1st Edition

Beyond Reductionism Gateways for Learning and Change

By Neil Douglas, Terry Wykowski Copyright 1999

    Beyond Reductionism: Gateways for Learning and Change takes a critical look at organizational learning and change management from a leadership perspective in late 20th century organizations. The authors argue that the dynamics that restrain the efforts of leaders transcend personal attributes and leadership styles. They are rooted in the nature of work and institutions and the histories and cultures of the organizations themselves.

    Often seen as the central constraint - and the core limiting factor in organizational effectiveness and learning - reductionism is defined as over-simplification and a failure to comprehend the nature of life in organizations by concentrating too fully on discrete and disconnected aspects of reality. The other constraints of hierarchy and institutional knowledge are activated and driven by reductionism.

    After reading Beyond Reductionism: Gateways for Learning and Change leaders at all organizational levels will understand why low levels of organizational learning persists and change efforts fail. They will also be equipped to recognize and reject overly simplistic and superficial interventions, helping them to create non-reductionist strategies for creating and sustaining change. Actual project designs, experiences, techniques and results are described in the book within an overall framework that emphasizes the roles and interconnectedness of individuals, leaders, and groups, all operating within the overlay of culture.

    Analysis of Constraints and Development of Gateways to Learning and Change
    Constraints on Organizational Learning and Change
    Three Principles as Gateways for Learning and Change
    Individuals: Achieve an Operative Balance of Objective and Subjective Factors
    Individuals: Delegate Only Around Purpose
    Individuals: Enhance the Efficacy of Institutional Knowledge
    Leaders: Achieve an Operative Balance of Objective and Subjective Factors
    Leaders: Delegate Only Around Purpose
    Leaders: Enhance the Efficacy of Institutional Knowledge
    Groups: Achieve an Operative Balance of Objective and Subjective Factors
    Groups: Delegate Only Around Purpose
    Groups: Enhance the Efficacy of Institutional Knowledge


    Terry Wykowski was educated at the graduate and post graduate Ievels in both the United States and at the University of Oxford in England. She has an extensive background in Organizational Behavior and Psychology. Her work background includes internal and external consulting in change management and training; she has led consulting assignments for large organizations in the U.S. and in Europe. Neil Douglas has a background in information technology and management at all Ievels. He was a Chief Information Officer, a Senior Vice President for a large organization and served as President of two high technology companies. His research and consulting assignments in Organizational Behavior utilize his extensive background in leading change as a senior executive.

    "A truly timely and insightful analysis of prevailing change management practices and assumptions. The authors skillfully integrate objective structure-oriented models with the powerful relational dynamics of organizational cultures that influence and drive successful organizational performance. Seriously researched and documented methodologies validate this counter-reductionism paradigm of leadership. Leaders and professionals will find Beyond Reductionism an intriguing, unconventional and practical approach to the challenges of effective learning and change."
    -Dr. Roger W. Birkman, Chairman of the Board, Birkman International, Inc.

    "This wonderful book helps to explain the working components of effective leadership and the natural barriers working against its success. It's a great tool for implementing change in your organization"
    -Gordon M. Bethune, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Continental Airlines, Inc.

    "Instead of creating the next 'easy fix' band wagon for corporate leaders to jump on, Neil Douglas and Terry Wykowski have designed a method for blending the objective with the subjective factors of a situation for a lasting solution. In their book, they explain the complex nature of organizations and point out an alternative for the 'quick fix' solution that is designed to allow them to meet their highest potential."
    -Kathleen Kelley, Manager of Employee and Organizational Development, Enron Capital and Trade Resources Corporation

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