PTSD, Horses, and Antenarrative – blog entry by David M. Boje, Ph.D. Aug 18 2015

PTSD, Horses, and Antenarrative

I believe my life after Vietnam Army service (1969-1970) would have changed for the better more quickly if horse-assisted care was available in 1970. For 45 years I have tried to understand my own PTSD that began even Before Vietnam (1969-1970).  Now with the horses, these past 20 years, I find that I am coming to understand the meaning of PTSD, how I once escaped into alcohol, still escape into TV movies, and my incessant workaholism. I once went to a counselor, for a single session, and took the notorious Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the most widely used and researched standardized psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology.  I called the counselor, and he told me, “I can treat you, but it will mean your work ethic will suffer, and you won’t be productive as a professor for quite a long time, if ever!”  That scared me, so I did not go back to have my PTSD fixed, and toughed it out, like most Vietnam veterans do.

With horses, I came to discover, horse help because while they look fearsome, they are more fearful of everything than I am. I have ridden horses that take flight at the sight or sound of a garbage truck, and one horse, at the sight of a butterfly. I stopped riding that mare. My horse Lucky Boy cares less about garbage trucks, but is quite anxious to return from a ride to his alfalfa.


Boje on Lucky Boy

PTSD, for me, is not a survey of characteristics, not a scale in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but rather, the meaning and meaninglessness of Being-in-the-world in which PTSD operates in spacetimemattering. PTSD is how I am attuned, moodwise to spatiality, not in the measure by yardstick, but in the sense of how close fear comes, from where it come, and how it can pass me by one time and strike out like a rattlesnake another time. Even before the Vietnam war mortars, the incessant tracer rounds at night, the ground glass in a casually offered bottle of Coca Cola, watching the helicopters land bodies on the runway in Saigon, there was PTSD close by my life.

PTSD operates in the antenarrative fore-structure between ground and the abyss. In Antenarrative theory, there are five B-concepts, each associated with one of the ‘fore’ concepts of (Heidegger, 1962: 151-152).

This is a depiction of the 5 B's of Antenarrative assignment process, with Heidegger (1962) fore- concepts.

This is a depiction of the 5 B’s of Antenarrative assignment process, with Heidegger (1962) fore- concepts.

Lets talk about fear. Fear has its deterimentality, spatially, in kinds of involvement, in a context of life involvements. Spatially, fear’s detrimentality is from a definite region, and it “threatens” me (Heidegger, 1962: #140).  When I startle when my very gentle wife approaches from behind, all of a sudden fear is “within striking distance” “coming close” and “drawing close” its “threatening character” can come constantly closer or just pass me by ((Heidegger, 1962: #140-141). 45 years and I still jump at the sound of something coming up behind me, and is threatening to strike.  As PTSD draws close, I become aggravated, and if PTSD is fearsome, then so am I, in the “patent possibility that it may stay away and pass us by’ but instead of lessing or extinguishing our fearing, then enhances it” (Heidegger, 1962: #141).

In fearing PTSD, many veterans just don’t go to counseling or even talk about it. PTSD is freed up and “allowed to matter to us” in that way (IBID.).  PTSD continues to matter in our lives when keep drawing it close, and what we draw close in antenarrative terms is beforehand in its fearsomeness ((Heidegger, 1962: #141).

What horse-assisted care works for veterans and families post-deployment

It works because the horse, this 1,000 pound animal, is afraid of its own shadow, will go into flight at the sound of a backfire, or the flutter of a butterfly.  For the first 18 years of my riding a horse, fear was my state-of-mind. I did not trust the horses I rode not to take flight. But in the last two years, I have come to trust Lucky Boy, that even if startled, he will care for me, not buck me off, and take off. PTSD is already disclosed in a veterans’ world “in that out of it something fearsome may come close” (IBID.).

PTSD, for me, is an “existential spatiality of Being-in-the-world” (IBID.). PTSD is antenarrative, it is attunement, a mood, that overcomes me and is close but, ‘there’ and ‘here.’

Before Vietnam

I had been on welfare, in poverty, eating pop corn for breakfast, since age 14, until done with high school. In junior high school in Spokane, Washington, the bullies were everywhere, ready to attack me for long hear in a world of crewcuts-the-norm. A skinny lad, I was often pushed into lockers, half drowned when there was pool time in Shaddle Park High School. Finally, I had enough, and started to fist fight at every provocation. I lost these fits, but bullies cannot stand it when you act all crazy and just wail away, knowing you will lose the fight, but never backing down.

I watched through junior high and high school, as my bothers turned to heroine and cocaine, my sister grew into alcoholism, and this pattern continued to the end of younger brother steve’s life, and my younger brother and my younger sister, last I heard, still homeless.

then came the first marriage, my own children, the continuing bouts of PTSD, the break up, the reunite, the second breakup, the divorce, bankruptcy, starting over, and finally I stopped drinking, and smoking. And that is another story for another time.

Finally, I discovered horses, or they discovered me.  PTSD was brought close in my life in the poverty of welfare, the single mother, abandoned by her husband, with four kids, two in diapers, me the oldest, being pushed about in school by students, teachers, and principals. I remember where I was when John Kennedy dies, being flogged in the principal’s office, with a board with holes in it, for extra pain, because, I acted the clown in English class. Many how times have changed.

My “timidity, shyness” in school, actually never talking, never answering a question, just pretending not to know, part of the “dread” and “terror” of schooled children on welfare, children startled by the clap of the mother, the fist of the bully, the paddle of the principle(Heidegger, 1962: #142). I hated school, all of it, until I got to college, to university, and began to teach.

To me, horse-assisted work with veterans is the “modification of fear” the possibility of a mood that understands the mood of PTSD (IBID.). Understanding that PTSD is a mood (attunement to Being-in-the-world of dread and terror). I understand PTSD, its “existential derivative” and “its ‘there'” in antenarrative constitution (Heidegger, 1962: #143). It is the the derivative of calculus I would pretend not to know in high schoo, when the Algebra teacher called on me, but rather it is the ontological understanding the disclosive potentiality-for-Being that I was thrown into welfare, thrown into a den of bullies, and thrown into war, as my life had “gone astray_ (#144-145). For 45 years since Vietnam, I have beens search for the path to my Authentic Self, and my “egocentric” self-decpetions (Heidegger, 1962: # 147) kept getting in the way.

Lucky Boy has disclosed by by his horse eyes but by a sight that sees my existential significance lets my PTSD be understood, on the ground, in understanding the potentiality-for-Being authentic Self.

Lucky Boy gets me, is grounded in “advance in a fore-conceptionI” (Heidegger, 1962: #150) of what it means to be fearless and fearsome, and in fore-having, fore-sight, all part of the fore-structure of his understanding, she conveys to me, as I learn to trust Being-in-the-world.

So this is why we want to do those Veterans Theater plays, to raise money for a ranch, where there are cabins, lots of horses and many other animals, and veterans and family can come to decompress. We call it Legacy Ranch, a project of the ANTENARRATIVE FOUNDATION. or go to make a donation here and now. Thank you for your support!



Antenarrative becomes accessible by its attributes: fragmented, non-linear, collective incoherence that is pre-narrative, beneath the entities dominant narrative and living stories, the between these entities, speculative bets on the future, the becoming of fore-care.  In short, antenarrative is constitutive of the totality of storytelling, including its entities, narrative and living story.

These attributes (fragmented, collective, nonlinear, incoherence, pre-narrative, speculative bet…) are defining characteristics of antenarrative, the entity we are talking about.  Antenarrative must already ‘Be’ before any other ways of storytelling substantiality (especially narrative and living story) that makes up ‘storytelling’ existence.  But these entities (narrative-antenarrative-living stories) do not make up the ‘real’ Being of storytelling, but rather the velocity and volatility of antenarrative  which makes narrative-petrification and living story web entities constitute-able. The quantum velocity of antenarrative makes petrified-narrative impossible, and structural networks of living story webs impossible, the volatility forfeits corporeal Being (Heidegger, 1962: #91).

Our ontological question is ‘what makes up the Being of storytelling entities?‘  For storytelling to change its path, its shape, and mattering, the antenarratives must sustain all the changes, constitute the substantiality of both narrative and living story. The antenarrative is constituting the substantiality of storytelling which has ontological aspects of Being that needs no other entity for antenarrative to be. The Being of antenarrative mattering, its substantiality is characterized by not needing anything at all in the authentic sense of being constitutive of the mattering of narrative and living story (Heidegger, 1962: #92).  In other words in antenarrative theory, it is antenarrative threads of intentionality that produce and sustain the changeability of narrative and living story, and is constitutive of the horizon of the storytelling worldhood and its sustentation (the act of sustaining the life of storytelling Being-in-the-world).

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What is Triadic Dialectic for Management and Organization Inquiry

Preface (continued)

Management and Organization Inquiry (MOI) claims to be science, but the sort of science accomplished is what Hegel (1807: # 49) calls “slipshod style of conversational discussion” with several citations at end of each sentence of an article, a pomposity of science, accompanied by its non-method.

I would like to propose MOI go back and start its science again, using the “triadic form” (hegel, 1807: # 50) of dialectics that can replace the lifeless MOI science, its tables of examples of statistics or transcript examples, in lifeless formalism, and schema of cause and effect, subject and object that is uncritical and monotonous.

Many novices of Hegel, have failed to notice that the word ‘synthesis’ is used only three times in the Phenomenology of Spirit, and all three are in the foreword, and not at all in Hegel’s own text. And the three instances written by the translator.

The first instance is a critique of Enlightenment of

  • “The alienated spirituality of the Enlightenment is not, however, able to achieve a true synthesis of abstractly universalistic insight and pious unsophistication: its most positive achievement in this direction is the thin notion of Nützlichkeit, Utility (§579 (pp. 410–11)).”

The second one:

  • “Spiritual sansculottism can have no programme but the downing and doing-away of everything and everyone: it can generate no principle of self-differentiation, it can throw up no genuine or permanent leadership. It is a government by junta, by cabal and intrigue, and can achieve only the universal suppression and liquidation of individuality. It would have been interesting if, instead of this dialectical criticism of the relatively innocuous and transient synthesis of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, dismembered almost as soon as formed, we had had Hegel’s criticisms of the far more adhesive pitch-like abstractions of the Communist Manifesto, in which the feet of humanity would seem as if for ever entangled.
    The third of Hegel’s studies of Spirituality is entitled Spirit Sure of Itself or Morality (§§596–671 (pp. 424–72)). Here we have a study of dutiful subjectivity, by which Hegel understands neither the personal cult of Virtue, a superseded form of egoistic Reasonableness, nor the blind obedience to the daylight or underground laws of the substantial ethical community, but rather a set of practically oriented attitudes representing the individual’s own deep reflection on conduct, balanced by a deep respect for the parallel reflections of others[…]”


And the third instance, is a refutation of Kant’s triadic form, which is Hegel’s purpose in the book:

  • “For absolute knowledge is simply the realization that all forms of objectivity are identical with those essential to the thinking subject, so that in construing the world conceptually it is seeing everything in the form of self, the self being simply the ever-active principle of conceptual universality, of categorial synthesis. In its conceptual grasp of objects it necessarily grasps what it itself is, and in grasping itself it necessarily grasps every phase of objectivity. These are the claims obscurely stated in Kant’s transcendental deduction, but there given a one-sidedly subjective slant which is here for ever done away with. (See §§798–800 (pp. 556–7).)”

Since Hegel (1807) does not use the word ‘synthesis’ and is careful to not use it, I assert that the model thesis-antithesis-synthesis is what Hegel is attempting to surpass and overturn, since categorical synthesis is Kantian, not Hegelian.

And yet, how many students of Hegel, commentators on their sabbatical, have reduced the triadic dialectic to such an absurd summary model.

Indeed, Hegel (1807: # 50 & 51) takes the triadic about life,  not some lifeless formalism, or summary schemata.  Hegel begins with sense-certainty, that “here-sense-knowledge” as the predicate form of dialectic to “superficial analogy” of the formula of so-called “construction” that any dullard student of MOI can be taught in 15 minutes or less, to recite and regurgitate on a quiz. The lifeless constructions of MOI mask the alienation and suffering of life in organizations, their violence is the “knack of this kind of wisdom”, that is the most monotonous formalism, the style of lifeless distinctions, that have not changed one iota in 30 years of meetings attended at Academy of Management. As a test, compare the programs of AOM 1977 with AOM 1987 and AOM 1997 and AOM 2007,  and AOM 2016, and you will see no change in the core of what is supposed to be knew, is only recycled.

The first negation of triadic dialectic is how sense-certainty (now we call it sensemaking) transposes existence and substance into the elements of the Self, by the passive spectator, the indifference toward existence, the retrospective obsession with the past experience, that is rendered into figurative representation, and the familiar that is taken for granted (Hegel, 1807: # 30).

This first negation, contrasts this here and now, with other heres and nows, and does not notice as important the forgotten heres and nows, and most important misses the movement of triadic dialectic as it brings into motion the matterings beyond the first negation.

For MOI to break out of the retrospective sensemaking dialectic and move along to other dialectics in other moments of the triadic, would mean moving out of the dictates of emplotment, to recognize the hermeneutic circle (spiral) of antecedents to plot, and post-plot interpretative moments.

The second set of negations are when one moves along from sensemaking to World-Spirit, and notices differences, the variety and plurality of others, and what being-for-another instead of being-for-self means.

The third moment of triadic dialectic lies in the ways Hegel anticipates quantum science, and how such as science is that actualization of Spirt in action, in its activity, for-itself.

Hegel makes the point in the Preface that many would prefer to jump form sensemaking (first negations) to the third negations, and bypass or forego the pain of alienation and suffering experienced in the second set of negations, the otherness, and being part of otherness and othering. It is in the third moment of negations that that the School of Wisdom becomes possible.

