I am paraphrasing British philosopher Simon Blackburn who said the same about scientists entering the temple of philosophy.
There is a cheap, cut and paste, flow of psychological concepts translated into consulting frames, offerings and tools, that appear legitimised by their origin, whether the Psychology laboratory or ‘social research’. People accept these at face value.
Business Consulting has grown via the multiplication of ‘how to’ at the expense of ‘why’ or even ‘what’. See my notes on this: The great ‘How To’ takeover and The Corrosion of Logic. In this quest for the ‘how to’, ‘consulting’ has often done a poor job in critical thinking.
Similar exodus of ideas in search of ‘an application’ can be found in Neurosciences. And similarly, I’d like to say that I am in favour of neurologists entering the temple of the Social Sciences provided they take off their shoes.
That’s a lot of shoes at the door.
The House of Ideas has many rooms and many doors. Actually each room has more than one door. I am all in favour of having all the doors open, all the rooms connected, all in one single space, provided that (a) we don’t tear up the walls, (b) the doors, that can be left open, are still there as doors, and (c) there are little mats all over to leave the shoes when moving from one room to another.
I repeat, the doors open is vital. For business, we have had enough of closed doors: the traditional management, the standard HR practices, Benchmarking, the re-engineering and quality cults, etc.
We need to open the doors and open windows to social sciences, behavioural sciences, network theory, old social anthropology etc. In this transition, popular potpourris have a role. For example, Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and the Freakonomics franchise. There is good stuff there. But this is Gladwell and Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt going into the rooms with their shoes on.
In the Battle for Ideas, the only one worth fighting in the business organization of the 21sr Century, we need to look outside the ‘organization business frame’.
All the rooms of the House of Ideas are open, inviting, welcoming, promising new possibilities, a joy for the imagination and a solution for the dull historical management, represented by what the (anti) psychiatrist Ronald Laing once called called ‘the language of the boardroom’.
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