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Saturday, 19th August 2017
 

HOLISTIC SCIENCE

Just as delicious food requires a wide range of ingredients, combined and cooked in a skilled way, so a person is diverse and complex, and to split them into component parts and deny the whole is very wrong. 

For a long time, science has focused on separation and specialisation. Work has been separated from home. Nature has been classified as an 'externality' - separate and outside human organisation. Emphasis has been placed on wealth and measurable performance, at the expense of human, social and environmental impact. Even the human being has been split - into mind, body, soul, productivity, performance, IQ, qualifications, colour, identity.

It is time that employers dealt with the 'whole' person, rather than the parts.

This requires a radical shift in thinking and strategy. The organisation needs to re-examine its soul, its values and purpose of existence. It needs to look carefully at its economic, social and environmental performance. It needs to treat humans with dignity and respect. Money should no longer be the over-riding measure of success or performance. Intangible measures also need to be given importance.

Large organisations have a Diversity team, whose job is really defined in terms of legislative compliance. They might develop a single equality strategy, monitor data on disability, ethnicity, gender, etc. and ensure buildings, facilities and equipment are legally compliant. Very rarely is smart thinking applied in this arena - the people who are hired get mired in administration and box ticking. Their wages also show how much importance is given to the role. The diversity team are rarely allowed to see the big picture. Very often, they have few resources, vitually no budget to make any lasting impact, and lack the power to make any changes. Organisations treat the Diversity unit as a neccessary nuisance.

We believe exactly the opposite. Treated and resourced appropriately, the diversity unit could be an important engine for the holistic thinking and actions of the organisation. It can help provide innovation, renewal and strategic change. Real untapped potential can be unlocked here. This requires leadership which is open to new thinking and sustainable diversity. It requires holistic thinking.

One way of doing this is to get external consultants to examine the organisation and its various parts, and to identify the inter-dependence and connections of the 'organism'. They can make recommendations for operational and strategic change which can help 'holistic' approaches to become embedded. The Diverse Ethics team would be keen to help.

Article added on 23rd December 2009 at 5:38pm

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