This Figure is from

The second moment, the negatives of Irritability, its being-for-another, and moving beyond the sensemaking of being-for-self heres and nows. At another level its Reproduction beyond humans, to the level of species, the introreflective dialectic of self-preservation as others enact self-preservation of their own species.  Finally, in Schools of Wisdom, of ancient Greece, and still practiced in Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK), is accomplished by initiation into mysteries of life itself. One does not just hop from sensemaking directly to Wisdom.

Hegel emphasizes that to “tarry with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being” and sensemaking cannot skip being-for-another, its plurality and multiplicity of differences, and just enter being and action, directly (Hegel, 1807: # 32).

The Life of the Spirit does not shrink away from death, turn away from devastation, and stands in the midst of dismemberment (# 32).  Compare this tarrying with the negative to Appreciative Inquiry (AI) that always turns away from the face of death and alienation, and cannot stand the sound of any deficit language, much less to step into the existential, and stare into the abyss, the gap between its positivity and the negative, and thereby misses mediation itself, which it could be doing.

The manner of study of Grounded Theory (GT) is equally without ground and without theory, just as Action Research (AR) is without action and without research. These manners of study in our modern age, need to retreat to be schooled in the School of Wisdom of ancient times, and learn some Native Science (Cajete, 2000), and some Tribal Wisdom (Rosile, 2016).  for MOI, in general and AI, GT, and AR specifically, to become Native Science, would be to stare into the abyss, to court not just the positive, but the negative moments of inquiry.

It is time to purge the ready-made concepts of construction of the AOM and study the “concrete variety of existence” give up the fixity of concepts, and enter action and being, where the ‘real’ ground’ the real ‘action’ lies beneath the pomposity and imitative science of AOM.

What is this triadic dialectic. IT is a hermeneutic, what Hegel (1807: # 33) calls the “self-movement circle” and its all about moving from sensemaking to plurality and multiplicity to the live Spirit of Reason that is a possible Science of the organic whole, a scientific method of connectedness, and pathways in the “process of becoming” (# 34).

The “negative to knowing” its negation of sensemaking limits, admits the existence of Spirit, and would mean MOI taking the “path” to “becoming an other to itself” and then “suspending this otherness” to become alienated for itself, and itself from this alienation (# 36).

The third set of negations does away with the agential cut (as Barad 2007 calls it) between what Hegel cals the “I” being-for-self” and “substance” and staring into the “void” at one’s own material self no longer “antithesis of being and knowing” (# 37).

Hegel in sections 39 to 45 goes through why triadic dialectic is not a process of distinguishing true and false, not a dogmatism of actions, not a mathematical truth seeking, nat an applied statistics, which posits a theorem, a proposition or two, then does not deliver anything but magnitude or numerical units, far removed from Being.

Then in # 46 Hegel beings to look at how what passes for Science, in its “synthetic propositions” approaches temporality in a hollow semblance of time. This lifeless time, its numerical unit (clocktime in Heidegger), is accompanied by a lifeless space of more numerical units, and a lifeless mattering that avoids the movement and restlessness of life in self-movement.

The point is for MOI to be more than imitative science, or pseudo science, MOI will need to study the “whole of the movement” of the triadic dialectic not just in mathematical or applied statistical operationalizations, but in the immediacy of existence and essence.

And by # 50 of the Preface, Hegel has give his triadic a mission of being about life, and avoid “superficial analogy” (# 51).

If nothing else I hope I have persuaded you for MOI to become scientific, it cannot turn its back on the ontologic, on the being and action, on the manifestation of the Spirit, which for Hegel is Reason, worked out in the triadic dialectic.










Sparky, my best friend, except for my wife, died today

Sparky, my best friend, except for my wife, died today


Time of death – July 18, 2017 2:15PM


Sparky is a Catahoula. They are bred to herd cattle. He was abandoned on our ranch by some ingrate and kept hanging around the barn, so we took him in. That was 14 years ago, which means he is about 98 years old in human years. At first we though Sparky was slow. He’d been roaming the desert around our house for some weeks, according to the neighbors. One Sunday morning as Grace Ann (my wife) went to the barn to feed the horses, she turned around and saw this dog with strange-looking eyes following her. He stayed around the property so we took him in. He did not bark, was unresponsive, and mostly looked down, and paid us no never mind. A few days in the house, and he’d chewed through the back of my chair. Not a house dog, for sure. When I called to him, and he did not seem to notice. Then Grace Ann got up behind him and clapped, and nothing. Sparky was deaf. He also had a crooked tail. Looked like it had been caught in a car door.


My best friend, except for Grace Ann, is about to pass away. Grace Ann and I took him for a short walk. I held him one last time. We let Honey participate, since to find her soul mate just gone, would have been too traumatic.

Sparky on my lap, with Honey, as we both look after Sparky on his last day



Deaf dogs need language. We got a trainer and she taught us all some hand signal commands. Sparky was quick witted, and picked it up quickly. Trouble was, he would growl at us if we tried to cross the room. Also growled and snarled if we tried to play with him. This dog was bred to be a cattle herder, and with no cows around, he decided to herd us around, whenever we crossed the back yard, or looked like we were playing around indoors or out. He would growl and nip and try to “herd” us.


Sparky was always happy. He was always happy to go on a walk, happy to poop, happy to have a treat, happy to eat his meals, and happy to be with me. He loved me unconditionally. He is definitely man’s best friend, my best friend. We did many walks in the desert but recently he could not go very far. We used to walk for an hour, but lately 10 minutes he all he can do. We had to use a horse halter on him, because he would simply chew through the store-bought doggy ones. Besides you needed something sturdy to hold onto while he dragged you around.


As I held Sparky on his last day, I came to terms, a bit, not totally, with his leaving.


Sparky is not a name for a grown man’s dog. There is a story here. I named him Sparky, after a dog I had as a child, when I was about 6 years old. That Sparky was a Cocker Spaniel, and did shed even more hair than the Catahoula (Sparky’s breed). My parents told me the old Sparky ran away. Next day he came back home. I went off to kindergarten and when I go home, my mother told me, “Sparky ran away again.” Two days later, Sparky was back at our doorstep. I was so very glad to see him. I went off to kindergarten, and when I got home, again my mother said, “Sparky ran away.” I was gullible and believed her. Years later, as a teenager, she told me they took Sparky to the pound, and he got loose, then took him to a pound the other side of town, and he got loose again. The third time they made sure he’d never come back, and he didn’t. Mom said, “I got tired of all the hair. Hair was everywhere on all the furniture. Had to be done.” Mom was all about keeping a tidy house, and Sparky did not fit in.


What does it do to a child to have his dog sent away, or to be accurate, to be killed? For me the result was I did not bond with animals ever again, not until this Sparky. I also did not exactly trust my parents after that. Who would?


Some time with Sparky, and I am adjusting to the Situation. Honey is there tending him too



I used to walk Sparky, and tell him, “I cannot bond with animals!” “Sorry, I will do the best I can!” He just came up and licked my head, licked any part, an arm, a leg, a hand. If he could not get at a bare part, he’d lick my jeans, and eventually bite through, and create holes. It was gentle, and distracted, you wouldn’t notice till the hole was there.


After a few months he stopped chewing furniture. He loved his walks, but he’d drag a full-grown man down the desert trail, going wherever he wanted, stopping to smell the same bushes, over and over again. I used to walk him anyway, and eventually he settled in, walking at my side.


We have a cat at our ranch, a fluffy longhair white cat. We named him ‘Tiger.’ He was an outdoor cat that came eventually to live indoors but went out during the day. We called him ‘Tiger’ not because of his looks, but his personality: he hunted mice, rabbits, birds, and reptiles of all sorts. He’d leave the trophies on our front door step. This would drive Sparky crazy.


The cat trained Sparky. How? When Sparky first showed up, he slowly approached Tiger until they were real close, nose to nose. Then Tiger grabbed Sparky’s snout with both paws, claws out! Sparky yelped a leaped back, and gave Tiger a wide berth after that. It is only in the last few years that Sparky could get close enough to give Tiger a friendly (but still cautious) sniff.


Tiger seemed to be the only creature that could back Sparky down. One evening, I heard barking outside, and it was dark, no moon at all. There was Sparky, lunging at a Western Diamondback Rattle Snake, a big one. The snake would strike at Sparky, and Sparky would jump back, then growl and lunge again at the snake. It just went on like that for a very long time, so I grabbed a shovel and took off the snake’s head. Sparky never backed down from a fight, except with Tiger. Tiger is unique, a whole other story.


I am a Vietnam Veteran, with some mild PTSD. Anyone who goes to a war zone has it. It’s just a fact of life! To me Sparky was like a service dog. Unconditional love, always glad to see me, always coming around to check up on me when I writing, sleeping, or relaxing. It took a few years, but eventually we bonded. As he got older he started to bark. First few years, we enjoyed the peace and quiet, except for the growling when we tried to cross the yard without his express permission.


He also walked by my side, on our journeys. But you had to watch him close. He would bolt out the door, and not look back. You could call after him. What good would that do? He’s deaf! Several times he escaped the house, and we’d drive up and down every street in a two-mile search radius. Sometimes we’d find him at the middle school, herding the children around on the playground, and they all liked him. Other times, we’d get a call from the pound, “Found Sparky, come and claim him.” The deal is, every time they pick him up, the fine is doubled. $30 to $60 to $120. Liked it better when some neighbor or a school would call, “You want to come and get Sparky.” In his later years, I could actually catch him.


(Photo below: When Grace Ann’s brother Phil (Chup) was visiting us, he woke up to Sparky staring at his face—and took this picture!)


A second dog was abandoned on our property. She’s a boxer, and some other stuff. We named her “Honey,” cause of her hair color. You can see her in the pictures. She has short hair and barely sheds at all–My mom would have loved her. Everyone loves Honey. She is athletic, so strong she could pull a dog sled, and yet very respectful. If a door is a bit open but not to the width of her head, she won’t open it, and will just sit there. Sparky, on the other hand, will work the handle if he can, or push on the door till he can squeeze through. Sparky and Honey grew to be the best of friends. When Honey had her spaying operation and was returning from surgery, for a while she could not move yet to get out of the car in the garage and go into the house. Sparky came over to the car, jumped inside, and stayed in there next to her, comforting her, until she was ready to move.


Grace Ann and I used to watch a movie in the evening and sit in our easy chairs. When Honey was very young, one evening she just wiggled her way into Grace Ann’s lap, and then sometimes into mine. She was so limber and soft you wouldn’t notice and when you did she was so cuddly, how could you refuse. Sparky would be in the room laying on a dog mattress. After a few weeks of this, Sparky, now in his barking phase, would bark at us, and we did not know why. After a few evenings (humans are slow) we figured it out. Sparky wanted to be up on the chair too, but he could not figure out how to do it. We would motion him to jump up, and nothing. Finally, we had to pick him up and plant him on our lap. Unlike Honey, Sparky is all bony, and not at all comfortable. But Sparky wanted up, and that was that. Eventually, he learned to put his front end on your lap, and you’d have to bring the rear bits up there too. He was still bony, and he shed hair all over, but definitely gave lots of love. He’d lick you all over clothes and all. After he saw Honey do it, Sparky even began to look for hugs.


Sparky could never catch Honey in the back yard. Honey was fast, could have kept up with a Grey Hound. Sparky would lite out after her, and she would weave and bob, and keep ahead of him with a burst of speedy. Sparky got so frustrated, he would go in his outside dog house (not that he ever slept outside, not after the snake incident), and he’d scratch and claw and make a racket, one he did not hear, but we sure did. It got to be a ritual, and he’d work out whatever stressed him, Honey or Tiger, or whatever, and scratch at the inside of the dog house, then calm down.


Ok, so you get the storyline. Sparky was part of the family, a member of the family: Grace Ann, Sparky, Honey, Tiger, and me. We were a family unit. Losing a member of the family is a big deal.


Sparky had been feeling poorly. He was on arthritis medicine, and then he developed this reverse cough. When a hound like Sparky has a reverse cough you know all about it. He was getting more congested. We took him to the emergency veterinary hospital, and got some meds. He was wheezing at night and most of the day. Seemed a bit better for a day on meds, then, his lungs filled with fluids. A decision had to be made. We call the animal psychic, called the veterinarian, and talked to other dog lovers. The consensus was that he was suffering, and some medical procedures could be tried, but he was about 100 in human years, so best to end it.


I dug a grave in the back yard. Grace Ann called a veterinarian to come to the house and do the deed. It took hours to dig through the caliche and rocks, and get down three feet. The veterinarian was a kind and caring person. She told us the options. We agreed to the procedure. She gave him a local, then a drip. I am a shamanic practitioner. So I did drumming when the veterinarian applied the drip.

After he passed on, the veterinarian made a paw print in clay. I liked the thoughtfulness of that. She told us we could scribe his name on it and bake it, if we like, as memento.



Sparky’s Paw Print in Clay


We wrapped him in a soft knit pillowcase. We spit it up along one side so his head would tuck into it, and it actually fit his whole body, when we put him in the fetal position. He weighed about 50 pounds, a bit less, since he’d lost some weight.


We carried Sparky’s lifeless body to the grave site. It is located on the Medicine Wheel, where I think the heart chakra is. On walks with Sparky, and then with Honey too, we’d find stones shaped like a heart, and put them along the medicine wheel. I thought he would like to be there, and I can find more heart stones and put them on his grave.


(Photo below: Sparky’s place near the Medicine Wheel by the larger white stone)


Honey is visiting Sparky (beneath the tree branch) and looking at the heart-shaped rocks


I drummed outside along the medicine wheel before we put Sparky there, and again I drummed after he was buried. I wanted to be there for him the way he had always been there for me. I wanted him to have an easy journey to Lower World. I told him he could become a Power Animal, once he crossed from Middle World where we all live, into Lower World, where Power Animals live on. I will check in the morning, during my shamanic drumming meditation, journey to Lower World to check in on Sparky, and make sure he arrived. Some spirits linger, stay in Middle World, or in-between worlds, wanting to take care of ones they left behind. I wanted Sparky to know that he would be able to hear again, and he was going to a place where he would have many Power Animal friends. I would visit him. Would he like to be my Power Animal, or move along and be that for someone else?


