Dark Side of Business Storytelling Discourses: Implications for United Nations Actually Meeting Sustainable Development Goals

This is part II of my post on Dark Side of Business Storytelling Discourses.

I want to combine storytelling with discourse because they are inseparable, thoroughly entangled, and cannot be dissevered. My solution is to look at how storytelling (narratives & stories) are constituted by what I call antenarratives (what comes before narratives & stories, and the various ‘bets on the future’). Right now the business storytelling ‘bet on the future’ is that the status quo scenario of business-as-usual will resolve the situation of Sixth Extinction (Boje, 2019a) and there is some kind of magical Planet B from which to get more fresh water as the global warming on Planet A, leaves it too dry to support most humans, especially poor and minority humans, and most other species as well. So what if the 1% survives the rise in temperature beyond 2 degrees Centigrade, or even finds a shelter from 4 or 6 degrees. Most coastal areas will have sea rise, and their fresh water aquifers will urn brackish, with the rising temperatures, more evaporation, but are retention of it in the vapor atmosphere, which means less rainfall, and when it does its storms and flash flooding. I life in the desert and I hear we had 15 inches of rain a year when we moved here in 1996, but now there is 10 inches, and next year less than that as the global warming continues.

I am focusing on the water catastrophes that are entangled with global warming. Water is life, and we humans can only live threes days before our organs shut down, and then we die.  You might think that is the dark side of storytelling, buy you’d be wrong. The dark side is how business storytelling does not tell it like it is, and instead tells unrealistic stories of how economy growth can keep happening with various sustainability development scenarios. The problem is continued economy growth is incompatible with sucking the planet dry of its water and other natural environment capacities to support life on Earth.

There are three peak water crises (renewable, non-renewable, & ecological peaks)  that Circular Economy and Triple Bottom Line (3BL) are blind too. My storytelling discourse research finds this is because we in the business school have reduced deep ecology to a watered-down, shallow approach known as ‘corporatized environmentalism’ that promises continued economy growth is compatible with continued sustainable development. The fallacy of the circular economy is it does not account for the fact that the small gains in recycling and reducing in the circular economy are grossly insufficient to deal with the outcomes of growing and expanding the circular economy each year, thereby increasing the CO2 emissions making it impossible to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

peak water apocalypse.png

Figure 1: The Three Peak Water Events that Circular Economy is Not Accounting for Adapted from Boje and Mølbjerg Jørgensen 2018


The fallacy of Triple Bottom Line (3BL) is it assumes that there is or can be equality between Profit, Planet, and People metrics (Boje, 2016).

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a narrative expectation of transformation, how the future of life on Earth will unfold, if and only if, CO2 emissions are contained so that global warming does not change the hydrological cycle. This overarching narrative of the UN SDGs is presented in gray.

orverarching UN SDGs narrative.png

Figure 2: The Overarching Narrative of the United Nations attempts to avert Apocalypse Doomsday Scenarios source https://swed.bio/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2.-Introduction.pdf

To avoid the catastrophes of the Sixth Extinction, various turgets and indicators have to be met by 2030, or the capacity of nature’s systems to support life on Earth will deteriorate.

All United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are Not Created Equal.

We need to deconstruct the ways economy SDGs Trump (yes its a pun) the society and the biosphere SDGs. How to relate the 17 UN SDGs to Business storytelling discourses. First sort the 17 UN SDGs into Biosphere, Society, Economy, and Partnering relationships. You will notice without the Biosphere there is no society and no economy.

BIOSPHERE is telling a story of Earth’s capacity to support life

biosphere sdgs.png

SOCIETY has problems and issues that are entangled with the life capacity of the biosphere. These are all important, but it takes Biosphere to support life.

society sdgs.png

ECONOMY growth is impacting not only society (the socio-economic nexus) but depleting the biosphere capacity to support life of all species. It’s not all about the economy. It takes a functioning Biosphere to support an economy.

economy sdgs.png

PARTNERING between the biosphere, society, and economy is necessary to keep the transformation from exceeding tipping points

17 SGG partnering.png

Yes, partnering between organizations is important to bring about changes in society SDGs and in Economy SDGs. However, without partnering with the Biosphere, living and doing economy within planetary capacity limits, it’s game over. There is No Planet B where we can draw more water, get clean air, and soil to grow food. Humans are not the only species. We are one among millions of species, all with rights to water.


