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Foresights of Failure: An Appreciation of Barry Turner

Foresights of Failure: An Appreciation of Barry Turner Karl E. Weick* One of Barry Turner's heroes was Tom Burns, co-author (with Stalker) of the (1961) book The Management of Innovation. What Turner liked about Burns' style of scholarship was his use of over-lapping accounts to grasp the subject matter, a style that Turner described as much like `shaking a kaleidoscope' (1995: 283). That imagery is telling because it suggests that Turner, in his own writing, may be doing something that is quite different from the run-ofthe-mill scholar who provides a `new lens' to grasp phenomena. This paper seeks to argue that the staying power of Man-Made Disasters is due, in part, to the fact that it is not a lens, but rather a kaleidoscope. The contrast between a lens and kaleidoscope comes from Nord and Connell (1993), who point out that the lens metaphor originated with Kuhn (1970) and was his way of illustrating how scientists, guided by different paradigms, see quite different patterns in the same subject matter. What is interesting is that the metaphor of a lens assumes a realist position, the lens sizes up something out there. As Nord and Connell (1993: 117) put it: Just as the image of switching lenses can http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management Wiley

Foresights of Failure: An Appreciation of Barry Turner

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References (12)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0966-0879
eISSN
1468-5973
DOI
10.1111/1468-5973.00072
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Karl E. Weick* One of Barry Turner's heroes was Tom Burns, co-author (with Stalker) of the (1961) book The Management of Innovation. What Turner liked about Burns' style of scholarship was his use of over-lapping accounts to grasp the subject matter, a style that Turner described as much like `shaking a kaleidoscope' (1995: 283). That imagery is telling because it suggests that Turner, in his own writing, may be doing something that is quite different from the run-ofthe-mill scholar who provides a `new lens' to grasp phenomena. This paper seeks to argue that the staying power of Man-Made Disasters is due, in part, to the fact that it is not a lens, but rather a kaleidoscope. The contrast between a lens and kaleidoscope comes from Nord and Connell (1993), who point out that the lens metaphor originated with Kuhn (1970) and was his way of illustrating how scientists, guided by different paradigms, see quite different patterns in the same subject matter. What is interesting is that the metaphor of a lens assumes a realist position, the lens sizes up something out there. As Nord and Connell (1993: 117) put it: Just as the image of switching lenses can

Journal

Journal of Contingencies and Crisis ManagementWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1998

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