This is to give you advance notice that next year’s Complexity and Management Conference will be 5th-7th June 2020, at Roffey Park, speaker and topic to be decided.
Here are the outline arrangements for next year’s CMC, which is held to mark the retirement of Ralph Stacey after more than 30 years at Hertfordshire Business School.
The conference begins as usual on Friday 8th June evening at 7pm and finishes after lunch on Sunday 10th. The conference fee covers all board and lodging, and the theme this year is:
Taking complexity seriously – why does it matter?
A more detailed agenda for the conference will follow, but in outline:
- Ralph Stacey will give the primary key note on Saturday morning 9th.
- For the afternoon keynote slot there will be a variety of break-out sessions suggested by conference delegates and informed by the theme of the conference.
- Chris Mowles will respond to themes which arise during the conference on Sunday morning .
On Friday 8th, there will be a one day introduction to complexity and management for those who have not yet come across the ideas similar to the one we ran this year.
The one day workshop will be run by Ralph Stacey, and Chris Mowles. You can see a list of their publications on this blog.
The one day workshop on the 8th June will require participants to bring examples of some of the dilemmas they are facing at work. The workshop will start at 9.30am and will cover the following.
Session 1 Some key insights from the complexity sciences for thinking about managing organizations. Ralph Stacey
Session 2 Participants discuss these ideas in relation to their practical experience at work. Plenary.
Session 3 Some key theories from the social sciences: power, process and communication. Chris Mowles
Q and A.
Session 4 Experiencing uncertainty live: reflective group to consider the dynamics of this particular group in relation to the theories which have been explored during the day.
A booking site for both events will be uploaded onto the University of Hertfordshire website in early January 2018.
Accommodation for the one day workshop is not included in the fee, but separate arrangements can be made with Roffey Park by those delegates who will need to arrive the night before.
This year’s Complexity and Management conference invited delegates to think about groups. In my response to the three previous speakers, Martin Weegmann, Nick Sarra and Karina Solsø Iversen I asked delegates to consider the importance of groups against a backdrop of an increasingly individualised age, where identification with groups, whether they be communities, trades unions, social movements or other vehicles of collective identification seem increasingly difficult to maintain. This is a phenomenon remarked upon by a wide variety of sociologists in different countries, for example by Robert Putnam in the United States in his book Bowling Alone, and to which I drew attention in last year’s conference summing up here. Last year I talked about the way in which we are invited to become ‘entrepreneurial selves’, a trend which Foucault was one of the first to identify as an inevitable consequence of the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism.
Although this is a very powerful way of thinking, this isn’t experienced everywhere the same as I think the two contrasting pictures of train carriages show, no matter how strong a global trend it is.
But the phenomenon which Elias in particular described, where we are invited to think of ourselves as closed off from one another is widespread and amplified by modern technology and social media. Our devices are helpful for communication but may also amplify the tendency towards a sense that we are monads: technology can increase individualising and alienating social tendencies which are already emerging, as Sherry Turkle documents in her book Alone Together. It is in this context that groups and groupwork become so important. Continue reading
Only one week to go before the close of the early bird rate for this year’s Complexity and Management Conference on organisational culture.
Key note speaker: Prof Ralph Stacey
Good conversation, good food, great venue.
This is just a reminder about the Complexity and Management Conference (June 6-8th, Roffey Park, UK) with the title:
Can leaders change organisational culture?:
alternatives from a complexity perspective.
Prof Ralph Stacey is the key note speaker.
We will be setting up a payment page on the university website in early February. As usual there will be discounts for early bird bookers. Fees for the conference will include all meals and board, and the conference is residential.
Can leaders change organisational culture?: alternatives from a complexity perspective.
Whenever there is an organisational crisis, conventionally we come to explain what is unfolding in terms of failing leadership and/or inadequate organisational culture. This is a way of speaking about culture as a thing a discrete organisation ‘has’. It is assumed that culture exists within organizational boundaries and is a thing identifiable, manipulable and improvable by leaders and senior managers, sometimes even by politicians; it can be commanded, shaped and optimised, often at a distance. There are all manner of diagnostic tools and techniques available in management and organisational literature for analysing a deficient organizational culture which can then be remedied by taking a number of steps towards prereflected ends. There may even be metrics for measuring whether the culture change has successfully taken place in the transition between the current imperfect reality, and the often idealized prediction of what it ‘should’ be. During culture change initiatives there is often a grand appeal to values and the symbolic imagination.
This year’s Complexity and Management Conference will complement last year’s treatment of leadership by enquiring into the theme of organisational culture. We will discuss the extent to which the concept, in migrating from the discipline of anthropology, has been instrumentalised and trivialised. To what degree does the attempt to rationalise social life bring about organisational irrationality: the exact opposite of what is intended? If another way of thinking about culture is as the habitus, to what extent can this be manipulated and improved by anybody?
The keynote speaker in June next year will be Professor Ralph Stacey. Ralph is well known to many regular attendees at the CMC, but for those unfamiliar with his background he has worked in the construction industry, as an investment strategist in the finance industry, as a management consultant, a group therapist in the NHS and for the last 25 years as an academic. He has published many books and papers including Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics: the challenge of complexity to ways of thinking about organisations and The Tools and Techniques of Leadership and Management: Meeting the challenge of complexity. Ralph will explore culture from the perspective of complex responsive processes of relating between people who enact and re-enact culture in the present, interpreting the past and in anticipation of the future.
Next year’s conference will be informal and highly participative, as in previous years. More details will follow in the New Year: the conference fee, when we agree it, will include all accommodation and food. It will be held at Roffey Park Institute in the UK: http://www.roffeypark.com .