Boje, D. M. (2016). Critique of the Triple Bottom Line. Pp. 181-198 in Grace Ann Rosile (ed.) Tribal Wisdom for Business Ethics. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Boje, D. M. (2019a). Global Storytelling: There is No Planet B. Singapore/London/NY: World Scientific.

Boje, D. M. (2019b). Organizational Research: Storytelling In Action. London/NY: Routledge.

Boje, D. M. (2019c, in process). Storytelling Interventions in Global Water Crisis.Singapore/London/NY: World Scientific.


How to develop a University of the Future at New Mexico State University?

Updated with input by staff, heads of departments, and faculty comments on Feb 26, 2017. Thank you all for your inputs


Abstract The current university strategy to lower costs, by zero participation of faculty, students, staff, and workers at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in the selection of ‘Team 6’ appointments, zero solicitation of our ideas for change, and zero consultation with the entire university, is quite alarming. The implementation of ‘Team 6’ continues the downsizing and cost cutting, the exodus of faculty, staff, students, and workers fleeing NMSU. Team 6 is an outgrowth of the unscientific, antiquated consulting advice of Deloitte consultants who in 10 weeks, with zero input from the entire university, changed the university $622,700 for their downsizing, and span of control reorganization strategy. Teams 1 to 5 did downsize our staff, with zero input from the staff. Now Team 6 will carry on Deloitte’s unscientific (and peer-reviewed journals show the inefficacy of Deloitte’s business process reengineering strategies that have failed both business and education, since 1996). Team 6 is a strategy of defensiveness to the budget deficit of the State of New Mexico’s legislature, its over-dependence on gas and oil severance taxes, and its refusal to reform the tax base of its K-12 and higher education.   Rather than continue this inane external consultancy unscientific approach called Team 6, I propose a useful and scientifically validated modification. I will propose a viable alternative to Team 6, one successfully implemented in 2500 organizations around the world, and its self-financing, is not downsizing, does control costs, and leaders to higher quality outcomes. It is called the Socio-Economic approach because it combines a social emancipation of human potential in an economic understanding of how to create a quality university that sustains high professional performance of students, faculty, staff, and administrators. And we have the technology, the knowledge, and the expertise here at NMSU. So why not let Team 6 do their downsizing, reorganizing thing, and enact socio-economic approach at same time, and see empirically, which is best of NMSU.

Team 6, at its most benign, creates a document that gets filed away somewhere. My preference would be to rely on Faculty Senate to be be our voice, instead of team 6. Faculty Senate can become engaged, enthusiastic idea-generators. I hope there is a memorandum to this effect. Ultimately more shared governance through showing that we do have a voice is needed (in my opinion).

The implementation of Team 6 is a big error in the strategic analysis of this university by Deloitte consultancy. In its first meeting, NMSU’s Team 6 was presented with a proposal to merge at least the Colleges of Education and College Health and Social Services (HSS). It is interesting that the composition of Team 6 lacks anyone in leadership roles in either of COE or HSS-just one faculty member each. This speaks to a lack of participation of those who do the work who will bear the result of Team 6 choices. It is naive to think that academic programs will not be cut or that they will be at the table if their units are being reorganized. From what I understand, our college deans were not at the table about the discussion to centralize advisors. They were told their personnel were being moved out of the colleges and into Garcia Annex by next summer when the offices are to be ready. Again this speaks to lack of shared governance at NMSU. I believe it is naive to think that these advising changes and the Team 6 proposed merger of Education and HSS will result in an increase of customer service whether it be to students or to each other. While I am happy Team 6 includes a former and current head of Faculty Senate, one only has to look at the dismantling of NMSU policy over the last three years under the current leadership to see that the Faculty Senate need only to be consulted on academic reorganizations. Perhaps, for faculty, a shocking development: ‘continuous faculty’ contracts, beginning this academic year, include verbiage stating faculty could be terminated by the provost.

