Regnancy: a shadow over personal construing

Title: Regnancy: a shadow over personal construing
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1987
Where Published: In Fransella F. & Thomas L. (eds) ‘Experimenting with Personal Construct Psychology’, Routledge & Kegan Paul

Strategic decisions are represented as such in retrospect because they become associated with discontinuities in the way things have been discontinuities in the knot. When I started I was hoping that I would come up with the philosopher’s stone of strategy, the ability to turn a plain and ordinary discontinuity into a strategic discontinuity. Eventually I found a simpler solution: ‘strategic’ is a quality of the manager’s relationship to his own dependency needs. Thus for himself all discontinuities are strategic.
So where does this leave us with all those questions about how to change things? The answer of course is that you can’t change things only your relationship to things. The really difficult bit is realising that there are ‘things’ there in the first place. Regnancy casts a shadow in which it is difficult to see.
For me, what I take from Kelly’s notion of being a personal scientist is the quality of resistance: resisting others’ explanations presented as Science. This strategic relationship to Science comes alive for me when restated as a relationship to Employment: the self-employed employee.
Scientific explanation is explanation which holds itself forward as the essence of Truth. Business explanation is explanation which holds itself forward as the essence of Work. We are all employees. Some of us are self employed employees. We all stand in the shadow of the regnancy of others, particularly the regnancy of employment.
Once seen, a regnant knot simply becomes someone else’s explanation, and why make someone else’s explanation do when you could have one of your own?! So . . . the struggle for true voice is the struggle for critical relationship. From there explanations can be constructed. All that then remains is that your constructions be beautiful.

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The Need for Middle-Out Development of Marketing Strategy

Title: The Need for Middle-Out Development of Marketing Strategy
Author: Philip Boxer & Dr Robin Wensley
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1986
Where Published: Journal of Management Studies March Vol 23 No 2 pp189-204.
Abstract:

The current tendency to move decision making closer to those concerned with implementing decisions in order to make use of their local market and customer knowledge is timely, particularly in relation to marketing strategy. This tendency is reflected both in the shift away from broad strategic analysis and towards encouraging strategic thinking throughout the organisation; and in the emergence of more decentralised strategy development through structural innovations such as Strategic Business Units. For the manager-in-the-middle who has historically had the task of relating the broad corporate strategies to the detail of delivering products and services to the customer, this shift in emphasis creates new stresses, for it is not possible for him to assume, even in the most stablished consumer goods companies, that the strategic development of such activities can be construed within the traditional marketing mix (4Ps) framework. Under such circumstances, he needs a framework which enables him to take account of the crucial interactions going on within the market’s infrastructure itself between customers, competition and channels (3Cs). If the manager-in-the-middle is then to be effective in responding to his increasingly complex responsibilities in relation to such markets, he must also be given the ability to manage the micro-organisational context within which he delivers products and services. This micro-organisational context is crucial because it determines the quality of the relationship that can be sustained with the customer. The higher the quality of the relationship, the tighter the coupling that can be maintained with the local market. Such tight coupling makes the relationship with the customer more defensible against competition. It therefore provides the basis for sustaining and developing the profitability of value-adding products and services so necessary to long term corporate survival.

 

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Judging the Quality of Development

Title: Judging the Quality of Development
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1985
Where Published: In Boud D., Keogh R. & Walker D. (eds) ‘Reflection: turning experience into learning’, Kogan Page.
Abstract:

This paper traces the origins of the technique of reflective analysis, as supported by CRITIK and considers its place in relation to different forms of teaching paradigm. It describes the technique in terms of enabling a manager to articulate the paradoxes and dilemmas inherent in his own way of framing his experience. The paper then goes on to discuss the characteristic ways in which managers get stuck in their own development in terms of each of the teaching paradigms, and the ways in which teachers can collude with this to serve their own interests. It concludes that the best teaching practice enables managers to find their own authority in relation to their experience, and to live with the issues of timing that this form of authority inevitably gives rise to.

 

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Developing a basis for assessing the Marketability of Passive Solar Technology in the UK.

Title: Developing a basis for assessing the Marketability of Passive Solar Technology in the UK.
Author: Boxer, P.J.
Category: Working
Publication Year: 1983

The overall Project P3/2 was set up by the Energy Technology Support Unit of the Department of Energy (DEn/ETSU) to develop a model of the marketability of passive solar technology within the private domestic housing sector in the UK. Such a model was to provide a means of understanding how market potential and market penetration depended on immediately quantifiable parameters such as costs and performance, and on qualitative attitudinal factors. It would consider both general issues of the impact of energy cost-in-use for domestic buildings as well as detailed responses to specific passive solar measures. This paper explores the issues raised in seeking to develop such a model and sets out in more detail the methods appropriate for describing such dependence.

