About this blog

Understanding the complex responsive processes of human organizing

We (Chris Mowles, Karen Norman, Nick Sarra, Emma Crewe and Ralph Stacey) work together as the staff group supervising the reflexive research of leaders, managers and consultants into their own work in organizations on the Doctor of Management program at the Business School of the University of Hertfordshire. We also work in various combinations in other organizations.

We have rather different backgrounds but we come together around a common interest in understanding organizations as complex responsive processes of relating between human persons. We take this viewpoint as a challenge to the dominant discourse on organizations in which they are depicted as things or thought of as systems in ways that obscure ordinary daily interaction between people. We understand the complex responsive processes of ordinary daily life in organizations as processes of iterated communicative interaction between people in which there emerge patterns of power relations and ideology as the basis of the plans and intentions of individual persons. Instead of being the realization of central plans, organizational, industrial and societal patterns emerge in the interplay of these human plans and intentions in the ordinary politics of everyday life and no one can plan, intend or control this interplay. Our view of organizations draws upon analogies from the complexity sciences understood in the human domain in terms of the work of those sociologists and philosophers who focus on complex social relations, such as George Herbert Mead and Norbert Elias.

On this site we hope to explore day to day interactions between people in the work place as a way of inquiring into management practice. The posts will take a particular interest in power, recognition and communicative interaction and will set out a critical view of contemporary management theory.

We extend an open invitation to those interested in exploring similar themes in their work or research in organizations to contribute to this.

The site is moderated by us all and if you would like to contribute to the site or contact any of us we can be reached at the following addresses:

Ralph Stacey is Professor of Management at the Business School of the University of Hertfordshire and a supervisor on the Doctor of management programme. He is also a member of the Institute of Group Analysis. He can be contacted at r.d.stacey@herts.ac.uk

Emma Crewe is an anthropologist working on politics, governance and identity in civil society organisations and parliament in the UK, South Asia and East Africa based at SOAS, University of London. She  joined the faculty as a Visiting Professor, and can be contacted at: ec15@soas.ac.uk .

Nick Sarra is a research supervisor on the Doctor of Management programme, and Visiting Professor at UH. He also works as an internal consultant in the NHS. Nick is a member of the Institute of Group Analysis and a registered Art therapist.  He can be contacted at: nicholas.sarra@me.com .

Karen Norman is a research supervisor on the Doctor of Management programme, and Visiting Professor at the Universities of both Hertfordshire and Kingston. She can be contacted at: karennorman@icloud.com .

Chris Mowles is Professor of Complexity and Management at the Business School, University of Hertfordshire. He is also director of, and  research supervisor on, the Doctor of Management programme, and works as a an organisational consultant. He can be contacted at c.mowles@herts.ac.uk

7 thoughts on “About this blog

    • I followed the MBA program which at that time was led by Professor Stacey. It has left me with an abiding interest in group behaviour in an organisational context. I would welcome discussion in this community in order to further my own exploration of this absorbing subject.

  1. Pingback: Five Blogs – 6 June 2014 | 5blogs

  2. Might the ideas that emerge from the conference in June 2015 be posted here? I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I won’t be able to make the long trek to the Northern Hemisphere. Thanks.

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  4. Pingback: A perspective: organisations as conversations - Frank Smits' Blog

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