‘Paradigm’ is a much misused, abused, misunderstood and even hated word. But it is an extremely important concept that we should take the time to fully understand. A paradigm is a way of thinking, perceiving, communicating and viewing the world. It is often called a worldview or a mindset. The important point to understand about a paradigm is that it works at the subconscious level. We are not aware of our own paradigms. Its a bit like thinking the whole world is coloured red - unaware that we are wearing rose tinted contact lenses.
Paradigms include theories, principles, values, beliefs, and doctrines. They can be thought of as a rigid tacit infrastructure of ideas that shape not only our thinking but also our perception of the world. When someone says "we need a new paradigm for this." It is a misuse of the word. All they are saying is "we need a new approach or we need a new way of looking at things". By the very definition of the word - our personal and organisational paradigms are not known to us.
Paradigms are both good and bad. In one sense they are the mind's immune system against new, possibly dangerous ideas. On the other hand if they prevent the take up of any new idea they are potentially more dangerous. The problem is - we do something - we make a decision - we react in a particular way - quite naturally for a subconscious reason. A reason with which our conscious mind would not agree. However, our conscious mind rationalises our action. And we move on totally unaware - at best dimly aware - that we have done something for the wrong reason. Some of us may recognise that we do this in our personal lives - in our emotional lives - in our relationships with our loved ones. But we do it too in our business lives. So paradigms block our creativity - they limit our thoughts and our actions in a way in which we are not aware.
Blog PostThinking in public
Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 17 July 2002
Gurteen Knowledge-Log, David Gurteen, 22 August 2006
BookChanging Paradigms (1998) by Thomas Clarke , Stewart Clegg
The Transformation of Management Knowledge for the 21st Century
The Power of Mindful Learning (1997) by EllenáJ.áLanger
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) by ThomasáS.áKuhn
CategoryParadigms [19 items]
PersonEllenáJ.áLanger Professor of Psychology at Harvard
ThomasáS.áKuhn (1922 - 1995) Scientist
QuotationOn convictions and flies by BertrandáRussell (1872 - 1970) British philosopher, logician & essayist
On knowledge by EdwardáDeáBono (b. 1933) Psychologist & Author
On life being difficult by M.áScottáPeck Psychiatrist & author
On people, stimuli and sensations by ThomasáS.áKuhn (1922 - 1995) Scientist
On perspective by EllenáJ.áLanger Professor of Psychology at Harvard
On prejudice by PeteráSenge MIT-based author, researcher & educator
On single-minded views by EllenáJ.áLanger Professor of Psychology at Harvard
On the eyes and the mind by Pete Cohen
On the inside-out approach by StephenáCovey (1932 - 2012) Author & Consultant
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