Replying to LO28456 --
Alan Cotterell writes
>I've just read a fairly old book about science and social relations.
>There was a chapter in it about the development of science in Germany
>under the twentieth century Prussian fuedal social system. It was
>pointed out that under this authoritarian regime scientific development
>was enhanced and new ideas adopted into industry quickly, however new
>discoveries actually decreased significantly. The book also (in 1905)
>pointed to the opportunity in Germany for a despotic politician to rise
>and bring the system to ruin.
>I suggest there is significant risk in the association between science
>and authoritarianism, this has already been proven once. Bring on
Thank you for sharing this information and wisdom from the past. I am
unsure that the history in Germany will be enough proof to change people's
behaviour today in any country. Despite this I also share your enthusiasm
for more participation.
Can you please share with us the name of the book?
I work for a large Australian R&D science organisation aiming to create an
environment where participation, teamwork, innovation and knowledge
sharing are encouraged and rewarded. We seek to overcome the tendencies
you mention in the association between authoritarianism and science but
these mental models and structures still do exist. The risks of this type
of scientific thinking (objectivity) are clear. The scientific thinking
(relativity) that Chris Argyris uses to investigate our own thinking and
behaviour seems to me the best science to overcome these risks. Is there
What structures in our organisations in 2002 will bring on participation
if authoritarism still demonstrates success to our leaders and
Mark Spain <email@example.com>
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