Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dialectics – a commentary to Singer: “Global business and the dialectic”

Sørensen, Asger. Human Systems Management, 2002, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p267, 3p; (AN 9330655).


Sørensen uses this commentary on dialectics to build upon a case previously presented by Alan Singer, which considers the use of philosophy, particularly dialectic reasoning, in developing business and political strategy. He believes that the use of dialectics to examine dilemmas, tensions, and contradictions has not been widely used, largely due to its "guilt by association" with marxists and totalitarians.

He begins by providing an overview of the development of dialectics in the realm of philosophy. The main focus of the historical overview is to examine the development and opposing viewpoints of dialectics, from Plato (ideas), Aristotle (deduction), Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Engels (dialectical materialism).

Sørensen further points out that Singer sided with Hegel and Engels, who advocated its application to nature and culture. While Singer endorsed its use as a scheme of thought, he did not fully commit to its necessity in examining tensions.

This examination of dialectics closes with a brief mention of its implications in the realm of business and political strategy. By nature, dialectics is concerned with the truth of reality in its entirety, and is therefore at odds with basing political decisions on the wants and needs of the individual. He adds to this by hypothesizing that "introducing dialectics into business strategy might signal a shift in focus from the market to the organization, i.e., from coping with universal competition outside the firm to handling internal affairs, just as it is relevant in an economy dominated by the monopolies of multinational corporations."

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