Publication date (electronic): 31 March 2015
Engaging alternative cognitive pathways for taming wicked problems:
A case study
Dr Luke Houghton is a Senior Lecturer in the department of International Business and Asian Studies, in the Griffith Business School, Griffith University where he is presently the Director of Learning and Teaching. His research focused on the role workarounds and creative problem solving play in management and information systems. Second to that he has a growing interest in Higher Education research. Luke has been published in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology and The Journal of Information Technology Education. He also has publications in the Oxford Review of Education, Higher Education Research and Development, Australasian Journal of Information Systems, Journal of the Operational Research Society and Systems Research and Behavioural Science.
I present a model of ’engagement’ to explain how strategic decision makers use different concepts simultaneously to tame wicked problems in a modern business environment. Attention is placed on ’framing’ and ’reframing’ and how this can lead to the resolution of complex problems. I analyze a longitudinal case study of a transport logistics company, where a complex problem was framed through one set of concepts, reframed by another, and eventually tamed. I argue that strategic problem solving involves an engagement of different ideas and a process of reframing to tame wicked problems. Particular attention is paid to how the key actors interacted and how these interactions influenced ’engagement’. I conclude by relating this to modern European managers and the emergent problems they face.
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