A segment on NPR's Fresh Air caught my attention recently, bringing to mind organizational life and the complexities of the helping human systems process. On the show, host Terry Gross interviewed Jessica Goodell, a U.S. Marine who served in Iraq with the Marine Mortuary Affairs Platoon in 2004. As Goodell talked about her memoir, Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq, giving several accounts of her experiences serving in the Marine Mortuary Affairs Platoon, I was deeply moved by what it took for her to be able to do the work she had...
Systems thinking as a method of inquiry deals with complexity from the perspective of the whole, not the parts. Most methods of inquiry follow the traditional path of reductionism as established by our sciences. We have learned to answer life’s difficult questions by dissecting our subjects into parts with the idea that they are easier to study and understand. Reductionism has worked well for closed or mechanical systems. However, in the earlier part of the 20th century scientists started to question whether...
Whether or not Hamlet was being ironic in his admiration for humankind, it seems that the nobility of our reason is up for debate…literally. New research from French cognitive social scientists indicates that reason exists to help us argue and guard against the arguments of others, according to a recent New York Times article. Reason, so the theory goes, is not about truth, it’s about influence. The theory, developed by Hugo Mericier and Dan Sperber of the Jean-Nicod research institute in Paris, has been labeled the argumentative...
Why don’t we work together for the common good? It’s a question that plagues every good intention, and every activist group. We know that corporate America is paying its executives outlandishly and its workers poorly – and that if we just banded together, we could do something about that. But we don’t. We know that the global environment needs our stewardship: that it’s crucial we find renewable power and resources, and organize our cities around sustainable growth policies. And if we just banded...
Say goodbye to the quirky King mascot, the subservient chicken, and any other flash-in-the-pan character conjured up by Burger King's former advertising firm. Earlier this month, the fast food giant bid a permanent adieu to its days of wacky characters and advertising gimmicks aimed at young men with an appetite for fast food. Under new management, Burger King also bid farewell to the $1 value menu and will introduce new items that appeal to a broader audience... well, a broader audience once again, that is. Burger King's no stranger...
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