Ralph Stacey: Taking experience seriously

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Ralph Stacey is one of the pioneers in taking up insights from the
complexity sciences in organizational theory. Trained in South Africa
and the London School of Economics as a macroeconomist, and latterly
as a group therapist, Stacey has combined abstract analytical thinking with
an interest in experience, the emotions, a sense of self, and belonging,
which make us human. From his interdisciplinary education and
experience in industry he has developed a perspective on organizations
which combines insights from both the natural and social sciences. This
has led to a substantial body of publications with international renown.
From the sciences of complexity he argues by analogy that organizations
are iterating patterns of human interaction, never in equilibrium, which
cannot be controlled by any individual or group. From the social sciences
he focuses on the importance of our interdependence, expressed through
power relations, and daily conversational activity. Sixteen years ago, and
with two close colleagues, he founded a group-based professional
doctorate, which runs psychodynamically. The program encourages
practicing managers and leaders to focus on their daily experience of
managing in uncertainty. In starting this program, he has recreated the
best traditions of the Academy dating back to the ancient Greeks, where
students and staff engage together in reflective conversation about the
things which matter to them, provoking each other to think. Though he is
well past retirement age Ralph is still a faculty member, raconteur, and
conversationalist, participating in ways which make us all, faculty and
students alike, more fully ourselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Organizational Change Thinkers
EditorsDavid Szabla, William Pasmore, Mary Barnes
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-52879-3
ISBN (Print) 978-3-319-52877-9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2017


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