Systems Thinking as Dialectical Relational Process Ontologies by D. M. Boje (2017)

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The latest version of the entry "Texts on Systems Thinking as Dialectical Relational Process Ontologies" may be cited in your work, as follows:

Boje, David M. (2017) "Systems Thinking as Dialectical Relational Process Ontologies", (June 3), URL = <https://davidboje.com/655/655_texts.htm>.

There is a new book I am developing. I am assigning chapters from it each week


Organizational Research Methods: Storytelling in Action

David M. Boje

Book being prepared for Routledge, due March 2018


Intro to 4th Wave Grounded Theory


  1. RPO1 - Plato's Dialectic of Double Twisted Spiral and See Boje's YouTube video (34 minutes) on 4th Wave Grounded Theory and the ways Plato's Dialectic can help organizaitonal research methods with a 'conversational interviewing' method, and a double twisted spiral
  2. PRO2 - Hegel's Dialectic and Video # 2 on Hegel and Marx/Engels and Transistion YouTube Hegel, Marx and Follett
  3. PRO3 - Marx & Engel's Historical Materialism Dialectic --- Transistion YouTube Hegel, Marx and Follett
  4. RPO4 - Follett’s Relational Process Ontology
  5. RPO5 - Heidegger’s Critical Ontology
  6. RPO6 - Latour’s Actor Network Theory
  7. RPO7 - Barad’s Sociomateriality of Agential Realism
  8. RPO8 - Žižek’s Revival of Hegelian Dialectics
  9. RPO9 - Bhaskar’s Critical Realism Dialectics
  10. RPO10 - Frank’s Embodied Storytelling Dialectics
  11. RPO11 - Brier’s Cybersemiotics Dialectic approach to Organization Research
  12. RPO12 - Deleuze’s Rhizomatics and Multifractality in Organization Research
  13. RPO13- Savall’s Socioeconomic, Qualimetrics and Tetranormalizing
  14. RPO14 - True Storytelling Praxis

    Map of Storytelling In Action  © D. M. Boje 2017

    Figure 1: Relational Process Ontologies to Study Fourth Wave Grounded Theory

    KEY:= Platonic (multi-spiritual) = Montheic =Non-Spiritual



There are several different sociomateriality systems 'Relational Process Ontologies' (RPO's) for us to explore this term in our lesson plans and projects.



Our challenge is to co-construct the following table, which I have begun to sketch out.

Table 1: 4th Wave Relational Process Ontologies in Dialectical Organizing Systems (Boje, 1 August, 2017)




    RPO1 Plato Pedagogical Socratic dialectic discourse (conversation) Discourse (conversation) between two or more people holding different perspectives Socratic process of dialectic dialogue helping others arrive at better concepts and find truth Double twisted spiraling of spiritual and earthly, love and strife, concord and discord, sameness and difference People, government and society learning to live life of virtue with equity, justice, and beauty Create spacetimes for dialogic syllogism; turn another to philosophy
    RPO2 Hegel Negation of the negation in dialectics of history Thesis and antithesis become stuck in fixity, and contradictions emerge 3 moments: fixity, dialectical, and speculative Being-for-self is opposed by moment of Being-for-others, and becomes speculative on ways to negate the contradictions Spirit initially abstract begins to manifest in social and material world with agential force Spirit of rationality works out in governance and economy
    RPO3 Marx & Engels Negation of negation Ideologies of the classes are in dialectic conflict As the capitalist class exploits the working and poorest classes there is resistance (negating the oppressors moves) Economic classes are in process of exploitation and resistance against oppression and come to recognize their own alienation and reflect on fetishism of consumption Material conditions (economic wealthy) are working to develop surplus value from labor Engage in democratic socialism until that is negated to become communism
    RPO4 Follett Studied Hegel in college and applies dialectic to managing conflict, change, and governance More wedded to thesis-antithesis-synthesis model than was Hegel Mother of Systems Theory; Follows Whitehead's process model and part of American Pragmatism movement Let the human relations treat the 'Situation' as the invisible leader in decisions interweaving of social and material aspects in the ‘Law of the Situation.’ Integration across differences to resolve conflicts
    RPO5 Heidegger Seeks to reconceptualize Hegelian dialectic temporality Ontology is different from epistemic schema and ontic (empiric) Things ready-to-hand vs. present-at-hand in a process Authentic self Being-in-the-world    
    RPO6 Latour Actor Network Theory There is something beyond social constructivism Post-social constructivist; Linguistic turn went too far in dismissing materiality Sociomaterialist Social actors and material 'actants' inter -networking  
    RPO7 Barad Indistinct Fusion following quantum physics of Neils Bohr & Latour Primacy of Agential Cut of Boundary- making Practices mediate relationships Inextricably intertwined constitutively Entangled inta-activity of Materiality with Discourse Integrate or Force Merge by Transcending or Reframing Practices
    RPO8 Žižek Neo-Hegelian Supports Barad's agential cuts Žižek prefers a dialectic process to mediated relationships Humans are exploiting the earth and using sustainability as false consciousness excuse Social and material are in dialectic interplay relationship Deconstruct the hegemonic political and economic forces at play
    RPO9 Bhaskar Neo-Hegelian, & differs from Heideggerian ontology Challenges the inductive model of epistemology Critical Realism Ontology with focus on stratified open systems across levels of reality There are multiple levels of reality beyond the empirical, and the actual, and the dialectical is not only historical there are spiritual and enchantment levels Material entities (mountains, oceans, weather) can exist independent of our storytelling (discourse), and materially climate change can be affected by human activity (consumption & production carbon footprints) Correcting by iteration of Previous Findings in light of generative mechanisms
    RPO10 Frank self-story is in dialectical opposition to organization narrative Chaos is the dialectic opposite to resituation narratives (rooted in modernism, managerialism, & mechanistic ideology).  The body is telling its story, and is a witness, with a testimony. More social than material, with body as material The body-self is immersed in chaos and lives in its immediacy Resituating and restorying the dominant narrative to give space for person
    RPO11 Brier Triadic dialectics with Charles Sanders Peirce Sensemaking epistemic is combined with more material ontology and triadics We embody matter and energy that is physical, chemical, biological, and spiritual integrates Charles Sanders Peirce's semiology with the autopoiesis of Ed Luhmann's cybernetic systems theory The observing system in the middle of the Star Model captures and collapses the waves of possibilities into actual events. Akin to quantum storytelling consultancy
    RPO12 Deleuze     Rhizomatics, fractals, and ways cycles becomes spirals      
    RPO13 Savall Organizations' metascripts are in disarray Way of knowing is through observation, interviews Release untapped potential through negotiated contracting & spiral processes Move toward democratic processes of communication, coordination, & conciliation Social and behavioral relations play out in material conditions & results Researcher Interventionist consultancy
    RPO14 True Storytelling            


Texts I have Written for Systems Seminar at NMSU:

This new one, to be released in 2018:

Title: Organizational Research Methods (QRM):
Storytelling In Action

Publisher Routledge

Boje, D. M. (2008). STO Storytelling Organizations. London: Sage. (Written just for the NMSU systems theory seminar). It connects Strategy with Systems.I wrote this book so Yue Cai (Hillon) could dvelop her own strategy dissertation at NMSU. The book has basics of cybernetic and open systems theory, and the 10 Mintzberg schools of strategy. Cai's dissertation works this out at Motorola Corporation.

Boje Dragon Book cover Routledge 2014

Available from Routledge May 2014; See Reviews Boje, D. M. (2014). SoPQ Storytelling Organizational Practices: Managing in the Quantum Age. London: Routledge. The book is featured on our website here: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415815475/ and will feature in relevant upcoming catalogues and leaflets. See book flyer for discount information This is the book where I develop several American Pragmatist approaches to systems thinking, in particular Dewey, James, Mead, and Peirce.

These next three books explore the quantum mechanics revolution in systems thinking, as well as multifractal notions of systems thinking. They are for a more advanced seminar that this one.

2014 BOOK edited by David M. Boje and Tonya Wakefield

Being Quantum: Ontological Storytelling in the Age of Antenarrative

Available from Amazon 2014

Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd is registered in England. Reg. No: 4333775; VAT No: 108280727

Organizational Change and Global Standardization: Solutions to Standards and Norms Overwhelming Organizations (Routledge Studies in Organizational Change & Development) Hardcover - Available on 31 Jul 2015

by David M. Boje (Editor)


by Tonya Henderson (Author), David M. Boje (Author)



Bauman, Z. (2010). Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Lefebvre, H. (2004). Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life. NY: Continuum.

Kötke, William H. (2007) The Final Empire: The Collapse of Civilization and the Seed of the Future by Wm. H. Kötke (Nov 26, 2007)

Boje, David M. (2008). Critical Theory Ethics for Business & Public Administration (Information Age, 2008) - Order it on line at Amazon



HELPFUL ONLINE BOOKS (James, Boje 2013 and any other you choose).

Arendt, Hannah (1958). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Aristotle's Categories

Aristotle's (350 BCE) Nicomachean Ethics (aka Virtue Ethics). Translated by W. D. Ross. Book is fare on lone. On line version http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html 

Aristotle's On the Soul

Aristotle (350 BCE) Physis (check his views on space and time).

Aristotle's Poetics. (350 BCE). Translated by S. H. Butcher.

Aristotle. (350 BCE). Rhetoric. Translated by W. Rhys Roberts

Aristotle (350 BCE) Topics.

Bernstein, R. J. (1989, November). Pragmatism, pluralism and the healing of wounds. In Proceedings and addresses of the American Philosophical Association (pp. 5-18). American Philosophical Association.

Boje, D. M. (2012f). Quantum Storytelling. Free online book (until it gets finished with its revisions, and a publisher calls).

Boje, D. M. (2012g). Quantum Spirals for Organization Consulting online book (until it gets finished with its revisions, and a publisher calls).

