655 Overview of Systems


Introduction to Systems Theory

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

Here is an integrative course model of our systems theory course. It has three domains that interplay in doing the interdisciplinary dialectic sets(sensemaker-org cultures-environment systems, multilevel; four pragmatic (COPE) approach and the Boulding/Pondy 9 levels of system complexity. It is the advanced qualitative methods, the sequel to Mgt 661.


Figure 1: An Overview of the components of the systems model that are in the 2008 and 2014 texts by Boje.

I write new books every few years about systems thinking, because I need to prepare to teach this course, and my perspective keeps deepening. Boje (2008) has the storytelling organizational model, the pyramid of 9 system levels of complexity. I learned this as a doctoral student in Lou Pondy's systems theory seminar. The Boje (2008) book was challenge to hierarchical systems complexity thinking. What if the levels of reality are 'entangled' differently, and not hierarchic, but say a Deleuzian rhizome, or some kind of dialectic ontology. I taught the systems course a few more time, then in Boje (2014) developed a pragmatism approach (James, Dewey, Peirce), and developed the COPE model (critical, ontological, post-positivist, & epistemic). Now in the new book (coming out in 2018) I am developing the 'relational process ontologies' school of systems thinking, research, and praxis.

Boje's systemicity model (above) has three kinds of systems that are interactive. Each system assemblage is dialectical to the other systems, and each system set has intra-dialectical activities. Systemicity is defined by Boje (2008, 2014) as the unfinished and unmergedness of the First, Second, and Third systems, since system is never fully implemented and never fully abandoned when a new one is advanced. The result is the Organizations are a mix," a hodgepodge system" of partial systems left undone (William James, 1908, Pragmatism; see summary in Boje SoPQ Intro & section on William James pp. 188-191).

For overview of course concepts: download this slide presentation.

The History of Systems Thinking and a few principles

Systems thinking has gone downhill since Plato, until two pragmatists, William James (1907) and Mary Parker Follett (a contemporary of Frederick Taylor and his [mechanistic systems thinking]), then spiraled down again until Follett's relational process ontology and other forms of it, were rediscovered, which FYI is the focus of our systems course.

Immanuel Kant (1781) reduced systems thinking to the cognitive in dialectic [mentioned 82 times in Critique of Pure Reason] with the transcendental he called 'architectonic', and this prevented relational process ontology system thinking in organizations from coming to the fore.

"By an architectonic I understand the art of systems. Since systematic unity is that which first makes ordinary cognition into science, i.e., makes a system out of a mere aggregate of it, architectonic is the doctrine of that which is scientific in our cognition in general, and therefore necessarily belongs to the doctrine of method" (Kant 1781Critique of Pure Reason, available online for free, p.691).

"Human reason is by nature architectonic, i.e., it considers all cognitions as belonging to a possible system, and hence it permits only such principles as at least do not render an intended cognition incapable of standing together with others in some system or other. But the propositions of the antithesis are of a kind that they do render the completion of an edifice of cognitions entirely impossible. According to them, beyond every state of the world there is another still older one; within every part there are always still more that are divisible; before every occurrence there was always another which was in turn generated by others; and in existence in general everything is always only conditioned, and no unconditioned or first existence is to be recognized" (Kant 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, available online for free, p. 502).

Mikhail Bakhtin (1986) in a book, translated into English, after his death, would rescue architectonics systems thinking from Kant's transcendental dialectic (see Boje, 2008). Bakhtin retrofitted cognitive architectonics, by including also ethical and aesthetic discourses in inter-animation of each other.

For Kant (1781: 4) transcendental dialectic follows Aristotle's dialectic, and is a logic of truth, that is ascribed in universal principles. The transcendental dialectic of pure reason tries to move us from Plato to Aristotle dialectics but situate it in the universal, where space and time, are a priori concepts rather than having what Heidegger (1962,Being and Time) calls Being-in-the-world, ontologically.

