Re: STIA- About Interventions?? LO3008

Michael McMaster (
Sat, 30 Sep 1995 18:29:37 +0000

Replying to LO2981 --

I find it useful for my own working to distinguish between
"intervention" and "developmental". These are working distinctions
which inform approach and *come from* or context and apply to any
consulting, education or management action designed to alter an
existing system.

I use intervention to refer to a "disturbance from the outside"
designed to produce a state change. The implication is that it is
"done to" the system - or the people in it - and is more or less

I use developmental to refer to "an offering which is intended to be
worked with until integrated, until it belongs to the system, until
the system has altered itself in some way" which is designed to
become a part of a developing future. This latter also implies that
the offering may not be accepted.

To be effective, a developmental approach tends to be *in some way*
from the inside of the system even if it is just that the person
making the offering is, for a time, included in the system. A recent
paper by Ram Ramankrishna of Tata Consultancy suggests that all
successful system change is of this kind where the consultant becomes
part of the linguistic community of the system at least for the
period of development.

The point is to create the linguistics tools (distinctions) that
support the particular kind of interaction intended rather than to
get lost in a "semantic circle" or to treat language as a rather
vague set of referents.

Michael McMaster