It is useful to think about ‘organisational goods’ as distinct from ‘good organisation’ or ‘good organisations’. In the first phrase ‘goods’ is a noun. Goods for society in general; moral principles that we might agree collectively are ‘a good thing’. We might name three such organisational goods as: ‘On-going organisational learning’, ‘Reflexive, emergent organisational knowledge’, and ‘Nurturance of organisational creativity.’ 

The qualifier, the adjective ‘organisational’ in the phrase, here implies that organizations might effect these goods as outcomes of their collective activity. The implicit question is of course how to organize to make it likely? The orthodox answer is ‘policy’.  The problem with that neat answer is that it seems that we can get it sorted, and then not have to worry about it. Get the policy right and things will take care of themselves.

In my talk “Towards Good Organisational Policy for Organisational Goods” I’ll delve down into the idea of organizational policy goods and organizational policy work.  In asking about policy work, I’ll be attempting to disturb, more like a terrier following the scent of a ripe bone than an archaeologist or genealogist.

  • I’ll ask about the epistemic and political practices of policy work;
  • I’ll distinguish ‘ground-up policy work’ from ‘top-down policy work’, and consider the differences
  • I’ll suggest that we need to learn to think of the concepts in our policy work as companion concepts.  We need to distinguish the definitional work that concepts do from the sensitizing work they also must do

NOTE: This lecture will be recorded to screen as the opening keynote lecture at the Organizational, Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities conference, University of St Andrews, Scotland on Wednesday 27 April, 2016.


About Helen Verran

Helen Verran’s scholarly life began in the natural sciences. She wrote Science and an African Logic (Univ of Chicago Press, 2001) after wrestling with philosophical questions around science and numbers when working in teacher education in Nigeria. Between late 1980s and 2012 she taught the History and Philosophy of Science at University of Melbourne. During that time, her research focus involved working with Yolngu Aboriginal Australians in Arnhem Land as they endeavoured to engage with science and scientists. She is currently working at the Northern Institute, interested in policy and politics in the areas of environmentalism and indigeneity. Her approach to analysis in these areas can be understood as a form of empirical philosophy. View entire bio

Contact person:  Northern Institute
T: 08 8946 7468
E: thenortherninstitute@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Northern Institute, Yellow Building 1, Level 2, Room 48

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 09:30