Team 6 is a misunderstanding of the socioeconomic performance of NMSU. NMSU has already lost too much momentum, and is hemorrhaging its best talent. This loss of students, faculty, staff, and some administrators to other universities is worsening our national and international reputation, and will likely lower our status in competitive rankings. Further, there are multiple dysfunctions occurring on a daily-basis that heavy-handed reshuffling faculty, staff, and students between departments, between colleges, or combining various now much smaller departments (result of attrition) will not increase the quality of student education nor the quality of faculty research, nor achieve the promised $53 million in cost-cutting savings. Team 6 will no doubt continue to exist and sort out how it will combine, or eliminate academic departments to lower the faculty salary budget, the staff wages budget, the student worker budget, the graduate assistantship budget, and the department head salary in order to accomplish greater span of control move department heads from 12 to 9 month pay structures, and so on.   Let them do this.

  That will also have to go through the Senate and receive faculty input, unless the Regents completely throw out the manual.  The equestrian team decision is not an academic matter, and there is unfortunately no venue for involvement in the change in the athletics programs since change has been blocked.  The Chancellor implemented a team to work on the many problems but that effort was ignored and publicly rendered pointless by the regents.

My Story Let me tell you my story at NMSU, and then propose a better alternative. In 1996, 2008, and now in 2016, it was, each time of crisis, proposed that Management and Marketing Departments be combined, to cut costs (eliminate one department head, and one or two redundant secretaries) from the merger. However, each time, the initiative failed, and now Team 6 will carry this merger out (aka ‘administrative unit’ reorganization), and we will carry out. Already Engineering College eliminated an entire department ‘Survey Engineering’.The Survey Engineering Department was merged into what is now EngineeringTechnology and Surveying some 10 years or so ago (proposal passed by Faculty Senate).   What has now been talked up publicly in the press, by the upper administration is the elimination of the Surveying major. That will also have to go through the Senate and receive faculty input, unless the Regents completely throw out the manual.

And in ACES (Ag College) eliminated Equestrian Team, even though they were winning national championships.  As I understand it, the equestrian team decision is not an academic matter. There is unfortunately no venue for involvement of the equestrian team in the change in the athletics programs changes.  The Chancellor  I am told did implement a group to work on the many problems but that effort, but this attempt was ignored and publicly rendered pointless by the final decision of our Board of Regents.

Back to my own first hand story. In 1997, the university strategic planning committee decided, for example to merge Management Department with Marketing, eliminate the Management Ph.D. program (only one of 20 such programs put on the chopping block), and move the new administrative unit to the Agriculture College. I was department head and did successfully produce data showing Management had the 2nd best of all 20 Ph.D. programs, and nevertheless the two departments merged, and I was promoted to faculty member, and headed up the Ph.D. program for next six years or so. Now, the graduate assistantships to the Management Department have been eliminated so that College of Business, anticipating a likely cut in GA funds, can sustain its remaining GA support to all the other departments. Sacrifices must be made. But, is there an alternative to this defensiveness and helplessness NMSU strategy of self-destruction, and self-annihilation?

Bigger issues –>  The university has a significant problem because there are three or more significant constituencies in the university:

1)Those who are being managed and who make the place function (faculty, students, graduate assistants, staff, & operations workers),

2) Managers (department heads, unit heads), especially the upper administration who provide overall guidance, some of whom take regular feedback from members of the first and third groups and generally do not lie awake at nights figuring out how to shaft people, and

3) Board of Regents, which has the task of coordinating the efforts of the university to fulfill its mission in accordance with state law but which has arrogated all power to itself in violation of long-standing practice and in the service of a political agenda that is not friend to public education.  They seem to be so far down in the weeds that they can’t see the trees, let alone the forest.  They seem to think that business tools  (aka Academic Capitalism; treating Public University as a Business) are the appropriate ones to apply to what is manifestly not a business and has historically been much more successful than businesses. If NMSU were a business, it would have been bankrupt decades ago. Universities date back to the 13th century and have continually, if slowly, adapted to new social, cultural, and economic conditions to achieve long-term goals. They originally were faculty and students’ joint ventures, had few staff or administrative members.

Any solution to our current woes will need to take into account how to get all these folks together.  You can in fact get groups no. 1 and 2 to work together, admittedly with some tension.  At this point, I despair about turning no. 3 into a body that actually works for the benefit of the university.

