Development of second order understanding as a basis for organisational improvement

Brown, James Robert (2009) Development of second order understanding as a basis for organisational improvement. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

Abstract Most if not all organisations claim to pursue a continued improvement philosophy. The processes often adopted are predominantly concerned with the collection and analysis of data. Such approaches take little account of the opinions or varying points of view of the affected groups or individuals. Within this research, these processes are referred to as first order processes. The thesis explores what is termed the second order of organisational improvement, placing the emphasis of the inquiry on the worldviews of those involved. The research includes a study of peoples' attitudes towards organisational improvement and an in depth review of the relevant literature. Initial research consisting of questionnaires and interviews, gave an indication of the willingness within the workforce to engage in improvement activities. This led to the development of a model looking to understand and incorporate the differing worldviews of individuals, into action plans to improve the situations of concern, and an improvement process embedding understanding of others' perspectives and worldviews, dialogical communication and systems thinking. Incorporation of the differentiation of opinions and views of the people affected is central to the second order process. Implementation is possible in any organisation that enjoys an open trusting environment, irrespective of the operational sector. The major contribution of the process is in the change of emphasis from establishment of a commonly held shared view of a situation, to understanding the differences between worldviews of those involved. In effect, the second order process explores the differences in opinions and beliefs that underlie how individuals view a situation. The aim is to understand peoples' different views and incorporate those views in any agreed action.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
G500 Information Systems
Department: University Services > Research and Business Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics and Information Sciences
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2010 10:45
Last Modified: 08 May 2017 12:46
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2180

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