An onto-epistemological (re)framing and (re)connecting of organisations as praxeological multi-capital value systems

Mulligan, Eamon and Eldridge, Stephen and Remke, Robyn (2023) An onto-epistemological (re)framing and (re)connecting of organisations as praxeological multi-capital value systems. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Organisation stands as one of humankind’s greatest inventions, and reconceptualising organisations to meet the ever-diversifying needs of the modern stakeholder community one of its most significant challenges. Historically, scientific management principles simplified the challenge through a profitable operations practice imperative, which reinforced a creation and destruction value dualism, and causal and value dead ends. However, value is contingent upon meeting needs, demanding that organisations leverage a wider and connected set of capitals to meet the diverse needs of modernity. This research seeks to understand how praxeologically inert legacy organisations can generate value by (re)connecting capitals and (re)framing as multi-capital value systems. The study’s setting is the university-led Made Smarter Leadership Development programme which provided an insightful longitudinal case study over the two-year programme life-cycle. The research surfaced rich qualitative insights on participant sense-making journeys across a diverse set of participant-researcher touchpoints, and also collected associated quantitative survey data. Analysis was conducted in three streams, and iteratively built up a complementary organisational model ontology. Stream one, a qualitative ethnographic study utilised grounded theory analysis to surface the prâxis (re)framing priorities of organisations. Analysis of such priorities yielded an onto-epistemological perspective of an organisation, and novel insights were generated on prâxis (re)framing strategies, organisational maturity, and how prâxes and frames combine as a relational onto-epistemological duality. Stream two’s quantitative analysis of respondent data identified the 20 significant prâxis-elements that form six systemically correlated and causally related capital factors. Findings indicate how multiple capitals connect as an organisational structure which orchestrates value flows between capital factors. Stream three elaborated on the prior two streams’ empirically-grounded foundations through sensemaking systems dynamics theory. This modelling produced both empirical findings and a generalisable methodology to reconceptualise organisations as a connected praxeological multi-capital value system. Specifically, findings informed how means-ends dynamics orchestrate complex capital interactions, which form pan-organisational value journeys, and ultimately form generalisable value archetypes. In summary, the research confirmed an organisation is a connected multi-capital praxeological value system, this outcome enabled by the discovery of a novel onto-epistemological perspective of organisations.

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Thesis (PhD)
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07 Jul 2023 08:30
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 01:07