More on Optimism and Optimism (negative capability)

This is a common theme amongst most organisations, ie always look on the bright side and do your best to be upbeat; with negative stories and users avoided. This optimism needs to be balanced with negative capability, ie

"...the ability to face to uncertainty, paradoxes and ambiguities......involves the ability to tolerate anxiety and fear, to stare in the face of uncertainty and so to allow for the emergence of new thoughts and perceptions......the ability to think critically - the ability and willingness to ask questions and to be reflective. This means querying the assumptions that we make, asking for and being prepared to give justifications, and considering the outcomes and broader meaning of what we do..."

Mat Alvesson at al, 2016a


"...Demand for order, discipline, consensus and optimism often make it hard to ask questions. Critical thinking takes time and effort. It creates uncertainty and often it upsets people...."

Mat Alvesson at al, 2016a

Ongoing enquiry and reflection are not necessarily appreciated in most organisations but are needed for an organisation to thrive. Otherwise they can become ossified into outdated or unfashionable mindsets, ie organisations become bogged in their corporate propaganda.

Negative capability helps an organisation create new and more thoughtful lines of action.

Engaging critical thinking by posing these 3, sequenced questions is likely to flush out the real issues

i) Observe (what is going on here?)

ii) Interpret (what do others think is going on here?)

iii) Question (what the hell do you think is going on here?)


Search For Answers

designed by: bluetinweb

We use cookies to provide you with a better service.
By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our policy. I understand