Surviving at the Expense of Morality

As I flipped through the first few chapters of Scott and Davis’ Organizations and Organizing, my eyes stopped on a quote by Barnard in the natural systems chapter.

“Finally it should be noted that, once established, organizations change their unifying purposes.  They tend to perpetuate themselves; and in the effort to survive may change the reasons for existence” (pg. 89) Continue reading


Best of Book Week (Feb 21-March 1)

Your friendly neighborhood Blog Council This week:  Jordi and Tania

Our choice for best post is Kelly’s World Cup 2010: Dream or Disaster?

Other notable posts...

Great Title Award and Certificate for Linking Expereince to Topic: Macey’s “Bend it like Beckham: Physics of Sports.”

Silver Chalice for Open Systems Link that Made Jordi Dance with Joy: Derek’s “Deliberative Democracy in Practice.”

Shout Out for Liberal Arts Mojo (Linking to Another Class): Brooke’s “Dress Behind Bars.”

Passionate Tone and Topic Prize: Kurt’s “The Great Recession.”

Great Title Award and Honorary Captain of The Santa Defense League: Molly’s “Bah, Humbug!”

BlOrg Theory Students: READ ON!!!!!  IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!

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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

Deliberative Democracy in Practice

This anthology, titled Deliberative Democracy in Practice tackles the ideal of a political decision process based on dialogue, and the likelihood of its realization in our non-ideal society. The articles contained within the anthology are split up into four distinct categories: citizen participation and public consultation, indigenous-settler relations, education, and constitutions and state boundaries.   The work is structured around the premise of trying to analyze the monstrously large and complex arena that is modern democracy in an effort to create important insights into democratic justice. As a result, this anthology not only addresses an interesting topic, but has implications that reach outside the study of democracy.

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Instructions for Week of Feb 22 (Fifth Post)

Besides following up on your check-list for comment-a-palooza, I want you to rediscover books.

I was at a seminar this week about information literacy hosted by our own LIT department.  We were talking about information literacy and the idea that  students should be competent with technology.  Good idea! Continue reading