Dialogical Organisational Development

Also got Dialogical Organisational Development from Wendy, which shows attempts at collaborative welfare state development in Denmark. Changes are occuring, but the question is, how deep. And the basis of the multiple-system change we are suggesting, the depth is unquestionably deep. I suspect the DOD will suffer from the same financial restrictions which traditional economic imposes. Incremental change is insufficient. A fundamental shift at multiple systems is required.

Here, study and experiment provided the basis for organizational learning and development rather  than analysis and implementation of known concepts. The term Dialogic OD marks a return to a  set of original virtues on taking action in changing organizations – taking into account the past
30 years of research and developments in practice.
The unifying point is that a family of ideas comprises a field of basic positions, with an  accompanying set of methods for practice. The basic positions are known as social  constructivism, complexity theory and self-organization, discourse and dialogue theory, the theory of complex responsive processes of relationship formation, generativity and collaborative studies (ibid). Together, these positions seek to paint a picture of organizations as complex social communities bound by interactions, language and conversation.

From p66 Towards More and Better Welfare Through Dialogic Organization  Development: The “We Figure It Out Together” Project, by Jacob Storch and Julie Nørgaard Aarhus, Denmark, International Journal of Collaborative-Dialogic Practices, 10(1), 2020: 61-83. And from p67:

The purpose of methods is their use in practice! Central to the aforementioned understanding of dialogic change is the confrontation of a classic dominant idea first articulated by Kurt Lewin (Bushe & Marshak 2015: 12) in 1947, which holds that interventions follow a three-stage process
of “unfreeze, move, re-freeze”. Underlying this assumption is the notion of organizations as stable, with change being temporary in nature. This perspective was suited to the industrialized organizations of that time, in a market where development was slow enough to allow for ongoing adaptation of organizations based on analysis. Today we know that organizations are dynamic, complex social phenomena, and that change is a constant ongoing activity. As the post-industrial age has come to dominate a global, digital world, the need for a new approach and understanding in relation to change is greatly needed.

I bring this level of change, and it comes from in-the-field practice, from the white-water constant change of engaging adolescents freshly. In terms of academia, I need to remind myself that academia is one of the oldest institutional structures we have, outdating companies while at the same time being the most recently commercialised sectors in the modern world, otherwise I shall end up waking up hot and bothered, rather than pursuing more pleasant mindflow.

If the methods I employ are not acceptable by this department or indeed this university, I put this down to the underlying archaic ‘stable’ structures of departments, outdated knowledge base, inferior study methods, ineffective social science axioms. It will change, but whether it will lead the change or be merely pulled along by changes (like it will be with advent of AI), is up to people like my supervisors. They are gatekeepers of change at the moment, and their understanding of collaboration is poor. They nonetheless are trying to help me, but only as much as they are fulfilling the traditional structures within which they are placed and which they are aware are insufficient for the level of disorder we face globally.

My supervisors are not exhibiting the level of courage needed, but this may be more to do with the discipline they are in. I must persist with trying to define the DIKW which ABC State appears to subvert.


It’s my birthday, 51, and I woke around 4 and thoughts buzzed around until I reached out to record them. Not the usual mindflow, but agitated. Disrupted. This, it appears, was my birthday gift for my 52nd year on this planet. 

I’m halfway through transcribing the 1.5 hour yabber, and I remember my original plan while teaching in 2007 which was to create a remarkable class and then invite academics etc to witness it. This was the only viable way that movement might be achieved in a relatively painless way. Result led. Let the academics try to work out what was happening in the class. Let them study what ABC state was, and what combination of motivation, self-discipline, self-efficacy, and the myriad constructs they use to understand psycho-social dynamics. As it happens, the job I took, the first full time teaching job in ten years, was a disaster. It ended up ok, but the kids didn’t respond as positively as I would have liked. A mixture of student institutionalisation where they wanted to test whether I could control them (C state), a personal liking of the previous teacher, and the requirement to create my own lessons in a virtual environment and create materials for every lesson. The conditions were against an uplifting experience for us all. The kids pulled through, though, and there was some enjoyment towards the end of the year, incredible loyalty by the toughest sets for the hassle they have put me through for the year. I had spent 10 years in education avoiding this, all of it, from the testing of discipline implementation (something I could do minimally), to the creation of content for lessons (I was more interested in social dynamics and metacognition).

