December 17, 2007

La langue de préférence

I have a confession to make: English is not my "first" language. I think people are glad to confuse it with other things and use it as an excuse to resist what is told to them. A plain example of this is when they pretend they don't understand you.

The fact, however, have nothing to do with my desire to form sentences with syntax (and omissions) that is correct but outside of what good grammar school books are suggesting. It would all too easy to accept them as a truth about grammar. There is more than a convenience of communication. Grammar teaches people to obey and they feel good when they do because they've been conditioned by school teachers.

If you write a book or article, there are editors and copy-editors. This is different. It's about expression, expedition and being natural, all awkward doings included. I am always amazed by people who begin saying something stupid about language or emotional reaction instead of decoding the knowledge and use it as they please. It's a problem: they're dealing with content and re-arranging tea spoons being deadly serious about an important activity.

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December 12, 2007

Presenting to a Panel

Having presented to a plenty of academic panels on various occasions, I'd like to sum up a few observations.

1. Enthusiasm sells. 'Own the floor.' Speedy talking, lack of clarity and unexpected passages -- the cost of it all is in no comparison to a benefit of owning people's attention. You get a chance of presuasion and breaking through their objections. Objections are guaranteed, it's what academics do for a living. In most cases, they wont' know you and will have their own personal projections too.

It's like working as a trader in finanical markets, you won't get in trouble for a good bull decision - you are supporting the market.

2. They ask the wrong questions or put the questions in the wrong form. It's a tradition. Example: "How do you apply 'the best practice' in management development?" Don't be dubbed by form of the question: it aims you away from a direction they desire. Tell a story rather than generalise on 'best practices'. Beware though, 'telling a story' in response to a formal question highlights meaningless of the question.

3. "They know nothing!" -- I enjoy writing this. It's actually a quote from Jim Cramer of CNBC, which you can find here, on the Cramer's Sound Board. He passionately described how the U.S. Federal Reserve was doing with an ongoing credit crunch.

This is true for more than a few reasons. First, you present out of your own universe of your context and experience about which they might not be even aware. Second, most often they wouldn't know of those advanced theories, models, simulations or have their own interpretations of them. Third, they are typically 'lost in content' and just swim around in all details and content, with no strategies for Learning II (e.g., learning how to learn). It's hard to learn, when your 'map of the world' is always implicit. There is more: no explicit learning strategies of making knowledge behavioural and, of course, they will resist if you make them to do so.

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November 20, 2007

The Left Hemisphere

I have finally became able to verbalise this in a slightly academic tone:

The impact of preference for knowledge that is suitable for processing by the left hemisphere is one of the most important issues underlying development and utilisation of management knowledge. Our schooling, culture and theoretical tools train us in ‘left hemisphere thinking’ and stimulate the left-hemispheric processing of information and its dominance.

What most of ‘research’ does is explication of ‘what is known to the right hemisphere’ as intuition, wisdom, implicit knowledge and alike structures into a language and logical form that is suitable to be processed by the left hemisphere. The explication mode certainly has its value, because knowledge becomes easy to disseminate, comprehend and recombine. Explication mode is not the same as creation mode, which is associated with changes in a deep structure of knowledge. These two acts of thinking should be distinguished.

The problem with the functioning of the left hemisphere is that it is arguably the most dissociated and de-contextualised part of a brain and our being. Dissociation comes at a cost: people do not notice impact they make and they lose control over their own preferences and subsequent decisions - cognitive dissonance appears and one hand doesn't know what the other does.

October 23, 2007

Note-taking in the Classroom

At my own expense, I was experimenting with not giving out handouts for a lecture. No doubt, the impact upon students' feedback was detrimental.

I was doing that because people confuse 'making notes' with 'understanding.' Throughout all the schooling we were trained to memorise this way and, thus, gain some confidence in our knowledge (which teachers simultaneously destroyed by marking all what was wrong with our work for ten years). A nice illusion, if knowledge was ever present.

Of course, a handout is an anchor that grounds people to a reality of the classroom and make them feel convenient, lost less and sleep more. However, the using of handouts and making of notes is a guarantee that their minds will not be in the classroom. Only in at time T-1 at best. Having a handout cancels a need to read a book - everything is ready, packaged and paid for. I quote, "People read faster than you speak. This means you are useless."

In a business school and environment, you are always expected to have Powerpoint slides and handouts (the more elaborate, the better, of course!). I have much to say about Powerpoint and technology of the classroom but for now... about a million classroom and online presentations are going on at this moment Death by PowerPoint.

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October 12, 2007

MBA

There is a continious discussion about where MBA is going and what it worth. The value of general management education is questioned and this is good. If I would be designing an MBA, I would put the following components alongside with traditional ones on strategy, markeing, etc.