Transcendental dialectic "... is a natural and unavoidable dialectic of pure reason, not one in which a bungler might be entangled through lack of acquaintance, or one that some sophist has artfully invented in order to confuse rational people, but one that irremediably attaches to human reason, so that even after we have exposed the mirage it will still not cease to lead our reason on with false hopes, continually propelling it into momentary aberrations that always need to be removed" (Kant 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, available online for free, pp. 386-7).

Kant's (1781: Introduction to Kant, p. 41) space and time are pure intuition, a priori to what we call sensemaking (Weick, 1995) by the empiric 5 senses, in organization systems studies. Space and time for Kant are intuitive conceptions a priori to our empirical experience of sensemaking of systems.

"Space is nothing but the intuition of mere form even without given matter, thus pure intuition. It is a single [einzelne] representation on account of the unity of the subject (and the capability), in which all representations of outer objects can be placed next to one another" (Introduction to Kant 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, p. 50).

" Space is not an empirical concept that has been drawn from outer experiences. For in order for certain sensations to be related to something outside me (i.e., to something in another place in space from that in which I find myself), thus in order for me to represent them as outside one another, thus not merely as different but as in different places, the representation of space must already be their ground" (Kant 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, p. 157).

And Time "... to appearances in general one cannot remove time, though one can very well take the appearances away from time. Time is therefore given a priori" (Kant 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, p. 162).

William James (1907) aware of the limits of 'closed systems' thinking rejects the Kantian cognitive abstraction, and as a pragmatist has his own more open systems dialectic approach.

A pragmatist goes " from bad a priori reasons, from fixed principles, closed systems, and pretended absolutes and origins. He turns towards concreteness and adequacy, towards facts, towards action and towards power" (William James, 1907 Pragmatism book, online for free).

James (1907) gives one of most amazing renditions of what we now call open systems thinking, in Lecture IV: The One and The Many, part of his Pragmatism book. I cover this in Boje (2014).

William James Lecture IV: The One and the Many in Pragmatism book.

In the pragmatic method plunges into the “river of experience”. I will summarize his points on my own way and quote some of his systems wisdom. This what you can begin to discern what is dialectical systems thinking.

1. The world is a subject of discourse in its manliness no union of system ports and in the whole of it intends no part is left out. Chaos “has as much unity of discourse as a cosmos”
2. Are systems continuous? Do they pass form one to another? Do parts of a system hang together.
3. “There are innumerable other paths of practical continuity among things.” You pass from one thing to another thing in “all-uniting influences” of the physical world, with many lines of connexion. And the social (humans) are conjoined in a “vast network of acquaintanceship” with the material.
4. “All these systems of influence or non-influence may be listed under the general problem of the world’s causal unity”.
5. “The most important sort of union that obtains among things, pragmatically speaking, is their generic unity”. Kinds of things exist in kinds, in specimens, not in the singular, or single instance, but in “monstrous unity”.
6. Unity of purpose of living beings in human-made systems (“administrative, industrial, military, or what not”) but appearances conflict with the view of unity of purpose, since purposes daily are changed and become more complex and different.
7. Aesthetic union among things also obtains, analogous to teleological union. This is where my favorite quote occurs, “Things tell a story”. The stories things are telling are mutually interlacing and interfering at points in our life-history. “It follows that whoever says that the whole world tells one story utters another of this monistic dogmas that a man believes at his risk”. In sum, the things of the world tell many stories. “So far, then we see how the world is unified by its many systems, kinds, purposes, and dramas”. But this appearance of unity is open.
8. The monistic systems thinking of one purpose, one systems, in one unity, avoids the “many kinds of difference” important in “Being’s existence” The world is one and the many, in a dialectal open systems thinking that James foretold.




Slides on sustainability at NMSU

Oct 4th 2016 Sustainability Council meeting 8:30AM in Milton Hall 85, with Boje presentation on Neoliberalism and the Unsustainability of Public Universities in New Mexico

Video of Boje's presentation on Neoliberalism impact on Public Universities in New Mexico at Oct 4th 2016 Sustainability Council meeting

Online survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FWGY9FT on impact of Neoliberalism policies on Public University downsizing, budget cuts.