And here I am in university, and experiencing the very thing I new back then would be difficult. And I am in a department which is quintessentially ‘category’ manipulators: Information School, a department which has evolved from librarians, can you believe it. I mean, the irony is ludicrous.

The Impossible Academic Space

There are a combination of conditions which make it particularly hard to put forwards the ABC State solution which I developed. After my attempt with the Confirmation Report, which rejected or rather dismissed the Reflexive Reading solution I proposed, I have spent a few weeks revising a Report which focusses exclusively on the ABC State. And I wake up in the middle of the night realising that what I am attempting is impossible. I have developed methods to support the results I achieved in schools, involving simultaneous systems etc (see left column below); but these methods are rejected because of multiple assumed positionality of current academic practices (middle column below). The ABC state is rejected and the methods which I use to validate it are also rejected; I am encouraged to adopt categorical and stochastic methods, employ thin linear logic, reduced model of agency, distance to the subject, critical position. If I accept these, and by extension into the object system, ABC State is invalidated. I will never be able to put together an appropriate argument. Just look at how ABC state is defined, how it relates individual to collective, the subjective evaluation of the ‘state’, and non-definition of ‘self-discipline’, and the expected institutionalised response of teachers…

My Methods

  • simultaneous systems
  • immersed social
  • self-organisation
  • meta-cognition
  • result-based (try first)
  • self-organisation
  • social fractal seed


  • categorical thinking
  • stochastic math
  • models
  • ineffective theory; Bhaskar not used well 
  • distance; first order maybe second order cybernetic
  • invisible academic; 
  • invisible subject
  • after-the-fact science
  • atemporal
  • academic gaslighting

Social science

  • reflexive reading
  • verification
  • third order cybernetic
  • transformative praxis
  • relational ethics
  • before-the-fact
  • correspondence
  • dissipated control
  • action research
  • meta-method
  • positive Hippocratic Oath

I have described this before. I need to redirect my attention along a different channel: that an alternative academy awaits, which is network-based, which escapes from the institutional problems which current academia, universities, colleges, schools currently suffer from. And the only way this may be achieved realistically, is if there is sufficient funds to enable it. And by funds, I mean through Sqale, because if the funds are directed through traditional organisational methods, then the same institutional problems will persist. We need an economic for networks to fund the academia-network. Think mycelium, think soil. This is the level I need to keep working at. Not at ‘knowledge tree’ level, or the tiny branches which I am encouraged to pursue.

So, in the end, the Confirmation Report document is not really to pass the restrictive gateway to a PhD. But to collect together the evidence such that retrospectively, it may be accepted because of the altered structure of PhD, perhaps through another discipline, and conducted by someone else.

It is obvious that I am in a C State environment. I haven’t thought about how does an individual act when surrounded by students who demonstrate C state behaviour, being institutionalised, and being administered by people who are using institutional violence? This is a bit harsh, because the review process for PhD is to invite someone into the fraternity of PhD holders. However, if they reject my argument and RR without actually addressing the issues and solutions I have brought up, ‘because they don’t understand’ is inexcusable, considering how simple Reflexive Reading is.


Believe in Love

We individually possess the power to grow one or the other: shoots of peace, or weeds of war.

And if any one of us feels we do not, then possess the humility to apologise and trust those who hold that power for us that we may one day reclaim it. 

Get Started

And by seed, I mean tiny.

In the Means, Is the Making of the Ends

Memorial weekend. Hour of worship on Sunday passes without a word. The convener does not convene. A friend shares her thoughts about the seeds of peace and the seeds of war are within, and we need to ensure we plant and nourish seeds of peace, in the wider world and within our own local community, the relationships we have between one another.

