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Saved by Mark
on February 6, 2010 at 11:37:35 pm

Welcome to Valence Theory

This is the current draft of Mark Federman's doctoral thesis, From BAH to ba: Valence Theory and the Future of Organization.


The thesis is structured in three parts. Ground (the invisible context) provides the historical and methodological grounding for the rest of the work. Figure (that which is seen) provides the findings, the stories and analyses of the five participant organizations, with a summary of the distinctions between the two organization types, BAH and UCaPP. Meaning (the interplay of figure and ground) provides the Zen-philosophical basis for basho (the underpinning of UCaPP organizations), and derives Valence Theory as a unifying and explanatory theory of organization.


I will be updating the text as the draft is revised, and adding pages as each chapter is written. You are welcome to read as much or as little as you like, and in any order that suits you. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated, although I apologize in advance if I am unable to acknowledge individual comments here.


What Valence Theory is About

In a nutshell, here is a very brief synopsis of "the good stuff": BAH is an acronym representing Bureaucratic, Administratively controlled, and Hierarchical organizations, essentially the Industrial Age model. UCaPP describes contemporary conditions of being Ubiquitously Connected and Pervasively Proximate. Organizations are rarely, if ever entirely BAH or entirely UCaPP, but tend to have tendencies and behaviours that are more consistent with one or the other end of a spectrum delineated by these two polarities. Valence Theory of Organization defines organization as being an emergent entity whose members (individuals or organizations) are connected via two or more of five valence (meaning uniting, bonding, interacting, reacting, combining) relationships. Each of these relationships – Economic, Socio-psychological, Identity, Knowledge, and Ecological – have a fungible (mercantile or tradable) aspect, and a ba-aspect, the latter creating a space-and-place of common, tacit understanding of self-identification-in-relation, mutual sense of purpose, and volition to action. Organizations with more-BAH tendencies will emphasize the fungible valence forms, and primarily tend to focus on Economic valence; more-UCaPP organizations tend to emphasize ba-valence forms, and are more balanced among the relative valence strengths.


Essentially, my research finds that BAH-organizations (that is, organizations that primarily enact and value BAH-like attitudes, behaviours, and characteristics) replace the complexity of human dynamics in social systems with the complication of machine-analogous procedures that enable individual independence, responsibility, and accountability. In contrast, UCaPP-organizations encourage and enable processes of continual emergence by valuing and promoting complex interactions even though doing so necessitates ceding legitimated control in an environment of individual autonomy and agency, collective responsibility, and mutual accountability. The consequential differences in how each type of organization operates day-to-day are like comparing the societies of Ancient Greece, the medieval Church, the Industrial Age, and today's contemporary reality of Ubiquitous Connectivity and Pervasive Proximity.


About this Thesis Site

Each wiki page will contain chapter sections for reasonable reading. The pages linked below lead to the first section of each respective chapter. Additionally, a PDF file of the chapter will be available for download from the first page of the chapter should you choose to read offline. (Note: this means that no PDF link will appear on the pages with secondary chapter sections - the entire chapter will download from the first chapter page link.)


Please note that, unlike most of my writing, this wiki is NOT yet licensed under Creative Commons. For the time being, the material remains copyright with all rights reserved since it is still in flux and subject to change. I do intend to release the thesis, when completed, under Creative Commons. In the meantime, if you would like to use any part of this material for any purpose whatsoever, please write to me so that we can discuss it.


Table of Contents

Abstract  PDF

Acknowledgements  PDF


Part I: Ground - The Invisible Context

A Conversation with Nishida: The Obvious   PDF

A Brief, 3,000-year History of Organization   PDF


A Conversation with Nishida: The Question   PDF

Understanding Reality's Production: On methodology and method   PDF


Part II: Figure - That Which is Seen

A Conversation with Nishida: The Mountain  PDF

Pluperfect Tensions: Organizations M and A  PDF


A Conversation with Nishida: The Destination  PDF

Present Transitions: Organizations F and Unit 7  PDF


A Conversation with Nishida: The Future  PDF

Future Imperfect: Inter Pares and, The Natures of Organization  PDF


Part III: Meaning - The Interplay of Figure and Ground

A Conversation with Nishida: The Place  PDF  [Note: This is a critical Nishida chapter to understand the foundation of Valence Theory]

Introducing Valence Theory  PDF


A Conversation with Nishida: The Fruit  PDF

Contextualizing Valence Theory  PDF


A Conversation with Nishida: The Letter  PDF

The Road to Here, The Road From Here  PDF


A Conversation with Nishida: The Beginning  PDF


References  PDF




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