The Proliferation of Junk LO26385

From: Gavin Ritz (
Date: 03/19/01

Replying to LO26365 --

Hi John and LOers

John Zavacki wrote:

> A few cycles ago, I said:
> > > Organizational theories have no limits from where I stand,
> And Gavin replied:
> > That is absolutely true. But the proliferation of junk is
> > what concerns
> > me.
> After more was said, Gavin commented:
> > It would be a rather interesting day when philosophy came
> > into business
> > the exact opposite of systems thinking. Philosophy is a structural
> > discipline whilst systems thinking is a processing concept.
> > On their own
> > they are both helpless like a youny child taking its first steps.
> I suppose my mental models are rather the left field kind. I'd always
> thought that philosophy was a part of everything we think, but rarely
> written, save by those of us blessed with insanity. The people I have
> converted to systems thinking who I have taught philosophy had both in
> their everyday life all along. They tend to be either somewhat religious
> or somewhat intellectual (I'm not sure if there's a real difference
> there).

That is very interesting because religious is more structural and
intellectual more process. If one looks at highly intellectual people they
are very process orientated because that is how their brain works serial
process with parallel variables inter linking and bi-conditional with each

We are all insane to greater or lesser degree, here is my definition of
insanity for what it is worth, hoping or expecting different outcomes or
results and behaving in the same way. Hell, I do this without even knowing
sometimes, and then I go into denial to make things even worse.

> I have worked with some business school folks who are trying to formalize
> a theory of spirituality in the work place. This is best taught by example
> through openess, honesty, and the resultant trust. The philosophy becomes
> a second wave of learning, when theory and practice meld into an web of
> living.

Nice, this web of living should include the melding of models like
philosophy and Systems Thinking.

> This is making my brain hurt. I'll try to put it into more depth by
> linking to one of my webs eventually, but for now, I do believe the
> proliferation of junk is an excellent example of the student missing the
> theory, but getting the practice.

Yes, and Systems Thinking is in danger of this as there is little
structural underpinning. Those who do not like it do not like it for this
very reason. A nice book to read is Kambiz Maani new book on Systems
tHinking were he a bOb Cavana did their Systems stuff in a New Zealand
public department with mixed results because of this very thing.

Here is a good question for those die hard ST folks, What is the structure
behind the causal and reinforcing loops? I asked this of the audience at
the Ninth World Conference on Thinking and got some very interesting

> I agree, Gavin, there is the ubiquitous publishing of junk. It is without
> theoretical underpinning. This is why Deming, Senge, and others are
> poorly understood. The junk makers see "tools" the world makers see tools
> which teach the theory which teaches the tools.

I am a real fan of Peter Senge (it was one of my highlights this year to
meet him) but I am concerned about systems thinking.



Gavin Ritz <>

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