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Stephen Billing

Hi Chris, I am struck by your description of how culture is viewed as disembodied from interaction, and the similarity of this with the way employee engagement is also seen as disembodied from human relating. Ralph Stacey, who was the supervisor of my doctoral thesis, would call this reification of culture and employee engagement - treating them as things that exist outside of human relating. I have written more on this in my latest blog post at http://www.changingorganisations.com/2008/10/disembodied-employee-engagement/

I think your blog is very interesting and we have a lot in common, as we are the only two people I am aware of who are blogging about change and organisations from a point of view that is informed by reflective thinking about complexity.
Thanks also for linking to me.
Cheers, Stephen

Chris Rodgers

Thanks, Stephen.

I have been a fan of Ralph Stacey’s work for many years. I have seen this develop from some early, ahead-of-the-curve thinking about the implications of chaos and complexity for organizational dynamics, to his latest - now firmly established - view of organizations as complex responsive processes. I conceived of my notion of informal coalitions in the mid-late 1990s, which was at roughly the same time that Stacey was making his move away from thinking about organizations in terms of complex adaptive systems. I was fortunate enough to attend a day-long workshop that he ran around 1998, at which he shared his emerging thinking on the important role that conversation played in organizational dynamics. This resonated strongly with my own developing view of organizations as dynamic networks of conversations.

Although I tend to use slightly different terms when talking about the dynamics of organizations and the leadership of change, I feel that my views are strongly aligned with those put forward by Stacey and the growing school of like-minded thinkers who have passed through Hertfordshire’s Complexity and Management Centre. I had already deduced from your blog that you are a member of that community. Sadly, I’m not!

In case you’ve not come across it yet, I’ve written one post in which I draw a distinction between my view of one aspect of organizational dynamics and that articulated by Stacey (as I understand it). This concerns the process by which global patterns of assumptions emerge from local interactions. If you’re interested, you can find this towards the end of the following post: http://informalcoalitions.typepad.com/informal_coalitions/2007/12/the-dynamics-of.html. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

In the meantime, I shall take a look at your latest post. I haven’t come across others blogging in this ‘space’ either.

Best regards, Chris

Stephen Billing

Hi Chris, Yes, I have read all your posts related to Stacey and his colleagues, and you definitely have a lot in common with the complex responsive processes way of thinking. You may have attended one of the annual conferences run by the Complexity and Management Centre at Hertfordshire University - usually run in May or June.

They are open to anyone and are a great experience of an event that is organised from a complex responsive processes point of view.
Information about the 2008 event held in June can be found here... http://www.herts.ac.uk/fms/documents/schools/business/CMC-june.doc
Regards, Stephen

Chris Rodgers

Hi Stephen,

Five or six years ago, I attended a number of excellent sessions at UoH: Patricia Shaw on Changing Conversations in Organizations; Jose Fonseca on Complexity and Innovation; and Philip Streatfield on The Paradox of Control. But I wasn't aware that there was an annual conference based on the Centre's work. I shall look out for next year's!



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