            I Propose a  Viable Alternative to Team 6 It is a solution that works with the participation of all three groups above. What if we form small teams of regents, administrators, faculty, staff, and students that would work for six months, in an experiment, to cut ‘hidden costs’ (defined as invisible in the budget book methods or reporting) in order to self-finance changes that dramatically improve human potential, the quality of instruction, and results of research, and land NMSU in several years (should the experiments in intervention continue) in higher national and international competitive rankings? Said more succinctly: What if we unleash the human potential and collective intelligence of NMSU to bring about meaningful changes to the quality of teaching and research, by moving hidden costs into productive performance?

My proposal is to engage in a scientifically validated and reliable change management approach that has a higher likelihood of improving NMSU’s performance. It is called the “Socio-Economic Approach to Management” (SEAM). I have worked with the SEAM methodology for 17 years. NMSU has a signed MOU to use this methodology for the past 12 years, and unlike Deloitte, it is an MOU implemented at zero cost. I edited the Journal of Organizational Change Management for 13 years, and during that time did a special issue on the approach (Savall, 2003a, 2003b; Boje & Rosile, 2003). There is also a study abroad exchange program with Lyon III University and NMSU. SEAM has been used in universities in Europe, in Mexico, and elsewhere with great success since 1974 (Worley, Zardet, Bonnet, & Savall, 2015; Savall & Zardet, 2008, 2011; Buono & Savall, 2007; Savall, Zardet, Bonnet, & Moore, 2001; Smith, Boje, & Foster, 2011; Ruvalcaba, 2007; Hayes,McGilsky, D., & Lepisto, 2007). The scientific approach of SEAM is rooted in qualimetrics, defined as an integration of qualitative and quantitative metrics to assess the opportunities and the results of change interventions. Interventions are done on jointly planned short-term self-financing ‘experiments’ that include a qualimetric analysis of results (Boje, 2004, 2011; Savall & Zardet, 2011).

What is the Socio-Economic Approach to Management (SEAM)?

SEAM is a change management strategy that consists of improving enterprise’s social and economic performance by developing the actual human potential by converting hidden costs into performance gains measured by quality changes with accounting, financial, and economic metrics. Instead of a defensive strategy of business process reengineering and its downsizing of personnel to cut wages and salary budgets, SEAM would increase full-time employment and rewards to students, faculty, staff, and workers by unleashing their human potential. Through a series of experiments people at NMSU would reduce hidden costs. Hidden costs are defined as unintelligible in the current university budget books, unavailable in the information reports administrators are using to pilot (steer) the university.

How can SEAM be implemented in this University?

 Hidden Cost Definition “Hidden costs are those costs which are not detected by the [university] information systems, including budgets, profit and loss accounting, general accounting, analytic accounting, piloting logbook” (Savall, 1979, as cited in Savall & Zardet, 2008: 27).

Hidden Costs (HC) is what the Visible Costs, such as the personnel costs (faculty & administrator’s salaries & fringe, student worker and operation worker’s wages), equipment costs, etc. that are showing in the university budgets information system.   Hidden Costs are a result of Structures and Behaviors of the university that create ongoing dysfunctions (gap between highest possible effectiveness & current result), plus what the administration implements to compensate, prevent, and manage the ongoing dysfunctions. Instead of solving the root of the dysfunctions (structures & behaviors), the administration uses visible cost data to organized (business) process reengineering (BPR, from Deloitte consultant’s advice) to make short-term cuts in personnel, and budget cuts, that do NOT address the HC or their root causes in the university structures and behaviors.

HC’s are diffused and dispersed throughout the entire university systems. HCs occur at the level of each individual (faculty, student workers, staff, administrators, operations workers). Visible costs are calculated in existing accounting systems at level of colleges, operational units, and departments (& operational units).

HC’s include results of tacit complicity of everyone at NMSU, because with the accumulated dysfunctions, the turnover, the loss of key personnel, the lack of resources to recruit competitively salaried faculty, fully funded doctoral students, state funds to hire student workers, and so onà everyone pitches in to make up the gap. However, what happens is administrators fill in for missing staff members, remaining staff are filled in by work study students. More things are centralized, privatized (outsourced), and so on. This is the dysfunction of a slippage in productivity, quality, and an escalation of expenses when people left after the downsizing and budget crises are left doing work of people who departed, and so on.

