Self-sealing Thought LO1355

Michael McMaster (
Tue, 23 May 1995 07:59:49 +0000

Replying to LO1344 -- re: Self-managed Teams

[...subject line changed by your host to "Self Sealing Thought"..]

What is this conversation doing in "self managed teams"? At any
rate, I have not arguments with any of what John says in his
"aggressive" communication (going by his closing line rather than the
spirit in which it was received).

SFI may indeed be judged "self-sealing". However, the judgement of
self-sealing is always from an individual's point of view. I do not
find it so personally. I do know it to be so from the experience of
some others. That fits about any organisation (or team or family or
group or community) that I know of. The term is relative and a
judgement based on individual experience. An accusation which is, I
think, more accurate is that SFI tends to give itself more credit
than is due. (Also not very unique.) Worse, they have a press -
books, fans, etc - which create a mystique for it as the sole source
and creator of thinking on complex adaptive systems and this press is
wrong and will be to their detriment.

I speak as a member of the SFI Business Network who receives value in
my participation and _not_ as a spokesman for SFI. My association
has been a happy one and not limited - so far - my participation with
the rest of the broader intellectual community which interests me.

I think the dangers of "self-sealing" are to the institution itself.
IBM sufferred for its "self-sealing". I wouldn't bother too much.

I think John's statement here is useful. We are often confused about
these areas and competence in one doesn't necessarily go with the
other - in any direction.

> THE CONTEXT-CONTENT-PROCESS triad. One of the most common mistakes in
> working with groups in organizations, often carried out by social
> scientistw who ought to know better is to assume one or both of the
> following:

There appears to be some validity in the application of this to SFI
although John has not made clear the specific he is suggesting.
However, the context of the SFI work _is_ open to question. The
question may be answered - we shall see - by saying that they are
working from a different approach and that context is created and
understood in a different way when approached from emergence.

However, the key point for my work with SFI and with any other source
material is that I provide the context and I also provide the process
for transforming research or concepts into pragmatics. I am,
therefor, fully responsible for my work and for what I say about any
other person/institutions work. And leads me to a question for John,
"What specifically are you reacting to?" Is there something in the
content of what I offered from me reading of SFI work that you are
rejecting - in which case I'd love to know it. Or are you reacting
to some case against SFI - in which case, I need not hear more.

Michael McMaster