Value(s): Taking a Systems/COR Critical Perspective – Weaver and Tan (2021)

Value(s): Taking a Systems/COR Critical Perspective

(PDF) Value(s): Taking a Systems/COR Critical Perspective

Value(s): Taking a Systems/COR Critical Perspective

  • September 2021


  • Conference: OR63 63rd Annual UK Operational Research Conference


Miles Weaver

Hock Tan

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Mark Carney – the former Governor of the Bank of England calls for a new kind of economics and attacks the prevalent neo-liberal paradigm, in his 2021 book, Value(s) Building a Better World for All. Echoing the Financial Times attempts to “reset capitalism”, arguing for stakeholder capitalism and businesses putting “purpose beyond profit”. This narrative is gaining traction as the world seeks to “build back better” following a global pandemic; in light of a climate emergency and recognition that we are in our final decade for action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this session, the authors review Mark Carney’s proposition of Value(s) and suggest the need for clarity to distinguish between the concept of ‘value’ and how this is created by putting ‘values’ into action. Particularly, in light of Midgley, Johnson and Chichirau (2017) clarification that Community Operational Research concerns the meaningful engagement of communities and highlighting of more recent COR applications in a business context. It is also important to note the importance placed by the United Nations on ‘Systems Thinking’ being a core skill to build capacity and accelerate progress towards the SDGs. Recognising competing objectives and multiple different perspectives of differing problem situation(s) from multiple stakeholders. The Sustainability challenge is our ultimate wicked problem. The authors argue to build capacity for sustainability, particularly in supporting business to balance purpose with profit in stakeholder relationships, there is a need to review systems and systemic approaches for attaining the SDGs across partnerships (See Weaver, Tan and Crossan, 2020 for a review of approaches in this context). This includes revisiting Checkland and others ‘underlying systems concept’ and approaches such as boundary critique and Critical Systems Heuristics that can help to distinguish value and boundary judgements, plus methods that can help bring about intervention (e.g. SSM, Systemic Intervention, Theory U).