I add one of my threads of thought which was a small realisation that the work that a student puts in on any specific day (learning a bit of maths) is completely continuous with the future reality they will live. We tend to think of consequences, something happening later as a separate thing: if you study, get your qualifications, you will get a job. They are ‘logical’ consequences. Whereas, it is the moment of mathematising, practicing a bit of maths, which is essential foundation for whatever job they do, say in engineering. And this goes for maths, as for all things, social dynamics, and spiritual practices — all conducted moment to moment in our daily lives. To which, the friend retorted with a concise statement: “in the means, is the making of the ends”. Nice.

However, the meeting was dour. People not contributing, not shining their light. I asked if everyone was ok, and there were grumbles that everything was fine. Obviously it wasn’t. After the meeting, I asked the friend who had piped up, who was not aware of anything, and then my contact person who then revealed various things which had happened in the last few days. A kind of back-biting which involved me, and also a confrontation of misery with light. I am not going into the details of it. Suffice to say, no matter what level of politic, international or around a kitchen table, the dynamics are the same. And it comes down to ABC state: are we operating self-discipline to overcome the negative aspects which might arise within us (AB), or are we letting those aspects out and then backing them up with our conscious state (C)? And the mis-state, of accidentally allowing negative seeds to develop as shoots in our social world, but when addressed, they are gardened, or they are brought up and presented tor others to help us in our inner turmoil, both of which are B state?

The recourse to an external authority (with teachers it is the use of sanctions) is based on an institutional relationship and empowerment of individuals. In my community, I am in the dependent state that I am not a member and decisions are made by a collective body of members. It is the nature of community, that collective decisions are made, which is rather different than having a teacher in a class appointed by state. There is ‘dissipated control’ in the members. However, I am not a member. So, abuses are easily manifested, just as with teachers or any individual or group of individuals who have governing control over others.

Religious Community Harbours Appeal to Spirit

The second national lockdown began last week, and preceding it I volunteered that this time we are entering winter, not spring as the first had been. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and I suggested that this is the time where we need to fortify and intensify our spiritual efforts, or as Quakers like to call it, light within. This is my intention. I have not brought it up formally, but I think it needs to be said, and put forwards as a possible thing for people to practice. A week into lockdown and I hear of careless and mindless judgement, and worse, the collective reinforcement which only goes to make things worse.

The good thing about a religious, or a spiritual, community, is that they attempt to attribute authority to an ideal form. Whether it is buddhism with their mindfulness training precepts, christian or islam or judaism with their sacred texts, commandments or rules (which is why we call religion ‘religion’, rules which bind), or pagan sacred animism (the sacred in all things), there is something which is appealed to beyond profane and pragmatic matter. Yes, religion as institutions have a lot to answer for historically, but that is a socio-political dynamic which is problematic for all hierarchies. The difference between political and religious is the notion of a spiritual force or forces at work, personified in some way or other, an abstract symbol which is beyond the reasonable ‘flag’ or ‘constitution’ of a nation or mission statement of a company, or any figurehead. There is a spiritual dimension, even if this dimension dissolves into the unknowing of ‘God’ or the unknowing of ‘nothing’ or the unknowable ‘life-force’ of all living things. And it is this force which is appealed to, and exercised, rather than any institutionally derived procedure (like teachers with their discipline policy), or even religious procedure (excommunication, mediation, etc). 

So, to which end of the ABC spectrum of social organisation does this appeal to spirit reside?

A Typological Quandary

I’d like to think it might be brought about through C state, but I must admit on reflection I think it is best placed as a pull in A state. To place it as an external force to ‘correct’ the wrong intention of an individual leads to the abuses of institutional force, the negative or dark form of the christian tradition, the threat of punishment in the fires of eternal damnation.

The positive appeal, the gardening of the soul which is espoused by the more gentle religious strains, such as Quakers or great vehicle of Buddhism, perhaps Sufism or Tao or white-witch shamanism, is a way to invite the positive state within the individual being. 

What then do we do with people who insist on backing the dark side, attaching themselves to ‘dislikes’ and ‘animosity’ or misery?