In 2011 - we are interested in moving toward the IVth part of this module And, participants should have a basic familiarity with concepts of system attractors, bifurcations, chaos, system complexity, and related nonlinear systems concepts, such as system spirals and rhizomatics of organizational systems assemblages (see Boje, 2011, edited book on antenarratives, available from Amazon, published by Routledge).





Most U.S. organization theory approaches to systems theory are focused on Katz and Kahn’s (1966) open systems model, which they learn in reruns of Thompson (1967), or in more recent vintage in Scott’s (1987) typology of rational, open, and natural systems. Others, know none of this early work, and jive with Peter Senge (1990) or Morgan’s (1986) Image metaphors and never learn anything more rigorous than the input-throughput-output-feedback loop model of system theory that is naive, shallow, superfiical, and gross misunderstanding of the complexity system theory in the above diagram.

Katz and Kahn (1966: 23 - 30) list 10 characteristics of open systems:
1. Importation of energy from the environment (resources, people, etc.)
2. Throughput (transform resources avialable to them).
3. Output (export some resources to the environment).

Katz and Kahn add a few more items to their input-throughput-outbut model"
4. Systems as cycles of events
5. Negative entropy (through input of energy/resources)
6. Information input, negative feedback, and a coding process. (to maintain steady state).
7. The steady state and dynamic homeostasis (and a tendency toward growth to ensure survival).
8. Differentiation and specialization.
9 Integration and coordination
10. Equifinality (many paths to same end).

This is a very abstract, formalistic model, appropriated from metaphoric understanding of biology; one that reinvented in ‘population ecology’ and Scott’s book, never returns to a natured, ecological perspective; in Pepper’s model it aspires to organist, but end up being formist. As my Bapson colleagues summarize Katz and Kahn: “Open systems also engage in two main sets of system processes. Morphostasis processes in organizations tend to preserve the systems given form through socialization and control activities. Morphogenesis processes elaborate or change the system, often by becoming more complex or differentiated.”

[i] For Scott  (1987), closed system includes a rational system and a natural system, but not one that has ecological reality:


According to one review of Scott: “A natural system includes many client-oriented service organizations - i.e. rape-counseling center, alternative schools, and food and producer cooperatives. Rothschild-Whitt's suggests that these systems deny the authority of office, seek to minimize the promulgation of rules, and procedures, attempt to eliminate status gradations among participants, and do away with role differentiation and specialization of function.”[ii]


Scott’s (1987) book says the three major perspectives of organizations are a rational system, a natural system and an open system. But, this is a very limited view, compared to Kenneth Boulding, where open=organic, closed=rational, and natural, ah there’s a question for you (a natural system defined in a way that it has nothing whatsoever to do with nature). The problem with Scott is that in Boulding's complexity terms, we are only dealing with the first 5 levels (actually only 3 of the 5) and ignoring levels 6 through 9.

What Katz and Kahn then Scott is trying to do is develop a rivial to the General Systems School, so let's look to the supposed orignal.


But, for more European, Australian, and more critical scholars everywhere, the approaches of Katz and Kahn, Scott, Senge, and the Morgan Images of Organization are just too superficial to treat very seriously. So they move along to Ashby & Emery, Bertalanffy, Boulding, Fagen, Gerard, and Rappoport (For a Good Primer on this see, ISSS, International Society for Systems Science). Then go on to learn the differences between First Order Cybernetics, Second Order Cybernetics, Living Systems Theory, and a neat topic, ‘Critical Systems Thinking’ (ISSS, primer part II; Also see Cybernetics definition; and General Systems Theory). Representative of this second view is Peter A. Corning’s article: Synergy and the Systems Sciences; For an excellent web site giving biographies, references and overview of the major players for GST and cybernetics, see http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/CSTHINK.html; Another site with even more photos http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/cyberneticians.htm My firend Rita Durant tells me, “Ackoff (1960) described a system as “any entity, conceptual or physical, which consists of interdependent parts . . . [whose outcome] is conceptualized as the product of the interaction of its parts” (p. 332) and is therefore more than the sum of (or difference between) these parts; this is a system’s synergy.” (email April 12, 2004). Rita adds, “Finally, a system is a whole which cannot be divided into independent parts; the system has properties that none of the parts has (Ackoff, 1999). Problem is the communication model is still rooted in 1st cybernetic Shann & Weaver (1949); See Boje (2006, Chapter 1 for critique, and explaination of 2nd and 3rd order systemicity complexity.


