Our wetware has missed quite a few upgrades, hasn’t it? It left the factory all buggy and in beta, shaped by encounters – over millennia – with sabre-tooth tigers etc that saw us as easy meat. We have cognitive biases up the wazoo, and often lack even the awareness of that [Dunning-Kruger etc etc].
It’s only recently for me, when I’ve been trying to construct airtight arguments that synthesise a lot of other people’s work, that I realise quite what a kluge a brain is. And how hard it is to think institutionally, dialectically, iteratively, recursively etc (don’t ask me for the distinction between those last two – pregnant elephants or something).
Everything in our “DNA”, our educations, our culture(s) makes it easier to do system one thinking, and be happy, exp-post-facto-y with that…. Hmmm.
All this came from re-reading another excellent paper from Professor Thomas Lawrence, he of ‘institutional work’… He has a good website, and it gives access to his papers, which is cool for people without a password through the paywalls…
Thinking institutionally, according to Heclo (2008), involves adopting an “appreciative viewpoint” that allows one to “acknowledge, and then through choices and conduct, . . . help realize some normative order reflected in the task of upholding (an) institution and what it stands for” (p. 102). This viewpoint, Heclo argues, provides individuals in contemporary civic society the capacity to think and act in ways that allow them to transcend the totalizing cognitive influence of institutions.
2011 Lawrence, T., Suddaby, R., & Leca, B. 2011. Institutional Work: Refocusing Institutional Studies of Organization. Journal of Management Inquiry, 20(1), 52-58.
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