Changing reality to fit the theory

October 13, 2007

Over a decade ago we went to see my wife’s cousin shortly after her marriage. The guy concerned was a audiophile and had spent more the cables for this HiFi set than I had spent on my whole system. Now I am no cheapskate here, minimalist high quality stuff all round, as few dials as possible to maximise the sound quality. However this guy was in another league. The really sad aspect to his life is that he only had one CD which he thought brought out the best in his equipment, and there was me thinking the purpose was the other way round.

The Phineas Gage Fan Club has a delightful post on such obsession with some great illustrations and base science. An explanation for the behaviour is provided by Cognitive Dissonance theory, in which we have two alternatives when reality catches up with out theory: abandon the theory or re-describe reality. Having read this it reminded me of the behaviour of Executives who have just installed some wonderful new system to solve all current problems (you know, life the universe and everything stuff) generally based on some ideal model of things should be, rather than an evolutionary model of potentialities. They know its not working in their heart of hearts, but would you believe it from their descriptions? The other great example is Knowledge Management people presenting case studies at conferences that are often not recognised by the staff of the companies they work for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


Social Links: The Cynefin Company
Social Links: The Cynefin Centre
< Prev

On the value of irresponsibility

- No Comments

You have a public self and a private self. The public self is what you ...

More posts

Next >

Professionalism in KM: a minor rant

- No Comments

It is nice to see Graham Durant-Law joining the blogosphere. His second post makes a ...

More posts

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram