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A QUANTITATIVE SYSTEM FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF INITIAL ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS IN TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the College of Natural Science Michigan State University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science

by

David Gordon Gossman

June 1979

CHAPTER X

CONCLUSION

"Effective communication within the research team...is one of the most critical factors in the outline of the picture".(13)

This is the most crucial thrust of this thesis. The research organization must be designed in a manner which will promote effective communication based on the information needs of the specialists involved. The system method has been chosen to initially design the research organization as has been shown in chapters five through nine. Figures X-1 through X-4 are flowchart simplifications of the four basic steps originally presented in chapter V. Figure X-5 presents a further simplification and overall view of the entire systems model for the initial organization of transdisciplinary research.

Near the bottom of Figure X-5 one additional step has been added. This step represents the strong need for almost continuous organizational change after the initial organization has been formed. However there are many factors, other than those presented in the initial organizational process, which influence this continuous organizational change. Therefore, although this model can be used in the continuing stages of the organizational development, other factors such as individual personalities and differences must be taken into account.

The model also presents a case for two strong needs in the technical education of individuals. The first of these is the need for technical generalists with management training. This management training should not be presented as a separate field of study as with an MBA, but should be an integral part of the technical and philosophical training which is also needed. This clearly presents a major challenge to the highly disciplinary nature of modern education. The second educational need is reflected in the nature of the specialists. The need for specialists and their narrow fields of study is something which realistically cannot be denied. However, this model for organization does make a case for specialists with broader philosophical points of view concerning research methods and conclusions. Just the knowledge that other viable scientific paradigms exist would be helpful. Not only would this knowledge of other scientific paradigms be helpful in communications with other specialists, but it would also result in greater insights into their own specialty areas.

DETERMINATION OF INFORMATION AND SPECIALTY NEEDS

FIGURE X-1

DETERMINATION OF SPECIALTY PHILOSOPHIC DIFFERENCES

FIGURE X-2

DETERMINATION OF SPECIALTY VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES

FIGURE X-3

ORGANIZATIONAL MATRIX AND COMPLEXITY ASSESSMENT

FIGURE X-4

SYSTEMS MODEL FOR THE INITIAL ORGANIZATION OF TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH

FIGURE X-5

Finally, it should be acknowledged that the model presented here is by no means final. As in any form of research the acquisition of knowledge is a continuous process. The three stages of research, observational, conceptual, and quantitative are, like the learning process presented in figure II-1, circular in nature. The first time through these stages the jump from the conceptual to quantitative is largely intuitive and arbitrary, since there is no real quantitative data base to use for deductive model building. Only after this first time through the system can quantitative data be used. (In fact, after a number of loops through the different stages, some specialties have, perhaps in a critically wrong move, virtually skipped the stage of conceptualization.)

The process is thus complete. The first jump from the conceptual to the quantitative has been made in this field of endeavor. Only time, testing, and additional research will tell to what degree it was done correctly.

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