Its never a good sign, when a university calls in an external consulting firm, such as Deloitte (paid $622,700) to come up with a downsizing, reorganization, what in the consulting field is called ‘business process reengineering’ (BPR). The problem with BPR is that NMSU gets lean and mean (in more ways than one), and while the budget balances (at lower and lower levels) with fewer and fewer people doing the work of the whole, the people tire, many leave (high turnover), health claims and lawsuits increase, and the competitive position of the university declines in the long term.

The next figure gives some idea of typical dysfunctions from structures and behavioral adaptations NMSU has been making in last few decades.


Figure 1: Four-Leaf Clover Model of Hidden Costs relation to Dysfunctions in Structures and Behaviors


Individual, Group, and Collective Behaviors à become routine normalized Structures in NMSU daily routine (Physical, Technological, Organizational, Demographic, & Mental) à which accumulate more and more bureaucratic BPR Dysfunctions (Working Conditions, Work Organization, Communication-Cooperation-Coordination [3C’s], Time management, Training, and Strategic implementation deficits) and result in Hidden Costs (HCs) that are not tracked in the overall NMSU budget or information systems upon which hard choices and decisions are made). The HCs are deeply rooted in the effective day-to-day performance of NMSU and its socioeconomic results relative to our 15 peer institutions.


The next Table gives an overall way of doing what we call ‘Mirror Effect’ looking in the mirror as NMSU, at the qualitative and quantitative results of hidden costs.


Table 1: General Model of Hidden Cost Calculation


5 Indicators of Dysfunctions:



Excess Time






Non-creation of Potential


Total Hidden Costs


Productivity Variance              
TOTAL Excess salary from 5 indicators Overtime from 5 indicators Over-consumption from 5 indicators Non-production form 5 indicators Non-creation of potential from 5 indicators TOTAL HIDDEN COSTS Risks from all 5 Indicators


The next table is an illustration of hypothesized NMSU ‘Hidden Cost’ (HC) calculations in the next table. Note, this is not a final calculation. Rather it is for illustrative purposes, so you get an idea of the Mirror Effect of staring at the qualitative and quantitative data on how many dysfunctions produce what kinds of HCs. The purpose is to target HCs (costs & lost revenue, & lost human potential) in NMSU as a whole that can be addressed (resolved) in the projects to made NMSU a high performance, high quality, and de-bureaucratized institution of higher education.

Table 2: Illustration of Hypothesized ‘Hidden Cost Calculation’ at NMSU


5 Indicators of Dysfunctions:

Qualitative examples Quantitative examples




Excess Time




Non-production (lost revenue)


Non-creation of [human] Potential


Total Hidden Costs


Absentee People from Downsizing, etc. People left & not replaced; Higher paid administrators micromanage remaining faculty, 7% more time to get things done by those left $600000 300000 500000 1000000 500000 $2,900,000  
Accidents More health claims from stress of overwork 5% more health claims $70000 200000 100000 200000 300000 $870,000  
Turnover High turnover faculty due to low morale, uncertainty of change, & frozen salaries 20% more Cost of training students to do work of staff; staff to do work of faculty who left $200000 100000 600000 300000 900000 $2,100,000  
Non-Quality Less qualified people (student workers, etc. pitch in but with weaker results 20% more costs of Faculty and graduate student teachers, and temps (visitors) filling in for classes of missing faculty $400000 300000 400000 2000000 800000 $3,900,000  
Productivity Variance Since everyone is doing work of the missing personnel, much of the work of teaching and research, and coordination falls through the cracks 10% loss in NMSU reputation, which means fewer students & faculty willing to come he $900000 600000 700000 300000 800000 $3,300,000  
TOTAL   Excess salary from 5 indicators Overtime from 5 indicators


Over-consumption from 5 indicators Non-production form 5 indicators Non-creation of potential from 5 indicators TOTAL HIDDEN COSTS Risks from all 5 Indicators

Add 2 million more in lawsuits


    $2,170,000 1500000 2300000 3800000 3300000 $13,070,000 $15,070,000

The above table is just for illustrative purposes. Final list of dysfunctions and number would depend on the work of project team doing the participative interviews, archival research, and qualimetric analyses.

Here is a summary model of SEAM. Three forces of changes are implemented at once, starting from the center of each Axis and moving outward.