Time will tell.




How to Implement Ensemble Leadership Practices at a Public University?

ensembleleadershipnmsu Several people wrote to me and suggested I step up and suggest ways NMSU might implement Ensemble Leadership (Rosile, Boje, & Nez, 2016). See blog post (click here). How, for example, could departments of faculty, units of staff, faculty senate, and ASNMSU senate work with administration (Board of Regents, Chancellor, Provost, Deans, Department & Unit Heads) to enact Ensemble Leadership?

Let me start with a story of Integrative Conflict Resolution. In the Leadership In Society (Mgt 388v) class yesterday, a teaching opportunity emerged. A student said, “Boje, you are a bully.” I invited him to the front of the room to dialogue. “What are you seeing that leads you to this conclusion?” I decided to use Follett’s integration. I encouraged, and was silent. “When you state opinions, and not facts, it’s bullying.” “I read some of your articles, and I agree with much of it. But, in class its stories of experiences with the university.” I said, “I see your point. Facts do matter, and the Chancellor told me the same thing, to not rant or state opinions, but get at the facts of the matter.” He asked the rest of the students if they also say this. One student said, “Sure, Boje is a liberal, I get that. At first I was annoyed. Then I realized, he knows his stuff, and he is not doing cookie cutter class.” Another said, “you called Boje out, so glad two of you are standing up to work it through.” I asked what else he observed. “When you agree with my ideas, it’s bullying.” This took some time to unpack. I had agreed to an idea he had about saving paper by just showing the document in Smart Phone or computer rather than printing it. I said, “I really thought it was a great idea, and agreed we could do that.” “I know, he said, but it just infuriates me.” I was silent. As he explained, we found more and more points of agreement. “I am doing project on climate change, and there are many persuasive facts” (referring to my study guide). I agreed. We talked about how it’s important to let students opt out of a class event. I learned I could be liberal and progressive in the facts, but to a conservative venturing into opinion or quickly agreeing was irritating. I concluded with some Mary Parker Follett, how important it is to avoid domination and forcing compromise, and instead to really listen and engage in dialogue so there can be an integration of the differences. The class seemed tuned in, attentive, engaged with the teaching moment. By listening to criticism, taking it to heart, I hoped to let the student vent, to get whatever it was, out of his system, so we might integrate around some points of agreement, learn to work through differences, and get so some deeper ground.

To me, this comes out in Follett’s appreciation of Hegel’s dialectic. Its not the tired old saw of these-antithesis-synthesis. The point of Hegelian dialectic is there is no synthesis, as Follett puts it, just continuously evolving Situation in a play of differences in the Whole Situation.

To answer these questions I will relate our work on Ensemble Leadership to Mary Parker Follett (1941, a collection of her writings put together after she died in 1933). Follett can be applied to Ensemble Leadership because she proposed to bring all kinds and ways of leading into a scientific understanding of the ‘whole situation’ and how that complex situation is constantly evolving, changing, and developing. Her work challenges traditional notions of conflict and power. For Follett, power-over others is less effective leadership that ‘power-with.’ No one can delegate power, or empower someone else. Rather power is a capacity one has to build, a responsibility for the whole situation that one has to embrace them selves. For conflict resolution, she believed that the traditional ways of using domination or compromise were less effective than to integrate differences, to use face-to-face communication to work out ways to fit diverse interests together, in which she called ‘integrative unity.’ This integration was always attendant to the ‘whole situation’ and how it emerged and evolved. The unity of a diversity of differences means that we cannot “stay too long crystallized” in our conflicts ore we enter permanent divisions, irreconcilable differences (1941: 35). Her Law of the Situation means that by subordinating our conflict and power to the situation rather than making it about winner take all or personal power, we have a way to integrate differences. The basis of this integration is “to bring the differences into the open” (1941: 36). The idea is to get into the conflict as early as possible, before it festers, and crystalizes into opposing sides.


The Practices of Ensemble Leadership


In traditional university leadership, whoever holds the position and/or has personal power (persuasion) in the hierarchy is the leader, and everyone else is a follower. In Ensemble Leadership, the key practices are power-with and conflict resolution by integrative unity. Ensemble Leadership adapts to the Situation with is continually evolving, changing, and developing. It takes not only retrospective sensemaking (a knowledge of history of the Situation), but for-caring in advance for choices among waves of potential, arriving from the future. This is what we call prospective sensemaking in ‘fore-caring.’ ‘Fore-caring’ for the Whole Situation requires an Ensemble Leadership knowledgeable of the local, state, and even national politics. Ensemble Leadership is fore-caring for differences, harmonizing differences, integrating around joint fact-finding, and uniting powerful players around “common purpose for mutual benefit” (Follett, 1941: 271).

Ensemble Leadership at NMSU would be faculty, staff, students, and administrators (from Governor to Regents to Heads of departments) coming together to combine knowledge of every detail of NMSU. It would include the Faculty Senate and the ASNMSU Senate bodies, the staff and employee unions in an entire Ensemble of Leadership. But that is only the beginning. An Ensemble of Leadership is more than hierarchical positions, or heads of various social bodies, it is diffusing all kinds of leadership throughout the faculty body, student body, employee body, staff body, and community groups of all sorts. People possess leadership (self-empower) when they have knowledge of their own job, their own daily activities, and find better ways (new methods) of time, quality, training, and take responsibility for the local and the Total Situation.

The act of bossing, being in a hierarchical position of authority, is power-over, but does not come near to the efficiency and effectiveness of power-with inter-relationships, interweaving local knowledge and local answerability that constitutes Ensemble Leadership. Instead of blind obedience in a university bureaucracy its an active power-with others. “Our conception of [Ensemble] leadership is everywhere restricted by the persistence of the fallacy in the old idea of obedience, namely that obedience is necessarily passive” (Follett, 1941: 275, bracketed additions, mine). For Ensemble Leadership to be effective there is an active obedience, a testing of consent, an intelligent self-direction, an empowered action to be reciprocally involved, in the group process in order to accomplish what is “integral to the situation” (IBID.). Being actively obedient to the Whole Situation means checking out an order from above, sideways, and below, and being exigent with our voice of fore-caring, assertive in our dialogues with other leaders of every kind.

Ensemble Leadership at NMSU would mean establishing an “education system” of leadership development, not just positions, but every kind of leader getting trained in “inner authority” in co-active participation, in the power-with and in conflict resolution by integration (Follett, 1941: 276). It is a t least five kinds of training in leadership:

  1. To consider the outcomes of actions for the Whole Situation
  2. Inter-relating information in regard to students, faculty, community, administration, and so on
  3. Training in Ensemble Leadership
  4. Methods of doing things the right way the first time
  5. Obeying the Law of the Situation

The assumption is that 1 to 5 would be an alternative, perhaps better, than hierarchical bureaucracy at NMSU. It’s worth an experiment, a scientific study, and an analysis of results. Given opportunity, faculty have leader actions, can inter-relate information, can be trained in leadership, have new methods for doing things right, and can obey the Law of the Situation. So can students, and staff, and employees.

Instead of what Henri Fayol (1949, in French in 1920s) calls the ‘Scalar Chain’ the up and down line of authority of an enterprise, what Ensemble Leadership does is more degrees of leadership more dispersed leadership. An ‘Ensemble Leadership’ works out

  1. Forms of self-organizing
  2. Methods of doing things better
  3. Knowledge of the evolving Whole Situation
  4. Adapting by co-ordination and integration
  5. It still has people in formal leader positions (but in multiple hierarchies called Heterarchy)
  6. There are still forceful personal power (charismatic) leaders
  7. There is also the leader power of knowing your job, being competent and professional, rather than passively obedient.

The Situation becomes the key. It is not the same as Situation Leadership, because that is just the formalized Scalar Chain of command adapted to each situation by easing up or tightening the reins (on we the horses).

In Ensemble Leadership every leader has to be flexible, to be agile, to self-organize to keep up with the evolving Situation, and it means less power-over by bosses, and more power-with to be effective together. Applying Follett, it means diverse leaders “grasp the essential of an experience, and as we say, set it whole” (p. 279).

  1. To see the unity of the data, the patterns emerging
  2. To see the relationality and inter-relatedness to Others
  3. TO control the While Process
  4. To use power-with with insight into the past coming present
  5. To use fore-caring, including fore-sight that is essential to Ensemble Leadership

Fore-caring is something I have been writing about since my time at NMSU. It has four facets my colleagues and I draw form Heidegger (1962) that are about the ethics of care, by caring in advance, preparing antecedent to action and decision. Heidegger does not use the term fore-care, and I think it has these four qualities:

  1. Fore-having (before) an event by getting ready
  2. Fore-structuring (between) so that the relationships and inter-relatedness operations are in place
  3. Fore-concepts (below) because its takes new symbols and images, and new Notions to communicate what is arriving in the not-yet
  4. Fore-sight (bets on the future) because many waves of potential futures are arriving, and we choose which one worthy of collapsing into event-ness

Follett (1941: 280) puts this last point this way: “foresight is essential to leadership” and if you are not ‘fore-caring’ in Ensemble Leadership, outcomes (results) are disastrous. It is a ‘fore-caring’ for the Whole Situation, to its constant changes, to new trends. It is an “uncanny approach to the complexity” of the emerging Situation, the ability of leaders to interrelate and co-ordinate to “organize its essential elements” (p. 281). Ensemble Leadership is captured by Follett (1941: 281) when she says “anticipating the problems of to-morrow” and “solving the problems today” Situations that are “complex, intricate, far-reaching.” That is the Law of the Situation as it relates to Ensemble Leadership.

If the Governor, the Legislature, and the Board of Regents are dissatisfied with the cost of higher education, the old way to handle it is to “blame the head of department” (Follett, 1941: 281-2).

What would be the Ensemble Leadership way for Governor, Legislature, and Board of Regents to lead cost control? Start with the Whole Situation and the budget.

“The budget objectivies the whole situation” (Follett, 1941: 282).

Ensemble Leadership would actually “meet the situation” (IBID.). Teach budgeting to faculty, to students, staff, and employees. It is “how to control a situation themselves, helping your subordinates to develop their own ideas rather than exploiting your own” (IBID.).   I know many faculty and students and staff with great ideas on how to control the budget, and thereby the Situation.

It is my job to teach students (at all levels) how to lead themselves, how to budget, how to fore-care for and to jointly co-actively control the Whole Situation. As a teacher, going back to the ‘teaching moment’ above, I have learned not to exploit my own idea, and instead help the student discern for themselves their own responsibility for the Situation, of which they are apart. Ensemble Leadership is fore-caring in an ethics of care about the scientific methods of diagnosis of the Situation, experimentation with change projects, evaluation of results (something I teach in small business consulting).   In the sustainability development and leadership in society courses I place students in project teams, to learn how to cope with complexity, how to adapt to change, how to be and combine themselves in Ensemble Leadership. This means experiential teach to “learn the way themselves, to combine experience and judgment” and to learn to become “habitually integrative” and to “create a group power rather than express a personal power” (p. 283).

“They penetrate to the subtlest connections of the forces at their command, and make all these forces available, and most effectively available, for the accomplishment of their purpose” (Follett, 1941: 283).

I love this quote! She captures what it is to create Ensemble Leadership power-with, and integrative unity conflict resolution. A university needs political Ensemble Leadership along with all other kinds of leadership to “bring into harmonious relation” women and men often with “antagonistic temperaments then the ability to reconcile conflicting interests, team ability to make a working unit out of many diverse elements” (IBID).

Each political leader at NMSU is “predominantly an organizer” creating a unity that breaks down opposition by integration. The ability to focus power, to do power-with, and training power to certain end creates a new demand for university education. It can mean we learn to generate revenue while being co-active come up with cost-control by control of the Whole Situation in all its evolving dynamic complexity. Mary Parker Follett was one of key founders of open systems thinking, and did this at a time when others promoted Taylorism, Fayolism, and Weberian bureaucratic division of labor, span of control, scalar principle, and expert planners designing everyone else’s job. She had a whole different conception of open systems based on the Law of the Situation and the democratic participation of an Ensemble of Leaders.

She wrote, lectured, and consulted with government and business on ways to foretell the Situation, to make decisions the unified experience, with scientific methods of experimenting, sharing results, coming up with news ways of communication, co-ordination, and co-operation among diverse Ensemble Leadership system bent on facing the Situation.

The students we teach to-day are the leaders of to-morrow. We can teach hierarchy and submission to authority or we can teach co-power, power-with, to be self-organizing, and submit by obeying the Law of the Situation.

It would mean our current NMSU leaders would need to teach leadership, and to become “the invisible leader” to engage power-with, to interweave many leaderly activities more widely and more anticipatively than ever before at NMSU. The outcome is worth it to “take part in the regeneration of society” (p. 289).

We can begin to-day to enact Ensemble Leadership among thousands of students, hundreds of faculty, staff, employees, and administrators. Why not Ensemble Leadership to control and be agile with the Whole Situation? This is our place and time to integrate diverse differences, heal conflicts, and to make society Whole in New Mexico, in U.S. in the world. We can be that higher education university that trains its students to be leaders. There is good reason for training students in leadership in all the colleges, because it is a desirable aim for higher education.

How can our administration “draw forth” the organizing of co-operative and co-ordinated Ensemble Leadership? Face the Whole Situation as a pragmatist. Mary Parker Follett write in the time of John Dewey and William James, and she was also, if I might mend an omission in history, and American Pragmatist. She wrote she had to “believe that eh great leader can show me the correspondence, can arouse the latent possibilities, can reveal to me new posers in myself, can quicken and give direction to some force within me” (p. 375). A science approach, being fact-based, co-operatively getting to the facts, beyond opinion, is sound advice from my student and from Follett.