This is not to be confused with averting one’s attention from misery, suffering and so on. But to bring light into such spaces. To recognise the sacrifice of people giving their lives for their loved ones in a war, their families, their way of life, or even their God. Or to relate to those who have suffered in childhood, who carry with them forever the imprint of the wrongs done to them. Patience, temperance, acceptance. And yet, doing so in a way which is not hopeless, or desperate. To retain one’s light, the courage of facing manifest darkness, without wishing to change or transform it. As we know, the transformation of such things must be done from within. All we can do is sit with such sufferance, do what we can. It does not do to join another who is drowning if one does not have the skill of swimming. Neither should we walk away, but instead attempt to find someone who can help; or let go of those concurrent practices which are concurrently resulting in the other drowning. The first demands conscious attention and trust in others, the second involves relinquishing (or transforming) behaviours which are harmful. This latter is the hardest to point at, to address, to listen to, to action because it is the very darkness we see others suffer from.

Such interactions with the pain of living, the sufferance which we bear are truly a wonderful aspect of what it is to be human, our nature of compassion. However, what do we do when people attach themselves to behaviour or intent that is harmful? This is our problem, as humans, and it is problem we have not managed to resolve in our social institutions over the millennia.

Ok, So… What Can We Do About It..?

I have always had the opinion that this problem (of people attaching themselves to ill-will) is not something we are going to resolve in the individual. We are small-minded, this is our nature. And to generate a culture which eradicates this small-mindedness won’t happen for thousands of years. However, what we can do is rid ourselves of social institutions which aggrandise, celebrate such behaviours which are natural to us. Minimise social impact, celebrate it within ‘safe’ spaces. This was the original inspiration of the Olympics: to compete safely, rather than fatally. We appear to be caught up in politico-economic structures which have fatal consequences, to the point we are not only killing or exploiting our fellow human beings, but also causing irretrievable (in terms of human lifetimes) environmental harm. Like adolescents destroying the house they have grown up in, partly from the excesses of partying and partly rebellion to all the injustices suffered in it.

There are interpersonal techniques aplenty to resolve differences. Most of them are complicated, involving third parties and organisations (ie C state interventions). I devote my life to change of our social structures, using self-organised practices (capable of enabling AB states). Social fractal, if you will, where our moment in reading (Reflexive Reading), our means of sharing (Sqale), how we do business (Action Cycles) or learn in schools (ABC State) and so on are self-similar. They operate at the individual-to-individual level, and are different to the many social structures we have evolved ‘by accident’ or at higher levels of social organisation (kingdoms, empires, national governments, private companies). These ‘meta-methods’ operate within our individual psychology as they interface other internal psychologies without mediation of third parties or organisational empowered individuals. For example, ABC State, namely the space by which AB states may emerge contingent of consensual engagement.

But where does this put us with ‘spiritual’ practices? What do we do with people who are espousing ‘spiritual’ practice and yet exhibit intentional harmful action, or harbour negative judgement or ill-will towards another? I personally think that Descartes and Fox described it, and I suspect there are corollaries in other religions. The key psychic mechanism which enables a human being to orientate themselves appropriately. (I will write about it properly when I give myself the time.) I don’t think it means everyone is going to be ‘fine’, because of inherited problems both internally from childhood and presently impressed upon us socially. But it can help people at least understand how, and thus when they exhibit harmful actions and their attention drawn to it, they have recourse to a level of understanding they have met with consciously. That is, they are given the opportunity to not align their conscious state to it, to let go of it. That is, they apologise and inhibit that action immediately. If they repeat it, then they admit this problem to the community — not to retain it, but with collective acceptance comes the collective responsibility of others to address it, counter it, and with help, enable the individual to transform it themselves, empowered by their support.

Please Go To Your Room and Think About It

In smaller terms, closer to home, as a child may hear from a parent, “Please go to your room and think about it.” Please self-isolate. And actually, lock-down is a great time for this. 

I have done this with my life. Having failed to engage adults, and I mean my own parents and siblings, and friends I grew up with, I proceeded on a path of greater self-isolation. It might be called refuge, but not in Buddha or Sangha or any other form of religious body. Merely isolation from human social engagement. The roots of the problem are deep within individuals, but simultaneously manifest in massive social organisations which gives so much momentum to our destructive practices. As I have said, my attempt is not to join those doing a valiant attempt at countering such machinery higher levels of organisational complexity; rather, I have retained my focus on the minimal structural local, individual-to-individual, engagements.

The individual should get the idea of self-isolation, as I did. And remain in isolation working either on the roots within themselves (discerning seeds of peace from war), or the structures between us which cause the problems that we end up exhibiting (the mechanisms which feed seeds of war). After all, if we all have enough to eat, fair share of resources, I suspect the level of war we will inflict upon one another will be on the virtual battlefield, in sports and games, in the agony of scripted melodramas, and the real passions we will suffer from for millennia to come, love and its loss, may manifest fatality only between individuals, not replicating at collectively fatal level. Our tragedies remain personal, nor burned in to our social structures. This includes religious structures; these need to be ‘disaggregated’ just as monopolies should be.

This is doable. In our lifetime. The tools are in our hands. We simply need to have the courage to use them, and allow ourselves to be changed. To allow a new generation of human beings who are not warped by money or institutional violence and all the other things which seal adults in the interminable duality of “it’s the way things are” and “change others (or control others through organisations)”.

As the good friend said, “cultivate the seeds of peace”, with one another, and alone.

I like approaching a thing for the first time. Fresh, beginner mind, sensitive to novelty. It is a little challenging to return to ABC State, which is embedded in the structure I chose for the Confirmation Report. I think I have got a nice attitude towards a simpler presentation, however as I look into it, the complexity emerges. It is inevitable.

Nevertheless, there is one part which is new. I have never examined the components of ABC State. I have only ever looked for academic theories or constructs which seem related. It is like I have plant and I look through a book to match parts of it. I can recognised things called ‘petals’ by some, ‘sepals’ by others; or that roots are the base of the plant, whereas other descriptions see roots as the head. This is how I have approached academic texts, as a kind of typology of a thing I have experienced. It is less the formal, explicit, verbalised structure of the ABC State, which is simple enough for children to get, but the psychological dynamic which it ‘captures’, ‘reflects’, ‘induces’.

I came up with a description of a few elements, which is partially related to how I came up with the structure in the first place (on the left). And then I decided to see what the correlates were in Reflexive Reading, on the right.

Individual- collective

Dependency-interdependency. C State is dependent on individual (failure state of student, which correlates to success state of teacher with discipline policy and institutional power2, Bhaskar). A State is dependent on all (success of all, power1).

temporally fractal

Everyone listening, responsive, extended to few minutes, 20 mins solid work, whole lesson getting A State, extended to several lessons. Continuous moment, analogue experience, extending over time. Like juggling, continuous.

Simultaneous systems

The simultaneous processes involved in algebra (equality, aim, simplifying) are equivalent to metacognitive awareness of social understanding.

QUICK transitions

Well-ordered, smooth transitions between activities means more activities, better learning activities, more trust, better quality attention, no need to repeat, faster learning, better retention.

collective gain

By enable collective positive action, especially with ‘hard’ work eg 20 mins solid work, we ‘buy’ time for better activities. Collective proof that more sophisticated activities are deserved.

failure state

Employing disciplining takes time, effort to implement power2, distracting focus from subject or sensitivity to attention, ie C State. Is it something teacher wants to do? Not me!

Individual- collective

The imaginative hermeneutic is enabled/disabled by an individual. Minimal A State between two people (writer and reader). With multiple readers, dependent on all readers contributing. Definitely power1: empowering. Writer is ‘powerless’ in comparison.

temporally fractal

Achieve reflexive reading in a sentence, extending to a a paragraph, section, entire document, book. And if it works with one document, sharing, and emergent levels of collective action.

Simultaneous systems

Multiple concepts, eg three concepts as one, not linear reasoning to a conclusion; interdimensional (eg reflexive condition, language)

QUICK transitions

More fluid reading; flying not plodding. What are the improved activities? Transcendence, insights, more sophisticated social interventions, more robust social science?

collective gain

The effort of doing Reflexive Reading, creates opportunity for better activities. What positive actions opens up to collective readership? With economic empowerment through organic sharing.

failure state

Checking for critical reading is tedious, enforcing control, power2, distracting focus from internal sensitivity (to ideas, social sensitivity), ie C State. Is it something the writer wants to do?


Which means what exactly….?

My intuition that both ABC State and Reflexive Reading were similar seems to play out rather nicely. Hence the need to invent the term, ‘meta-method’, and the structure for the initial Confirmation Report. I think a mathematical description would be useful. 

It is self-evident in this blog: read as it is written, word for word. Though the ‘block’ design of this wordpress editor is a little confusing. Interrupts the flow. I suspect I shall revert to simple textual flow. Perhaps I’ll do a textango sometime soon. Formulating the mathematical ‘model’ will be… interesting. No idea how that will come about…

Right, first day back to searching for references. Nightmare. I absolutely detest the level of unnecessary complicatedness. Makes me sick! Why on earth anyone would like to be an academic. If it isn’t the joy of conceptual movement, perhaps operating some complex machinery of research, it can’t be the nightmare of using such ugly tools.

Ok. I use Mendeley. I have a list of 700 pdfs from my first search. I search for Doll, because he’s the closest to the kind of work I am interested in, ‘dissipative control’, talk of chaos theory and so on. It brings up five related texts. I open up one, go to the references. First search for title in University of Sheffield library brings up goblidigook, and after a few attempts, eventually get a link to a document to find it is a review, which I can’t even read. Second reference gives me front cover, contents page and the rest is blank. I give up and just copy references.

Then I go through the other four related texts, including Doll’s own work, and find that references need to be downloaded from book, since his reference is a chapter. I download the references, and add them to Mendeley, but there’s no way I can reference it in my gingko app.

I use Gingko app because I can copy citations, abstracts, and then copy sections from pdf, highlight, make notes. I can navigate clearly between them, the organisation is simple. I can then search the entire gingko doc. It is a brilliant system. Its the only way I’ve been able to keep sane with the number of threads I am tracking (about 30 topics or areas initially, ended up about 50).

To do this properly, I will cross-reference references, then use multiple DB to search for material. Some are books, which haven’t been digitised, or if they have, there will only be a few pages available to me. Unbelievable. The fact there is no application of AI to help do this cross-referencing of referencing is unbelievable. Why hasn’t Google Scholar got this? I should be able to put in a few search terms, or focus on specific texts, and it should do some network analysis and provide a ‘heat-map’ of concepts or texts. Considered doing that with Nvivo, but it involves copying references from all 700 pdf’s. Tedious. Can’t believe bibliography analysis isn’t an off-the-shelf service.

Ugly, ugly, ugly.

We should be able to read something, see a reference and click on it, and that document pops up. The number of firewalls, organisations, copyright, etc etc, just unbelievable.

Paths Ahead

I can see three paths ahead. I’ve only got 5 months to complete. And because it takes a month to sort things out and give two weeks for people to review, realistically this is 4 months.


ABC State

Extract material relating to ABC State. Use material for Reflexive Reading which applies to ABC State. Define qualities of ABC State. And do further research into other educational material which is related. However, drill into Doll’s work, what his references are and who cites him and his work.

Although this is the easiest to do, and what the reviewers are asking for, it goes against what my supervisors advised initially. Tricky.


Reflexive Reading

Extract Reflexive Reading. Go more into depth with the material I have already explored, ie Shotter, Roth. Also do another literature review of anyone exploring academic reading. Perhaps define the process mathematically, though this goes into XQ territory. Might situate it against Organic Sharing, or second social fact. My supervisors are not confident of supervising me with this, but with a clear research programme, it should be ok. Not the mathematisation, though.



Reflexive Reading edges into Organic Sharing, which brings in the economic. Also, the mathematical mapping of intention links to credits. So, rather than embed this in the Reflexive Reading proposal, let me extract it here.

