The Organic Systems Framework: A New Paradigm for Understanding and Intervening in Organizational Life by Barry Oshry (pdf)

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Part Number:30

This compelling short book (bookmarked pdf) is a proposal for the first 'accredited' OD paradigm.

In Part 1, veteran researcher and practitioner Barry Oshry demonstrates beyond doubt that, despite the frequent references to paradigms and paradigm shifts in the management and organization literature, there are no scientific paradigms in this field as Thomas Kuhn defined them in his landmark essay.

He then makes a clear and convincing case for the Organic Systems Framework (OSF) to be recognized as a legitimate candidate for paradigm status, one from which research that extends, elaborates, tests, and applies the framework follows naturally.

Along the way he sets out clearly and succinctly his theories of: -Power and Love -Tops, Middles and Bottoms -How whole systems individuate, integrate, differentiate and homogenize... (so this is the shortest and clearest account, yet, of these established and well-researched theories.) Finally, Oshry outlines the many areas of further research that would inevitably emerge if his Organic Systems Framework were to achieve paradigm status.


"Despite the obligatory references to Thomas Kuhn’s work, there is probably no field that talks more about – yet knows less about – scientific paradigms and paradigm shifts (as Kuhn uses the terms) than the field of management, management theory, organization development, systems thinking and so forth.

 In this field, paradigm is most often used to refer to some new way (generally the author’s) of looking at management, leadership or other aspects of organization life; and proposals for paradigm shifts – from hierarchy to self-directed, from patriarchy to matriarchy – seem to be based less in science than in theology or politics. My intention here is not to denigrate such contributions, which I believe are extremely valuable in stimulating thinking about organizational life… but to distinguish them from science."




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