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Beyond Leadership: Balancing Economics, Ethics and Ecology, Revised Edition by Ronnie Lessem, Jagdish Parikh, Warren Bennis

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Emerging Paradigms

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn has popularized the term “paradigm” as simply a model of society with which most people concur. He defines the expression as “…a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions and practices shared by a community which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way a community organises itself.”

Individuals have “mindsets” or value systems while entire communities or cultures share a paradigm – the basic operating assumptions that hold the social system together. The assumptions are seldom, if ever, stated explicitly – yet they exist unquestioned and unchallenged. Once the paradigm emerges, we cling to it tenaciously since it impacts on virtually every area of our lives. But eventually new information enters our conceptual world, calling into question the older assumptions. At this point paradigm change becomes erratic, chaotic, and discontinuous. Paradigms emerge from crucibles of the mind.

Components of a paradigm

Much like the genetic code on the DNA of any living organism, a paradigm is designed, formed, and organized by a basic tool kit and a set of instructions. Each new paradigm is created and tailored to the conditions produced by unique crucibles, through these instructional prescriptions and variables. By organism we mean a single person, a group, a team or organization, or larger social systems such as cultures, communities, societies, and nations. By conditions we refer to the ...

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