Re: Shared Authority LO2071

Michael McMaster (
Wed, 12 Jul 1995 09:36:14 +0000

Replying to LO2039 --

There are a couple of features of shared authority that conflict with
our inherited socially constructed reality - so it will be
uncomfortable and generally avoided.

One is the individualist culture which has atomised a community,
organisation or team into individual parts (reductionism). This has
led to a view that only individuals can be accountable, only
individuals can be responsible (a clear distinction being slid in
here), only individuals can be creative, only individuals are
committed, only individuals can be held to account, etc, etc, etc.

We have little understanding, experience or practices that support
shared accountability and a metanarrative that says it cannot be -
and that it cannot even be proposed seriously in a management

So, to do it, you'd have to develop your own language, practices,
structures and understanding - a great challenge but one not
frequently undertaken.

The other is that, particularly in business, we havae not developed
decent communication - particularly listening - capacities so that we
are inept at the kind of speech acts that would be required. Most
managers, despite that their job is communication, aren't aware of
distinctions of speech acts. That would be OK if they had learned
them implicitly - but most haven't.

So you'd have to struggle with the expressives and speculations as
well as the declaratives and assertions - and, worse, the whole chaos
of ambiguity and uncertainty. Oh god, forget it!

Reading suggested; Speech Acts by Searle, Grammatical Man by
Campbell and either Socially Constructed Reality by Berg and Luckman
(not correct but I'm on a plane) or Reality Ain't What it Used to Be
by (????)

Michael McMaster