- Acting skills. Drama
Suffice to say that most of organisational life is drama. Stanford already offers Drama as an elective on its MBA.

- Presentation skills
No need to elaborate. Whether we present often or rarely, it's all crucial. We over-rely on technology - show them Powerpoint slides and get the illusion of understanding. More instruction is needed on mini-presentations like a hallway conversation and, of course, sales. Chicago Graduate School of Business asks applicants to send them their presentation slides.

- Technology skills.
There is critical diffference in people. Some people can open Excel and learn its features by going for what their want -- even if they don't know how to do certain thing or if it is possible to do it at all, they go for it and make technology do it in one or another way or approximation. It is like they are building scenarious, nexting about what is possible. I guess this is a distinction of "a programmer".
Other people need to be shown that there is cell formatting function, instead of knowing that it is there (or should be).

- Neurology skills. Apart from general self-development mambo-jambo that you need to relax yourself, yes, hard neurology for people to have an idea about what is going on with their brains. Which hemisphere is likely to be active now, are they confused to the degree of cross-cortical search -- these are useful things to know. At the very least people will start to notice emotions and reactions of others in the same room.

An observation: students' minds do not seem to be very good at linking and integrating concepts of different areas.

September 24, 2006

Life Choices

I was telling to a friend that my life choices are not that good. I definitely should not have settled for a province and that just leaves me out of the loop and energy and stimulation. Other shoulda and woulda include all sorts of "wrong" location, wrong professional role and financial decisions made without due preparation. Even in what I do with my time or whom I see, it seems wasted. Or am I doing my best? In this case I thought I am able for more. Or it is not the question of ability, but meeting expectations, of others that is. I think, I began to see where those life choices lead me and I don't quite like it. I also don't see ways back. If I am not moved by what has been achieved, I surely won't be if I return to past.

P.S. Even I hold high standards ideally, reality shows that I settle for good but average choices. Which is a mistake.

September 21, 2006

New York

Sitting in my English flat in a perfect English province and watching Sex and The City, I realised that I had a life there. Though I was spending too much time watching TV or just browsing Internet at work on Saturdays, there were things like the internship at the United Nations, a night club "Top of The World" on the very top floor of one of Twin Towers, being on a floor New York Stock Exchange in a brocker's shoes, being locked with 30 billions worth of gold deep under Manhattan at Federal Reserve, wine and talks with clever Portugese girls in some restaraunts in midtown, Broadway show about a gay relationship, organising recieption at Russian mission to the UN, coffee in Lipstick Building with clever Yale graduates, live jazz in Chelsea clubs, Independence Day fireworks. Even when I left, I went to JFK on taxi right from my workplace. This was a flash so strong, that I realise i don't look at my place in the same way. I had a life. I think I got too tired too early.

September 17, 2006

Boredom

I could never really understand that feeling. Maybe I forgot how to have it. I know that actually it is a name (nominalisation) for many different feelings and kinesthetics. I never have time to get bored and maybe this is another issue. And I know the feeling of not wanting doing... well not anything but some most of things. But now, I have more than 20 people on my MSN list and a third of them are saying that they are bored. Each day. Such a waste of time, they should substitute it for being horny and have sex with each other, and stop hanging online for ages making this sad picture.

September 14, 2006

Academic writing III

I was talking to a Masters student whose dissertation I happen to supervise. I had a hinch, asked him a question and received an interesting story about hotel bookings in China. It was actual and useful. So, I questioned him, why didn't you just write about this in your dissertation. I recollected my own viva for a doctorate, when I have described interesting themes, but said that they're not in focus of the thesis because there were no time and space. The same answer I recieved from the student. He did a proposal when there was no time to write it properly and choose a subject of interest. The next thing he had was spending four months on the dissertation based on that proposal.

September 04, 2006

Academic writing II

As I am becoming to express myself like a normal human being, I have more to say on academic writing. Some presuppositions of change and effective behaviour are so embedded in my behaviour that I don't go into the same river twice - that is, it is hard just to revise a paper without additing new direction and develop thought further. It becomes the next paper, leaving the original never complete. Not the best talent for writing hundred of pages about the same and the same thing.

August 23, 2006

MeaSUREment?

I reckon the Freakonomics book has transformed my understanding of economics by saying, economics is the science of measurement. This is by the way a brilliant piece of 'nlp installation' or what I call, presuppositional setup.