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The Flow of Choice

Title: The Flow of Choice
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1983
Where Published: In Mancuso J.C. & Adams-Webber J.R. (eds) ‘The Construing Person’, Praeger.

The Choice Corollary: A person chooses for himself that alternative in a dichotomised construct through which he anticipates the greater possibility for extension and definition of his system.
The Fundamental Postulate is a construction of the individual as a “process in being”. Like a flowing stream, the individual’s behaviour is construed as the dynamic choices implicit in his onward flow across the epigenetic landscape of his construing. The process of choice lies at the centre of the development of the individual’s construction system, and it is this system that forms the landscape that channelises the onward flow of the individual’s processes. Not only does the construction system construe its own extension and definition, thus setting itself apart as a self referential system, but also the construction system produces alternatives, the experience of which varies the construction system itself: the construction system has the capability of being self modifying. These two properties of the construction system have enormous implications for the autonomy of the individual in relation to others that can only be touched on in this chapter. The individual also experiences himself as self aware and conscious of the choices open to him within the context of that self awareness. There is a duality in this consciousness in that the individual can both think about himself the stream as seen from the point of view of the surrounding landscape and he can also think as himself the stream in being seen from the point of view of being the stream itself. This duality manifests itself to him on the one hand as a consciousness of choice and on the other hand as an awareness of choosing.
It is my intention to explore the Choice Corollary in this chapter from the point of view of choosing. The objective underlying this is to arrive at an understanding of what can go ‘wrong’ with this process as construed by the individual choosing.

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Niches and Competition: The Ecology of Market Organisation

Title: Niches and Competition: The Ecology of Market Organisation
Author: Boxer, P.J. & Wensley, J.R.C.
Category: Working
Publication Year: 1982

In this paper, we link together some of the analytical approaches adopted by ecological forms of discourse with current evidence and experience in consumer and market segmentation studies. The primary consequence of this work is to refocus our attention away from the concept of the product market, a single or multiple resource to be exploited by producers, towards the concept of the active consumer: the customer who uses the various producer offerings by configuring them in such a way as to support his or her needs as best as s/he is able. Such a refocussing suggests a new view of market organisation in support of such active consumers. In this respect, we echo much of Wroe Alderson’s writing, and are able develop his ideas by looking more closely at the ways in which the organisation and structure of channels of distribution are able to balance with the interests of the other two behaviour systems: those of active consumers, and those which fund channel organisation and structure. Our conclusion is that the word ‘niche’ has been used to support a view of market organisation which has done precisely that which the ecologists would wish us not to do: to encourage a relationship to our environment which does not consider the effect it has on that environment.

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Supporting Reflective Learning

Title: Supporting Reflective Learning
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1980
Where Published: Human Relations 33(1)

The paper develops a framework which extends Kelly’s theory of personal constructs so that it can incorporate concepts of consciousness and of structure. It shows both how this extension makes it possible to explore the dynamics of structures as they are apparent in managers’ use of language, and how the extension can be operationalized so that a manager can not only think about the theory, but also think through it. It concludes that this operational form of the theory enables the manager to have a new kind of learning experience: reflective learning.

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Learning as a Subversive Activity

Title: Learning as a Subversive Activity
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1981
Where Published: In Boydell T. & Pedler M. (eds) ‘Management Self-Development: concepts and practices’, Gower.

What is meant by ‘subversive’? Is it the challenging of established forms of knowledge, or does it imply the undermining of the establishment values around the authority-figure teacher/learner relationship? In either case it can clearly be seen as a movement towards the integration of knower and known, of learner and learned. This chapter describes one approach to this movement, which is also a very clear example of the use of social processes to aid individual development, through co-counseling. It is all the more intriguing in that these personal and social processes are assisted by modern technology, by computer-assisted reflective learning.

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Reflective Analysis

Title: Reflective Analysis
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1981
Where Published: In Shaw M.L.G. (ed) ‘Recent Advances in Personal Construct Technology’, Academic Press.

The paper describes a method of computer assisted reflective learning capable of being used by managers. The method enables managers to explore the value of their past experience in relation to a particular problem context; to consider how their own experience relates to that of other managers; and finally to create design criteria for strategic options within a problem context capable of commanding a consensus between the managers. The paper concludes that the method represents a new departure in the use of computers for supporting strategic management.

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DEFENCES AGAINST ANXIETY ARE DEFENCES AGAINST INNOVATION