So Let us begin again and outline the history of systems theory:

History of General Systems Theory School (adapted from source[iii])


Systems thinking helps me to see issues of boundaries as both/and, dependent on purposes or intentions. At the heart of systems thinking are two premises about every system (including each individual person): (a) each is both a unique individual (even if only uniquely situated in the intersection of multiple associations), and a vital and essential part of the greater unity, and (b) any system is uniquely purposeful.”

OK, so let us begin to classify

the players and acknowledge University of Waterloo site for getting us started; Also for really fun site with a blurb about each one http://fusionanomaly.net/cybernetics.html


For more on critique of 1st order systemicity theory:


Traditional Systems Thinking


M. Mesarovic, Mathematical Foundations

R. Ashby, Cybernetics

R. Ackoff, Problem solving

G. Weinberg, Design

K. Boulding, Economics and sociology

A. Rapoport, Philosophy

G. Klir, Systems Identfication 


The Practice of Systems, applications to the real world

P. Checkland, Soft Systems Methodology

Jenkins, Hard Systems Methodology

van Gigch, Management Sciences

Roe Soulis Handa The discipline of design


Complexity Theory

T.F.H. Allen, Hierarchy Theory

M. Maruyama, Second Cybernetics and Mindscapes

S. Funtowicz, J. Ravetz; Post-normal Science

R. Flood, Liberating systems theory

I. Prigogine, Self-organization Theory

R. Thom (and K. Husseyin), Catastrophe Theory

S. Kauffman, Chaos Theory

Santa Fe Institute, Complexity http://www.santafe.edu/

R. Rosen: Life itself and Anticipatory Systems

M. Conrad: Adaptability Theory





The Emery school is rooted, not in the Naïve school, but more in the GST school. In particular, Emery worked with Ackoff, and was very interested in Steven Pepper’s (1942) contextualist approach.  Here is a brief presentation of Pepper’s 4-part model:

Source: Boje, David M., Alvarez, Rossana C, and Schooling, Bruce 1999 "Reclaiming Story in Organization Narratologies and Action Sciences." Chapter to appear in Robert Westwood (Ed.) Language and Organization.

Note: This version includes historians classified by Hayden White's use of Pepper's typology.

Table 1: Pepper’s Typology of Systems



Analytical Theories

Synthetic Theories




1.        Root Metaphor: Similarity

2.        Explanation: order and function are real; disorder and dysfunction unreal or exceptions.

3.        Exemplars: Plato, Aristotle

3.        Categories:

  • Immanent Formism - Theories of ideal types and classifications 
  • Transcendent Formism - Blueprint growth models; ideal plans.

3.        Truth Theory: Correspondence - Mirror theory from metaphor to reality.


1.        Root Metaphor: Historic Event in the present.

2.        Explanation: Only horizontal theory; focus on change and novelty in the unfolding immediate event.

3.        Exemplars: Pragmatists like Peirce, James, Bergson, Dewey & Mead

4.        Categories:

  • Quality (spread, change, & fusion) 
  • Texture( strands, contexts, referents)

5. Truth Theory: Operationalism - verifiable hypotheses and working theories.




1.        Root Metaphor: Machine

2.        Explanation: Elements are parts in a mechanistic, spacio-temporal framework.

3.        Exemplars: Descartes, Galileo, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Berkeley & Reichonbach.

4.        Categories: 

  • Configuration of parts 
  • Lawfully ordered

1.        Truth Theory: Causal Adjustment - Abstract general terms and formulae.


1.        Root Metaphor: Integration

2.        Explanation: Historic events are steps in organic process toward ideal progress (thesis-antithesis-synthesis of Hegel). 

