The dialectic between communication and organization, both inter-individual and among groups, has long been at the centre of my work, research and life. By this, I mean the way that we arrange our experience of the world (organization) and come together around a particular perspective (communication). I approach these subjects from the epistemological and ecologically systemic understanding touched on in the writing of people like Gregory Bateson, Jürgen Habermas and Jean Piaget.
I have worked with individuals and organizations in a variety of contexts to discover the co-creative potential of their interrelationships and networks, often utilizing visual material to deepen reflexive conversations and increase people's capacity for change.
Alongside my consulting, teaching and therapeutic work, I've conducted studies using communicative and participatory action research methods to examine the ways in which these foster individuation or de-individuation in the dynamic context of groups and organisations. Such research concerns the interplay of individual and group identities in informing the coherence, or incoherence, of both. Recent enquiries have considered the ways in which integrative and relational marketing approaches might contribute positivley to the adaptation of human consciousness.
Below are a selection of research papers:
Issues of social responsibility, ethics and interdependence, as well as the pragmatic imperative to better understand complexity, require that diverse viewpoints be invited and given credence by policy makers seeking imaginative ‘solutions’ to climate change.
This paper explores the statutory introduction of biofuels into New Zealand by way of the discourses that preceded this decision. This inquiry used Critically Systemic Thinking and ‘Mode 2’ Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to engage with multiple stakeholders to the Biofuels policy to discover how the discourse was conducted. It concludes that the process of policymaking was framed in technical rationalist terms thereby favouring certain ‘worldviews’ over others. Accordingly, a model of ‘ideal’ discourse and decision making for governing the conduct of future public discourse is presented. This inquiry assists in re-establishing SSM as a rigorous and reflexive approach to analysing a complex issue and for enhancing collective learning into its content and process.
This paper explores dialogue between the diverse stakeholders affected by the introduction of the BioFuels Sales Obligation policy in New Zealand. The research uses ‘rich pictures’ within the framework of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to evaluate the extent to which such abstract visualization might facilitate the communication of different viewpoints. It also examines whether the act of representation might encourage individuals, organizations and interest groups to reflect upon their beliefs and assumptions thereby contributing to a healthy discourse around the subject of New Zealand biofuels.
An examination of ethics of the systems of discourse involved in the consultative process of legislating the NZ Biofuels Mandate.
A discussion paper delivered at EGOS (European Group for Organizational Studies) as part of the sub-theme 'Exploring innovative approaches for governing climate change'