Philosophy & organisation LO2891

Michael McMaster (
Wed, 20 Sep 1995 09:58:29 +0000

Having just returned from various visits around the USA - including a
visit to John Warfield and other GMU people - exploring the use of
computers and communications in learning, I've seen some possibilities to
leadership in organisation that open my eyes.

In a recent posting, John Warfield responds to my suggestion that the
job of leaders of organisations is to teach philosophy. He warns
that they should choose the right ones. The philosophy that I'm
suggesting they teach however, is not directly that of any academic

What I'm suggesting is that the level of thinking of philsophy is the
proper domain for executives and that the particular philosophy be of
business, people, organisation and the relationship of those to the
larger world we live in. It's a pragmatic philosophy which is based
in those earlier philsophies that John refers.

This job of providing philosophical thinking will likely go better if
it has some explicit base but that is not always necessary. I am
recommending an "applied philosophy" approach rather than a
theoretical one. (Some of us would supplement the applied with the
availability of the theoretical for those so inclined.)

What this has to do with my recent "technology explorations" is that
Lotus Notes and Folio Views hypertext makes possible a new way of
working with text that makes deep thinking and interaction available
in a corporate setting in ways that can facilitate the living,
growing, developing participation in ideas that were not easy to
accomplish before.

The creation of a "source document" or "founding text" and the
continued engagement with that text in iterative and recursive
relationship to the activities of work can provide a source of
alignment that is far greater than any vision statement or list of
company values.

My recent posting about the South American company based on a book
was pointing at this phenomenon. My recent travels and exploration
have revealed that there are contemporary tools that make this a far
more likely and far more participative possibility.

Michael McMaster