February 16, 2010

Ways of thinking

I found this story on a forum and it is a wonderful example of differences in approaches to thinking things through and decision making processes.

I sat on a European subcommittee for several years and was able to observe the different thinking styles being played out. These differences would considerable misunderstanding and conflict and quite often produce a total impasse. Much of the ways of thinking owe a large part to the legacy of British Empiricism (as per David Hume). This will often manifest itself such that if someone suggests an idea the boss' will ask for proof that a viable and effect project plan can be produced: only then will the idea be given adequate consideration. On the other hand, French thinking owes much to the legacy of Cartesianism (as per Rene Descartes). This would be manifested in the French industrialists and academics paining the 'big idea' and asking for agreement first and then later working on the project plan. Attempts by the Dutch, British and German members to seek the viable project plan first so that they could take it back to their respective institutions for approval were clearly seen as obstructive behaviours. Agree the big idea first and then work out the plan versus prove it is viable then we can sigh off on the big ideas are 180 degree opposite ways of thinking. The net result was that the British and Dutch contingent never got sign off and so lost out on the funding!

a presto,

1 comment:

Madeline said...

wow this is so true. I have definitely seen this first-hand as well. So hard to describe it while you're in it though - kudos to the person who managed to do it.