Boje, D. M. (2013). Pragmatist Storytelling Philosophy for Management and Organizational Research and Practice. Book in preparation for London: Routledge. Access in drop box.

Derrida, Jacque. (1993). Politics and Friendship.

Dewey, J. (1910). How We Think. Boston/Chicago/NY: D. C. Heath and Company.

Dewey, John. (1929). The Quest for Certainty. GIfford Lectures.

Heidegger, Martin. (1977). A Question Concerning Technology. http://simondon.ocular-witness.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/question_concerning_technology.pdf

Heisenberg, Werner. (1958). Physics and Philosophy.

Hobbes, Thomas. (1651). Leviathan the Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason (especially section on architectonic systems, as perhaps the earliest approach to systems theory).

Kincheloe, Joe L.; Horn, Raymond A. (Eds, 2007) Praeger Handbook of Education and Psychology Vol. 1. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. (1979/1984). The Postmodern Condition. the English version, a pdf is on line and is searchable.

Mead (1932) The Philosophy of the Present. With Introduction by Arthur E. Murphy and Prefatory Remarks by John Dewey. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press (1932 is based on Mead's 1930 lectures compiled and edited after his death in 1931; 1984 revised edition).

Merleau-Ponty (1962). Phenomenology of Perception

Pierce, Charles Sanders. (1904) New Elements

Rorty, R. (1979). Philosophy and the Mirror of. Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Rorty, R. (1982). Consequences of Pragmatism. University of Minnesota Press. Introduction.

Rorty, R. (1999). Philosophy and Social Hope. Penguin. Introduction


Boje, D. M. 2001 Narrative Methods for Organizational & Communication Research. London: Sage (should be in books store; if not order from Amazon; paperback)

Heidegger, M. (1992). History of the Concept of Time: Prolegomena. Translated by Theodore Kisiel. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Heidegger, M. (1999). Ontology – The Hermeneutics of Facticity. Translated by John van Buren. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Heidegger, M. (2003). Four Seminars. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.


Not Required, also good choices:

  1. Herbert, Nick (1985).Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics. NY: Anchor Books.

    2. Bourdieu, Pierre. (1991).The Political Ontology of Martin Heidegger. CA: Stanford University Press.


    Slavoj Zizek (2000). Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. London/NY: Verso.

    3. CTE - Boje, D. M. 2008b. CTE Critical Theory Ethics for Business and Public Administration. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press See Table of Contents

NM - Boje, D. M. 2001 Narrative Methods for Organizational & Communication Research. London: Sage (should be in books store; if not order from Amazon; paperback)

4.      See http://davidboje.com/655/ for the readings we will select for the class.

On Line Resource: Annotated Reference Listing http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/690/annotated_storytelling_org_biblio_boje.htm

5. Scott, W. Richard and Gerald Davis. 2007. Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice- Hall

Cited Articles /Chapters in Syllabus

Tarby, Fabien. (2013). A Short Introduction to Alain Badiou's Philosophy. Chapter 6 (pp. 131-154) in Alain Badiou (2013). Philosophy and the Event. Translated by Louise Burchill. Cambridge, UK/Malden, MA: Polity. English 2013, French 2010.


Arendt, Hannah. (1958). The Human Condition. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.

Aristotle (written 350 BCE). English (1954) translation Aristotle: Rhetoric and Poetics. Introduction by Friedrich Solmsen; Rhetoric translated by W. Rhys Roberts; Poetics translated by Ingram Bywater. NY: The Modern Library (Random House). Poetics was written 350 BCE.

Bakhtin, M. M. (1993). Toward a Philosophy of the Act. Translation and Notes by Vadim Liapunov. Edited by Michael Holquist & Vadim Liapunov. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. From Bakhtin's early 1920s notebooks. 1993 is First English printing.

Bennett, Jane. (2010) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham/London: Duke University Press.

Berger, Peter L. & Luckmann, Thomas. 1966. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. NY: Anchor Books, A Division of Random House.

Boje, D. M. (2001). Narrative Methods for Organizational and Communication Research. London: Sage. If not in bookstore, Order from Amazon Has basic analyses such as deconstruction, theme analysis, grand narrative, plot, story network, etc. and introduces concept of antenarrative.

Boje, David M., Bernard Bernes, and John Hassard. (2012). The Routledge Companion to Organization Change. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415556453/

Latour, Bruno. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford/NY: Oxford University Press.

Mead, G. H. (1932/1980). The Philosophy of the Present. Edited by Arthur E. Murphy with Prefatory Remarks by John Dewey. London/Chicago: University of Chicago Press. First Phoenix Printing, 1980.

Minahen, C. D. (1992). Vortex/t: The Poetics of Turbulence. University Park, PN: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Morson, Gary Saul. (1994). Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.

Rosile, G.A. and Boje. D. M. (2002). Restorying and Postmodern Organization Theater: Consultation to the Storytelling Organization. Chapter published in Ronald Sim’s (ed) book: Changing the Way We Change,  published by Quorum Books, pp. 271-291.


White and Epston (1990).  Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends.  New York: Norton and Company.