Ryan Armstrong
Change management. Learning. Maps.

Blog

Random thoughts, research in progress, things I'm doing, and ideas for later. Occasionally attempt to post something useful. Anything tagged 'pinboard' will not be.

A soft systems walkthrough

I have been incorporating Checkland’s soft systems into my introductory lessons in Operations Management. To me the approach is one of the most accessible means of applying systems thinking in practice, once you get the hang of it. It is the “getting the hang of it” that gives people trouble...

Food consumption and trust

A recipe for friendship: Similar food consumption promotes trust and cooperation This research examines the consequences of incidental food consumption for trust and cooperation. We find that strangers who are assigned to eat similar (vs. dissimilar) foods are more trusting of each other in a trust game (Study 1). Food...

Jackson's technique for machine sequencing

I was looking for real-world examples of applications of a technique by Jackson (1956) that is supposed to be useful for sequencing on 2 machines where the order depends on the characteristics of the product (it can be Machine A, then Machine B, Machine A only, Machine B Only, or...

RRREIC in the news

From a recent Guardian article, here is a realist account of science if I have ever seen one, delivered from now Nobel Prize winning economists: But good economics is much less strident, and quite different. It is less like the hard sciences and more like engineering or plumbing: it breaks...

An example of counter-phenomenality at work

A glorious demonstration of science’s capacity for counter-phenomenality, i.e. for its capacity to develop knowledge of the world that goes beyond appearances, and can transform practice. Here is the link to the full story

Rubrics for operations management

Good grading rubrics are hard to find (at least via Google). After several hours and evaluating several dozens of university-level Rubrics I noted the following: Many offered entirely subjective criteria These subjective criteria were linked to a quantitative measure (the final grade) Several contained categories, but not how to make...

The tragedy in the Remains of the Day

I bought Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day on my way home from IACR 2019. The story of a butler who renounces love in service of propriety and duty, it could not have been a better read after a week of discussing structure, agency, and the systemic constraints on...

Argyris and Schön's Left-Side, Right-Side Exercise as a Research Tool

People often fail to walk their talk. Chris Arygris and Donald Schon’s theory-in-action approach to organizational learning holds that there is some value in revealing and understanding the nature of inconsistencies between the talk (espoused values), and the underlying, often unconscious values guiding ‘the walk’ (theories-in-use). How to identify these...

IACR Annual Conference

Delighted to have been accepted to give my talk “Revisiting RRREIC for interdisciplinary research: exploring challenges and opportunities in a well-being project” at the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR) at the University of Southhampton. RRREIC, for resolution, redescription, retroduction (or retrodiction), elimination, identification, and correction, is meant to be...

Reading new book on DBT Skills and link to change management

My parents are psychiatrists. The more I research theories of action and how an organization might truly create an environment that supports positive learning, the more apparent it seems that most workplaces are abhorrently deficient in skills required to bring these about, unsupportive or even aggressively opposed to efforts at...

An article on work, supervision, and trauma

Enjoyed reading a hot-off-the-press article in Academy of Management Reviews: Vogel, R. M., & Bolino, M. C. (2019). Recurring Nightmares and Silver Linings: Understanding How Past Abusive Supervision May Lead To Posttraumatic Stress and Posttraumatic Growth. Academy of Management Review, In Press. Abstract and brief thoughts below: Research on traumatic...

On achieving Argyris's Model II - Post 1

The work of Chris Argyris is some of my favorite for explaining barriers to learning and growth in organizations, as summarized in this post. It’s a theory I see supported by practice every day. But after reading another of his books, I was still having trouble understanding what an Argyris-informed...

On the contemporary workplace and human suffering

From Dashtipour, P., & Vidaillet, B. (2019). Introducing the French Psychodynamics of work perspective to critical management education: Why do the work and the organization of work matter? Academy of Management Learning and Education, In Press: In contemporary workplaces, we witness the widespread poor treatment of workers, increased precariousness of...