Figure 2 – Model of SEAM intervention teams


The three axes (forces of change) uplift NMSU simultaneously. Spiral A is implementation of successive short-term, self-financing projects to unleash human potential by diagnosing NMSU hidden costs and their dysfunctions (see clover at center of model). This is done with the DPIE approach to building upward positive self-financing momentum to unleash human potential at NMSU.

Figure 3: Implementing successive DPIE’s (Diagnosis-Project Design-Implementation-Evaluation cycles) to rebuild NMSU Momentum


Spiral B consists of implementing six straightforward and pragmatic tools to coordinate the interventions and keep them sustainable.


Spiral C is the developing the overall strategic changes to the rules of the game of strategy at NMSU. Without changing the rules of the game, shuffling people between departments, merging departments, cutting personnel here and there, will have no sustainable long time performance result.


The three axes of change (A, B, C in Figure 1) begin with the diagnosis, which in participative, democratic involvement of students, faculty, staff, workers, and administrators. In the joint project teams using DPIE (Figure 2) they begin with an analysis of the dysfunctions (Figure 3 top leaf), the structures and behaviors (left and right leaf) that drive the dysfunctions (bottom leaf), and are atrophying the deep root stems (excess salary, overtime, over consumption of time, financial, and material resources, non-production of education and research, non-creation of human potential (of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and workers), and creating risk of socioeconomic failure, lawsuits, loss of federal funding, loss of state funding, and loss of accreditation.


Figure 4: Root Causes of Financial Consequences from the Runaway Hidden Costs and Dysfunctions at NMSU


Here are some examples of how the three axes of change (Figure 1) are implemented using the diagnostic framework (Figure 2).


  1. Diagnosis-Project-Implementation-Evaluation (DPIE). By each project team doing a series of DPIE’s we rebuild NMSU momentum and put it in a path of increase performance by releasing human potential. Our DPIE projects would finance themselves through hidden cost reductions that generate long-term university performance gains, and slowly change the NMSU structures and behaviors, and the rules of the game of NMSU strategy implementation. Rather than lowering wages and salaries and just widening spans of administrative control without diagnosis, with out input from the NMSU workforce or students (Deloitte approach) we actually build joint teams of faculty, students, staff, workers, and administrators into project teams. Rather than top down arbitrary appointments, we invite each college, and each department (if they choose) to voluntarily self-organize project teams. We also do this in operational units, financial units, auxiliary units, and so on, throughout the university. We ask them to head to the libraries on main campus and check out copies of the budget and salaries of NMSU, and get geared up to understand the actual financial picture of NMSU.


  1. Priority Action Plan (PAP). Each team of faculty, staff, administrators, and students would develop a PAP, after doing a diagnosis of hidden costs, then propose small scale projects of redesign by making successive modification in such areas as work organization, working conditions, communication-cooperation-coordination (hereafter, 3C’s), time management, training, and strategy implementation that increases quality performance. These would be self-financing interventions from diagnosing hidden costs of various NMSU dysfunctions, adapting both the NMSU structures and patterns of human behavior, to lower hidden costs that gets us into a better competitive and quality performance position. Rather than lowering wages, we actual cut hidden costs of NMSU (bureaucratic) dysfunctions in order to increase rewards for all. See Appendix A for example of simple organizing form to use. The PAP is short-term (say six months) and the next tool is longer term.


  1. Internal-External Strategic Action Plan (IESAP). Instead of one grand 2020 strategic plan, with goals flowing from on high, without our active democratic participation as students, faculty, staff, and workers à let’s have let’s implement a participative and democratic approach. This can be implemented in each college, each department (if they choose), each operational and auxiliary unit (if they choose). Internal refers to the internal world of NMSU, and external to our performance relative to other universities, our accreditation bodies, our state legislature, and our international community. See Appendix B for sample of IESAP tool.


  1. Competency Grid (CG). The CG is done before and after the change initiative. Rather than eliminating, dismissing, or downsizing people employed at NMSU, their competencies are developed through coaching and training. For example, during the Great Depression, Lincoln Electric refused to dismiss workers to achieve budget control. Instead the assessed needed competencies to get where they needed to be to keep everyone employed. They actually retrained a good many workers on the factory floor making welders, and trained them in sales. They did sales, increased sales during an economic downturn, and everyone kept their jobs. They also shared in the rewards of bringing about economic sustainability. In our NMSU implementation instead of encouraging folks to leave, or retire early, etc., the idea of CG is to assess competencies needed to achieve PAP and IESAP results, then get them the training and coaching, and assess the results after the training is don. See Appendix C for sample of CG tool.


