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[Xmca-l] Re: theory not



Thank you.  This rings true to me.

I am, of course, interested in the spillover onto the workforce and I think i can see it happening at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA. Kaiser is a gigantic HMO with hospitals all over California and a few other states. In Oakland, they have just built a new hospital building where, among other things, the new Emergency Room is going to be located. I have been able to get updates about the training of ER nurses who are going to be moving soon into this new space. Kaiser has selected some teams of experienced nurses and is training them as trainers. They will then be on duty as trainers while the rest of the nursing workforce learns how to function in the new space.  Given the highly time-sensitive functions that happen in an ER, along with the carefully and consciously managed channels of communication within and around different teams of workers, the transition into a different space -- even one ideally configured to make the work as efficient and effective as possible -- is a big educational challenge. . I know that they're doing role plays (I think of the construction of collective competence, here) for example.

A lot of the technology is new, too.

This is all happening in the context of an anticipated labor dispute when the nurses' contracts expire later this summer. At present, Kaiser has put a freeze on hiring so that 40% of nurses are "travelers" meaning nurses who are not Kaiser employees; they come from nursing agencies.  This is also a ripple in the waves created by the shift to implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Helena 

Helena Worthen
helenaworthen@gmail.com

On Jun 18, 2014, at 2:22 PM, Lubomir Savov Popov wrote:

