot of it is really modernist, and most continuing research streams acknowledge postmodernism, if postmodernism isn’t already a central philosophical foundation. Having systems theory stagnate in the 1980s helps no one, and it’s arrogant to believe that 1980s researchers knew everything.

When David Hawk encouraged me to continue doctoral studies at the Helsinki University of Technology, he said that I really should complete the degree, but the way to do that was to continue to study my natural interests. I have to say that not taking this Comparative Systems Analysis course represents the first real time where I have a curiosity, but can’t follow through … at least not now.

This program at Cal Poly Pomona is not a management course, it’s a systems course. However, to really learn something, business people need to get deeper than the current management book-of-the-month writing.

I hope that maybe someone who reads this blog will join this distance program and help advance systems knowledge!

Side note: I recently visited with Len, Lynn and Todd, and took a snapshot!


Footnote: If you wonder about the Eric Trist article that I cite, you can find it in the University of Toronto library. Here’s the official citation: 

  • Trist, E. L. (Eric Landsdowne), The evolution of socio-technical systems : a conceptual framework and an action research program, Ontario Ministry of Labour, Ontario Quality of Working Life Centre, 1981. 67 p.

It’s in Information Studies Inforum branch (that’s library studies), as 331.01 T838E — (Dewey Decimal system, how quaint!)

1 Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: What kind of world a October 3, 2020
      What kind of world are we in, when a camera lens needs a software update to work with a new camera? (I am not a user of either system)https://petapixel.com/2020/10/01/sigma-shares-caveats-for-using-its-ef-lenses-on-the-canon-eos-r5/
    • daviding: Very long article, o September 4, 2020
      Very long article, oriented towards policy change. Issues should be familiar to everyone on this platform (and appreciation of that is probably why you are here). #CoryDoctorow on Surveillance Capitalism https://onezero.medium.com/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism-8135e6744d59
    • daviding: A small wording shif July 27, 2020
      A small wording shift, yet I really like the idea on belonging rather than just including. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-want-a-more-diverse-work-force-move-beyond-inclusion-to-belonging/
    • daviding: On the post-pandemic July 18, 2020
      On the post-pandemic world, #MargaretAtwood says: > "this is like being in 1952, except with birth control and the internet".https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/opinion/2020/07/17/margaret-atwood-on-post-covid-hopes-plus-baking.html
    • daviding: Instead of using a t July 4, 2020
      Instead of using a text editor or Notepad on my computer for everyday work, I now use #Zettlr as a persistent scratchpad, a new page each day. The feature of creating #Markdown often helps in copy-and-paste to other applications. I haven't exercised #Zotero citations, yet, but probably will, shortly. > Roam let’s you manage knowledge, […]
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • 1969, 1981 Emery, System Thinking: Selected Readings
      Social Systems Science graduate students in 1970s-1980s with #RussellAckoff, #EricTrist + #HasanOzbehkhan at U. Pennsylvania Wharton School were assigned the Penguin paperback #SystemsThinking reader edited by #FredEEmery, with updated editions evolving contents.
    • 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook”
      Resurfacing 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook” for interests in #SystemsThinking #SocioCybernetics #GeneralSystemsTheory #OrganizationScience . Republication in 2017 hardcopy may be more complete.
    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2020/09 Moments September 2020
      Discovering more of the neighbourhood, bicycling mostly in the mornings.
    • 2020/08 Moments August 2020
      Moderate summer temperatures in a city normally overheated with activity, residents gradually emerging as public venues opened cautiously.
    • 2020/07 Moments July 2020
      Daytimes full of new work assignment and training, evenings and weekends bicycling around downtown Toronto as it slowly reopens from pandemic.
    • 2020/06 Moments June 2020
      Most of month in Covid-19 shutdown Phase 1, so every photograph is an exterior shot. Bicycling around downtown Toronto, often exercising after sunset.
    • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
      Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
    • 2020/04 Moments April 2020
      Living in social isolation in our house with 5 family members, finishing off teaching courses and taking courses.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal