Our #21 in CSuitism is Reductionism, At first I thought it is a HR concept to Scale down, rationalise the business by firing – uh, Oh, Resizing the manpower which is in vogue in today’s business and would be very relevant to the Chief People Officers but no. Reductionism is one which has evoked very strong to extreme reactions from Intellectuals and others both past and present.
Reductionism originates from
1. the theory that every complex phenomenon,especially in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.
2. the practice of simplifying a complex idea, issue,condition, or the like, especially to the point of minimizing, obscuring, or distorting it.
“Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it. ”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
“That’s another pitfall of reductionism: Until scientists have the means to isolate and measure things, they insist those things don’t and can’t exist, and anyone who says otherwise is ignorant an superstitious.”
BusinessDictionary.com defines it as:
world-view in which complex
phenomenon is broken down into conceptual chunks small enough to be analyzed or measured. The basis of all analysis
, reductionism is useful in understanding inanimate things or simple systems
This philosophy (specially when taken to extreme), however, dismisses environment
as merely a set of resources
to be consumed, and human beings as tools
to be manipulated and exploited.
It is opposite of holism
based on the philosophy that a whole is greater than the sum
of its parts
, and that the nature of a thing or a complex system
cannot be understood by breaking it apart but by looking at in its totality.
“I would simply ask why so many critics, so many writers, so many philosophers take such satisfaction in professing that the experience of a work of art is ineffable, that it escapes by definition all rational understanding; why are they so eager to concede without a struggle the defeat of knowledge; and where does their irrepressible need to belittle rational understanding come from, this rage to affirm the irreducibility of the work of art, or, to use a more suitable word, its transcendence.”
― Pierre Bourdieu
, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field
Do I really need to explain to the ‘C Suite members’? “They are wise, they can discern, they can filter, they can analyse – they can decide – they will ! “ -me