  1. Periodically Negotiated Activity Contracts (PNAC). This is a major change for NMSU. It is sharing some percent of the savings in hidden cost reductions with the students, faculty, workers, administrators, and staff members who actually bring that change about. Releasing human potential means rewarding human potential. It is a contract negotiated with the administration and the members of the university bringing about changes. It rewards quality improvements, increases in outcomes, and increases in university performance. It can begin with small rewards, and as everyone trusts the system, be expanded. See Appendix C of this document for example of PNAC tool


There are two other tools, such as time management and the logbook (see links):




The SEAM alternative to Team 6 ties well to Mary Parker Follett’s ideas of integrative unity, democratic governance, shared responsibility, and power-with rather than power-over. It is also a way to bargain, to negotiate change by negotiating reward in an integrative manner of conflict resolution.


Figure 5: How Mary Parker Follett key dialectic concepts


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 6 – 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? And blog post What is Relationship of Ensemble Leadership Theory to Hegel’s and Mary Parker Follett’s Dialectic? for more on this point).

The result of successive DPIE implementation in a short time (say six months) by each project team is that the momentum of change and adaptation becomes a positive upward spiral of breadth and potential that will change game rules of overall NMSU performance.




I believe that together we can initiate a viable alternative to Team 6 (Deloitte strategy). I think at the very least let both Team 6 and SEAM teams co-exist, and assess which actually delivers the goods.


NMSU has an addiction to bureaucracy, and addition to central planning of others jobs, an addition to micromanagement administration. In SEAM, we call this the doctrine of Taylorism-Fayolism-Weberism, or for short the TFW Virus. To break an addition of TFW, it takes a commitment to changing the rules of the game.


We can enhance everyone’s professionalism, everyone’s competencies, and develop our human potential for everyone. SEAM is a hopeful approach as way to emancitate us from TFW virus.


NMSU;s may dysfunctions are well known, and they are producing hidden costs that are unknown (invisible in our reporting systems as NMSU). Without democratic and scientific diagnosis, and experimentation, we will continue in TFW addiction.


We can achieve transparent shared governance with SEAM. We can try a little ‘Ensemble Leadership’ at NMSU (Rosile, Boje, & Nez). Why not give it a try.


More resources

(See blog post How to Implement Ensemble Leadership Practices at a Public University? And blog post What is Relationship of Ensemble Leadership Theory to Hegel’s and Mary Parker Follett’s Dialectic? for more on this point).




Boje, D. (2004). Qualimetrics contributions to research methodology. H. Savall & V. Zardet, Recherche en sciences de gestion: approche qualimétrique, Economica, 6-12.


Boje, D. M. (2011). An Antenarrative Theory of Socioeconomic in Intervention Research. Pp. 383-394 in D. M. Boje (ed.) Storytelling and the Future of Organizations: An Antenarrative Handbook. London: Sage.


Boje, D., & Rosile, G. A. (2003). Comparison of socio-economic and other transorganizational development methods. Journal of Organizational Change Management16(1), 10-20.


Buono, A. F., & Savall, H. (2007). Socio-economic Interventions in Organizations: The Intervener-researcher and the SEAM Approach to Organizational Analysis. Information Age Publishing, Inc.


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 Review28(6), 576-588.


Follett, M. P. (1924/1930). Creative Experience. Рипол Классик; NY/London: Longmans, Green and Co. on line at http://ww.pqm-online.com/assets/files/lib/books/follett.pdf


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.


Hayes, R., Ertel McGilsky, D., & Lepisto, L. (2007). An interdisciplinary management consulting concentration to develop the AICPA core competencies and meet the 150-hour requirement. In Advances in Accounting Education Teaching and Curriculum Innovations (pp. 93-114). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


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




Ruvalcaba, M. F. (2007). SOCIO-ECONOMIC APPROACH TO MANAGEMENT IN MEXICO. Socio-economic Interventions in Organizations: The Intervener-researcher and the SEAM Approach to Organizational Analysis, 251.