And now, another piece of, courtesy by Dave Snowden

Goodhart a British economist is widely held to have formulated the equivalent of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principal for economics. It states as follows :-

Any statistical relationship will break down when used for policy purposes

A simpler formulation from a US academic translates this as :-

If a measure becomes a target, then it ceases to be a measure

In a very real sense you get what you measure and you live to regret it :-)

August 21, 2006

If you have what you want fully and completely, what do you want thru that that is more important?

Behind negative motivation strategies there is a belief that if you have the feeling of getting what you want now, then you won't have motivation to actually get it. This is a deadlock. Double double bind. Because that will make you struggle and experience negative emotions on the way to get what you want so much, that you will drop out or spend excessive effort. And if you finally happen to get what you want, you will not have satisfaction and feeling that you have sought after, because you have just confirmed the belief that you won't have motivation if you have such satisfaction. So, if you have what you want fully and completely, what do you want through that that is even more important?

That way of living does not help achieving things in comfort and confidence and with resolve.

February 26, 2006

Why I don't write many academic papers

Well, because it's depressing and does not feel like I'm doing some thing for real. Who reads them anyways?
Apart from language issues, peer review process, publish or perish etc.
When I look at another piece of discussion about that theory by X said such and such and theory by Y said that... for pages and pages. Then goes 'hypotheses' and a sterile discussion of stand-alone issues, because it's impossible to investigate them scientifically in a complexity of real-life contexts. Plus usual portion of methodology and number of survey responses that supposed to prove validity. Those surveys tell nothing, except about preconceptions of those who wrote questions. To extract data from them wouldn't worth it, easier to ask people for yourself.
And, of course, implications for practitioners (never followed), contributions for research field directions for further studies (you need to show that you build on some extant authorities).

The scientific approach teaches that you cann't start doing anything without having a problem, you can explore only by methods prescribed, and of course, you cann't live without limitations.

February 06, 2006

Academic writing

Whilst reviwing a paper for Organization Science, I realised that academic publishing does not aim to convey the 'real sense', the phenomena, pattern or (cognitive) skill as a whole. First, they are interested in clear and simple linkages, for the ease of conscious understanding. Second, they have no access to the multi-level communication, which can make installing a skill and passing an experience possible.

November 14, 2005

I always put my personal life first.

I just don't always have a personal life to put first.

Said Maureen Dowd as quoted in an article in Washington Post, which is aditional content still available free, unlike Dowd's own colums for which one needs to pay TimesSelect subscription which "generated 270,000 subscribers, half of whom already subscribed to the newspaper (and hence get the new service free) and half of whom were plunking down cold, hard cash".

October 24, 2005

Basal ganglia and more of rat-tourchuring science

OK, another bit of rat-tourchuring science.

Nothing new, exept trivia and, yeah, sensible research conclusions that lead nowhere,
"If a learned pattern remains in the brain after the behavior is extinguished, maybe that's why it's so difficult to change a habit."

There are lots of patterns stored in the brain, and learned patterns--once developed, neuron pathways--are available. The very language of it... using "change a habit" expression so literally--like a habit is a dress to change--is buying the metaphor at the cost of reality.

What's useful, the pointer to their metaphor of "the robot within us" and role of the basal ganglia--a brain region that is central to habits, addiction and procedural learning--that underlines the unity of patterns involved in these processes. High value assigned to learning, and negative value assigned to addiction are irrelevant.

October 14, 2005

Harriet Miers's blog

If it is real and authentic Harriet Miers's blog, then we never before saw such a charming and accesible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court!! No digital divide, whatever fellows at OII are talking about. I hope no one won't judge me for this opinion :)

October 12, 2005

Freakonomics

A fellow colleague at Cranfield University--yes, the proper one with airfield and tank battlefield--told me about Freakonomics, and the book re-opened economics for me as something that can be really interesting.

I traced several language patterns, noted a few presuppositions combination of which covers most of the reasoning, and thought about their direction of thought stemming from from 'the hidden side of everything' (p. 3) to 'thinking of how things aren't quite what they seem' (p. 206). Lots of creativity and 'think of what you haven not done yet' pattern. Above all, stand (or hang) straightforward expression by Steven and writing patters of Stephen.

Reviving Blogging

How about we revive this blog, and start to learn Italian.

Many things changed and achieved since my last posting here, as it should be. But the medium remains the same. What I tried to wrote here before was about 'interesting things' met in my professional life--few examples were put here, most of them were worthy of experiencing much more than of recording.

When I began to study organisational behavior, I thought I would use some smart software or wicki and create a map of the field, that proved to be too complex, too irrelevant, or I simply lacked 'motivation'.

While I can't wrap my brain around the concept and purposes of this blogging activity still, I'll continue.

