Networks: evolution or necessary revolution?

Article / Change and Organization

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Networks: evolution or necessary revolution?
Herold, Member, Management Consultant, Netherlands

The model of Dr. Clare W. Graves offers insight in types of networks and their relationship to certain types of surroundings.

Networks as `a way of life'. It has been proven not to be just a hype. Those who have slightly followed the social developments of the previous decades, may have noticed that numerous old institutionalized relatives have lost their strength. And that brings new forms of establishing contact with a different character. A lot of new technical possibilities lead to more complex surroundings and questions a new way of thinking and actions to deal with this more complex world. In terms of knowledge and ability much more is required compared to the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. Life in those days was relatively simple and the surroundings were less complex (less variety and dynamic changes).

Changing paradigm not only in science.
Is there a deeper underlying pattern in all these changes? The science historian Thomas Kuhn discussed in its book `The structure or scientific revolutions’ the phenomenon of science development. He describes how two periods in science differ from each other: normal science and revolution. According to Kuhn these passages arise because scientists want to operate within what he called paradigm. Those are intellectual frameworks which scientists themselves have been generally taught and are interwoven with. Emotionally they are most of the time not willing and not able to easily let go. A paradigm is defined as a coherent scheme of values and standards which forms an intellectual framework from which ' reality' is being analyzed and approached.

What Kuhn observed in scientists the futurologist Joel Barker also observed in developments in companies and social processes. Barker defines a paradigm as a mental model, which does two things:
• It establishes perceptual borders permanently (what can I observe respectively, what can I not correctly observe);
• It shows you how to solve a problem from within those observed borders.

Looking at these changes in paradigm, the work of Dr. Clare W. Graves proves to be interesting. Important is that his model offers insight in types of networks and their relationship to certain types of surroundings.

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