Organisational Complexity

Option 2 and 3 involve a formal application for Changing Candidacy, which if allowed by the IS department may involve finding another supervisor and department. Given such a short time frame, I doubt this will happen. I could end up doing all this work, without having a supervisory team. So no matter what is written, it will not be read. This would be rather disappointing.


It looks like I am faced with exactly the same issue I faced when I conceived of the idea of doing a PhD. Ended up writing two of the three PhD proposals: one in education, one in economics, and the other I didn’t complete, one in psychology and mathematics. That was two years ago. After a year’s PhD, I have not defined ABC State, introduced Reflexive Reading which is a deep contribution which lends itself to vector-intent and XQ (ie psychology and mathematics) and organic sharing (ie economics hack). I have much more detail on the academic landscape. The mess (as in Ackoff’s term, the mess as opposed to a well defined problem) that is the interface of academia and practice in schools, the mess of theory and method post- post-modernism. The attempt to retain simplistic concepts, render them manageable and analysable and researchable, at the expense of finding application in the real world. The misplacement of ethics, the invisible subject (Roth), the need to evoke the categorical imperative (Kant) as the basis for ethical praxis. and transformative praxis (Bhaskar).

I am confident with Reflexive Reading. I think it is feasible to create a reasonable research project. The ABC State too. The maths, economics, of course because we’ve built a tool that operates it. These are empirical research projects: in each case we can conduct an experiment, and see what the results are. The philosophical or epistemological basis are rooted in several blindspots in academia, however, and my way of navigating this has not met with recognition or acceptance. Therefore, they will continue to appear ‘weak’. Hence the attempt to mathematise Reflexive Reading. This underpins all of them: a mathematical description which relates to the nominal data of ABC, the readership of Reflexive Reading (and social accountability), and the intention-projection of economic. Basically, how number is used for social organisation.

For example, the DIKW ladder in relation to the longitudinal ‘data’ that ABC State derives, the ‘information’ it has for participants (the relationship of their own behaviour to collective state) versus academics (a degree of social cohesion or coherence to group of people); the ‘knowledge’ it contains for teachers and students (namely the reframing of the teacher-student relationship in terms of authority, ie adult-institution empowerment); and ‘wisdom’ as it correlates to the ‘internally persuasive discourse’ (Bakhtin, but also Schon’s ‘reflective contract’ and Doll’s ‘dissipated control’).

The Path Ahead

Do all three simultaneously. This is what I had planned originally, and separated and attempted linearly. This has failed to meet with institutional acceptance. I can’t compute the additional institutional complexity, so let’s do it my way and run all three simultaneously. After all, what is my failure in comparison to the rate of loss globally because of institutional intraction? (And yes, I know that word is invented, but I don’t like the noun form of ‘intractability’ or ‘intractableness’?)

  • Continue PhD?
  • Continue with ABC Education?
  • Re-focus on Reflexive Reading?
  • Attempt mathematical description?
  • How does this fit into life journey?



My supervisors walked me through the sequence of failure I am faced with: resubmit and fail, dropping me from PhD to DPhil, and at the end of three years, failure and I get nothing. Nice. Basically, is there any point in continuing? I say, yes, because at least it gives me time to consolidate my own experience and learning in a way which at least attempts to connect with academic institutions. 

Although my supervisors were adamant that I not study ABC State from the start of my PhD, it looks like the reviewers recommend that I should. Trouble is, Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on secondary schools, and what little chance is now near-zero.

Looking at the pros and cons, I don’t think it is wise to focus on ABC State, which means that a shift to Reflexive Reading will involve a Re-Candidacy procedure. I will need to find another supervisor. If I don’t, whatever I submit will not be accepted, indeed will not even be read.


  • Theory Defined
  • More Reading 
  • They Don’t Get It
  • Coronavirus


ABC State

  • Worked for me
  • Theory Defined
  • School Interest
  • Simple Research
  • Coronavirus
  • Schools Busy
  • I Created ABC
  • Unnecessary Constructs


REflexive reading

  • Theory Strong
  • Research Ok
  • Interesting
  • Academic Only
  • Abstract
  • Threatening
  • No Supervisor



  • Consolidate XQ
  • Avoid Language
  • Fundamental
  • Dangerous
  • May Not Succeed
  • Radical



No ABC State?