Follett, the Hegelian, believed in the power of the spirit, the recesses of the spirit and the spirit’s call to life and the sense of life (p. 294). Marx, balked at this, so Follett and Hegel’s dialectic is quite different. Certainly in the Land of Enchantment, there spirit has something to do with the play of difference, integrative unity, the ethic of care, the fore-caring in advance to face the Whole Situation.




Follett, M. P. (1941). Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett, edited by Metcalf, H. C., & Urwick, L. F. NY/London: Harper and Brothers.


Heidegger, M. (1929/1962/2008). Being and Time. Translated by John Macquarrie & Edward Robinson in 1962 from the 1929 German, with 2008 introduction by Taylor Carmon. NY: Harper Row.


Rosile, Grace Ann; Boje, David M.; Nez, Carma Claw. (2016). “Ensemble Leadership Theory: Collectivist, Relational, and Heterarchical Roots from Indigenous Contexts.” Leadership journal. CLICK HERE for online prepublication draft


More on this topic at


















Implementing Mary Parker Follett’s and Bernie Sanders’ Social Democracy Practices could SAVE New Mexico State University!

David M. Boje, Ph.D.


Berniecrats are joining efforts to bring unity and solidarity among diverse organizations at New Mexico State University and the Las Cruces community. I will give a soapbox speech Tuesday Feb 14th 11 AM at Love Trumps Hate I march. The speech will be 5 minutes, and these are my notes.


Love Trumps Hate At NMSU

David Boje speech at NMSU at Valentine a Day March. Full text at


More than 50 students, faculty and community members gathered Tuesday — Valentine’s Day — on the campus of New Mexico State University for the Love Trumps Hate march. Representatives from several student clubs and campus organizations came together to stand unified in opposition to policies of President Trump’s administration”   and video at 

Adjuncts and doctoral students are being exploited not just at NMSU but in most all Public Universities. If Bernie Sanders of Mary Parker Follett were taken seriously, we would fund K-12 and Higher Education, we would forget tuition, pay agents their due, and recruit more tenure-line faculty. New Mexico would get off oil and gas tax base for education (bad bet) and we would install a Governor that cares about education.

The adjunct professor has a sincere and dedicated commitment to education, to teaching, but are paid the most minimum wage, with no benefits, and alongside we the research professors that have higher pay, benefits, and more reasoned workload.

Nationwide 25% of adjunct professors are on some kind of public assistance. In metropolitan areas, they may need to work for several universities to make ends meet.

I had lunch with an adjunct who had lived homeless, while working at NMSU, when only one course instead of two was made available.

Let me tell you one story, then another. First story: My wife Grace Ann Rosile, came with me to NMSU in 1996 when I took a department head position. They promised that a tenure track position was available to her, but when we moved here, NMSU changed its mind, and said no such position. So Grace Ann, after being an assistant professor for 14 years at a university that refused to promote anyone from the business college, become an adjunct, a part-timer, often teach three and four courses a semester. This went on for over a decade, and finally a college-track position, a teaching track opened up and she was about the only one in the department teaching an excess load. She took the assistant professor track, made associate and then full. The department realized she was publishing as much in quality journals as anyone, and for one or two terms, got the same load. Now she is back to excess load, along with yours truly, because full time tenured or tenure track faculty in the two Ph.D. departments were assigned an extra course to teach, while no such load increase happened elsewhere. I tell you this story and one more to let you know that I know about adjuncts being exploited. The second story is that at one time NMSU opened up its Ph.D. programs to college faculty without Ph.D.s so they could get their Ph.D. and get on tenure track. I helped by chairing Ph.D. committees. Now that is gone away, back our Ph.D. program is being sacrificed, is no more, so that NMSu can avoid paying medical cost of its TA/GAs that will remain in other departments. Sacrifices must be made. I way change the financing plan of K-12 and Higher Education in New Mexico. Instead of only financing more buildings, and a 27 hole  planned golf course, and a shopping mall, and a cafe in Zuhl, how about we get back to basics, and put tenured and tenure track faculty in the classroom?

I want to respond to Larry Blank “Please join us who are looking for ways to make more money in a constrained environment.  If you have complaints about the budget, please take those directly to the legislature and ask them to reform the tax system with the intent of increasing tax revenues.  The current tax structure implemented under the watch of the Bill Richardson democratic governor, as the legislature increased reliance on oil and natural gas and reduced taxes elsewhere; thereby increasing the volatility of tax revenues based on market forces and increased the risk exposure for NMSU and all other state departments.” “In 2013 Richardson joined the Board of Advisors for the Fuel Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit campaign that advocates for the end of the oil monopoly.”

And I want to respond to AL Berryman. First apologies to all adjuncts – you are exploited, and I work in the university that exploits you. This next chart from shows the actuality of the oil and gas severance tax situation in New Mexico:

Table 1: Oil and Gas Severance Tax is too low with too many loopholes


New Mexico has enacted oil and gas loopholes, tax credits, and tax exemptions to encourage production from certain well types or to encourage producers to donate money to support areas like education. But the boom is over.

Let me tell it like it is.  We can change the budget and the tax system, get it off the bet that oil and gas is going to make a comeback in New Mexico, but it will take actual democratic participative leadership (see below to deal with the constrained environment of NMSU).

Since our Republican Governor Martinez won’t change the way universities (& K-12) are funded by the gas and oil severance taxes, or close all the gapping loop holes so ones extracting gas and oil are not really paying a just tax, we have a real situation here in New Mexico that is called ‘speculative capitalism’ or lets be clear ‘gambling with the future of the children New Mexico.

Consider the situation of New Mexico:

New Mexico governor cuts school reserves to fix deficit

And its not about Republicans and Democrats.  Both parties are against Public Education, unwilling to invest in education that would raise New Mexico from #50.

This is a speculative capitalist bet by both sides, that gas and oil severance taxes can fund education, while the Governor continues to drain school reserves so she can claim she did not raise taxes. Its a bet on the future, that gas and oil will boom again, and never go bust.  Sorry, but its was a bad bet, and its still a sucker’s bet! The boom days of gas and oil are over. The loopholes are still there, so that money is going out of state. Yes, there may be a war, and gas and oil may be in demand, and that will mean more money for NMSU. Do you really want to bet the future of the education of children in New Mexico on that? Make a smart intelligent bet, and reform the tax base on a productive capitalism. Speculative capitalism is like what happens on Wall Street (remember to stock market crash). Productive capitalism is investing in enterprises that make things, sell things, not selling speculation or gambling which way commodity prices will go.

Al is right, a major problem in New Mexico. We are overly dependent on oil and gas for revenue. “The biggest problem part of that problem is that over the last 50 years the legislature (for what it is worth almost entirely democratic) has created a system that is full of special interest loopholes.” New Mexico legislature has 300 exemptions to corporate (and personal) taxes, which includes spaceship fuel, horse winnings and events at Pan Am Center at NMSU. There is tax pyramiding that discourages small business. Let’s ask that State of New Mexico stop giving us golf courses and buildings at NMSU and instead change the tax structure so it does not handicap the university, the small business community, the small ranch and farm. Tax reform to eliminate special interests so there is adequate financing of K-12 and higher education. I vote yes.

For the economists, I am speaking about German Bernacer’s kind of distinction, a contemporary of Keynes, and Schumpeter, but it is Schumpeter’s long cycle (creative destruction) we have in U.S. when what we need is Bernacer’s productive economics. For more on this see

Boje, D. M. (in press) “Global Capitalism is Unsustainable”, PREFACE to the Savall, Péron, Zardet & Bonnet book Socially Responsible Capitalism” London: Routledge. Click here for pdf

Contingent faculty are being exploited in New Mexico? Yes they are real teachers, real professionals.  I got this from Al, and from someone who wants to be anonymous.:

“I started at NMSU in 2000 as an adjunct professor.  I am now working on becoming a full college professor.  I have 20+ years of ‘real’ world experience, experience that my students value.  I am not however tenured. I believe that our students, and our land grant university, benefits most from a well rounded faculty – those that have done, and those that have read and researched about doing.  Being ‘tenured’ does not in itself prove the effectiveness of ones teaching ability.  In fact in my time at NMSU, I am always dismayed that the faculty that attend teaching academy events tend to be mostly college track faculty and adjuncts – maybe ‘real; faculty already know all the best practices in teaching, although I sincerely doubt it.  They maybe academic experts in their fields, but this doesn’t automatically translate into being expert teachers, or for that matter, expert professionals.”
I say this person is right on. Let’s support adjunct professors, with a real wage, real benefits, and get them tenured ‘expert professionals.’ Go for it.
In my opinion, “quality of teaching and learning goes up” when students receive a well rounded education that prepares them to think and function in the ‘real’ world.  Teaching that comes from tenured faculty, college faculty and adjuncts.


Figure 3: Tenure-line and contingent as it is now

At it says “Who are “contingent faculty”? Depending on the institution, they can be known as adjuncts, postdocs, TAs, non-tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty, part-timers, lecturers, instructors, or nonsenate faculty. What they all have in common: they serve in insecure, unsupported positions with little job security and few protections for academic freedom. And they are the vast majority of US faculty today. Something needs to change.” Her at NMSU adjuncts are senate faculty. That is a good thing, but not enough.

Over the past five decades we have more and more contingent faculty and fewer and fewer tenure-line faculty. That way, you don’t have tenured full time faculty who actually have a voice, can speak out, like yours truly, and not lose their job. We can be assigned more classes to teach, we can lose our doctoral program future, by cutting off funding of our future GA/TAs. Sacrifices must be made.

Here is another view, a trend line of what has happened to tenure-line and adjunct positions, to full and to part time positions over the last 5 decades


Figure 4: Trend lines in full and part-time and graduate student employment since Reaganomics took hold of both parties

Notice the changes above coincide with the Thatcher/Reagan economics which switched over from a knowledge society where public university education was a social good to a knowledge economy where public university education became a social commodity.

My recommendation is that NMSU is one faculty, and that instead of contingent appointments we get people on tenure-lines, pay our teaching assistants actual medical benefits, instead of cutting out the Management Department’s graduate assistants, to pay the remaining TA/GAs $500 to purchase Obama care insurance (which by the way, I am told by the remaining TA/GAs its costs $850 a year, not $500). To kill the future of the Management Ph.D. program so NMSU does not have to pay medical benefits, its unethical, in my view. To have adjuncts and TA/GAs teaching more students in more classes (e.g. two of our remaining TA/GAs teach 45 and 55 students in online classes, and they need to be in classroom learning how to teach, not exploited, to keep the enrollment counts up).

“In the 1970s, 80 percent of college professors were full-time employees, according to the National Education Association. Today, part-time adjunct professors represent more than 50 percent of college faculty, says the American Association of University Professors”

Adjuncts offer NMSU huge saving, typically paid several time less that tenure track faculty and with no benefits, paid less (about $3000 each course), double or quadruple the teaching load, and lots of committee work.  Nationwide, except at NMSU, adjuncts are fighting back by unionizing (e.g Duke University.

With the Great Recession of 2007, came still more New Mexico legislative funding cuts, and the steady growth of adjunct professors to keep university enrollment up.  “The only reason most are adjuncts is because there is not a place for them in the tenure track system” Carmichael President of North Carolin conference of AAUP said.

Ifs pathetic to have no voice in the department, the college, or the university, because speaking out, ends your adjunct employment contract. In Charlotte (UNC) 541 of 1450 professors are adjuncts.

NMSU also hires adjuncts because as part-time faculty they have specific skills and competencies to bring to the classroom, you don’t have to provide them office, or benefits. Not providing our GA/TA with medical benefits, so they must go on Obama care, is not, in my view, a responsible leadership act.

Here is what I propose:. Let’s implement a new kind of leadership, called ‘Ensemble Leadership.’ Rosile, Grace Ann; Boje, David M.; Nez, Carma Claw. (2016). “Ensemble Leadership Theory:…” published in the Leadership journal. CLICK HERE for online prepublication draft,

Mary Parker Follett’s (1941: 247) new conception of leadership, is what Rosile et al are calling Ensemble Leadership. It is a new conception of human relations, and its is a doctrine of the consent of the governed by energizing the entire student body, faculty body, and staff body at NMSU. Mary Parker Follett had a new conception of power and conflict, a democratic leadership she called “circular response” by which she meant that the currents of influence, power, and conflict resolutions ahve to go both ways, in a continuous flow of democratic participation. It a new idea of power: 

1. Power of arms and force to dominate

2. Power of Kings divine right to rule, or power of position in a bureaucratic institution

3. Power of Priests divine right to lead

4. Power of majority rule (what passes for democracy these days)

5. Power of ‘real’ participative democracy (the new conception of Ensemble Leadership).

Instead of 1 through 4, lets try Ensemble Leadership at NMSU. Instead of the domination model or the compromise model of conflict resolution at NMSU, lets try integrative unity, fitting together our diversity, our play of differences into workable scientific methods of experiments with change, rather than autocratic #2 or old style #4, try #5.  The leader is not that person in the group or department sitting in the appointed or anointed position as ‘leader.’ Rather in Ensemble Leadership, everyone is trained to be a responsible leader.  Instead of leaders with will to power, or will to dominate, lets move past autocratic, strongman submission leadership to participative leadership, to Ensemble Leadership.  Ensemble Leadership means working out a system of leadership in a new kind of human relations, in what Mary Park Follett called the Law of the Situation. 

The current system of autocratic leadership at NMSU works as badly as possible, with according to Deloitte consulting’s ($622,700) report, six layers of authority (bureaucratic hierarchy) when efficient university of 21st Century can run on three. “We must learn to integrate” (Follett, p. 251), to co-operatively combine our differences, to work in diversity as celebration if we are to work without three layers of administrative order, and find that new form and system of democratic governance we call Ensemble Leadership.