> Hi Helena,
> 
> My experience is mostly from hospital facilities planning and design. With the advent of the evidence-based practice movement, clients started asking for the grounds of the decisions and solutions that are proposed. They started thinking about research findings. Some of the more advanced clients hired researchers. Client decision makers got exposed to or enlightened by research, field research mostly. However, this interest in research findings will lead to epistemological and theoretical interests. 
> 
> This process might continue for decades. It is very slow, despite of the buzz about evidence-based design. Everybody claims they are doing it, but the actually the hiring of researchers with doctoral degrees is still insignificant. However, this is still better than having none at all. 
> 
> The pressure in hospital facilities planning and design comes from the healthcare industry probably because of the movement for evidence-based medicine (and nursing). Hospital clients realized the importance of organizational design. So now we have the synergy research and organizational design. After the research wave generates a critical mass, I expect that clients (client officers) will become more proficient in research and theory. This might happen through new hires that have research training. They will start examining the information sources cited in the decision-making process. They will look into the epistemological and theoretical foundations. In turn, the providers will have to increase their research potential and scholarly background. This is only one scenario and I am open for some variations. But in general, the trajectory is confirmed by a number of developments in the last 20 years, mostly in healthcare and related industries.
> 
> However, the major problem might be might bigger. Theory is despised even in academia. Most of the positivists are atheoretical field researchers. Next come the issue of developing the theory of research application. In healthcare they call it translational research. This is not the best approach. There is translation, but actually, we have to do much more than translate research.
> 
> For CHAT people with their background, the value of theory is self-understanding. Activity theory has a long history of "theorizing." It is grounded both in the traditions of Historical Materialism and in the most theoretical layers (or communities) of a few other paradigms. 
> 
> Just a few thoughts.
> 
> Best wishes,
> 
> Lubomir
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:43 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: theory not
> 
> Lubomir:
> 
> Well-put, from the point of view of the consultant who has to make a living in the real world.
> 
> However, from the point of view of labor educators organizing workers (or activists doing political organizing too, as we look ahead to another round of electoral cannibalism), the process has to go way past tomorrow morning's deadline and actually cause learning to happen in the minds and bodies of the bottom tier of those affected or engaged.
> 
> Can you please explain how the drive for evidence-based practice might synchronize with stronger definitions of and clearer expressions of theory?  This is one of those things that I think sounds right but I don't think I could explain. It sounds as if you could explain it, and I would appreciate hearing what you say.
> 
> Thanks --
> 
> Helena 
> 
> Helena Worthen
> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> 
> On Jun 18, 2014, at 10:40 AM, Lubomir Savov Popov wrote:
> 
>> Thank you Helena,
>> 
>> I have similar observations in a few fields related to facilities planning, including management consulting. It is all about personal professional experience, proprietary information, and hands-on methods. This is the nature of the profession. 
>> 
>> The professions have very different objectives and pressures compared to academia. They cannot afford to go back and forth, discussing new findings and deliberating the nature of things. The project typically has to be finished by tomorrow (metaphorically speaking), although the client has delivered the project brief today at lunch.  If the consultants don't do it on time and on budget, they lose the client and worst of all, get bad rap in the client professional community. No more projects, no more business, prepare for bankruptcy. 
>> 
>> I hope that with the drive for evidence-based practice currently in medicine, nursing, and architecture, things might change. But it will take many years to synchronize the systems that are involved. 
>> 
>> Best wishes,
>> 
>> Lubomir
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:52 AM
>> To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: theory not
>> 
>> Hello -
>> 
>> This article was useful to me because I work in a field that is closely linked to Organizational Behavior but is different in purpose, namely, labor education.  The article was published in Administrative Science Quarterly, which comes out of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell. Its presumed audience is managers and students in MBA programs. The theoretical frameworks that OB builds from have value, but they play out differently when applied to contexts like labor unions or collectives of unrepresented workers who are trying to negotiate with those managers. 
>> 
>> Although the authors of the article doesn't make this their main point, the idea that "theory" is not references, diagrams, lit reviews or predictions etc but is actually some statement or explanation of a relationship, such as causal relationship, is important. When you lift a theory from one context and try to apply it in another context, you have to be very clear about what the theory actually is.
>> 
>> Many OB practitioners are not academics but consultants. (Many are both, of course.)  They charge big bucks to do trainings and offer advice about how to shape organizations. Most of them work with businesses, but some work with labor organizations. They bring with them proprietary materials, sometimes copyrighted, and terminology that is unique to their own consultancies. They back this up with "research." In my experience, however, they do not actually teach their clients the theory that the research is connected to, nor do they share the research. But it's hard for someone sitting in one of the meetings where this stuff is being delivered to ask directly, "What's the theory that the research behind this is based on?"  
>> 
>> In a bottom-up, member-driven organization like a union (a good one), the theory behind what is being proposed has to be lying right out on the table in the middle of the discussion for everyone to see and discuss. Everyone who is part of the decision-making process has to be able to put their hands on it in some way. 
>> 
>> A different take on this:  While this discussion was starting up on XMCA, I happened to be reading the May 2014 issue of the Clarion, the newspaper of the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY. On page 5 there's an article that is related to this discussion and should be of interest to people in education faculties. There's a new teacher certification exam in NY called "edTPA." The evaluation of the results of this test has been outsourced to Pearson Inc., the for-profit education "reform" corporation. A professor (Ruth Powers Silverberg) who attended a meeting about the implementation of edPTA asked about the research it was based on and was told that she could find it on the website. "I went to the website," says the article, "where I found eight articles. One of them was about edTPA. The other seven were on a variety of topics and all but one article had been authored by the creators of edTPA."
>> 
>> I'm mentioning this because this article about what theory is NOT is a good tool for challenging some of the rip-offs that are taking place in what is now being referred to as the "education reform movement."  It's such a big thing that it's being called a movement, not just individual tweaks and fiddles with individual school and community college districts.
>> 
>> Helena 
>> 
>> 
>> Helena Worthen
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>> hworthen@illinois.edu
>> 21 San Mateo Road
>> Berkeley, CA 94707
>> 510-828-2745
>> 
>> On Jun 16, 2014, at 8:40 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>> 
>>> Sobering reading, especially interesting to read the views of editors from a very different scientific tradition.
>>> The type of non-theory manuscript I have found very disappointing in our discipline is typified by one I read recently.
>>> The authors described a case study, which involved no intervention by the authors, and no pathology: the subject successfully lived through a challenging period in their life, that's all. The authors simply pinned high-falutin labels to various events and relations or cited references to other writers as the story went along. I admit that I was so offended by the fact that all the labels were garbled and the references inappropriate, that I had failed to notice that even if the labels had been correctly applied and teh references appropriate, the paper would still have been without content!
>>> Andy
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Helena Worthen wrote:
>>>> Mike, i really appreciate your sending this out. I read it pretty carefully this morning and will read it again.  I know that I'm not an adept swimmer in this particular pond, (lake or bay would be more like it) but the guidelines put forth in this article are definitely things I contend with.
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks --
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Helena Worthen
>>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>>> hworthen@illinois.edu
>>>> 
>>>> On Jun 15, 2014, at 4:14 PM, mike cole wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> Paper attached for those unable to open.
>>>>> mike
>>>>> <What theory is not-1.docx>
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
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