3.        Exemplars: Hegel, Schelling, Green, Bradley, Bosanquet & Royce.

4.        Categories: Fragments result in nexuses, leading to contradictions, and an organic whole

5.        Truth Theory: Coherence - each level of integration resolves contradictions of the levels below.

For a look at the Emery & Trist model of Causal Texture Environments and Systems theory http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/septet/rhythms.htm The causal texture of the Enron environment (in chronology and region) was a dynamic multiplicity of causal textures, with contextualizing processes and references; the strands formed combinations that were (a) linear, (b) convergent fusion, (c) blocked, or (d) instrumental strands (Pepper, 1943).



But, I would like to re-introduce a third view, one I will call the language school of systems theory. You see I studied systems theory with a grand master, a physicist turned organization scholar, named Louis Pondy. Lou wrote two pivotal papers, one is called, Leadership as a Language Game (1978) and the other “Beyond Open Systems Theory” (1979, with Mitroff) an important sequel to Kenneth Boulding’s (1956a, b) classic work.

Boulding elaborated the types or levels of system based on the complexity of their parts and the nature of the relations among the parts in system:

1. Frameworks: systems comprising static structures, such as the arrangements of atoms in a crystal or the anatomy of an animal

2. Clockworks: simple dynamic systems with predetermined motions, such as the clock and the solar system.

3. Cybernetic systems: systems capable of self-regulation in terms of some externally prescribed target or criterion, such as a thermostat.

4. Open systems: systems capable of self-maintenance based on a throughput of resources from its environment, such as a living cell.

5. Blueprinted-growth systems: systems that reproduce not by duplication but by the production of seeds or eggs containing preprogrammed instructions for development, such as the acorn-oak system or the egg-chicken system.

6. Internal-image systems: systems capable of a detailed awareness of the environment in which information is received and organized into an image or knowledge structure of the environment as a whole, a level at which animals function.

7. Symbol-processing systems: systems that possess self-consciousness and so are capable of using language. Humans function at this level.

8. Social systems: multi-cephalous systems comprising actors functioning at level 7 who share a common social order and culture. Social organizations operate at this level.

9. Transcendental systems: systems composed of the "absolutes and the inescapable unknowables" (source: Boulding, 1956: 200-207).

A Story, Once Upon A time

Once upon a time, I was a Ph.D. student, taking a course in Systems Theory taught by Louis R. Pondy at University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). It was about 1976, and Lou handed me a first draft of the “Bringing Mind Back In Paper.” We had been reading Magorah Maruyama’s work, and its citation in Weick’s Social Psychology of Organizing, the bit about deviation-amplifying and deviation-counter-acting loops in Venn diagrams. I had read up on more of Maruyama, and took up Lou’s challenge to make a contribution to the “Bringing Mind Back In” paper; I wrote a section on communicating with people from different languages, and what it took to reflect my paradigm into their language system. This was to become my first published paper in my Ph.D. training. I watched Lou with amazement as he took a scissors, tape, and twenty some pages I wrote about Maruyama, and cut up my paper into bits and pieces, most of which ended up on the editing room floor, but a few carefully re-sculpted pieces, several pages made it into the final paper. I was elated to watch a master wordsmith doing his craft.

In 2004, at a research methods conference in Lyon, I met Maruyama. I had suspected he was the same Maruyama that had inspired my first publication, but was not sure. Then, as he asked me a question about the Grotesque Method paper I was presenting, from the very back of the room, I knew it was him, and I responded to him by name. He said, “do you know me?” I replied, “I believe that I do know you.” 

