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Developing a systemic problem structuring method for use in a problem-avoiding culture

Shen, Chao-Ying; Midgley, Gerald

Authors

Chao-Ying Shen

Abstract

This paper presents a Buddhist systems methodology (BSM) designed for use in Taiwanese Buddhist organisations. The authors argue that the BSM has advantages in Taiwanese contexts compared with Western systemic problem structuring methods, which mostly require participants to identify and explore problems or problematic situations. In Taiwanese Buddhist culture, identifying problems is regarded negatively because it could lead to individual blame and threaten organisational harmony. Unlike many Western approaches, the BSM uses Buddhist concepts that are closely associated with the practice of harmonious living. Thus, it reframes systemic problem structuring as the exercise of Buddhist discipline applied to organisational life, which is likely to be viewed as a co-operative and culturally valued endeavour. A BSM intervention is described in which the authors tackled a significant conflict (and issues underlying this) that threatened the future of a large non-governmental Buddhist organisation. An evaluation of the intervention demonstrated significant positive impacts.

Book Type Authored Book
Journal Research memorandum (University of Hull Business School) ; 92
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Book Title Developing a systemic problem structuring method for use in a problem-avoiding culture
ISBN 978190642229
Keywords Boundary critique, Buddhist systems methodology (BSM), Critical systems thinking, Methodological pluralism, Multimethodology, Problem structuring methods, Viable system model (VSM)

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