A Question of Questions.

I think I have landed on a better research question. It’s been an interesting and at times confusing process, but here’s what I am about to explore in a methodological proposal for defence of my doctoral research direction:

How does variation in the nature of context affect the use of decision making heuristics among senior healthcare leaders in British Columbia?

Context in this sense would be delimited and defined by the nature of cause and effect as articulated by Dave Snowden’s work.

I will be building a very cool (to me, anyway) questionnaire in the near future as a way to both increase my capacity on the quant side, and also (and this is the interesting part) to test some ideas toward refinement via multiple regression analysis. I never envisioned this, but I came up with the idea of testing via path analysis how various factors bring forth a particular heuristic based on the Cynefin framework for sense-making. It’s actually kept me awake for more than a few nights now. I want to move it along! Stay tuned: I may come knocking …

I think I have had to come to terms with what others have sensed in me for some time: that I am largely a positivist who also holds a view that the world exists independent of our awareness of it. It’s a mouthful and it has huge consequences for me and my work, but it is bringing clarity for sure. Now I need to reconcile this with the process of leadership as a socially constructed process – without complicating the issue. For me this is a tension – a duality rather than a commitment to one or the other. I think it will be important for strategic leadership decision making and helping leaders develop over time. This is a true passion of mine so clarity is something very top of mind.

More to come!



2 thoughts on “A Question of Questions.

  1. Barb says:

    How does variation in the nature of context affect the use of decision making heuristics among senior healthcare leaders in British Columbia? Wicked question indeed! Point to ponder, Phil : Is your new enticing and clear grand tour question based on the assumption that senior healthcare leaders use discoverable heuristics for decision making? 🙂 In my experience, our decision making was based on constructivist paradigms, perhaps the result of multiple shifting contexts (?). B

  2. clswest says:

    Hi, Barb. Thanks for considering my question! Indeed I do think leaders use heuristics much as every one of us uses heuristics in daily life to make sense of the world as we consider context, and information (among other things) in the pursuit of efficacy. There is a possibility that others don’t consider context as well, and just do what they want to do. Without the ability to use heuristics we would be awash in detail, overload, I think. Indeed people may (or may not) use constructivist propositions to make decisions. In understanding my question and the phenomenon, howeverI admit to being both positivist and constructivist in my orientation. So, I think there are discoverable heuristics … and, I am very curious about whether they change depending on context!

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