On April 3rd, 2004 I received a letter from Magoroh Maruyama, and he asked me to comment on visual methods, and to get in touch with a visual philosopher named Michael Tye, Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, and probably the leading advocate of the "representational theory of consciousness." 

See http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/philosophy/faculty/tye/ for his books, a summary of the construct, and several on-line papers.  Maruyama (Apr. 3, 2004: 1) writes” Tye is just about the first philosopher who takes up visual communication: most of the philosophers are verbal thinkers, and Tye is the first philosopher who gives a paper on this topic.” A paper (Tye, 2003) on-line that seems most related to visual method and visual philosophy of representational consciousness is: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/philosophy/faculty/tye/Visual.pdf 


Maruyama asked me to write to Tye and give him some input for his April 23rd presentation to the American Philosophical Association conference in Chicago. In Tye’s abstract: “there is a richness to the representational content of visual experiences that precludes simple linguistic expression… Experiences are more like pictures than statements…”


Maruyama wants to make the point that there is heterogeneity of individual cognitive types and all persons are not capable of pictorial thinking (non-verbal representation).  In his letter to Tye (Apr. 3 2004) Maruyama writes, that even philosophers who have looked at “aesthetics tended to be verbal thinkers, who talk about art but do not practice art.” 


I sent Tye and Maruyama a paper I did Visual Methods (Boje, 2003). http://peaceaware.com/papers/Empire_Manet_Maximilian.htm  The paper is about Manet’s visual aesthetics, a series of paintings (and a lithograph) about the Execution of Maximilian.  I point out, Georges Bataille (1955) did a critical aesthetics study of Manet’s 4th oil version of The Execution of Maximilian. Bataille sees Manet, breaking ranks with the prevailing visual aesthetic that “merely filled its appointed parts in a system of rhetoric” (1955: 44).  I see in Manet, a different break with visual traditional aesthetics, than what Bataille poses. I see a break away from the aesthetics that privileges empire. In terms of the relationship between Visual Method and Grotesque Method, Manet does not romanticize the execution; he seems to deny the Emperor an epic visual portrayal, and instead privileges the peasants and the solders with visual clarity denied the Emperor. Immersing myself in the viewing and in this historical context of visual military painting narrative methods of painters, I see something interesting; something other critics have not noticed.  The painting is titled The Execution of Maximilian, yet, who is it that is being executed, at the moment of the firing? I think it is General Tomas Mejia, a pure Indian blood (like Benito Juárez), and (unlike Juárez) Maximilian’s most loyal general, who, if you follow the directing gaze of the rifles, is the central image of the painting (not Maximilian).



There has been some start up work so we do not have to discover the entire terrain:






PART IV: Our Challenge this semester in the Systems Theory Course


I would like us to go beyond all the above traditional, practice, and complexity theories of systems theory and do something I call a dialectical-based systems theory.



In 1807 Hegel wrote a dialectic model of system theory (see above figure) and in 1908, William James wrote a theory of systems that predates the Bertallanffy's (1949), Katz and Kahn (1966) open systems theories. Hegel describes dialectics within and between three kinds of systems.



A. Dialectics between a sensemaker reflection on the here-and-now experience, and past and future heres-and-nows.

B. Dialectics between a sensemaker reflection on directly experienced heres-and-nows and those that are indirectly communicated from others experiences of heres-and-nows.

C. Dialectics of retrospective sensemaking and the prospective sensemaking of individual sensemakers.



A. Dialectics of individual sensemaking to (sub) groups of sensemakers

B. Dialectics of Irritability of being-for-self and being-for-another

C. Dialectics of Irritability of reaction of organic Nature's eco-systems and Artificial systems



A. The introflective dialectic of narrow observing consciousness (being-for-self) versus the observing consciousness about the reproduction of a species (being-for-whole of life)

B. Dialectic of human reproduction of unsustainable habits of being-in-the-world versus the ways of the heart-of-caring for a plurality of species sharing one habitat and one world

