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Part III: Work Organization

Part III: Work Organization

Introduction

Although I started out in the computer field armed with a management degree from M.I.T., I was initially more interested in the technical side of programming. It was through my work on family systems that I first became seriously involved in issues of teamwork organization and organization development. Although my career in computers and software spans more than thirty years, I took a detour of some dozen years in the middle. I was lucky then to be an applied systems theorist moving into the family field at a time when family sociology and family therapy were moving toward systems theory (Whitchurch and Constantine 1992). Marriage and family studies, sociology, and social psychology had all begun to understand how groups of people function as systems and to apply general systems theory and systems thinking to making sense of human systems.

I had the very great fortune to study and work under psychologist David Kantor, one of the cleverest investigators and most creative thinkers in the field. Kantor had been studying families by direct observation, documenting and describing the delicate dance of daily living by which families coordinate and sustain their activities and relationships. Out of his extraordinarily rich observations came the recognition that even untroubled families were not all alike. He developed a framework for understanding the varied and quite distinct models under which families functioned. His book, Inside the Family (Kantor and Lehr 1975), one of the most inventive works of modern social science research, has become an influential classic.



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