Warren Kinston's "A Total Framework for Inquiry"

E. Forrest Christian Careers, elliott jaques, Managing, Reviews - Books, Theory, Warren Kinston 1 Comment

Our next article from Warren Kinston, which I had to make electronic for my own uses, is:

Warren Kinston. 1988. “A Total Framework for Inquiry“. Systems Research, 5(1): 9-25. [18MB PDF]

(Also, A Total Framework for Inquiry-FIGURES ONLY [3MB PDF])

I’m pretty happy with this scan: I’ve switched to ReadIris Pro, a bit of Belgian ingenuity to go with my Rijndael, that is currently to be had for ~US$60 currently. I will be revisiting the other articles, just to get better handling of columns.

Abstract after the jump:

The total framework for inquiry is formulated as consisting of seven hierarchical levels. The lower five, as described previously (Syst. Res. 2 (1985), 95-104), are concerned with representing knowledge; the sixth level has the function of testing and contains ‘inquiring systems’ ; and the seventh level contains the function of wonder. The inquiring systems are an image of the framework and therefore also form a seven-level hierarchy, in which the lower five levels have been identified previously by Churchman (The Design of Inquiring Systems, Basic Books, New York, 1971). Two further inquiring systems are described: the sixth is the ‘dialogic’ and the seventh is the ‘contemplative’. The core testing processes which underlie each of the seven inquiring systems and provide each with its different guarantee of truth are distinguished. Each core testing process (and hence each inquiring system) is shown to be underpinned by a particular level in the inquiry framework. Various symmetries and the possibility of homology between the two hierarchical structures are briefly explored.

It’s really a fascinating article. Take a look at the higher levels. I struggle with the reality that he’s describing but I’m pretty sure that it is mostly accurate.

I know that there’s only about 10 of you out there that are interested in these but I just drove 2 hours to find a library that, it turned out, did not actually have Systems Research although it was listed in their catalog. What they had was Systems Research and Behavioral Research. I have a hard time even finding SR in my online citation databases.

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps individuals and companies find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants, both as individuals and as leaders of organizations at least as diverse. [contact]

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  1. Pingback: Where is the Leadership Wisdom? Hiding with Waldo | Mission Minded Management

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