The author's experience of applying the social sciences in organizations must be unique. Her work is grounded in research but much of her professional activity has been in application, combining the methods and findings of research with an understanding of dynamics in working with organizations. Moving between research and practice she has, for nearly forty years, pursued the aim of rendering the social sciences useful and practical in organizational life. This collection of papers brings together wide-ranging material that is highly relevant to today's world, whilst also providing a useful historical overview of the field. The links between research, policy and practice are brought vividly to life, the many examples creating a thread that connects theory with operational reality. The author provides an insightful and significant theory of practice, developed through vignettes of her work and experience that make this a very readable and engaging book.
Preface -- Introduction—the context -- Organization Research and Diagnosis -- Prescription and rationality in management control -- Theories of organization—a framework for diagnosis -- Some Activities in the Field -- The Esso story -- Some episodes from the field -- Freightliners Ltd -- Bouncing Against the Context -- Problems of application in the social sciences—contingency and organization structure, or “organization development” -- Social science as a threat to society -- Problems of context: a fiasco -- Studying the relationship between researchers and users: The Nation’s Diet programme -- Concepts, Reflections, Methods -- On the utilization and diffusion of social science -- Elements of practice 1: vision and competence -- Elements of practice 2: infrastructure and institutionalization -- Three examples of transitional interventions -- Relating Scientific and Professional Development -- On the use of psychoanalytic concepts in organizational social science: two sides of a coin -- Inside and outside—a struggle for integration