How Concepts Solve Management Problems

How Concepts Solve Management Problems

Mike Metcalfe

This book offers a process for conceiving solutions to complex, wicked, messy, swampy or socio-technical problems. When charged with complex problem solving, a useful set of concepts needs to emerge, be agreed, and acted upon. Using relevant examples and solution mapping, Mike Metcalfe explains how pragmatic philosophy can be used as a process for solving such issues.

Chapter 4: Collaborative planning

Mike Metcalfe

Subjects: business and management, management education, research methods in business and management, strategic management

Extract

This chapter is about how to facilitate a problem-solving or planning meeting to source stakeholders' and analysts' concern statements. These can later be concept mapped to identify meta concerns or organizing principles. Prior to the meeting, industry analysts, scenario planners and forecasters will be asked to reflect on their expertise and experiences. This may include their undertaking analysis methods such as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), PEST (political, economic, social and technological), Porter's Five Forces, war gaming, value chain analysis, force field analysis, scenario networking, focus groups systems dynamics modelling and so on (see Wikipedia). Those involved should bring their subsequent concerns and/or optimism to the planning meeting. The proven method used for idea generation and evaluation by science over thousands of years is argumentation, reasoned evidence-based debate (not quarrelling) as used in the adversarial justice system. Argumentation, done well, is creative, using controlled competition to reveal underlying assumptions and different perspectives in a way that encourages critical appraisal of those perspectives. This approach can be very useful when dealing with social issues and a diverse community. Therefore, this chapter will explore the proposition that well-managed argument is a useful design for planning meetings. However, the traditional debate format is thought to be too confrontational, not resulting in a set of agreed concern statements. The consensus group format uses argument, but overcomes many of the confrontation problems.

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