Explaining a lack of well-being with Polyvagal Theory

This week I was exploring mechanisms related to a lack of well-being in early-career researchers as part of a research project on the drivers of a well-being crisis. My father, a psychiatrist, was in town from Somalia where a huge portion of the population is affected by PTSD. He suggested...

Review - The cure is not doubling down on capitalism

A recently published review article, titled “The planet has a fever, and the cure is more capitalism, a prominent researcher argues”, reviews an upcoming book by Andrew McAfee that argues that we should “double down” on capitalism as a means of addressing climate change (read: climate disaster). Here are the...

Telemigration

From Globots and telemigrants: The new language of the future of work: Automation and globalization are century-old stories. Globotics is different for two big reasons. It is coming inhumanely fast, and it will seem unbelievably unfair,” Baldwin writes. “Globotics is injecting pressure into our socio-political-economic system (via job displacement) faster...

Blogging as curation and the end of blogger's block

It’s been years since I’ve blogged regularly. My last blog was called Spain, Of Course! written about (surprise!) Spain from the perspective of a newly landed Oklahoman in Madrid. It was easy to write back then, maybe because everything was new and fascinating to me and I didn’t yet have...

What am I doing here? Reflecting on a personal blog strategy

A recurring theme in successful bloggers is that you should get some enjoyment out of it or you probably won’t last long. I have enjoyed blogging in the past, but have consistently failed at getting things on my personal webpage. It’s not for lack of trying: right now I have...

From my journal. Brief thoughts on ups and downs

This is the first post of mine that is straight out of my journal. Entry Date and Time: 6 13 2019 9:31 AM Duration of writing: 2 block Words written: a bunch. not sure . 1000? probably 1000. Working on: blog, agile, well-being Thoughts: So yesterday I’m down about a...

Drawing Closer to PhD Well-Being - A Visual Workshop

This is a workshop organized with the Institut Catalá d’Investigació Quimica, with the support and collaboration with Scientists Dating Forum. It’s my second visual workshop aimed at doctoral (Ph.D. “Students”) and other early career researchers (ECRs). There is evidence that this group is suffering “Future Shock”: threats to their well-being...

Future Shock! Goal, role, and process ambiguity in Ph.D. programs

My dad and I were talking about change management the other day. In theory we are concerned with change from different perspectives, he from psychiatry, and me from organization development / management. The subject of our discussion was on the lines of “nothing new under the sun”, in that people...

Managing Change in the 4th Industrial Revolution

The University of Örebro, INTERORG Marketing Research Center, were nice enough to invite me to talk about change management in the 4th Industrial revolution. Here is a link to the full talk if the video does not load properly below.

On research as oppressive plank repair

Quote of the day: Scientists are like sailors who must repair a rotting ship at sea. They trust the great bulk of timbers while they replace a particularly weak plank. Each of the timbers they now trust they may, in its turn, replace." (Shadish, Cook, and Campbell, 2002) Also, the...

St. Jordi! And viz tools

St. Jordi (St. George’s day) is a big day in Catalunya. Tradition has it that the girls buy the boys books and the boys buy the girls roses (actually usually one overpriced rose wrapped in plastic and red and yellow ribbon). Unfortunately, Alina was down with the flu, so our...

Systems thinking workshop at UPF

This was an event at UPF with Scientists Dating Forum.

Revisiting alignment and its relation to performance measurement

On September 3, 2018, I presented my research on the use of cognitive mapping as a means of understanding strategic alignment. Below is a summary and some thoughts on where the project needs to go next. “Alignment” is a much used and much abused term in strategic management. Essentially the...

Conference Presentation - Implications of adopting a critical realist approach for soft systems methodology

A presentation of my research to date on soft systems methodology. Here’s the abstract to the paper. that was eventually published from it: “This paper explores the implications of adopting a critical realist approach to soft systems methodology (SSM) both to address local problematic situations and to develop deeper explanations....