Management research from a systems perspective

Robin Asby (Dr)
Nadine Andrews
16 April 2012

How do you know what you know? What we know depends on the questions we ask, and the kinds of questions we ask depends on our philosophical assumptions, which are often 'hidden'.
How frequently do we hear that 'what gets measured gets done' but this assumes that the important things can be measured and that causality can be determined. Whether this assumption holds true for you depends on your view of the world - is there an external reality that we can objectively observe and accurately reflect? Or is our reality socially constructed, where things can't be known in themselves because they can't be separated from our knowledge of them? Or is it somehow a mix of both?
Using the recent government backed research into subjective wellbeing for public policy as a practical example, this interactive session will discuss different methods for gathering information and sense-making, locate the philosophical assumptions behind these methods (and locate your own assumptions), relate the methods and philosophy to systems theory, and explore the implications of these assumptions for research and for policy.
Nadine Andrews is a consultant, researcher and coach, currently studying for a PhD at HighWire DTC, Lancaster University.

Robin is a Systems Thinker, Systems Consultant and Practitioner, author contributing to OU Systems Modules, School Governor, and a founding member of SCiO.