A kind of conceptual pathology of groups unable to reach any "genuine consensus, or even majority view toward component aspects of a complex issue" (J. WARFIELD, 1995, p.IV).
WARFIELD dedicates a full chapter to the important concept reflected by this neologism, used to explain ineffective thinking in groups (p.73-87).
He states that this collective condition is generally neither recognized nor compensated for, and proposes a method to correct this type of situations.
He writes: "Spreadthink can be viewed as a short name for the content of these two Laws of Complexity".
"- The Law of Inherent Conflict – which asserts that no matter what the complex issue and no matter what the group involved, there will always be significant conflict in interpreting what is important in resolving that issue.
"- The Law of Diverse Beliefs – which asserts that at the outset of an investigation of a complex issue, members of the group will have quite diverse beliefs about the issue" (p.75)
He explains spreadthink as a result of four other laws, namely:
- The Law of Limits: according to which no single individual is able to obtain an all-embracing information and understanding about a complex situation.
- The Law of Organizational Linguistics "which relates to the inadequacy of organizational language to supply the conceptual terminology in which to couch a proper viewpoint of a complex situation" (This surely means "of any specific organizational language")
- The Law of Structural Underconceptualization, a result of the use of methodologies only appropriate for ordinary simple situations.
- The Law of Requisite Saliency which asserts that people find difficult to organize well their ideas around the most relevant aspects corresponding to a specific situation.
WARFIELD shows how Nominal Group Technique and Interpretive Structural Modeling can be used to discover, and correct spreadthink in order to define an evaluation of any situation satisfactory for the whole group of participants.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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