C. Dialectic of living-for-this-generation versus living for the sustainaiblity of 7th generation.





One review of von Bertalanffy put the problem of ideology and systems this way: “Many 'systems' are constituted according to interests and motivations of people located in powerful positions related to privileged situations.” In short, many systems are not organic, natural, or living, they are ideological. The author goes on to summarize the implications:

“The General Systems Theory conceived originally by Bertalanffy need to be developed from now onward through a systematic confrontation with the numerous problems that composed the most serious crisis ever faced by humankind. Systems scientists must engage responsible in discovering the laws intrinsic to the dynamical features of” (source):

1.      Those problems that nowadays are increasing the deterioration of the human society: unfair trade, poverty, hungry, intolerance, violence, corruption,...

2.      Those policies that need to be conceived and designed for reducing the gap between rich and poor people and countries, for solving gradually shortcomings in education and health care, for negotiation among conflicting entities, for embedding ecological questions into economic intentions and also vice versa for embedding economic questioning into ecological intentions...

3.      Those programs needed for recognizing humans as creative and responsible wholes, who need to develop their physical, biological and psychological capabilities for learning how to perform actively in every community in order to contribute consciously to increase the survival chances of the human species on this unique planet.



The ontology of 'general' systems has not keep up with system complexity, and is distant from an ontological inquiry that is our objective this term.

I found out that History of Concept of Time was from a 1925 lecture series Heidegger gave on the first draft of Being and Time.  So it is interesting to contrast the two books.

One of the D's I did not get into yet, is "death" itself.  "Being is not transported directly to the 'I am'" since only in dying can this occur (Heidegger, 1991: 319).

"Forerunning toward death: authentically as 'being-ahead-of-itself" is what can be understood as the primordial temporality of its being (ibid, p. 319).

Table 1: The 7 D's of in-Being and the 3 D'sof Falling away from it

Directionality Distorted
Dwelling Disquised
Desevering Distorted

There is a relation between authentic (prmordial) time concept and the everyday (clock time) world-time.

What is the concept of time?

"Time is not something which is found outside somewhere as a framework of world events. Time is even less something which whirs away in consciousness. It is rather that which makes possible the being-ahead-of-itself-in-already-involveding, that is, which makes possible the being of care" (Heidegger, 1991, pp. 319-320).

The concept of everyday time, (or clock time) is a particular kind of temporality.  The movement of three schools of dolphin I encountered at the beach this morning, is a movement in spatio-temporality that does not flow in world-time, as 'in' a channel. They are moving "time-free" (ibid, p. 320). Time-free is in italics in original.  Everyday time is a distortion, a deception, a covering over, a falling away from in-Being.

"They are encountered 'in' the time which we ourselves are' (p. 320, and is the last line of the book)..

So it seems one could write about the worldhood of primordial time.

We can gain some insight into dialectics of socio-economic interviewing by looking at Roy Bhaskar's (1993, 2008) work.

I am devouring Bhaskar's (1993, 2008) books, on critical realism, and his the approach takes off from Hegel dialectics, in a dialectical critical realism (DCR) approach. DCR is different from Barad's (2008) agential realism (AR), in several ways that may be useful to the AMR article and to the chapters you are writing.


DCR separates (disambiguates) epistemology and ontology, whereas AR ambiguates them which has two mistakes that Bhaskar would have pointed out, but his life ended too soon.

First, is epistemological reductionism of ontology to epistemological ways of knowing in AR.

Second, is the ways ontology ends up in AR being a mono-valance (quantum particle/wave duality rules all strata), whereas in DCR the relations and connections are intra-active (among polyvalent pluralized multiplicity), as in Barad  Bhaskar has a concept of 'intra-activity' (in Barad its materiality with discourse), but in DCR the relations are sets of dialectics (and intra-activity is between 7 levels of reality and 7 scales that constitute complexity and emergence and multiple-causality in open systems phenomenon), which for me can be compatible with triadic dialectic sets I read in Hegel, as well as C.S. Peirce's version of Hegel triadics, and in our friend form CBS Soren Brier's work. 

