Theoretical foundation

The hallmark of our work is our theory based approach founded on an epistemological basis that influences our choice of methods.

Social constructionism
The epistemological basis for our work is social constructionism. This implies that we share an understanding of organizations as social constructions generated and maintained in the verbal communication between members of the organization. A fundamental idea of social constructionism is that, what we focus on and articulate co-create our reality. There will always be as many versions of reality as there are organizational members. Therefore, we work holistically, especially focusing on the communicative processes and the inter-relationships between organizational members.

Four approaches to consultancy work
Our work is grounded in four basic approaches: systemic thinking, appreciative inquiry, CMM-theory, and narrative practice. These approaches are complementary, contributing to different aspects of life in organizations.

1. Systemic thinking
We view organizations as complex systems. Actions, events and issues are parts of a larger pattern. This means that we aim to highlight the patterns and relationships along with the effect of these, thereby strengthening the constructive relationships between organizational members.

2. Appreciative inquiry
An essential starting point for our work is the idea that the best conditions for learning and development are created by exploring what works well, and what organizational members wish for their shared future. Therefore we work forward-looking focusing on hopes, dreams and visions rather than on past problems and failures.

3.  Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) theory
We use CMM theory to explore how managers and employees use language when coordinating actions with others, and when making/managing meanings.  A central idea is that no action or statement has a meaning in itself but is given meaning by virtue of what comes before and after. In our work we try to illuminate how managers and employees always have a choice when they communicate with each other and that this choice can be seen as a moral bifurcation point where it is wise and helpful to make ethical considerations from different positions and perspectives.

4. Narrative practices
We work from the assumption that organizational members co-create meaning in events by structuring their experiences in narratives or stories. The dominant narratives form and limit perspectives and scope of possible actions. A central focus of our consultancy work is to highlight the narratives that organizational members operate with and to transform problem dominated narratives into more favorable narratives that provide a wider and better scope of possible actions for all organizational members.

Read about the 8 key assumptions in social constructionism

 

Gro Emmertsen Lund has released her new book: Social Construction in Organizations – Briefly told. The book is an easy read textbook about social constructionist theory and practice with a focus on life in organizations.

If you want to read a part of it in Danish, click here.

You can buy the book here.

You can read more about this book and our other publications here.

 

LIKE Haslebo & Partners book page with information about our newest book 'Relational Development in School' (in Danish: Relationsudvikling i skolen).