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Systems Thinking for Harassed Managers


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Table of Contents

Editors' Foreword -- Foreword -- Foreword -- Introduction -- Going round in circles -- What's the problem? -- Asking the right questions -- Constructing hypotheses -- Finding a new course -- Theoretical postscript -- How we introduce course participants to systems practice


'McCaughan and Palmer have been running development seminars for managers in the public and voluntary sectors since the early 1980s. They became interested in the processes which shape organizational life through their experience of the group relations conferences organized by the Grubb and Tavistock Institutes. They subsequently became curious about the new systems thinking, and have over the years developed practices which prove to have leverage on the problems of the harassed managers of their title. They have now committed to print the results of these years of experience of working with managers.'This book is one of the few to realize that we are all chasing our tails, all rotating endlessly. The consultant no less than the client is in the same vortex. We can come to grasp the power of the vortex but cannot gainsay its power over us. As Gregory Bateson points out, the first step in the cure of alcoholism by Alcoholics Anonymous is to acknowledge a power greater than yourself.'- From the Foreword by Charles Hampden-Turner, The Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge'Perhaps the best thing about this book is that it shows how managers can work together, to help one another to work out their problems and develop their skills. In a world where a myriad of books offer us instant solutions from the "guru of the month", it is refreshing to read about and experience managers working together on real problems and helping each other move forward. If it does nothing else, this book will help you to realize that within a chaotic and ever-changing human services world, it is possible to be in control and to manage your world, rather than allowing it to manage you.'- From the Foreword by Ian Sparks, Director, The Children's Society

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