Chapter Abstracts, Practices of Dynamic Collaboration, Springer 2020, by De Visch & Laske

In this new publication, the authors extend their thinking about the adult-developmental foundations of organizational work beyond their 2018 book on collaboration, by putting their focus on 5 specific organizational practices that together constitute the mainstay of organizational work. They directly address managers’ thinking at three successively higher levels, providing them with a large number of recommendations and practical exercises for upgrading the functioning of their teams.

Starting from a critique of conventional management thinking as an outflow of strenuously ‘logical’ Taylorism, they unfold implications of adult cognitive development over the life span for how individuals and teams collaborate in real time. They see this “how” as a function of the quality of dialogue between individuals and in teams, in three distinctly different dialogue spaces or “We-Spaces”: (1) continuous improvement (the work level 90% of contributors are placed on), (2) re-thinking value streams, and (2) business model transformation. The book closes with an outline of a humane organization as one that makes room for the unfolding of individual flourishing out of strategic necessity, suggesting six humanistic principles to follow when embedding algorithmic intelligence in human capability and work delivery.

Based on Laske’s team typology (2005), the book provides a unique, adult-developmental phenomenology of “how teams think”. It describes how critical facilitators can effectively intervene in teams when mastering DTF, the Dialectical Thought Form Framework (Laske 2008; Measuring Hidden Dimensions, volume 2; ). The book is highly critical of neo-tayloristic ‘business software’ which they view as generating an “engineered determinism” flowing from purely logical thinking, pointing out how counter-productive it is destined to be especially in higher-level We-Spaces.

Short summary: In terms of the ‘Three Houses’ metaphor used in volume 2 of ‘Measuring Hidden Dimensions’ (2008), the book demonstrates that, and how, requisite adult development in the Self House (referred to as ‘ontic’) clashes with, and eventually outstrips, externally imposed, ‘agentic’, development in the Organizational House, with the Task House as the battle ground between them. The book is a full instantiation of CDF, the Constructive Developmental Framework, written a decade ago. It is indebted above all to Elliott Jaques and Roy Bhaskar, the first as a thinker about human capability, the second as a thinker about ‘how the real world works’ in contrast to ‘how humans think’.

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