the blog Synergy

Monday, October 10, 2005

A structural reasoning

I´ve been writing in some different places about the importance of thinking in a structural way.

What do I mean by structural?

Structural means contextual, and it is a way of reasoning opposed to cognitive knowledge. Cognitive knowledge is the last attempt to develop Descartes´ambition of knowledge. Structural reasoning looks for connections of the facts with their surrounding conditions. It is a field thinking.

As Michel Foucault wrote in one of his books,

"Etnology -as structural knowledge- questions not about man in itself, but about the region that makes possible in general a knowledge on man"

The litterature around business issues is full of analytic conclusions taken from a purely observer perspective, but structural approaches are almost absolutely lacking.

I´d like to offer two simple examples of why structural points of view are richer and help to understand facts and take decisions.

The first is about what can be called the narcissistic soul. I consider narcissism as a state of the soul, but a state that has a structural stability. When you deal with a narcissistic soul you realize how it is influenced by the structure itself. What we could call will, freedom or originality is shaped in such way that some of the acts of the narcissistic person can be easily anticipated.

It is the structure that is playing an important role in the behaviour of the person.

The other example is taken from Formula 1. I´ve just read an interview to Pedro de la Rosa, test driver at Mc Laren Mercedes. He has completed a brilliant season and has outperformed his team mates in several occasions. Still he doesn´t have the opportunity to show out his driving conditions. Not in his current team and as it seems, not in any other.

Pedro´s situation is structurally conditioned. And he cannot become a free agent in this business.

The usual litterature on leadership focuses on the individual differences and shadows the structural points. This is why I wanted to write about an alternative way of considering things.

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