Parlate Italiano? :-)


P.S. By the way, the spellchecker here, at blogger.com does not know the words 'blog' and 'blogging', tries to replace 'blogging' with 'flogging' and 'blog' with 'bloc'... well-abmiguous.
P.P.S. It messed up the word 'wiki' and my Italian phrase as well!

August 03, 2003

Gregory Bateson and Epistemology

How can we know that and what we know? How we do know, and how do we know that we know?

Reading Baterson is always amazing: the same-level, same-measured information could be of different logical type/source: from A, from B and from AB.

His "Mind and Nature: a Necessary Unity" book is about theory of knowledge and its connections to what is around, a pattern that connects.

March 23, 2003

Budget for ring tones. Amazing

One in five UK adults have paid for SMS alerts and logos in the past year in a market worth £140 million. A mere £60 million was spend on ring tones.

March 22, 2003

Internet and our service to each other

Took part in OII's event at the UK Parliament, Professor Noam was concise, and I remember him from Launch Conference. His Columbia Institute for Tele-Information seems to be intensive and surely unique.

Point was made that Internet and information markets (for network equipment, browsing software and the like) are concentrated - have less participants and more share/market power per each. Communications market has vast underused capacity. So, one of basic choices is price wars vs. oligopolies & regulation. But Internet is more than a marketplace:

We have many services on the Internet, which we take for granted, i.e. (1) web site is an information service about a company or initiative, (2) when we e-mail each other, we provide service (informational or analytical - meaning one) that is valuable, whereas e-mail, WWW, operating systems, browsing software, computer network equipment are infrastructural services that are worthy as long as they maintain medium but not per se.

Interestingly, that types and value of taken-for-granted services that network participants provide to each other are not investigated, appreciated, and reported scientifically.

1. Moreover, it seems that infrastructural lock-in (like in e-mail or browsing software) is significantly lower than "meaning lock-in." For instance, users do not concern with change of Cisco routers and can easily switch from Explorer to Netscape (say to reduce costs), but switch between R&D or statistical packages is proven to be difficult – a case with knowledge and meaning-intensive software.

2. Infrastructural services, software and even web-programming like Mapquest.com or MS Office, or HTML are usually commoditized, rather than knowledge intensive ones like automobile engineering software and its languages.

3. Infrastructural lock-in may be serious due to high equipment and operating software costs, but "meaning lock-in" is proven to be long-lasting, expensive (billions are spent now: about 80% of new project budgets are software, and 80% of a helicopter’s cost is attributed to software), and highly hidden like cost of re-thinking one’s work in terms of new R&D software.

4. Infrastructure and standardized networks have their own economies, often they are subsidised by consortia or government, thus, they do not create significant lock-in, influence, and market power.

From other side, most of highly valuable services that people conduct over the Internet are not commercialized, hence, they are difficult to count and understand in terms influence on markets. But network participants proved to be flexible and knowledgeable actors - to remember e-mail example, I will have no wonder if people would go back to phones/handwritten faxes with their own advantages like confidentiality, paper document, identification, almost no spam, and personality.

March 08, 2003

Organisation theory: hype and broad language. Tired.

Organization theory writings are full of unstructured thought, incomparable and contradicting findings, inappropriate abstractions, different language; they are fragmented and underoperationalised frequently...

March 03, 2003

XML, Altova, my resume and all that technologies...

I have installed Authentic XML development tool by Altova (which they made "free"). OK, started exploring it and look for what useful I can do with it now, complicated menu, functions... and discovered "industry standard for XML-based resume." OK, I thought, I just wanted to shape my resume with styles in Word, it will be a chance to put this thing in order, especially because, resume is constantly adjusted for different puposes, so it will be easier to pick up different things.

Well, Authentic offered me some inconvenient editor, in which it translates XML tags into fields, to which I should type. I attempted to switch to simple XML editor and encountered problems, one of them is if you want to change format of the file you need to prepare template in other tool by Altova (which, of course, is not free or even on trial). But the thing is I do not want to (and doubt I should) care that some templates, XML schema, complex settings… whatever is needed, I just want to make my resume better!

It is always so with technologies, and Internet particularly. Formats, settings, technologies, system's logic… why shall I know HTML, XML to express my thoughts? (And if one does not want to focus or learn HTML... it's hard to create a worthy thing in Frontpage) Communication and formulation are tough themselves and technologies shift effort with their unnecessarily complexities. There is one simple thing: people are knowledgeable and adaptive agents engaging with technology to achieve their ends, and when technology does not help, they abandon it, or work around it, or change it, or think about changing their ends.

Dropping of inefficient ammunition is much likely, and I have no wonder why people, like programmers, (been one of those) have troubles and slows in overcoming technological stupidity for no reason.