All posts by philipjboxer

Judging the quality of development: the subject of knowing

Title: Judging the quality of development: the subject of knowing
Author: Boxer, P.J.
Category: Working
Publication Year: 1990
Abstract:

 

This paper traces the origins of the technique of reflective analysis, as supported by CRITIK; and considers its place in relation to different forms of teaching paradigm. It describes the technique in terms of enabling a manager to articulate the paradoxes and dilemmas inherent in his own way of framing his experience. The paper then goes on to discuss the characteristic ways in which managers get ‘stuck’ in their own development in terms of each of the teaching paradigms, and the ways in which teachers can collude with this to serve their own interests. It concludes that the best teaching practice enables managers to find their own authority in relation to their experience, and to live with the issues of timing that this form of authority inevitably gives rise to.

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Book by Elliot Jaques: ‘Requisite Organisation: The CEO’s Guide to Creative Structure and Leadership’

Title: Book by Elliot Jaques: ‘Requisite Organisation: The CEO’s Guide to Creative Structure and Leadership’
Author: Boxer, P.J.
Category: Review
Publication Year: 1990
Where Published: Management Education and Development Vol 21 Part 4 Winter 1990 pp 337-339

I suspect that the usefulness in what he has written lies in the way in which he interprets it in relation to the particular of his experience. Like an analyst perhaps? So are we (the Other Serious Readers of his introducing Memorandum?) to become analysts if we are to work with this book in practice? If process follows structure, is there to be a Requisite Organisation II – what the CEO didn’t see?! Jaques sets high standards by which to be judged. What he has achieved is a milestone in the understanding of organization. But I think Jaques has developed an explanation of what he has learnt from his 40 years’ experience, and left his own position out of it.

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The economy of discourses: a third order cybernetics?

Title: The economy of discourses: a third order cybernetics ?
Author: Philip Boxer & Vincent Kenny
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1990
Where Published: Human Systems Management Volume 9 Number 4 pp 205-224.
Abstract:

 

This paper introduces the idea of, and necessity for, a ‘third-order cybernetics’. It does this through the critique and problematisation of the ontology of the observer as elaborated within a second-order cybernetics. The necessity for this third-order is directly generated from our work as strategy consultants and our needs to evolve an effective, coherent and ethical consultancy practice. The paper draws primarily on the writings of Lacan and Maturana to provide the epistemological presumptions upon which we generate a new characterisation of, and approach to, the business organisation. This new approach for the understanding of the business organisation is presented as an ‘Economy of Discourses’. This Economy is a description of the effects of a third-order in the second-order observer’s invention of himself as subject. We have formulated this approach as an aid for diagnosis, intervention and prognosis in our work with business organisations. We include two case studies, one of a chemicals-based manufacturer, the other of a large accountancy practice. In these two cases we seek to unpack and illustrate the way in which it is possible to use the new approach, and to highlight the principles which allow the consultant maximal movement and effectiveness in relation to his client system. We end by outlining the implications of our approach for an ethics of consultancy.

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Niches and Networks: Prospects for Strategic Analysis

Title: Niches and Networks: Prospects for Strategic Analysis
Author: Philip Boxer & Dr Robin Wensley
Category: Published
Where published: Third IMP Conference, UMIST, Manchester
Publication Year: 1988

The network characteristic of markets has been widely recognized by a number of researchers particularly in the field of Organizational Buyer Behavior and Industry Innovation. An analogous development in Industrial Economics and micro economic analysis is the recognition of the relationship between the various value adding stages of production and the role of intermediaries in the overall industry structure.
This widespread recognition of the greater complexity of both producer and market organization has, however, posed severe problems for analysis at the level of both the individual firm and also public policy. In the former case there has developed an espousal of so-called ‘niche’ strategies for firms whilst in the later case the realities of market organization are often ignored in the general notion of the ‘free’ market. The complexity of the data requires powerful forms of analysis that can address such issues in a more systematic manner, and yet most current attempts fail to reveal new insights or taxonomies for the network structures that are observed.
This paper proposes a closer evaluation of the particular problems of network analysis to indicate what form such analysis might take and how it might be translated into a strategy framework. Such a development provides the opportunity for a critical appraisal of some current examples of empirical work in this area as well as indicating the sorts of questions and issues that the new forms of analysis might address. A number of these questions are seen as critical to developing a more market-based method for strategy evaluation in such contexts.

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Niches and Clusters: the aesthetics of market organisation

Title: Niches and Clusters: the aesthetics of market organisation
Author: Boxer, P.J. & Wensley, J.R.C.
Category: Working
Publication Year: 1987

The concept of “niche” is used in much competitive marketing and strategic analysis to imply both a passive model of customer behaviour and also a particular form of relationship betweer the firm and its environment which is not sensltive to variations in individual customers’ contexts: a niche approach. This paper suggests that more emphasis should be given to the active customer and an attendant cluster approach which can support a competltive ability to couple the business’ activities to a wide range of individual customer contexts. In understanding and applying such an approach, the choices made organise the market. The paper concludes by considering the aesthetics of such choices.

