[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Unit of analysis RE: experience



Hello everyone,

I proposed expert management, envisaging the alternative attempts by the the Moscow Methodological Circle (MMC) and the movement for evidence-based practice. Although these are very different approaches, they are based on the belief that science (as a social institution, not just Positivism) can contribute to more efficient and productive problem solving. 

What about activity theory as a new way to organize? A new way to manage? 

One of the big contributions of activity theory can happen in that field. The Moscow Methodological Circle (MMC) developed a new type of activity theorizing that can be used as a methodological tool for improving activities and their organization. The work of MMC is very different from the tradition of mainstream Soviet psychologists, including LSV, Luria, Lentiev, Rubinshtein, although they have started with their ideas. In most cases, MMC theorists come from different disciplines but share a philosophical background and affiliations. This makes them very different from psychologists and psychology trained scholars. The MMC were dissidents in science and in politics. While they were revolutionary in science, they were not vocal at all on the political arena. They proposed the idea of expert government and management. Of course, this idea was threatening to the political establishment in the Soviet Union because they were managing by objectives, enslaving experts with the help of the commissar institution in factories, universities, and all spheres of life. The MMC tried to live by proposing new social technologies. They were among the first to propose the idea of social design and the role of activity theory in that realm. The paradox was that although they were strongly against the establishment, they were developing tools for this establishment. This is the tragedy of the experts who in order to work and grow professionally, have to serve politicians whom they despise. 

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: Friday, July 04, 2014 12:19 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of analysis RE: experience

Hi -

I think we're talking about the same thing. Only "scientific management" is how " a knowledge pool separate from the actual activity of problem solving...is then used to control those very problem solvers" in the workplace.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/taylor
  
It was the creation of Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915)  -- lots about him on wikipedia. He was a mechanical engineer who worked in the steel industry in Pennsylvania  (steel = railroads at that time) and did observations of workers, abstracted their motions, designed "perfect" motions, then taught those "perfect" motions to other workers. This was the basis for profound re-design of workplaces.  He is famous for saying, "The worker's brain in on the boss's shoulders."  His technique made it possible to chop craft work (which required many years of experience and practice) into tiny patterned snips which would be then taught to a less experienced -- and less expensive -- worker. 

We say that certain jobs have been "taylorized" -- meaning that what was originally (or what could have been) a job that combined both finger or muscle skills with complex judgment becomes cut up into tiny bits and the judgment is left to the management. Organizational implications: the assembly line becomes possible, middle management comes into existence to manage the taylorized workers.

You can see taylorization in education as teachers are required to "teach to the test."  And in many other workplaces, too.

Helena


Helena Worthen
helenaworthen@gmail.com

On Jul 4, 2014, at 11:27 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:

> Hi Helena,
> 
> I'm not familiar with scientific management.  If you mean Argyris' action science than the answer would be yes.  That is because Action Science is based on Lewin's Action Research, which in turn was strongly influenced by Dewey (not through Lewin but other members of the originating team).
> 
> Otherwise you'll have to explain to me what scientific management is.
> 
> Michael
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Helena Worthen [helenaworthen@gmail.com]
> Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 11:16 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of analysis RE: experience
> 
> Michael --
> 
> Isn't this the basic idea behind Scientific Management?
> 
> Helena
> 
> 
> Helena Worthen
> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> 
> On Jul 4, 2014, at 11:10 AM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
> 
>> Hi Lubomir,
>> 
>> My feeling right now is that Dewey might disagree with your argument.  It's a pretty compelling argument and I probably cannot do it justice.  Dewey thinks that one of the mistakes we have made in the progress of human society is in creating a knowledge base that is in some way separate from what people are actually doing to solve problems.  This create an elite population of people who have knowledge, based on what other people do, and then use that knowledge as a form of control.  This is seems happened first in religion and then in academics.  The intellectual elites (Dewey doesn't use that word and I wish I could come up with a better one right now) develop a knowledge pool separate from the actual activity of problem solving that is then used to control those very problem solvers.
>> 
>> It's a pretty radical idea (I have been surprised how radical a book Experience and Nature actually is, but also how prescient it is).
>> 
>> Michael
>> ________________________________________
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Lubomir Savov Popov [lspopov@bgsu.edu]
>> Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 11:04 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; ablunden@mira.net
>> Subject: [Xmca-l]  Unit of analysis RE: experience
>> 
>> Hello every one,
>> 
>> The unit of analysis is conceptualized in relation to the nature of phenomenon, the paradigm selected, and the objectives of the project, to name just a few. There is no problem in conceptualizing experience as an unit of analysis. The questions are:  in what projects, regarding which situations, etc. We can conceptualize alternative units of analysis regarding one project. The issue is which of them will be more heuristic or more productive regarding our project. There are always competing conceptualizations, coming from different paradigmatic traditions or ways to look at the phenonon that is studied. We have to make a choice based on our epistemological and methodological expertese.
>> 
>> Just a few thoughts,
>> 
>> Lubomir
>> 
>> 
> 
> 
>