The reviewers of my Confirmation Report advise me to ditch RR and focus on ABC State, and look into a wealth of material in education. Admittedly, of the hundreds of documents I read, the thousands I searched through, I put in a handful relating to education. I find the suggestion to go into eg maths teacher, missing the point entirely. And the evidence I produced regarding how little we know about relations in teenagers wasn’t enough. I was reluctant to dive into specific group of concepts, like cognition, motivation, emotion and social learning (Panadero 2017), self-behaviour-environment and metacognition-motivation (Zimmerman 1990, 2003, 2009; Bandura), goal-motivation and emotion-regulation (Boekaerts 1991, 2011), meta-cognition and goal-motivation (Winnie & Hadwin 1998, 2008; Efklides 2011), to mention but a few. So many concepts, and correlations between these constructs. And evidence that connects these constructs. The idea of doing so seems to me to fall into categories, and crude models. And the whole point of ABC State is to avoid this spurious academic game. That’s harsh. These concepts are valid. And the clever mechanisms to try to capture data which provides evidence for these theories is considerable. However, in the end, they are not influencing teaching practices. Or at least, they do in the sense of telling the teacher things. ABC State is a social tool, and I haven’t been able to find anything like it. Closest description is Doll (2012) who delightfully connects complexity maths to social dynamics. But he doesn’t provide a tool.

Although my supervisors were adamant that I not study ABC State from the start of my PhD, it looks like the reviewers recommendation that I should has changed their mind; they are willing to continue to be supervisors. It is like I am completely ignoring my literature research and work, to start off where I was meant to begin a year ago. A waste of time. I am reluctant to do that. And also, it looks like further lockdowns is going to seriously disrupt schools, so the small chances of finding schools who are willing to conduct research will be further reduced. In sum, if I continue with ABC State, there is a high chance no school will be in a position to do it (hence postpone now), or the reviewers will not like the standard of my work. This second is a little more serious, and I will consider it below. Seems like the wrong path.

However, Wendy things it a shame that I am leaving ABC State. She advises to write a paper. This makes sense. I think I can do this. I am also creating a website and will be writing to the schools who indicated an initial interest before Coronavirus. I will thus be in a position to move forwards if anyone shows an interest.

reflexive reading

It shouldn’t be too hard. Do more reading around the academic process of reading. Construct a research programme for online participants. Perhaps conduct a Delphi Study for those who are interested. How interesting or useful is the method?

visit Reflexive Reading

relational Social science

I’m not suited for academia. Too creative. However, academia needs to change. Social science is based on the wrong method, the science of objects (ie physics) and its more recent mathematical tools (ie statistics). Social science needs to be relational. Reflexive Reading and its consequence does that.

visit social self

mathematical basis

Ever since I first explored XQ, back in 2008, I’ve teased out a few potential threads of exploration. But it isn’t easy. It is not a thing ‘to solve’. Rather a thing to contemplate. However, now’s the time to see if I can actually produce a minimal description of psycho-social dynamics.

visit XQ

Reflexive Reading, and some…

To focus on Reflexive Reading is a major risk. I might not find a supervisor. Which means that whatever I do write from now, nobody will read. And even if I do find supervisors, what I submit will probably suffer from the same problems my current submission suffers from: the lack of categorical manipulation, linear logic and simplicity. I might be able to present a relatively simple research project, but it is far from clear that anyone will ‘get it’. Look at how current submission has been dismissed, where academics are asking ‘so what?’ when I press them.

Which leads me to consider whether I might as well take a massive jump and attempt to formalise the XQ maths I’ve played around with, to see if I can present a more mathematical account rather than the verbal one which they seem to have problems with. Radical.

They seem to not want to engage the content, and the content is inherently reflexive and requires verification on their part. Without their verification, they must rely on a standard academic account, which is primarily category manipulation. The moral/ethical argument is ignored.

Decisions, Decisions…