Kinston & Rowbottom's "A New Model of Managing Based On Levels of Work"

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Theory, Warren Kinston Leave a Comment

Here’s the second in the set, from 1990. Warren probably hasn’t really looked at these for some time, and I know that he has taken things farther in documents coming out of his SIGMA Centre. Warren Kinston and Ralph Rowbottom. 1990. “A New Model of Managing Based On Levels of Work”. Journal of Applied Systems Analysis, 17: 89-113. [PDF, 9.3MB] …

ADLER typewriter Model n°7 (Frankfurt / Germany). Unknown model date (probably ~1930/40). By Dake

Pragmatist Meets Structuralist: A Web Example

E. Forrest Christian Theory, Warren Kinston Leave a Comment

Here’s a good example of what someone who is a structuralist sounds like when talking to a pragmatist, for those who’ve been following my discussions of Warren Kinston’s and Jimmy Algie’s Seven Languages of Achievement (aka the Seven Decision Languages). The manager, like most managers, is a pragmatist working in a pragmatist company. “Get ‘er done” is the motto. The …

Isabel Menzies Lyth: 1917-2008

E. Forrest Christian Theory Leave a Comment

I just read about the death of Isabel Menzies. She was a major force for good in healthcare organization and a long-time member of the Tavistock Institute. She died in February of this year. The Independent carried an obituary of Menzies Lyth.

Laboratory worker at the research laboratory at the C & NW RR's 40th Street yard, examining paint samples used on freight cars and coaches of the railroad, Chicago, Ill. (LOC). By Delano, Jack.

“What’s With This ‘Coding’?” A bit of personal manifesto

E. Forrest Christian Coaching, Theory 3 Comments

One of the problems with having grown a blog out of one’s own thoughts (and conversations with friends) is that the early stuff always looks a little questionable. Last time, I linked to a post from 2004 October in which I used some of the technical language about the Capability of Information Processing coding. The language rightly raised some eyebrows. …

Analog Computing Machine in Fuel Systems Building Lewis Flight Propulsion Lab-NASA

Retraining Mainframers to Object Oriented Programming (OOP)

E. Forrest Christian Computers/IT, Theory Leave a Comment

I’m going through my old email archives, and discovered a note from a project I ran to help a very large US property & casualty insurer to better retool their mainframe-oriented programmers (procedural using COBOL) to client-server paradigms (mostly Object-Oriented Programming using Java). It was an interesting project because the dirty secret was that some people were better than others. …

Contemplative Work

E. Forrest Christian Theory, Warren Kinston Leave a Comment

From Kinston, Warren. 1988. “A total framework for inquiry”. Systems Research, 5(1): 9-25. The inherent dangers in the Level VII' [the contemplative] inquiry include fixation on an incorrect idea and inappropriate messianism. Speculative ideas are not practically usable until they have been socially shared with the relevant community…. Scientific process occurs at this level through holistic syntheses which reframe or …

Why Work Levels Are Rejected: Others Are Selfish Fallacy

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Motivation, Theory Leave a Comment

While reading the excellent and highly recommended book by Heath & Heath, Made to Stick, I came upon this passage about Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs: Imagine that a company offers its employees a $1,000 bonus if they meet certain performance targets. There are three different ways of presenting the bonus to employees: Think of what that $1,000 means: a down …

Blank piece of paper held up

The “Taboo of the Blank Slate” (Why Work Levels Are Rejected)

E. Forrest Christian Theory 1 Comment

The levels of work from Requisite Organization / the Glacier Management Method / Stratified Systems Theory are routinely dismissed out of hand, almost without review. It’s an instinctive rejection rather than rational at any level. What drives this? While doing some research, I came upon Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. In it, Pinker describes …

Uncertainty: Why Both Executives and Creatives Are Managed Through Collegiality

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Theory 2 Comments

In a recent flurry of emails about something else with a variety of folks, Jack Fallow discussed why he thought that the executive levels were called a “collegium” by Elliott Jaques. Fallow, who was CEO of GasWorks in the UK, believes that the nature of the work at level 5+ meant that you couldn’t have the same QQT/R management style …