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Regnancy: a shadow over personal construing

Title: Regnancy: a shadow over personal construing
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1987
Where Published: In Fransella F. & Thomas L. (eds) ‘Experimenting with Personal Construct Psychology’, Routledge & Kegan Paul

Strategic decisions are represented as such in retrospect because they become associated with discontinuities in the way things have been discontinuities in the knot. When I started I was hoping that I would come up with the philosopher’s stone of strategy, the ability to turn a plain and ordinary discontinuity into a strategic discontinuity. Eventually I found a simpler solution: ‘strategic’ is a quality of the manager’s relationship to his own dependency needs. Thus for himself all discontinuities are strategic.
So where does this leave us with all those questions about how to change things? The answer of course is that you can’t change things only your relationship to things. The really difficult bit is realising that there are ‘things’ there in the first place. Regnancy casts a shadow in which it is difficult to see.
For me, what I take from Kelly’s notion of being a personal scientist is the quality of resistance: resisting others’ explanations presented as Science. This strategic relationship to Science comes alive for me when restated as a relationship to Employment: the self-employed employee.
Scientific explanation is explanation which holds itself forward as the essence of Truth. Business explanation is explanation which holds itself forward as the essence of Work. We are all employees. Some of us are self employed employees. We all stand in the shadow of the regnancy of others, particularly the regnancy of employment.
Once seen, a regnant knot simply becomes someone else’s explanation, and why make someone else’s explanation do when you could have one of your own?! So . . . the struggle for true voice is the struggle for critical relationship. From there explanations can be constructed. All that then remains is that your constructions be beautiful.

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The Need for Middle-Out Development of Marketing Strategy

Title: The Need for Middle-Out Development of Marketing Strategy
Author: Philip Boxer & Dr Robin Wensley
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1986
Where Published: Journal of Management Studies March Vol 23 No 2 pp189-204.
Abstract:

The current tendency to move decision making closer to those concerned with implementing decisions in order to make use of their local market and customer knowledge is timely, particularly in relation to marketing strategy. This tendency is reflected both in the shift away from broad strategic analysis and towards encouraging strategic thinking throughout the organisation; and in the emergence of more decentralised strategy development through structural innovations such as Strategic Business Units. For the manager-in-the-middle who has historically had the task of relating the broad corporate strategies to the detail of delivering products and services to the customer, this shift in emphasis creates new stresses, for it is not possible for him to assume, even in the most stablished consumer goods companies, that the strategic development of such activities can be construed within the traditional marketing mix (4Ps) framework. Under such circumstances, he needs a framework which enables him to take account of the crucial interactions going on within the market’s infrastructure itself between customers, competition and channels (3Cs). If the manager-in-the-middle is then to be effective in responding to his increasingly complex responsibilities in relation to such markets, he must also be given the ability to manage the micro-organisational context within which he delivers products and services. This micro-organisational context is crucial because it determines the quality of the relationship that can be sustained with the customer. The higher the quality of the relationship, the tighter the coupling that can be maintained with the local market. Such tight coupling makes the relationship with the customer more defensible against competition. It therefore provides the basis for sustaining and developing the profitability of value-adding products and services so necessary to long term corporate survival.

 

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Judging the Quality of Development

Title: Judging the Quality of Development
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1985
Where Published: In Boud D., Keogh R. & Walker D. (eds) ‘Reflection: turning experience into learning’, Kogan Page.
Abstract:

This paper traces the origins of the technique of reflective analysis, as supported by CRITIK and considers its place in relation to different forms of teaching paradigm. It describes the technique in terms of enabling a manager to articulate the paradoxes and dilemmas inherent in his own way of framing his experience. The paper then goes on to discuss the characteristic ways in which managers get stuck in their own development in terms of each of the teaching paradigms, and the ways in which teachers can collude with this to serve their own interests. It concludes that the best teaching practice enables managers to find their own authority in relation to their experience, and to live with the issues of timing that this form of authority inevitably gives rise to.

 

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Developing a basis for assessing the Marketability of Passive Solar Technology in the UK.

Title: Developing a basis for assessing the Marketability of Passive Solar Technology in the UK.
Author: Boxer, P.J.
Category: Working
Publication Year: 1983

The overall Project P3/2 was set up by the Energy Technology Support Unit of the Department of Energy (DEn/ETSU) to develop a model of the marketability of passive solar technology within the private domestic housing sector in the UK. Such a model was to provide a means of understanding how market potential and market penetration depended on immediately quantifiable parameters such as costs and performance, and on qualitative attitudinal factors. It would consider both general issues of the impact of energy cost-in-use for domestic buildings as well as detailed responses to specific passive solar measures. This paper explores the issues raised in seeking to develop such a model and sets out in more detail the methods appropriate for describing such dependence.

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