Retrospective Coherence + different context= systems failure

June 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Collage, Education paradigms, Well-being, المقلصد | 1 Comment
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Within complex systems the term Retrospective  Coherence describes for me the  failure of the management and leadership discipline borrowed or modeled from wherever and applied in a different context ,besides the hindsight at the modeling of successful systems,the reality distortion and the failure of imitation in complex systems comes  the problem of different context fitting ,I’m speaking about  my country Sudan and other countries   where management structures of the government,  business organizations, education systems ,and …  are borrowed from what is tagged as best practices from other context and conceived as the best modern models out there, tried to be applied as a new practices when reforms and improvement are carried  ,retrospective coherence is out of the formula , the  fitting to the current   needs, social structures,  progress,our own circumstances is somehow engineered around when trying to fits  what was brought to the current reality  the result is    A FAILED SYSTEM  with a lot of  resources and effort lost in the wrong process .


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  1. I’ve just read an Interview with Russell Ackoff ,the link is on the Blogroll, where he pointed to a very interesting point which may expand the idea of this post and linked it to the Problématique,Super | Wicked problem, and Messes post, here is what I’m talking about

    Detrick [the interviewer] – Business schools like to talk about the usefulness of cases as a teaching pedagogy. What do you think about using cases as a teaching vehicle?

    Ackoff – A case is a terrible distortion of reality. It is like learning how to box with one hand tied behind you, then you are suddenly thrown into the ring with somebody who has two hands free. You don’t know what to do. You couldn’t box against a two handed person with one hand, but that’s what cases do to/for you. A problem is an abstraction. It’s extracted out of reality by analysis. Reality consists of complex sets of interacting problems, not isolated problems. So when we deal with a problem we’re already dealing with an abstraction — and now somebody comes along and deprives you of the information needed to formulate the problem. This converts the problem into an exercise.

    An exercise is a problem for which the person given the problem to solve is deprived of the information required to formulate it. It doesn’t happen this way in the real world. Case studies are exercises. The most important thing in the real world is being able to differentiate between what’s relevant and what isn’t. The case-study formulator already does that for you. The person who wrote the case study eliminates what they think was irrelevant. I have had cases written on studies that I have done, that I published. The distortion is absolutely unbelievable. It’s nothing like what it was like in the real world. So I don’t think teaching cases is an effective pedagogy. Get students out into the real world where they have to formulate the problems and sort through a myriad of relevant and irrelevant information to do so. They need to be thrown into a mess and asked to work their way out of it.

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