Ensemble Leadership is not what Team 6 is doing. It is not training us in participative democracy. It is more as Follett says, “the way you manage an unruly horse” (p. 252) or hitch doctoral students to excessive teaching loads (45 and 55 students in their distance ed course, is kind of abusive). It is not brining students, faculty, staff, and three remaining layers of administration into -co-operative or fore-caring leadership. 

In doing leadership teaching, in Mgt388v, and my own research, I do not buy into the old superstition: “Leaders are born, not made”  and neither did Follett (p. 260). In Ensemble Leadership, NMSU would be training its students, faculty, and staff to be leaders of a varity of diverse specialities, and to make leaders of tomorrow.

Fore-caring for the future of New Mexico, and the nation, and the world (last two aspects have disappeared for NMSU mission statement in past four years, but our Faculty Senate is bringing back the old mission statement, in full).

Ensemble Leadership is about democratic participative leadership displacing top-down leadership in the public university, and in society.  It is closing the circle, so there is two=way influence, not one-way influence. By closing the circle, Mary Parker Follett is referring to Hegel, to a dialectic that had a manifesting spirit, in the spirit of reason, and that included scientific methods of working out a Situation. Ensemble Leadership is dialectic, and it is the Law of the Situation, surrender to the situation, just like Alice in Wonderland. What is a university if not a Wonderland? “”You must remember how Alice in Wonderland had to run as fast as she could to stand still” (Follett, p. 264). Is that not how fast our adjuncts and graduate student teachers are running?

Ensemble Leadership is fore-caring for the good of the New Mexico Community (the nation, the world) and its fore-caring for the ecology, it’s fore-caring for the Total Situation of NMSU. That Situation is evolving, changing, and developing in ways where there are many potential futures NMSU has to choose among. My advice as a leadership researcher, and a leadership teacher at NMSU, is give Ensemble Leadership a chance. Organize lots and lots of students, faculty, and staff working with our administrators to use scientific methods to study the Situation of NMSU and New Mexicans, the nation, and the world.

Why not create the best public university on Earth, instead of paying for expensive outsider consultant advice, why not train the leaders of tomorrow, and do it today.

My Key Points.

I make ten suggestions I believe will help create a Sustainable University of the Future in New Mexico:

1. Adopt Bernie Sanders’ recommendation that no tuition for students attending public universities and colleges. This would actually increase enrollment. The strategy of spending one million on marketing ads in movie theaters, billboards, and four-color brochures has been implemented, and guess what, enrollment has fallen. Students want quality teaching and learning moments, not a business marketing spectacle.
2. Adopt Bernie Sanders’ recommendation that number of full-time tenure line faculty be increased instead of adding more adjuncts. Hire ‘real’ faculty and the enrollment will go up because the quality of teaching and learning goes up.
3. Adopt Mary Parker Follett’s (1941: 94) recommendation to have the imagination to see the possibilities of enterprise democracy to ‘integrative unity.” Both Sanders and Follett advocated democratic socialism as an alternative to what is not happening in higher education that would “get at the facts” “irrespective of sides” (Follett, 1941: 74). As Follett puts it we need to implement the Principle of the Situation, in a process of scientific discovery, experiment, and evaluation of the results. The facts of the case, the Situation at NMSU is that change strategies are being implemented at NMSU that lack any scientific foundation. Instead of actually studying the evolving, changing Situation, NMSU is implementing expert consultation, and arbitrary top-down, power-over, and domination rather than engaging in democratic participation to get the fact, using scientific methods.
4. I recommend that Mary Parker Follett’s consulting approach be adopted and NMSU never again hire the Deloitte consulting firm, who were paid $622,700 dollars of tax payer money for 10 weeks and one PowerPoint presentation to the Republican Board of Regent and the Republican Chancellor, are not scientifically proven to be best practice, are actually discredited in the peer reviewed literature. I should know I have published three articles with colleagues, challenging the efficacy of their business process reengineering approach. See the Deloitte Consulting study which recommended NMSU develop task teams, to study the Situation, and the result was each team only wrote 2 to 4 pages (far less that Follett would recommend), then the downsizing, dismantling the employee health, destroying equestrian program, letting go faculty in survey engineering, and so on, began, without proper democratic participation, and without any scientific method. Follett’s Principle of the Situation was wholly ignored.
5. I recommend democratic socialism that would stop the practice of a Republican Governor, appointing Republican Board of Regents, who appoints a form Republican Governor as Chancellor, who then appoints deans of the two professional colleges (Engineering and Business) to head up ‘Team Six.’ My alternative is science, fact-gathering by scores of teams that are face-to-face meetings of students, with faculty, with staff, with administrators the jointly do science according to Follett’s Law of the Situation, engage in co-operative study, making actual experiments, evaluate results, and only then make an informed decision about university reorganization. As Follett (1941: 51) puts it “we should try experiments, and note whether they succeed or fail, most important of all, why they succeed or fail.”
6. I recommend NMSU disband Team Six! Team 6 is in charge of reorganizing the colleges, collapsing departments, etc. “Work will begin in February to form a new Team – called Team 6- which will lead our efforts to redesign and streamline our College operations, much as we did with 19 units on the administrative side” This Team 6 is not participative democracy. Rather, it is a rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic, instead of doing ‘real’ scientific methods of university change. What Follett proposes is a joint responsibility for integrative unity, implementing democratic participation by everyone taking responsibility, and jointly analyzing the Total Situation, scientifically.
7. I recommend that NMSU stop using tax money to develop a 27-hole golf course, and in the name of transparency put the reports back on line of how golf at NMSU with 18 holes used one million gallons of water a day, that could be better used by agriculture, keeping the Rio Grande River flowing all year round, getting water to the colonias on both sides of Mexico-New Mexico border. Colonias are considered semi-rural subdivisions of substandard housing lacking basic physical infrastructure, potable water, sanitary sewage, and adequate roads.
8. I recommend that NMSU and New Mexico citizens, deconstruct the TINA Narrative. TINA stands for ‘There Is No Alternative’ a favorite saying of Margaret Thatcher, and repeated by Ronald Ragan, was they went after Public Education budgets. There is an alternative to TINA! The Republican governor and the legislature of New Mexico, the Republican Board of Regents, and the Republican Chancellor, and his Republican economists, say TINA! And NMSU just downsize. I say there is an alternative to TINA! Just stop using roulette speculative capital funding of K-12 and higher education with gas and oil severance taxes. This is the Situation, the facts of the case: Gas and oil is boom and bust cycles, which serve to send public education into downward spiral. Stop TINA narrative. It’s a broken record. Instead, do some democratic participation and problem solving of the root causes of our Situation in New Mexico. The Republican Governor and the legislature need to change the funding to gas and oil taxes, tobacco taxes, etc. so we get off the boom and bust cycle. Hoping for the next gas and oil boom is a form of gambling addition, and its playing casino games with tax payer money.
9. I recommend the Republican governor appoint bipartisan Board of Regents, each of whom has a masters degrees or Ph.D., preferably in Education. The current practice is to appoint Republicans with no degree, or a business background. In this way the Board of Regents would have the requisite competencies to make decisions. The university is not a business and should not be run like one.
10. I recommend we follow Mary Parker Follett’s ways of resolving conflict. There are three ways to resolve conflict. First, by domination, the administrative order (from the Republican Governor to the Republican Board of Regents, to the Republican Chancellor) can implement by domination, by power-over, by top-down authoritarian rule, appoint task teams of narrow or no participation, to decide all the changes made. Second, conflict can be resolved by compromise, where there are sides, and one side wins while the other loses.


Right now students, faculty and staff on losing, forced to comprise to the administrative order. The third way is by integration of the diverse differences that make up a university, and a multicultural state in this land of enchantment. By integrative unity, conflicts are resolves by face-to-face communication, by jointly investigating the facts and values, then jointly fitting the interests into one another (Follett, 1941: 39). Fact-finding in integrative approach to conflict resolution means going beneath the surface, into the whole “field of desire” (Ibid.). NMSU needs to stop with the domination and compromise, and the TINA narrative, and get down to root cause analysis, and using imagination to come up with creative alternatives, then experiment, then analyze results, and only then reorganize the university. That is why Deloitte and Team Six are the biggest mistakes NMSU and the State of New Mexico have made in public administration. It is not democratic. It is not participation. It is not integrative conflict resolution. It is not the science of administration of a public university.

It is through genuine democratic participation in scientific methods, not by Taylorism, and not by administrative coercion, domination, and compromise that New Mexico State University (NMSU) can be saved from ruination.

Mary Parker Follett advocated coactive control as an alternative to Taylor’ scientific management, the expert reengineering of the labor process that treated humans as if they were nothing more than machines. Follett (1941: 117) offered a different foundation of science than Taylorism. Bernie Sanders’ and Follett’s democratic socialism is a viable alternative to the autocratic, strongman, Tweeting leadership of Donald J. Trump and the reengineering downsizing, tuition raising, and tenured faculty displacement with lesser paid and less trained adjunct replacement practices of NMSU. I have been publishing articles with colleagues on why reengineering is the wrong consultative practice to apply to any Public University (PU) (Boje & Hillon, 2017; Boje, Hillon, & Mele, 2017). The wrong models of organizational development are being used to reorganize public universities. NMSU’s business Process Reengineering (BPR) won’t get us to their goal of a 21st Century University. There are predictable consequences of the reengineering. A  Mary Park Follett and Benie Sanders inspired socioeconomic approach is decidedly against reengineering, and is proposed here as an alternative path forward. A socioeconomic approach, so inspired, (Worley et al, 2015) builds human potential and launches revenue development projects self-financed by diagnosing and redressing hidden costs.

What will the future of higher education be in New Mexico?

Will the public university go the way of the dinosaur, becoming extinct, unable to adapt to the ‘free market’ Laissez-faire (or neoliberal, or knowledge economy) capitalism? Or, will the democratic socialism practices of Mary Parker Follett and the Bernie Sanders’ promises free tuition for all students attending public universities (and colleges) win out?

NMSU is betting its future on privatization, cost-control, displacing full-time tenure lines with adjusts, mallification (turning universities into malls of shopping at Barnes & Noble, Starbuck, and fast food joints), more marketing budgets, and expanding athletics and golf courses to by the adaptive strategy of laissez-faire capitalism. This is also called academic capitalism (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997: 11) defined as  “market and market-like behaviors on the part of universities and faculty”, a focus on for-profit activity and market competition for every facet of the university.

The Public University (PU) is facing major problems and may not survive. Since the Thatcher/Reagan years, funding for PU has been declining, and a neoliberal agenda has appealed to state legislatures in the US to defund them (Plant, 2010; Newfield, 2008, 2016). The PU was declared to be a commodity, rather than a ‘public good’ that would be central to democracy of educated citizens. Tuitions increased steadily since the 1980s, and in California, a PU education can exceed $250,000 to earn an undergraduate diploma. Specific aspects of Pus need analysis. For example, with neoliberalism, and a lack of state funding, the PU responded by engaging in academic capitalism (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997).

NMSU has been hiring experts in downsizing, outsourcing, and reengineering to bring about its academic capitalism. For instance, Deloitte consulting was paid $618,905 for 10- week study to address its organizing problems at New Mexico State University. NMSU has 6 layers of bureaucracy, with too many people doing financial ret tape meddling, and too few people reporting to administrative posts that have mushroomed in past decades (Williams, 2015; Villagram, 2015). The outside expert consultancy is combined with strange “arbitrary authority” of the Republican President, the Republican Governor, the appointed Republican Board of Regents, and the Republican Chancellor, has created a state of public education disaster in New Mexico. At each level in this chain of command, leaders are carrying out domination by sheer force of strongman (or strongwoman) personality. The problem is the personality cult of leadership is divorced from science. “A trembling subordinate enters, states his problem; snap goes the decision from the chair” (Follett, 1941: 119).

Snap goes the decision from Trump about stranding students in airports who have valid visa, and the court swiftly reversed his executive order. Snap goes the decision by Governor Suzanne Martinez, to continue to tie k-12 and higher education funding to gas and oil severance taxes, rather than put education in New Mexico on a solid funding foundation. Snap goes the decision of the Regents to eliminate the equestrian sport, but to invest more an more in football, to eliminate survey engineering department without any study at all, and to build more buildings on campus while defunding faculty and staff lines, and in their latest snap decision to tear out the 18 hole golf course in order for a developer to construct a 27 hole golf course. Snap goes the decision from Chancellor Carruthers to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic by bringing in Deloitte consultants to eliminate faculty and staff lines, and appoint Team Six that will combine any departments across the university that each have fewer than eight faculty left after the downsizing. “ “consolidating or eliminating managerial positions with fewer than three direct reports — while aiming for a target of at least 8-to-1, and ideally 12-to-1” (Williams, 2015, online).

These massive brain ‘administrative heads’ sit in their swivel chairs all day Tweeting and emailing followers their special knowledge, without any scientific research.

NMSU is a vast, complex organization that needs daily and hourly co-ordination that is very different from rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking ship. These co-ordination decisions should rest more than a claim to position ‘rights’ of office, and more than ‘hunch.’ Rather, the need is to have actual scientific foundations for co-ordination. The fatalistic rhythms, the enrollment and funding cycles are now considered susceptible to study, not mysteries beyond the comprehension of humans (Follett, 1941: 120, paraphrase).

Take enrollment, you can calculate pretty well the demand for higher education in New Mexico. Birth rates are falling. “Colleges across New Mexico are seeing falling enrollment, and NMSU has been hit hard. On the main campus in Las Cruces, enrollment dropped to 15,490 students this fall compared with a peak of 18,024 students in fall 2011 – a 14 percent decline”(Villagram, 2015, online). We are told by the Republican economists that education revenue is a function of gas and oil revenue, and as Margaret Thatcher put it “There Is No Alternative” but to downsize, which we now abbreviate as the TINA narrative. However, there are important calculations left out of this TINA narrative. ‘Yes There Are Alternatives’ to pegging education funding in New Mexico to gas and oil revenues. ‘Yes There Are Alternatives’ to the lack of science in Deloitte consulting advice. ‘Yes There Are Alternatives’ to the doctrine of free market capitalism, and it’s what Bernie Sanders calls ‘socialism.’

