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News and Current Affairs

We are gradually transferring papers to this site while continuing to create new knowledge. This news section will in future advertise the arrival of additional content, either recovered from historical sources or new. This will both alert and direct the reader to any new content.

Additionally, there are occasions when something quite out of the ordinary happens, some incident which for various reasons becomes worth of note, not only to those intimately involved but we think to others as well. Such matters alert us all to the fact that the normal path or gradual evolutionary development of a body of knowledge is not necessarily gradual or smooth as blockages occur, development stutters or can even go backwards. They can alert us to previously hidden phenomena.

One such recent occurrence is documented in the article written by Merrelyn Emery, Don deGuerre and Philip Deering. It is the story of how the write ups (profiles) of the work of Fred and Merrelyn Emery were rejected as chapters in the recent publication of the Palgrave Handbook of Organizational Change Thinkers (2017).

Under the heading Current Affairs, we have published both the original chapters as they were last submitted to the editors as well as the blow by blow documentation of the action as it unfolded over a couple of years. We leave the readers to judge for themselves the validity of the criticism of our writing and that of our claim that the rejection probably had more to do with the accomplishments of Open Systems Theory (OST) than English usage.

Obviously both Fred and Merrelyn did think about organizational change and as the stated reason for their exclusion, namely that the standard of writing was not up to scratch, is disputed by others external to both the authors and the editors, the incident reminds us that social science like every other science is just another human activity as vulnerable to our prejudices, anxieties and all other socioemotional phenomena as any other activity.

The record shows that not only did the Emerys think about organizational change, they, and Fred in particular through decades of dedicated and concentrated research, achieved what nobody else had been able to achieve - a conceptual framework and method derived from it, that actually delivered a way to reliable make systemic change that has proven to be adaptive and sustainable. A unique contribution! Unparalleled and unchallenged – but unable to be included.

While the reason for the refusal to publish remains totally speculative, we should note that this decision is entirely in line with the majority response in North America to OST and the design principles in particular over the last 50 years or so. From the first introduction of the extended social field to the first publication of the design principles to today, the dominant response, particularly in the USA, has been to studiously ignore them.

When forced to confront these practical concepts as has happened with these chapters, ways must be found to prevent them infiltrating the bastion and infecting innocent minds. In particular it becomes necessary to avoid comparisons between accepted North America wisdom and the challenge of the interlopers.

What this tawdry little incident really illustrates is that when you are big, and in control of the recognized influential media for communication, an industrial gatekeeper, you behave like all the other bosses in DP1 structures. And of course, that is now exactly what powerful professors in universities and related academic institutions have become. Through their behaviour, they have put on display some of the well known dynamics which DP1 structures routinely produce.

Like the nasty little exchange with the six professors at ANU all those years ago, these same dynamics provide further confirmation of the theory they have rejected!


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