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Knowledge Evolution and Societal Transformations

Action Theory to Solve Adaptive Problems

Jerald Hage

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Pädagogik


Knowledge evolution punctuates the previous equilibrium of society and requires us to develop adaptive solutions. One new rule is that as the discovery of new knowledge grows more difficult, more complex organizational and institutional arrangements have to be adopted.

Knowledge growth is accelerating because not only are there more creative individuals and organizations developing radical innovations, but also innovative regions are facilitating both of these trends. The discussion of four social regions and the kinds of selves produced help explain partisan divides and integrate the social psychological literature.

The growth in knowledge produces two kinds of social changes: In the nature of the social structure and the kinds of institutional problems that have to be solved. The discussion of changes in the stratification system, in the choice of organizational form, and in the spread of inter-organizational networks with tight connections (heterogeneous social capital) allows us to update Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.

The new adaptive problems include growing inefficiencies in labor, product, and public markets and the failure of many existing programs. The proposed solutions are the creation of coordinated systemic networks in each of these areas, which integrates the comparative institutional literature, neoclassical economics, and political science.

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