Debate on Cynefin (Snowden) vs. Critical Systems Theory (Jackson)

For those who haven’t seen the review of a publication:

… by Dr. Mike C. Jackson OBE … followed by a response by Dave Snowden and a rejoinder by Jackson, the LinkedIn content has been republished with permission as open access at https://stream.syscoi.com/2021/04/11/critical-systems-thinking-gapps-eu-science-hub-cynefin-centre-mike-c-jackson-2021-02/ .

In the rejoinder, there’s a reference to:

Boulding, Kenneth E. 1956. “General Systems Theory – The Skeleton of Science.” Management Science 2 (3): 197–208. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2.3.197. (searchable on Google Scholar)

… where many discussions of these types seem to end up.

I’ll have to look into this some more.

I’ve been watching some lectures by Snowden recently, and in this one (timestamped), Snowden ‘throws shade’ (to use the scientific term) and refers to the Lean Startup (Ries) as the 2nd worst management book written this decade, second only to Laloux’s Reinventing organizations, which he refers to as ‘Lacroix’s Jade Organizations’ (but I’m 98% sure he’s referencing Laloux).

He has similar words for case study approaches in management training - that they focus on the successes rather than the failures, with the intent of imitating the successes (he terms it linear causality). He doesn’t go into great detail about either of these authors, but sort of connects them to linear causality, and then moves on.

@engdan might be interested, as well as Peter Jones, since I know Peter’s been involved with Stoa, which had Snowden just recently as a something-in-residence (I can’t recall the title).

Other interesting little bits (also timestamped):

I have no idea what to think of all this, except I’m at this moment reminded of your efforts to have us clarify where our terms came from and in what way we define them, and I have a feeling this is an instance where this rings doubly true.

I suspect Snowden’s criticism of Laloux comes from 1) The case study approach 2) the development pathway towards teal as something he finds implausible and 3) the use of trust continually (Snowden has a fair bit to say about ‘trust’ and ‘values’ in this talk).

Just for the sake of the connection, this lecture is associated with the intersection conference, which is deeply connected with enterprise design (Milan Guenther and others), which (and this is how I heard about it), presented to Namahn, which teaches systemic design (I believe at RSD though I completed the training this year online).

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