“A recent YouGov survey found that 43 percent of respondents under the age of 30 had a favorable view of socialism. Only 32 percent had a favorable view of capitalism. Another recent survey, this one by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, found in the words of U.S. News’s Ken Walsh that “[58] percent of young people choose socialism over capitalism [which was chosen by 33 percent of young people] … as the most compassionate system. Sixty-six percent say corporate America ‘embodies everything that is wrong with America,’ compared with 34 percent who say corporate America embodies what’s right with America” (Tupy, 2016: online).

Sanders is not a socialist, he is a ‘social democrat’ advocating democratic socialism (wealth redistribution to achieve income equality brought about by democratic participation). US does not have a pure capitalist economy, it has a mixed economy of private ownership mixed with regulation and taxation. Rather than capitalism separated from government, with the lobbying, the subsidies for oil and gas industries, and so on we have a corporate-government mixture. “Sanders is not a typical socialist. Sure, he believes in a highly regulated and heavily taxed private enterprise, but he does not seem to want the state to own banks and make cars” (Tupy, 2016).

Like Sanders, Mary Parker Follett (1941: 121) was in “favor of deliberate, conscious control of economic forces for the sake of the general social good”. She was not in favor of the “speculative enterprise” so touted in the “doctrine of laissez-faire” or bailing out bankers, “unscrupulousness of competitors, the abominable behavior of trade unions” (IBID., p 121).

To increase staff and faculty salaries without raising tuition is a scientifically solvable problem. The solution is change State of New Mexico’s founding policies, and stop funding buildings at the expense of funding the people who actually deliver education. Stop the formula founding that demands 3% growth in enrollment per year, or cuts of millions in funds. Scientifically, we know that birth rates, and migration into New Mexico have both declined.

New Mexico’s population growth was 1.3% compared to 9.2% in Texas, 8.5% in Colorado, 8.4% in Utah, and 6.8% in Arizona (Quigley, 2016).


Figure 5: New Mexico Population Changes (source Quigley, 2016, online)

“The picture is worse than people think,” Sanderoff said in an interview (Quigley, 2016). The population increase was due entirely to nature; 53,000 more people were born in New Mexico than died. At the same time, 27,000 more people moved out of New Mexico than moved into New Mexico. In 2013-2014 there was negative (-.1%) growth, and in 2014-2015 there was no population growth at all (Quigley, 2016). People with college education are moving out of New Mexico. Jim Peach, for NMSU economics department, testified, “From 2010 to 2014, 21 of the state’s 33 counties lost population. The demographic trends are not the sign of a healthy economy” (Quigley, 2016).

With scientific management (not Taylor’s brand of reengineering), there are several priorities (Follett, 1941: 122):

  1. Efficient management has to take the place of that exploitation of our natural resources whose day is now nearly over.
  2. Keener competition;
  3. Scarcity of labor
  4. Broader conception of the ethics of human relations
  5. Growing idea of business as a public service, which carries with it a sense of responsibility for its efficient conduct.

Follett lived and wrote at a time when U.S. and U.K. were devoted to Taylorism scientific management, to the engineers doing time and motion studies of labor, to get the most efficiency, with no regard to human potential. Fayol created special way of organizing, by a functional system of organization, and established unity of command and centralized direction, which is again the opposite of Follett’s participative, self-organizing, power-sharing approach. Weberian ‘ideal’ bureaucracy form stress a rational functional structure with clear lines of hierarchical authority, technical qualification for jobs, in what Worley et al. (2015: 26) call the ‘soulless iron cage’ that traps individual initiative. This TFW virus systems notion dominates the contemporary organization from the multi-divisional corporation, to the university, and government agencyIn this way we can see how both approaches combine to counteract what Henri Savall and colleagues call the TFW virus (Savall, 1973, 1975, 2003, 2010; Worley, Zardet, Bonnet, & Savall, 2015). TFW stands for Taylorism, Fayolism, and Weberianism, which combine into a sort of virus of public administration that has infected the Public University (PU).

The century old TFW doctrines need to be distinguished from Follett’s focus on human potential (human well being), co-active participation (participation leadership), self-organizing teams, and shared power in a system of organization adaptation to continuously shifting environment. Follett viewed organizational systems as communities of diverse individuals (and networks of self-managed teams) that need not have dominance over one another. The innovative ideas of Follett, her focus in humanizing organizations, building human potential, developing participative leadership systems of co-action and power sharing need to be situated as an alternative to the TFW virus.

O’Connor (2000), Boje and Rosile (2001), and many others have developed the Hegelian dialectic grounding of Follett’s concept. Follett (1924) develops the law of the situation in its “total situation: (p. 152) and “as part of a total process” and “of the continuous process of self-renewal” (p. 153). The total situation is within the “total environment: the “immediate relation to the individual that its forces can be reckoned with both as cause of and effect of his activity, that is, that much of environment which comes within the appreciable range of circular behavior” (p. 109). Circular or integrative behavior is considered “seminal for our future thinking, a conception which is surely destined to influence largely the social sciences: (p. xv).

“Follett’s views are in concert with feminist approaches to the ethical resolution of conflict, which focus on dialectical communication between participants to reach an integrative solution that attends to the needs of all” (Monin & Bathurst, 2008: online). It is a Feminist ontology, the relational aspects of world [and] self without being dualistic (oppositional). Follett’s ontology is the relationality and diversity of industrial democracy, which has no meaningful existence in individualism or in domination in power-over. “Give your difference, welcome my difference, unify all difference in the larger whole–such is the law of growth. The unifying of difference is the eternal process of life–the creative synthesis, the highest act of creation” (Follett, 1918/1926, p. 40).

Follett (p. 163) refers to Hebert Spencer’s social darwinism (survival of the fittest) as a “false political philosophy built on an unrelated individual” and to the “disastrous results of laissez-faire” (p. 163). Follett is looking at dialectics as complex interpenetration in a social process “out of the intermingling, interacting activities of men and women surge up the forces of life” powers are born which we had not dreamed of, ideas take shape and grow, forces are generated which act and react on each other. This is the dialectic of life” (p. 149). Follett’s conflict and power in her notion of integrative unity among differences are embedded within a dialectic process.

I believe that Follett’s philosophy constitutes an alternative to TFW that is consistent with Savall’s socioeconomic approach to management (SEAM). Savall’s recent work is a critique of speculative forms of capitalism. My contribution is to make the connection between SEAM (and TFW) and the work of Mary Parker Follett. This means I need to develop how Follett’s dialectic (Hegelian) approach is similar and different to Savall’s socioeconomic critiques of speculative capitalism. Both share a focus on systems thinking, and both are implementing democratic modes of organizational administration. Follett rejected the idea of Hegelian synthesis as a misunderstanding of Hegelian dialectic. This more precise understanding of dialectic, as the uncovering of differences, and how to develop power-with rather than power-over, is something that could extend the socioeconomic approach of Savall.

Mary Parker Follett (1918) has bearing on the political problems of contemporary Public Universities (PUs). Follett brings many difficulties of the PU to light. In “The New State” Follett establishes a standpoint on the problems between (faculty) labor and (university administration) management, in which case the state provides the capital. Faculty labor power is gathered up and is exercised outside of State government in ways that can influence the State funding of PUs. It is the self-organization of faculty, and students, and staff that can counter the State and negotiate democracy in the future. There are two issues here:

  1. The unique configuration of labor, management, and capital in public universities.
  1. The ability of labor to organize pressure on the state as the holder of capital in this system.

Follett’s democracy is the political dualism of liberty and equality. It’s leaders not bosses in political pluralism. PRUs can enact creative citizenship. “The ‘harmony’ that comes from the domination of one man is not the kind we want” (p. 26). It is not the Board of Regents, to Chancellor or Provost, or the Deans that harmonize cooperation, by bribing, coercing, or bullying faculty, staff, and students into submission.

Let’s look at what Bernie Sanders and Mary Parker Follett would have to say about these five aspects at NMSU that are in need of scientific treatment:

  1. NMSU is touting efficient management while continuing to use 3 million gallons a day (1 million for golf course greens, 1 million for main campus green lawns, & 1 million for human consumption). Expanding golf to 27 holes will not reduce water usage at NMSU.
  2. NMSU is among the least competitive of its peer institutions when it comes to library funding, faculty and staff salaries, time it takes to get Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, and student enrollment (check out the Star Audit, the most non-competitive system in higher education).
  3. NMSU is losing faculty, staff, and middle administration labor to nearby states because salary offers are higher, and there are fewer layers of administration (6 layers at NMSU instead of usual 4 layers at peer universities) and far less red tape barriers).
  4. Ethics of human relations at NMSU has narrowed to filling out tedious online certification quizzes in human subject, and the Family Medical Leave Act, in order to fend off lawsuits brought by parents and employees.
  5. NMSU idea of business is called ‘Academic Capitalism’ (making every facet of NMSU a profit center, at the exclusion of higher education being a ‘public service’ (or a ‘public good’).

Rather than “systematic observation, experiment, and reasoning” through democratic participation proposed by Follett (1941: 123) in the scientific methods, NMSU makes snap decisions, by the Board of Regents to use Deloitte consulting downsizers, and snap a decision by the Chancellor to appoint two college deans and a few others in the college to the ‘Task Force Six’ to carry out cost-cutting and reorganization of departments, the rearranging the deck chairs on this Titanic.

Follett argues that there can be a science of human relations co-operation, to use experiment after experiment in methods of co-operation, pooling results, so an organization can “learn how to co-operate” (Follett, 1941: 123-124).

One of the first things to be done to make NMSU more scientific is to apply scientific methods to the problems NMSU is facing. Rather than scientific management of faculty and staff jobs, we should make an analysis of the Governor’s, Board of Regents’, Chancellor’s, and College dean’s jobs. “We need to get away from tradition, prejudice, stereotypes, guesswork, and find the factual basis for managerial jobs” (p. 125). We know, for example, that administration at NMSU has been expanding (to 6 at NMSU rather than usual 4 layers of hierarchy at peer institutions[1], plus digitalization of faculty and staff and student control has increased dramatically in the last two decades, and that the administrative waste of natural resources (water, lack of xeriscaping of the grounds, over building the campus while cutting back on humans, legislature funding more campus buildings instead of lowering tuition). We know that since NMSU converted from 9-month chairs of department to 12-month department heads in order to effect greater administrative control over faculty, and more power-over faculty, there has been a decrease in what Follett calls co-active control with, and power-with participative democratic governance.

“Bernie Sanders believes that all students deserve the opportunity to receive an affordable, quality education from the earliest stages of schooling to high-level degrees.” In an editorial for the Huffington Post, he asks: “Why do we accept a situation where hundreds of thousands of qualified people are unable to go to college because their families don’t have enough money?” (Feel the Bern):

  1. All public universities should be tuition-free.
  2. Students should not go into student loan debt to pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. When Pell Grants began in 1965 75% of tuition costs were covered, but since 2012 its 32%
  3. Students should not have to reapply every year for their financial aid.
  4. All public universities need to hire more tenured and tenure-track full time faculty, rather than hiring more adjuncts and lower cost college-track (non-research faculty) or over work teaching assistants with heavy course loads.
  5. Student work-study programs should be available to all interested students.
  6. DREAM-ers brought into U.S. at a young age need a fair opportunity to remain in the U.S., get an education, and contribute to the economy.


Figure 6 – Increases in Tuition, Fees, Room and Board since Reaganomics took hold (source).

Times have changed since I went to school, funded by the GI Bill paying Vietnam veterans to go to college, able to work during summers and week ends to keep up with costs of college. I graduated with my Ph.D. in 1978. “In 1978, it was possible for a minimum wage worker to earn the cost of a year’s college tuition over the course of a summer. Today, that same worker would have to work full-time for an entire year – just to cover the cost of tuition” (Feel the Bern).

Why have costs of university education increased so dramatically. For Sanders, it’s the paying university administrators rates similar to CEOs of large corporations, hiring extra administrators (VPs, assistants) to do manage the digital technologies, and its spending on athletic programs with high paid coaches. This diverts student tuition and state funding to projects such as building golf courses, shopping malls, and administrators leaving a legacy of buildings (Skeen Hall, Domenici Hall, the planned shopping mall on campus, a café in Zuhl library now under construction, and so on), rather than actually investing in more full-time tenured faculty and students getting free tuition to directly invest in ‘real’ education. Compare what NMSU is doing with Arrowhead Center to appropriate faculty and student intellectual property rights and give them over to Angel investors and corporations, the mallification of the campus, the expansion of golf course to 32 holes, while demolishing the equestrian program, and so on. Compare this to Bernie Sanders who wants all pubic universities and community colleges to have free tuition. Sanders believes education should be a ‘public good’ not a ‘private commodity.’

When tuition is free to public universities, then family can spend their savings, their liquid capital in the economy, on purchasing goods and services (clothing, electronics, and recreation). This combination of a highly educated work force, an educated citizenry that understands the difference between facts and propaganda, and more shared wealthy will make a positive impact on the U.S. economy.

References for Further Study

Bathurst, R., & Monin, N. (2010). Shaping leadership for today: Mary Parker Follett’s aesthetic. Leadership, 6(2): 115-131.’s_Aesthetic/links/541224d70cf2788c4b355450.pdf

Boje, D. M.; Hillon, Yue; Mele, Tara M. (2017). 21st Century University and the Failure of Business Process Reengineering.Accepted Jan 6 2017, will be published in Organization Development Journal, Spring 2017 – Volume 35, Number 1.  Click here for pre-press PDF.