Bhaskar (2008: 9, 17) starts with four plenary social being assumptions:
plane 1 - there are material transactions with nature, such as technology of car that has ecological implications in climate change of nature
plane 2 - there are social interactions between human beings, who are agents
plane 3 - there is social structure proper, such as forming foreign polity about oil
plane 4 - there are stratifications of embodied personality of agents (some are quite egotistical), such as being-for-self (Hegel) in use of technology that leads to climate change.

Bhaskar (2008:12) asks this question relevant to our storytelling (narrative-antenarrative-living story) work:
"In what way is the distinctive contribution of the different levels to be brought out and communicated in a coherent narrative?"


The 7 levels of Reality of open laminated systems, each with their mechanisms, processes, fields:

1. Physical level mechanisms
2. Biological mechanisms 
3. Psychological mechanisms
4. Psycho-social mechanisms
5. Socio-economic mechanisms
6. Cultural mechanisms
7. Normative mechanisms

While there are a few closed systems, the world is made up mostly of open systems.

The 7 scales of 'open systems' (which I think relate to fractal work, Boje 2015; Henderson & Boje, 2015) are synchronic in their emergence, with diachronic causality in space-time:
1. Sub-individual psychological level
2. Individual, biological level
3. Micro-level (e.g. ethnomethodology)
4. Meso-level (functional roles of capitalist and worker)
5. Macro-level of whole regions or whole societies 
6. Mega-level of whole traditions of civilizations
7. Planetary level of whole cosmos


Major quesitons for Mgmt 655: What is this system?  What is this system used for? How is this system in-Being into the environing world?

The pseudo-understanding of system dominates organization studies, and has, since the inception of von Bertalanffy's 'open systems, general systems theory.'  In Boje (2008a) I work out a critique of open systems theory, and the attempts I encountered with my mentor, Lou Pondy (& later with Mitroff, 1978) to go beyond it, using Boulding's nine levels, of which open system is about number four, and the ninth, is transcendental.  And here we have Heidegger (1962, 1991, 1999) developing the transcendental (but doing it differently than Kant).   

Heidegger (1962, 1991) distinguishes between authentic and unauthentic-understanding. And this gives us guides for an inquiry into inauthentic systems, that slips into distortion and deception.  Since storytelling is an historical discipline, it is a way to inquire ontologically into the system in its environing worldhood, in a particular temporality, the primordial.

For your IT colleague who favors the quantitative, I would use the following:

"But it must always be kept in mind that understanding can never be gained by amassing a large quantity of information and proofs. On the contrary, all knowing, cognitive proving, and the producing of arguments, sources, and the like always already presuppose understanding: (Heidegger, 1991: 259-260).

My class is focusing on sustainability systems at NMSU. 

Sustainability is always the disclosedness of concern along with caring, for the worldhood, in-Being, there, with disclosedness, disposition, directionality, desevering, and deployment.  Storytelling is a domain of discourse. It is interesting that both Heidegger and Walter Benjamin (1936) focus on 'death' in relation to storytelling.  And not the "mythical" with "superficial concepts of death" (p. 314), but the immanent ahead-of-itself, the "forerunning toward death" (p. 319) where authenticity is "coming to be being" (319, italics in original).

The antenarrative 'bet' runs forward to the possibility of death, as the end-state.  The forerunning is a before-antenarrative in its socio-temporality.  And the 'antecedent' and 'anteriority' antenarratives are primordial  temporalities, ontological in coming to be being.


What is the Next Move, the Cutting Edge of SYSTEMS THEORY?

ANSWER - FRACTAL Systemicity http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/690/What_is_Fractal_Storytelling.htm



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[i] Babson U http://faculty.babson.edu/krollag/org_site/encyclop/open_system.html

[ii] Hong et al http://www.ed.psu.edu/insys/ESD/systems/theory/SYSTHEO2.htm

[iii] http://www.visual-chaos.org/complexity/branches/gst.html