About Organizational Paradigms that Die Hard, and Reconsiliation of 'Hard' and 'Soft' Relativism
This paper explores selected aspects of sustainability and organizational paradigms. In a more simple interpretation: how can we benefit from accumulated experience, even when the situation and context of operation changes? First, interpretations of paradigms are discussed, and their importance are emphasized. It is argued that paradigms, in the 'Kuhn' sense, can be regarded valid in the natural sciences. Yet it is questionable whether they apply to social sciences, or in our everyday life. A discussion of 'paradigms' may also deal with context when little remains constant (eg. business), and when theories are contingent upon circumstances. From such a perspective a discussion concerning the existence of classical 'paradigms' in organizational theory is conducted, including examples of how difficult it is for some "organizational paradigms" to disappear. This outline is followed by examples of newly created paradigms that revolutionize our life. These new paradigms bring glory and fortunes to their authors; yet the same was true of paradigms that were valid decades or centuries ago. There are also "life (or personal) paradigms", relative to small issues, which mark somewhat a shift from the world of micro-economy, to daily reality. The interpretation of paradigms is related to two basic scientific doctrines: 'hard' and 'soft' relativism, that bring different perspective to the investigated issues. Once we observe the parading shift, it is essential to reconcile differences between one and the other, as well as to determine whether qualitative or quantitative approaches should be used. (original abstract)
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