Boje, D. M.; Hillon, Yue. 2017. “The Dialectical Development of “Storytelling” Learning Organizations: A Case Study of a Public Research University” accepted Feb 6 2017 for publication in The Learning Organization journal.  Click here for PDF

Boje, D. M., & Rosile, G. A. (2001). Where’s the power in empowerment? Answers from Follett and Clegg. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 37(1), 90-117.

Eylon, D. (1998). Understanding empowerment and resolving its paradox: Lessons from Mary Parker Follett. Journal of Management History, 4(1), 16-28.

Fayol, H. (1949). General and Industrial Management Translated by J.A. Coubrough, London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, from French 1916.


Follett, M. P. (1898). The Speaker of the House of Representatives. Longmans, Green & Co. NY, NY.

Follett, M. P., & Hart, A. B. (1902). The Speaker of the House of Representatives with an Introduction by AB Hart. Longmans, Green, & Company.

Follett, M. P. (1918). The New State: Group organization the solution of popular government. University Park, PN: Penn State Press.

Follett, M. P. (1919). Community is a process. The Philosophical Review, 28(6), 576-588.

Follett, M. P. (1924/1930). Creative Experience. Рипол Классик; NY/London: Longmans, Green and Co. on line at

Follett, M. P. (1926). The giving of orders. Scientific foundations of business administration, 156-162.

Follett, M. P. (1941). Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of mary Parker Follett, edited by Metcalf, H. C., & Urwick, L. F. NY/London: Harper and Brothers.

Follett, M.P. (1949.1987). Freedom and Co-ordination. Lectures in Business Organization. Edited, with an Introduction by L. Urwick. NY/London: Garland Publishing.

Kaag, J. (2008). Women and forgotten movements in American philosophy: the work of Ella Lyman Cabot and Mary Parker Follett. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy, 44(1), 134-157.

Melé, D. (2007). Ethics in management: Exploring the contribution of Mary Parker Follett. International Journal of Public Administration, 30(4), 405-424.

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What is Relationship of Ensemble Leadership Theory to Hegel’s and Mary Parker Follett’s Dialectic?



Mary Parker Follett learned Hegel in school, and then wrote about how the dialectic process can be an alternative way of leadership, consulting, and democracy.

After yesterday’s (Feb 22, 2017) class on Ensemble Leadership Theory (ELT, for short) (Mgt 388v), I went to a small Mexican Market to get bananas and tomatoes. I ran into two people that are relevant to homework questions:

1.) How is the first follower the most important leader (in Ensemble Leadership Theory, ELT for short)?

2.) In your goal to be more sustainable in everyday life, what major changes can you make and how will it affect you, the people around you, and your communities (again, please use ELT notions).

STORY ONE: The clerk at the Mexican Grocery Store.

I asked “How are you doing?”

“Better since I began working here”, he replies.

“How so?”

“My last job, I worked under a micro-manager. She stood over me telling me everything to do, how to do it, and it was not a good experience”, said the clerk.

“I know what you mean. I teach leadership. Micromanaging is ruining the country, and it’s an addiction at my university. Too much hierarchy, red tape, too many bully bosses”, I replied.

“Here I am my own boss, I get to make decisions on how to handle customers, what to reorder, and so on. We all work together here”, said the clerk.

“We called that ‘Ensemble Leadership’ in class today”, I replied.

Story Interpretation: The young man had gotten beyond the former micro-managed power-over boss into a Situation where and ensemble of leaders are engaged in what Follett calls power-with, rather than the old, power-over kind of leadership. Giving a taste of freedom to self-organize in the store, he was able to reflect upon what was here and now, and how different it was from what he left behind in the micromanaging world, I call XYZ, in-the-box leadership in America.


Figure 1 – The In-the-Box of XYZ ‘dead’ leadership Notions (see for more info.

What are the X, Y, and Z dimensions of In-the-Box leadership?

X Dimension – Transactional to transformational leadership, as studied by Burns (1978) and Bass (1985). This is a classic dualism in leadership studies.  Burns looked at modal thinking (the means over ends reasoning) in the early stages of development and held these leaders to be “transactional.” Transactional leadership “requires a shrewd eye for opportunity, a good hand at bargaining, persuading, reciprocating” (Burns, 1978:169). A “transformational leader,” on the other hand, “recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower… (and) looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower” (p. 4).

X – Are you more transactional or transformational in your leader personality, style and the organization situation you lead?

Y Dimension – From the Will to Server to the Nietzschean Will to Power. The Will to Power is specifically excluded from transaction and transformational leader theory by both Burns and Bass. I therefore treat it as a second dimension of leadership.  It is quite silly study leadership as just a well to serve; many leaders pursue power, some are able to do good things with it, others are swallowed by power. Nietzsche wrote about Will-to-Power (WTP) and Thus Spoke Zarathustra (TSZ) as having something to do with the will to initiate and implement a goal as well as the more macro construct of Darwin’s theory of natural section, the power to transform the inherited advantages from generation to generation (WTP #362). And WTP is also a Will to Truth (TSZ, pp. 28, 113). The WTP is a will to overcome the small people, “they are the superman’s greatest danger” (TSZ, p. 287). And the superleader is not satisfied with the happiness of the greatest number of workers or consumers (TSZ, p. 287). The Super leaders sees the abyss with the eyes of an eagle and grasps the abyss of poverty and misery with the talons of an eagle (TSZ, p. 288).

Y- Are you more about will-to-serve or will-to-power in your leader personality, style and the organization situation you lead?
Z Dimension  – From monophonic (single voice) narrative to (polyphonic) narrative. Some leaders cultivate one voice, their own, and others are more pluralistic, able to create polyphonic leadership.

First – there was one voice -In bureaucratic theater, there is mostly monologue. In bureaucratic leadership, for example, there is mostly monologue; other voices are there on the stage but forbidden to speak, or they can only be whispered, their words unhearable, drowned out by the one official narrator who is authorized to take center-stage and speak and speak some more.  As Kirkeby (2000: 232) argues it is the right of power to narrate events, to declare them romantic, tragic, comedic, or ironic, and then of course make them all into a romantic narratives that fits the bureaucratic pension for monophonic (single voiced) influence.   For any other voice to speak would be an act of bureaucratic espionage; certainly for the secretary to speak would be unthinkable rebellion.

Second – there were two voices – In the Quest two or more players take the stage, but it is rarely more than dialog. In dialogue the “I” and the “Other” take the stage and we hear voices, but little reflection. It is no longer the monologue of the I declaring the Other as villain. The Other gets to speak and be heard by the ‘I.”

Third – there were three voices – To me, this voice that Kirkeby describes is the same one discovered long ago by Adam Smith. Smith looked at global capitalism and say that without ethics events might well follow a logic of the market place that would not lead to ethical relations among buyer and seller, employer and employed, monopolist and entrepreneur. It is the internal spectator, the voice that speaks to us while observing the First and Second (the I and the Other) rehearse there dialogue on the stage in our mind’s eye. And in this model, even two actors on the stage visualize the dialogue of the Triad in their own head, but as well in the head of the other.

Fourth – then there were four voices – This is a very special voice, one we sense is about to speak but does not, one that is on the stage but stays in the shadows. In the Fourth, “the event is never over and done with” (Kirkeby, 2000: 237). And with the about to speak voice of the Fourth, we are intuitively aware of the simulation and almost can here the polyphony of voices, a mob about to take storm the stage. We may hear a groan, a murmur, a mumbling sound, but we can never quite make out the words. We can sense somehow the bureaucratic machine, the quest journey, and even chaos itself are just mythic metaphors some people have speculated and articulated about the web of human events (web is yet another one, as it theater a metaphor). We sense the gap, and we know with one more step we will certainly fall into chaos. See Boje (2000c) for more on the multiple voices of leadership.

I could try to stay in the XYZ-Box, and say ELT is X-transformational; Y-will-to-serve, and Z-four voices. And that micromanaging is the opposite: X-transactional-micromanager; Y-will-to-power, and Z-One-Voice (micromanager in the usual bureaucratic theater. The problem, of course, is that ELT is dialectical development process, and its Out-of-the-XYZ-Box.

The clerk in the Mexican store is here and now, Out-of-the-XYZ-Box, and traversing the Situation of ELT. He has discovered his own agency, the capacity he is building that he is building for power-with (as Follett calls it). He is out of the chaos of micromanagement, able to make choice according to what Follett calls the Law of the Situation. He is obeying the Situation, instead of obeying the bullying micromanager doing her micromanaging of another human being.

Story Interpretation To me this first story is a beautiful example of the dialectical development of ELT. He is like an acorn seed about to become a mighty oak tree (Hegel, 1807, see Preface, section #3 for tree story). He us Out-of-the-XYZ-Box, and most likely, will never go back into such a Situation. He is like a bod on that tree, with some tree roots extended, and knows some fruit is about to happen in his life space. He is fleeing the micromanaged Box and engaged in moments of leader development, necessary in his Self-development.

Usually a ‘how are you’ is a superficial moment between clerk and customer. But this is a necessary moment, where I can reinforce the process of his dialectical development, and my own, as well. For both of us, ELT, here and now, lacks actual existence (IBID, Hegel #3). The bud, for each of us, is not yet a blossom, and even with the blossom, it has no fruit, not yet. He and I, tarry for awhile, noticing our respective moves away from the XYZ-Box, into exploring a new emerging shape and form of leadership, one I hope is ELT arriving from its future, like the way the oak arrives from the acorn.

In early dialectical stages you get acquainted with the general conception of XYZ-leadership, then learn to refute it, as the concrete abundance of life comes your way in all its richness (Hegel, #4).

Hegel wants Science to be part of what is grasping the sequential existence of something emergent, manifesting, in actuality, which in this case study in this first story, is ELT. ELT is one its day in its dialectical development to become the new leadership science. Its necessity seems obvious to the young clerk and to myself.

The truth of the existence of Out-0f-the-Box-ELT is only an assertion, something it will take science to study and verify, and to make the refutation, it is better than XYZ, better than micromanaging, better than structural-functionalism, better than strongman leadership. Right now I have “intuition” (#6). What is required is an exposition of the Notion, of this intuition, in the abductive logic (abductive is a wild guess, a hunch, an assertion; comes from pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce, his triadic of induction-deduction-abduction, and a kindred dialectic that is beyond our scope).

STORY TWO: The Man Panhandling Outside the Store

As I exit the little Mexican store, I am confronted by a man asking me for spare-change. I stare at him in disbelief. We had just talk of the homeless Situation in Las Cruces in the Leadership in Society class (Feb 22 2017 Mgt 388v). The presenting team did a Forum Theater skit linking homelessness views in New Mexico to ELT. Should you give money to the homeless? Definitely not, said the class, and me. Give it to social service agencies. Come with me and the American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans Chapter, the Legion Riders Chapter (I belong to all three) and collect food and cash donations in front of Wal-Mart, almost monthly, in Las Cruces that we hand over to Gospel Rescue Mission, Mesilla Valley Community of Hopes, Oak Street veterans apartments, the Soup Kitchen, the Veterans Home, and so on.

I decide to ask some questions. “Are you homeless?”

“No”, he replies, “I live in a house across the highway. My truck transmission is busted, and I have no way to earn a living without it.” FYI: Panhandling in Las Cruces, is a $500 fine (I keep this to myself).

“I need to buy some food at Family Dollar, for the family”, he continues. I think about all this, looking him in the eye, and wandering what is the right thing to do? Do I give, or not? Do I go with him to Family Dollar, and make sure the money goes to food. I decide that would be micro-managing the Situation. He is coherent, does not seem drunken, etc. He is not aggressive.

“Do you know where to get free food? I ask. He shakes his head. “You can go to the Soup Kitchen at Mesilla Valley Community of Hope campus, for free lunch, and fore free dinner, to the Gospel Rescue Mission. They also have free clothing, and so on”, I add.

“I think I would like to do that”, he says, smiling, looking me in the eye. Its what I call an abductive moment, and I reach my decision.

I pull out three, dollar bills. I usually don’t open my wallet, but place is well lit, and I am in eyesight of the young clerk in the store.

I get in my car with my groceries. As I wait on traffic, so I can back out of my parking place, I notice him enter Family Dollar. Trust the Law of the Situation, obey that law, says Follett.

Dénouement I am in a period of transition, a new era of leadership is emerging, and I am helping it along. MY leadership until 2000, was out of the XYZ-box, and it was in the past, since I took my first leadership course in my Ph.D. program at University of Illinois, taught by leadership theorist Greg Oldham, back in 1976. He said, ‘leadership has been dead for 50 years” and that was some 40 years ago, 90 all total. That is how long we have known and taught the XYZ-In-The-Box approaches.

My two stories are a “qualitative leap” into a new leadership formation, taking its shape, as I encounter the “vague foreboding of something unknown, these are the heralds of approaching change” (Hegel, 1807: # 11). Foreboding means something bad is going to happen, and it’s an intuition. On one hand, ELT is emerging Out-of-the-XYZ-Box, but on the other hand, a fearful apprehension, an anxiety, some trepidation, and a dread of alarm that the ELT will not surface fast enough to be the future of these two heralds of storytelling. The two heralds, the store clerk, the begging man, are part of the sunburst, a brief abductive flash at the little Mexican store, a glimpse of the new world of leadership Out-of-the-XYZ-Box, and the antithesis, that its too little ELT, and too late.

The point of the ELT’s class event, their Forum Theater, is that ‘we the people’ are the creators and agents of the Situation, both herald are facing, the micromanaging everywhere, as we saw in last week’s class 39% of Americans work for a bully boss, and as we discussed Feb 22nd, there is a growing homelessness in USA, and all the donations generously given in front of the Wal-Mart is not closing the gap of need.

What is dialectic?

There are many kinds of dialectic. Hegel (1807) wrote against the idea of a ‘synthesis’ kind of dialectic. You have heard of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. Do a search of Hegel’s book online, and you will not fund the word ‘synthesis.’ If you read a commentator on Hegel, and they tell you Hegel’s dialectic is thesis-antithesis-synthesis, they really never read Hegel at all. Close the book, and go to the original. Instead of synthesis, Hegel wrote about a kind of dialectic where thesis and antithesis in a conflict unfolding, each have contradictions that come forth, and those difference keep intertwining in entanglement after entanglement. See Appendix for more on dialectic.

