Lonergan's intentionality analysis and the foundations of organization and governance: A response to Ghoshal


Little, John David. (2009) Lonergan's intentionality analysis and the foundations of organization and governance: A response to Ghoshal [Thesis]. https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a95f36dc681e
AuthorsLittle, John David
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The thesis explores the nature of organization and governance by applying a method of intentionality analysis as elaborated by the Canadian philosopher and theologian, Bernard Lonergan, in his two monumental works, Insight - a study of human understanding, and Method in Theology. The project arose from the writer's own experience in management education and consultancy. Admittedly, intentionality analysis has not been a major theme in the management literature. However, the late Sumantra Ghoshal drew attention to the consequences of neglecting the dimension of intentionality in business education and management theory, such consequences as unethical practices and even the collapse of corporations, as was the case with Enron. In a paper published by the Academy of Management Learning and Education in 2005, Ghoshal raised a number of crucial and epistemological questions, though he offered no easy answers. In the effort to rise to Ghoshal's challenge, this thesis argues that Lonergan's method of intentionality analysis opens new ways to approach the theory and practice of management. It thereby suggests a model relevant to all managerial tasks. Hence, it repeatedly stresses the value of asking questions and of attending to data. It indicates what is involved in the understanding of a given situation, in the making of judgments based on experience, and in the deciding on particular courses of action. In so doing, the thesis clarifies a number of intricate epistemological questions, while emphasising throughout, the vital role of self-knowledge and self-possession. The thesis is essentially a step-by-step discussion of the various elements in intentionality analysis in the context of corporate management. Hence, for the sake of brevity, it designates its 'intentionality analysis method' with the acronym, IAM (and in reference to organisational operations, IAMO).;To illustrate various aspects of intentionality analysis for the purposes of management education, the author draws on exercises previously used in his involvement in executive workshops. The usefulness of the IAM developed in this thesis is highlighted by comparing and contrasting it with selected management theories on learning and strategy as found in the writings of, for example, Belbin, Janis, Kegan, Revans, Argyris, Nonaka, Takeuchi, Senge, Mintzberg, Ansoff, Lewis and Jaques. The project concludes with a discussion of the pedagogical challenges involved in presenting such material to managers, with reference to some contemporary developments in business education.

PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a95f36dc681e
Research GroupSchool of Theology
Final version
Publication dates04 Feb 2009
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