An ongoing interest of mine is in linking the similarities across different psychological systems.

Individual, group, and organizational systems share a number of common attributes. These include: a recognizable systemic identity; distinct rituals and practices; differences between the subject and other entities; specific intra-system roles and specializations; a capability to change; the fact that change operates in multiple dimensions; the presence of memory as a referent; and the possibility of systemic learning by reflection.

Let’s add another: Nobel laureate Herbert Simon wrote extensively about the limited boundaries of individuals within organizational roles. Not only is “rationality” bounded by the number of hot items on any executive’s plate at a given time, but also the general scope of considerations formally or informally attributed to the scope of executive role, limit the boundaries of thought.

As I mentioned in last week’s posting, I’ve been reading the psychology of Paul Valery this summer— dating from the early days of academic psychology: roughly the time of Dewey, Freud, and James. Valery examines the limited capability of the individual to concentrate as a function of emotion and attention—- predating George Miller’s notion of cognitive chunking by half a century. Valery’s qualitative, introspective description of attentional emphasis and turning from the wider set of possible thoughts within the potential ken of our minds, is both familiar, and aligned with the organizational notion of bounded fields of inquiry.

Here then is another linkage, via attention and the emotional pull of what we attend to, to link individual psychology with the psychology of small and large grousp

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[...] don’t fix it. Here’s an example of what I was talking about a few posts back in “Thinking Out Loud”: the considerations within the scope of the organizational manager tasked to handle a problem (in [...]

Accord Advisory Group » Blog Archive » “If it ain’t broke…” added these pithy words on Jun 15 10 at 6:52 am

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Thinking Out Loud: Making Explicit Individual & Organizational Similarity


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