For dialectical development Hegel (1807: #12) gives the example of the newborn child. The newborn need a lot of what I call ‘fore-caring’ by its parents, and by Science. Hegel calls Science the “crown of Spirit: in the beginnings, the newborn, in this case ELT, is in its beginnings, it is in the midst of widespread upheaval in the USA, a “complicated” and “tortuous” requiring “strenuous effort” along an unfolding path way beyond the “simple Notion of the whole”, as the “Science” makes it way.   “The new spirit is the product of widespread upheaval in various forms of culture” (IBID, #12). Leadership science, the science of ELT is newborn, and in a Situation, the newborn is taking her first steps, and acquiring, newly born meaning.

While the initial appearance of ELT is being unveiled, in the class event of Forum Theater, in the stories of the two heralds, it is a precarious existence of the newborn. The newly emerging shape of ELT, making antithesis opposition to XYZ-Box, and tarrying with some story encounters, at the Mexican story. It helps make articulations that give the appearance of ELT Being-present, Being-here, in manifestations that are somewhat comprehensible, somewhat intelligible, already familiar to me in an unscientific way. These close encounters with direct access ELT, are in the early stages, and no where near ready to refute the criticisms of 90 years of In-the-Box-XYZ leadership scientists. The struggles of leadership in society (Mgt 388v) are to find intelligibility, to get at stories of first sightings of ELT, to create the ground for ELT science to emerge. I have said XYZ-In-the-Box leadership has unfulfilled promises (Hegel, #14), and so does ELT. XYZ is everywhere in American organizations of every kind (business, government, non-profit, university, and so on). But ELT is hardly anywhere, in a classroom, once, in and out of a Mexican store in Las Cruces, twice.

The PowerPoint, the formula I gave, on Feb 22, 2017 in the Leadership in Society course:


Figure 2: How Mary Parker Follett is a Dialectical Development from Hegel

Mary Parker Follett, has this Notion of the dialectic, where the common purpose of a group (organization or society) can allow ‘invisible leaders’ (they are not people, but something non-corporeal), allows the kind of power-with, so that group, we (Rosile, Boje, & Inez, 2016) are calling ELT, can obey the situation.

There are a few more Notions that Follett draws from Hegel’s dialectical development approach.


Figure 3 – How ELT relates to Six Key Notions of Follett’s Dialectic

Follett wanted to resolve conflicts by integrative unity, rather than by domination or by forcing ‘compromises.’ Genuine democracy is not majority rule, not that shallow vote sort of democracy, rather its having groups that self-organize, self-manage, and are at the community level, and the backbone of a business, or a university. The Law of the Situation, is as they say in Dragnet ‘Just the Facts’ but it’s a jointly studied Situation, and an agreement by all parties, all sides, to do co-inquiry into the facts of the Situation, including how the Situation is emerging, changing, and moving along. Celebrate diversity, means treating differences and diversity of cultures as an assets, rather than trying to eliminate diversity, integrate the differences, into something creative in what we now call Problem-Based-Learning (in Denmark). Grow your power-with, avoid power-over, and learn that no one can empower you, you have to Self-Empower your own Self by gaining capacity for power. Invisible Leaderà Common Purpose means that the Situation itself is the ‘invisible leader’ and by scientific co-study, joint-projects of inquiry across divides, it is possible to create common purpose, which for me, is the basis and foundation of Ensemble Leadership.

“To me, this comes out in Follett’s appreciation of Hegel’s dialectic. Its not the tired old saw of these-antithesis-synthesis. The point of Hegelian dialectic is there is no synthesis, as Follett puts it, just continuously evolving Situation in a play of differences in the Whole Situation” (See blog post How to Implement Ensemble Leadership Practices at a Public University? For more on this point).

What is Ensemble Leadership Theory?

Ensemble Leadership Theory (ELT, for short) is the rescue of an old tribal approach to leadership that is thousands of years old, recovered in a paper just published by Rosile, Boje, and Nez (2016, click for online version). Its next iteration is in the Follett concepts in Figures 2 and 3 above,

We don’t delve into the Hegel or the Follett roots of ELT in the article. This exploration I am doing here and now with you.

What are the Follett Relations to ELT?

Follett brilliantly was able to put Hegel’s dialectics into accessible writing. As I summarize in my blog post: “Ensemble Leadership is about democratic participative leadership displacing top-down leadership in the public university, and in society.  It is closing the circle, so there is two-way influence, not one-way influence. By closing the circle, Mary Parker Follett is referring to Hegel, to a dialectic that had a manifesting spirit, in the spirit of reason, and that included scientific methods of working out a Situation. Ensemble Leadership is dialectic, and it is the Law of the Situation, surrender to the situation, just like Alice in Wonderland. What is a university if not a Wonderland? “”You must remember how Alice in Wonderland had to run as fast as she could to stand still” (Follett, p. 264). Is that not how fast our adjuncts and graduate student teachers are running? Ensemble Leadership is fore-caring for the good of the New Mexico Community (the nation, the world) and its fore-caring for the ecology, it’s fore-caring for the Total Situation of NMSU” (IBID.). And a bit more “Follett rejected the idea of Hegelian synthesis as a misunderstanding of Hegelian dialectic. This more precise understanding of dialectic, as the uncovering of differences, and how to develop power-with rather than power-over, is something that could extend the socioeconomic approach of Savall” (IBID, Savall is text we use in Mgt448 small business consulting). Fore-caring is my own term, colleagues and I use to explore ways in which Martin Heidegger made his corrections to Hegel’s dialectics (that is something I teach in Mgt 685 and Mgt 655 doctoral courses).

It is more than the opposition between truth and falsity. That simplistic opposition does not comprehend the diversity of systems of unfolding of truth in its dialectical process. We have in the United States and in our university more than simple disagreements (# 2, Hegel, 1807, Phenomenology of Spirit).


I have this gives you some Notion of the development possibilities of ELT, how we are dipping our toes into the new ELT Science of leadership how self-organizing, self-differentiating, self-integrating can help us arrive Out-of-the-Box, then realize there is no Box, but the one of our own making. The Situation is changing, evolving, and morphing into something else. I believe it is calling forth as invisible leader, the new paradigm of leadership, the newborn, called ELT.

I made some recommendations at a speech on Valentine’s Day:

1.No tuition for students attending public universities and colleges. Public education is a ‘social good’ a way to build middle class mobility.

2.Increase number of full-time tenure line faculty because the quality of teaching and learning goes up with more faculty, not with more administrators.

3.Adopt Mary Parker Follett’s (1941: 94) recommendation to have the imagination to see the possibilities of enterprise democracy to ‘integrative unity.” The university is not a business and should not be run like one.

4.Mary Parker Follett’s consulting approach be adopted and NMSU never again hire the Deloitte consulting firm, who were paid $622,700 dollars of tax payer money for 10 weeks and one PowerPoint presentation to Board of Regent and the Chancellor, and Deloitte is not scientifically proven to be best practice, are actually discredited in peer-reviewed studies

5.Abolish ‘Team Six’ rearranging deck chairs on our Titanic. Alternative is science, fact-gathering by scores of teams that are face-to-face meetings of students, with faculty, with staff, with administrators the jointly do science according to Follett’s Law of the Situation, engage in co-operative study, making actual experiments, evaluate results, and only then make an informed decision about university reorganization. As Follett (1941: 51) puts it “we should try experiments, and note whether they succeed or fail, most important of all, why they succeed or fail.”

6. Embrace diversity and our differences. Do ‘real’ scientific methods of university change. What Follett proposes is a joint responsibility for integrative unity, implementing democratic participation by everyone taking responsibility, and jointly analyzing the Total Situation, scientifically.

7. Stop using tax money to develop a 27-hole golf course, and in the name of transparency put the reports back on line of how golf at NMSU with 18 holes used one million gallons of water a day, that could be better used by agriculture, keeping the Rio Grande River flowing all year round, getting water to the colonias on both sides of Mexico-New Mexico border. Colonias are considered semi-rural subdivisions of substandard housing lacking basic physical infrastructure, potable water, sanitary sewage, and adequate roads.

8. Deconstruct the TINA Narrative. TINA stands for ‘There Is No Alternative’ a favorite saying of Margaret Thatcher, and repeated by Ronald Regan, was they went after Public Education budgets. There is an alternative to TINA! Just stop using roulette speculative capital funding of K-12 and higher education with gas and oil severance taxes. This is the Situation, the facts of the case: Gas and oil is boom and bust cycles, which serve to send public education into downward spiral. Hoping for the next gas and oil boom is a form of gambling addition,

9. Our governor appoint a bipartisan Board of Regents, each of whom has a masters degrees or Ph.D., preferably in Education.

10. Follow Mary Parker Follett’s ways of resolving conflict. There are three ways to resolve conflict. First, by domination, the administrative order (from Governor to Board of Regents, to the Chancellor) can implement by domination, by power-over, by top-down authoritarian rule, appoint task teams of narrow or no participation, to decide all the changes made. Second, conflict can be resolved by compromise, where there are sides, and one side wins while the other loses. Resolve conflicts by integrating differences in creative problem soling, where we co-actively and jointly obey the Law of the Situation, study it with scientific methods, experiments, sharing results, and make democratic intelligent decisions based on the facts of the situation (not majority vote, not domination, not compromise, rather by integrative unity).

See previous blogs on Mary Parker Follett and Ensemble Leadership


PowerPoint, on Mary Parker Follett and Ensemble Leadership I gave, on Feb 22, 2017 in the Mgt 388v Leadership in Society course


Follett, M. P. (1898). The Speaker of the House of Representatives. Longmans, Green & Co. NY, NY.

Follett, M. P., & Hart, A. B. (1902). The Speaker of the House of Representatives with an Introduction by AB Hart. Longmans, Green, & Company.

Follett, M. P. (1918). The New State: Group organization the solution of popular government. University Park, PN: Penn State Press.

Follett, M. P. (1919). Community is a process. The Philosophical Review, 28(6), 576-588.

Follett, M. P. (1924/1930). Creative Experience. Рипол Классик; NY/London: Longmans, Green and Co. on line at

Follett, M. P. (1926). The giving of orders. Scientific foundations of business administration, 156-162.

Follett, M. P. (1941). Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett, edited by Metcalf, H. C., & Urwick, L. F. NY/London: Harper and Brothers.

Follett, M.P. (1949.1987). Freedom and Co-ordination. Lectures in Business Organization. Edited, with an Introduction by L. Urwick. NY/London: Garland Publishing.

Heon, F.; Davis, A.; Jones-Patulli, J.; Damart, S. (2014). The Essential Mary Parker Follett Ideas we Need Today. Published by the authors. ISBN: 978-0-9939553-0-3

Rosile, Grace Ann; Boje, David M.; Nez, Carma Claw. (2016). “Ensemble Leadership Theory: Collectivist, Relational, and Heterarchical Roots from Indigenous Contexts.” Leadership journal. CLICK HERE for online PDF

Hegel. (1807). The Phenomenology of Spirit. Translated by A. V. Miller with analysis and foreword by J. N. Findlay, Oxford University Press download online version:

Attachment Size
Phenomenology of Spirit – G. W. F. Hegel.epub 638.7 KB
Phenomenology of Spirit – G. W. F. 1.04 MB

Rosile, Grace Ann; Boje, David M.; Nez, Carma Claw. (2016). “Ensemble Leadership Theory: Collectivist, Relational, and Heterarchical Roots from Indigenous Contexts.” Leadership journal. Online at


APPENDIX: From chapter I am doing for Book on Follett and Hegelian Dialectic

“Many scholars have ignored or failed to recognize the Hegelian and dialectic roots of Mary Parker Follett’s work. Salimath and Lemak (2004), for example, do not review dialectics or Hegelian philosophy as influential to Follett’s lifelong learning philosophy. Bathurst and Monin (2010) miss the Hegelian aspects of Follett’s key notions, such as circularity, and treat dialectic as a simple paradox: “Follett’s philosophy leads her to insist on circularity as her predominant construct, for circularity implies continual movement and renegotiation of meanings” (p. 128). Eylon (1998) remarks how Follett applies dialectic and cyclical process to empowerment, but misses how Follett is thoroughly Hegelian. “Until we acknowledge the dynamic and dialectic nature of empowerment, and the potential this offers to organizations, its value is limited” (Eylon, 1998: 25).

Follett (1918) comments on false readings of Hegel is widespread and even the pragmatist William James misses how their solution is against the spirit of Hegel (p. 266-267). Hegel reconciles it in the not in of the ‘compounding of consciousness’ (total relativity where the true Self is not warring against the Whole) (p. 266). Follett (p. 163) refers to Hebert Spencer’s social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) as a “false political philosophy built on an unrelated individual” and to the “disastrous results of laissez-faire” (p. 163). Follett is looking at dialectics as complex interpenetration in a social process “out of the intermingling, interacting activities of men and women surge up the forces of life” powers are born which we had not dreamed of, ideas take shape and grow, forces are generated which act and react on each other. This is the dialectic of life” (p. 149). Follett’s conflict and power in her notion of integrative unity among differences are embedded within a dialectic process.

Verstegen and Rutherford (2000: 209-210) attribute synthesis to Hegel in the misguided model of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. Hegel never used the term synthesis, and saw dialectic as an uncovering of successive contradictions. As Kaag (2008: 149) explains: ‘Follett’s understanding of ideal group dynamics stands apart from a standard understanding of consensus formation, compromise, or political unity. She explains that “to integrate is not to absorb, melt, fuse or reconcile in the so-called Hegelian sense. The creative power of the individual appears not when one wish dominates others, but when all wishes unite in a working whole’ (Follett, 1919: 576).””