Savall, H. (2003a). An updated presentation of the socio-economic management model. Journal of Organizational Change Management16(1), 33-48.


Savall, H. (2003b). International dissemination of the socio-economic method. Journal of Organizational Change Management16(1), 107-115.


Savall, H., & Peron, Michel. (2015). Socially Responsible Capitalism (No. hal-01140272).


Savall, H., & Zardet, V. (2008). Mastering hidden costs and socio-economic performance. Information Age Publishing, Inc.


Savall, H., & Zardet, V. (2011). The qualimetrics approach: Observing the complex object. Information Age Publishing, Inc.


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Smith, William L., David M. Boje, and Taylor W. Foster III. (2011). “On the tetranormalization of US GAAP and IFRS: A socioeconomic approach.” Proceedings of the American Accounting Association (AAA) 1: 27.


Worley, C. G., Zardet, V., Bonnet, M., & Savall, A. (2015). Becoming Agile: How the SEAM Approach to Management Builds Adaptability. John Wiley & Sons.




Appendix A: PAP

PAP (Priority Action Plan)

Team Name________________________________________ duration: 6 MONTHS

þ-Clarify High Value-Added Sustainability Tasks to Implement/Continue

☐-Identify Low Value-Added (Un) Sustainability Tasks to Eliminate

–Implement tasks that stem from external strategy (who it involves)

ý-Tasks that prevent Unsustainable dysfunctions (tackle difficult internal strategy)

Our Team’s Collective Target






☐- ☐-










Our Team’s Mission Target





☐- ☐-




Our Team’s Vision Target





☐- ☐- ☐-



Our Team’s Operations Targets





☐- ☐- ☐-



Our Team’s Research Targets




☐- ☐- ☐-


Our Team’s Strategic Targets





☐- ☐- ☐-





Team Member 1




☐- ☐- ☐-


Team Member 2




☐- ☐- ☐-


Team Member 3




☐- ☐- ☐-





Add team members…                    

Appendix B

IESP (Internal/External Strategic Plan)

OBJECTIVES 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall


Actions to fight against depletion of resources




Actions to increase human potential                    


Actions that create SUSTAINABILITY                    

Please move the arrows and resize to indicate time horizon for each objective and action. Edit actions above as needed, but have at least one GREEN one.



APPENDIX C: CG TOOL (note: the items are for illustration)

  Traditional Competencies in old objectives New Competencies to be Acquired
WORKERS Green Product Design Green Supply Chain Materials Recycling Energy Savings Product Knowledge Contracts Project Management Customer Service
A n n n
B n n n
C   n     n
D n    
E n n n n  
F n   n n  


A n n n n n
B n n n n n
C n n   n
D n n
E n n n n n n
F n n n n n n n


n=Frequently Practiced =Occasional Practiced/Not all Mastered

=Knowledge of Principles without Practice BLANK= No Knowledge or Practice







PNAC (Periodically Negotiated Activity Contract)

NAME:________________________________ for 6 MONTHS

þ-Focus on your targets; negotiate ways to do them; rewards sought for achieving target levels

☐-PNAC connects with PAP, Strategic Indictors & Economic Balance

–Economic balances compare cost of means to reach objective with returns once targets have been attained (in terms of potential gains)

ý-$$ incentives self-financed by reduction in hidden costs

Types of Objectives Objectives Weighting (of 100% total) Target Level Means Metrics









☐- ___% What: How: ☐-










☐- ___% What: How: ☐-









☐- ___% What: How: ☐-









☐- ___% What: How: ☐-










☐- ___% What: How: ☐-










☐- ___% What: How: ☐-









☐-2 Book project ___% What? How: ☐-






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 https://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/teaching/490_psl/myers_briggs_and_leadership.htm 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 http://ww.pqm-online.com/assets/files/lib/books/follett.pdf

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:

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Phenomenology of Spirit – G. W. F. Hegel.epub 638.7 KB
Phenomenology of Spirit – G. W. F. Hegel.mobi 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 http://davidboje.com/vita/paper_pdfs/Ensemble_Leadership_article.pdf


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).””











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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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!

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 http://davidboje.com/hawk/What%20is%20Dialectical%20Storytelling%20Theory.htm

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.