2 Existing and Emerging Methods for Integrating Theories Within and Between Disciplines Steven E. Wallis, PhD swallis@ProjectFAST.org Director, Foundation for the Advancement of Social Theory Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University Adjunct Faculty, Capella University Editorial Board, Integral Review ISSS 56 th annual meeting 2012 July 15-22 – San Jose, CA
3 Research in Natural Systems / Service Systems Inductive (begin with data and move toward theory) Deductive (begin with theory and conduct experiments to test theory and gain more data) Abductive (have a great insight / idea / Ah-Ha!)
4 Research in Natural Systems / Service Systems Over-reliance on empirical assumptions may lead to dead-end thinking. Where do revolutions come from?
5 Some Sources of REVOLUTIONARY Science Galileo sparked a revolution began by comparing two contradictory theories Einstein sparked a scientific revolution by integrating multiple theories
7 A few methods for integration Existing Methods Ad-hoc Cherry-picking Emerging Methods Propositional Analysis Formal Grounded Theory Reflexive Dimensional Analysis
8 Cherry-Picking Existing Theory #1 Concepts: A B C New Theory #3 Concepts: A D Existing Theory #2 Concepts: D E F
9 Ad-hoc Existing Theory #1 Concepts: A B C New Theory #3 Concepts: A D G Existing Theory #2 Concepts: D E F
10 Why do existing methods fail to generate good, revolutionary theory? Because we systems thinkers have been looking at each theory as a non-systemic collection of concepts
11 Emerging CRITICAL Metatheory Reflects The Need For Rigor Use whole theories Understand theory as system of interrelated propositions Seek systemic relationships
12 Systems of Logic ATOMISTIC LINEAR CIRCULAR CONCATENATED “A” is true / real / important More AMore BMore C More A More B More C More A More B More C
13 EXAMPLE: Propositional Analysis 1. Identify the logical propositions. 2. Diagram the causal relationships. 3. Integrate diagrams. 4. Identify and count the “Concatenated” aspects (two or more causal influences). 5. Count the total number of aspects (Complexity of the theory). 6. Calculate the Robustness (divide Concatenated aspects by total aspects).
14 Abstract Example A D C B A C C E Propositions within a Theory Carefully Integrated A B C D E Four linear logics poorly connected C = 5 R = 0.20 NOTE: Concatenated aspect is privileged (emergent, Bateson’s dual description)
15 By quantifying the structures of logic, we can measure the level of systemicity THUS – we have an empirical/quantitative way to see qualitative relationships … so, we can…
16 See Evolution of Theory & Changes in Complexity Scientific Revolution Complex theories – some usefulness
17 See Relationship between Structure & Usefulness Scientific Revolution Robust theories – Very Useful
18 Intuitive Approaches = Poor Results (Theories of Motivation) Concepts in each theory Relatedness on Scale of Zero to One Trend Line for Complexity Robustness remains low: Theory not very useful in practical application Complexity declining – not peaking: No revolutionary change is indicated
19 Existing Methods (ad-hoc, intuitive) Do not support revolutionary thinking Emerging Systemic Methods (Critical Metatheory) Identify Complexity & Systemicity So follow norms of complexity & systems thinking
20 We can better integrate theories within and between disciplines to create theories that are more systemic, more complex, and more likely to be effective. As did Galileo & Einstein
21 Questions? ~ OR ~ Proceed with LIVE Example?
22 INTERACTION TIME! Together, we will now: 1. Choose topic (Service? Natural?) 2. Brainstorm propositions (brainstorm rules) 3. Identify co-casual linkages 4. Build a better theory 5. Talk about paths for revolution LIVE EXAMPLE
23 Without Rigorous Standards We Become Biased and Our Theories Become Simple and Weak Concepts in each theory Relatedness on Scale of Zero to One Trend Line for Complexity 150 years until it disappears 900 years until it becomes fully effective
24 Some scholars go to the ad-hoc We should NOT follow them SYSTEMS thinkers: Let’s look differently at theories!
25 To Improve, We Must Push Theories to Higher Levels of Complexity, Systemic Interrelatedness, and Robustness
26 To Conclude… All data is “theory laden” – empirical approaches alone will not support revolution. We SHOULD apply rigorous methods to analyze and integrate theories within and between disciplines. If we are to have effective theory, that theory must be addressed in a rigorous scientific way (Critical Integrative Metatheory) Those methods should be applied to review submissions to journals
27 Many Thanks! Steven E. Wallis, Ph.D. Director, Foundation for the Advancement of Social Theory http://projectfast.orghttp://projectfast.org Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, Fielding Graduate University Adjunct Faculty, Capella University Editorial Board, Integral Review SWallis@ProjectFAST.org Fielding Graduate University is a 501 c (3) non-profit university of higher learning.