Karl Weick Keeps You on Your Toes

As we were discussing yesterday in class, Karl Weick’s work is an influential example of the open systems approach.  On the spot, I tried to get us to think of examples of retrospective rationalizing.  My memory is that it was…painful.  And that pained me as Weick is influential because his ideas are original and relevant.  They always keep you on your toes as a thinker.

In grad school, it was a treat to read The Social Psychology of Organizing (still in print since 1967!!).  Not least because he pointeClick to enlarged out that organizations are never stable.  They are always organizing.  And because he used cartoons!  Like this one.  Weick also built his understanding of organizations from the cognitive, the individual, not from the structure down.

What I took from our discussion was that there were two ideas Weick covers that we wanted to describe not in conceptual terms, but in empirical terms.  These were retrospective rationality and enacting the environment.  Retrospective rationality is the idea that we act in a myriad of ways and then “make sense” of our actions in cognitive and linguistic terms that attempt to make them rational.    This si not because humans are dumb or lazy.  We act and then think because the unending flow of activity of the world demands it of us.  The ways in which we act are also due to a myriad of past reasons and contingencies.  In other words, there are always more reasons we have acted or that may explain are actions than we need.

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The Great Recesssion

Yup.  The worst economic crisis in a lifetime.  In fact, 95% of people living weren’t around  the last time something this bad happened.  It has, and will continue to have, a profound effect on everyone in the world for generations to come.  Because it has had such a profound effect, I think that we should be well educated on what happened, why it happened, and how to never let it happen again.  Thus, I chose the book entitled, “The Banking Crisis Handbook,” a compilation of many works discussing the current economic crisis.  It is an extremely detailed source for understanding the history of what precipitated the crisis, what exactly happened in late 2008 and early 2009, how we will be affected in the future, and ways to prevent this in the future.  The other nice thing about the book is that it is written for people of all levels of understanding of the crisis.  Everyone from a Wall Street banker to the layman can gain some angle of insight. Continue reading

YouTube: Not Just Videos

YouTube has become an amazingly popular way to express yourself, market, get in touch with music and culture, or to simply procrastinate by watching comical videos.  This online media database caught on like wildfire since being bought out by Google for $1.65 billion just a year after being created by a couple of young entrepeneurs.  The YouTube Reader is a collection of articles by renowned media scholars that talk about the industry, cultures, potentials, and problems behind YouTube. Continue reading

Business Ethics: A Moral Compass or A Way To Justify Actions

Yes, I checked an ethics book out of the library. For those of you that know me, this is decidedly uncharacteristic and maybe even a bit ironic. (@Middleman: those discussions in Business, Government, and Society come to mind!) And I’m not saying I’m unethical, just that I tend to gravitate towards the legality of an issue before I orient the moral compass north. Think of it as more of a magnetic north (legality) than the true north (ethics). In any case, while perusing the New Books section, I came across “The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics”. I was intrigued, not only because I find ethics to always be an interesting exploration, but also because it has some Continue reading

The European Union and World Regionalism

I picked up The EU and World Regionalism out of our collection of new books in the library. This book intrigued me because I spent a lot of time learning about the European Union in my London study abroad program this past summer. I realize that a lot of people probably would not be interested in reading a book like this because many Americans don’t know much about the EU and probably could not name more than a handful of its member states. I myself did not know a great deal about the EU until I took these summer classes, but my study abroad experience really opened my eyes to other areas of the world outside of the United States. Continue reading

Creativity and Cultural Improvisation

The book that screamed, “Take me off the shelf and read me,” was Creativity and Cultural Improvisation, edited by Elizabeth Hallam and Tim Ingold.  “There is no prepared script for social and cultural life.  People work it out as the go along,” (Creativity and Cultural Improvisation).  I find these ideas very intriguing because some of the time it feels as though we go through life walking through the motions.  This book suggests that creativity can be found in social, political and religious institutions (which are all things that surround us on a daily basis).  This book is a compilation of essays that look into the application of creativity throughout history.  The essays are from various individuals so  it provides the reader with different perspectives.  Having multiple essays from various authors also means that the essays can be focused on the authors particular area of specialty. Continue reading

Latin American Wonders and Problems

As a Latin American person, Modern Latin America was a book that instantly caught my eye.  This book offers a picture of Latin American society, not just random facts. The authors, Thomas E. Skidmore, Peter H. Smith, and James N. Green did a superb job in tracing back patterns and trends to understand the complexities and variations in Latin American countries and their possible futures. A part from devoting various chapters to all countries in the region, the authors talk about politics and policy, economic growth, and social change. Continue reading