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Edgar H. Schein – The Spirit of Inquiry

Gerhard Fatzer, John Van Maanen, Daniel C. Schmid, Wolfgang G. Weber (Eds.)

ISBN 978-3-903187-39-9
brosch., 194 Seiten, sw-Abb.
2019, innsbruck university press • iup

Preis: 21,90 Euro

This work presents a collection of original essays composed by friends and ­colleagues of Edgar H. Schein. Each of the fifteen essays in its own way honors Ed’s invigorating and path breaking contributions – over six decades – to several scholarly and applied fields in the social sciences. Some emphasize the theoretical and research side of Ed’s work, some emphasize the developmental and normative side of the work. As all the contributors point out, his work weaves various threads drawn from psychology, sociology, anthropology and attracts readers from around the world. The essays are organized into four sections. The first section is written by colleagues of Ed’s from MIT. The second section features essays by former ­students of Ed’s who have had rather notable research and teaching careers of their own. The third section offers two reflective essays, one provides a quick history of Ed’s mobile childhood taking him from Zurich to Odessa to Prague to Chicago. The other is written by his son Peter Schein and extends our view of Ed’s life and times beyond the confines of the academy. The fourth and final section presents essays written by university-based European friends of Ed and highlights what they have found most valuable in his work. To those familiar with the sweep of Ed Schein’s work, this collection serves as a testimony to its continuing relevance and usefulness. To those unfamiliar with all or parts of the work, this collection will serve as a crisp but helpful introduction.

"Der Sammelband wurde von Fatzer mit einigen Kollegen herausgegeben, die in ihrer Zusammensetzung die große Spannweite des Gedankenguts von Schein auch in ihrer beruflichen Verankerung repräsentieren. Ed Scheins Konzepte sind fast alle während seiner akademischen Zeit entstanden, aber sie sind trotz ihrer soliden theoretischen Abstützung immer sehr praxisrelevant und anwendungsfreundlich geblieben."
Rolf Th. Stiefel, HR Today

"Das Buch macht bewusst, wie sehr Ed Schein die Organisationsberatung und ihre maßgeblichen Akteure bis heute beeinflusst."
Joana Kriszanits, Trainingaktuell

"Thus, in the end, this book is more than about Ed’s learnings. It is about his learning, as gift among all he touched."
Martin D. Goldberg, Organization Development Review

"The paper that Peter and I have submitted for this book is a kind of culmination of a relationship that started over 40 years ago between Gerhard Fatzer and me, and has since flourished in many directions.  I am, of course, deeply honored by the book that Gerhard and others produced about my work and my spirit of inquiry, but it needs to be said that much of that spirit has been fed by Gerhard and his colleagues and apprentices that visited me often in Cambridge and that invited me annually to their Trias Conferences. 

            Visits to Boston enlightened me on how much creative work in organization development was going on in Europe. Especially as Trias gained some traction, my visits there revealed to me that some of the most interesting work going on, especially in how artistic efforts can illuminate our work, were going on there.  For example, I am still struck by the small jazz combo that volunteered to live in a small company for a week or more, absorbed the culture, and then  “played the culture” in a one hour improvisational performance to stimulate discussion of this organization’s culture.  Brilliant and very productive for the organization.

            I have not only continued to work but I’m now doing so with my son for the last five years and this has stimulated further new contacts with Trias and the exploration of new avenues of intervention.  This paper triggered in Peter a particular current interest in how the nature and depth of our relationships with colleagues and team members may prove to be the crucial variable in whether our efforts to improve things actually work or not.  It is not intended to summarize but to open doors to new thinking about how we deal with complexity and what have come to be called “wicked problems.” The world today poses very different issues for leaders, managers, and facilitators.  Much of the innovation and how to deal with these problems is coming from places like Trias, so I wish you well in your creative efforts."

Ed Schein  October 11, 2021.  Pal Alto, CA


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