5 September 2005 | Uncompleted
Strategic management under conditions of system collapse
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As the complexity of society increases, and the complexity of challenges that it faces, there is increasing evidence of system collapse. This currently takes concrete form as isolated instances: corporations downsizing or collapsing, incapacity of public services to deliver as foreseen, pollution of food chains or ecosystems, uncheckable spread of epidemics, inability to maintain infrastructure, failure of social safety nets, lack of coordination exacerbated by mismanagement, etc.
Such challenged sub-systems are typically managed by "professionals" whose skills are considered vital to conceiving and implementing remedial measures to prevent further degradation. It is however characteristic of any gradual process of degradation that the capacity of the professional to act, as conventionally understood, is itself further eroded. Funds are cut, trained personnel are cut (or effectively encouraged to leave by degrading working conditions), vital equipment becomes progressively more obsolete and prone to failure, demoralization of key personnel becomes more probable, formal support systems prove increasingly unreliable, etc.
This is an exploration of how it remains possible to act professionally despite progressive degradation of the system requiring professional expertise. It would seem that such insights are appropriate in anticipation of any more comprehensive system failure -- as foreseen by a range of studies.
* extreme accounting
What is professionalism?
Discipline / Expertise Know-how / Operacy
Varieties of professionalism and exemplars
Feyerabend: cook, midwife, gardener
Challenging cases of "professionalism"
Constraints on recognition of professionalism
Erosion of enabling resources
Direction under system collapse
Professional vs Amateur
professor vs professional
confessor vs confessional
professional carer vs amateur carer
professionals in a triage situation -- lizards tails
prayer pattern -- Muslim / camel
compagnons / craftsmen
professional and integrity -- honour
secret society -- initiates
psychotherapist: does not buy into patient framework, however much they enter into its logic
exemplar / stakhanovite
missionaries / mormon
"on your own"
Louie: be yourself in an unsupportive environment
making the best of circumstances
problem of walkins:
professional questions assumptions
problem of international community
problem of any group
bad track record
this work is licenced under a creative commons licence.