Boundary dynamics can be defined as a conceptual frame work for the study of landscape. Most problems that are dealt with in the research for a proper development are the most times complex, ill-defined, intersectional and dynamic, usually calling for a transdisciplinary method of approach. A transdisciplinary approach is an approach that allows researchers to cross the disciplinary boarders and work freely with the involved stakeholders. These methods and instruments, in particular, are needed to analyze and also anticipate the dynamic pathways that may be followed by a complex system. This paper is concerned mostly with the transdisciplinary axiology. It concerns especially the conversation that is ongoing about whether this pillar is mostly needed in conjunction or not with the three other axioms of transdisciplinary leadership. These are epistemology, ontology and logic. After giving the concepts of axioms and axiology overview, this paper addresses transdisciplinary axiology as an emerging concept. This is regardless of which methodology is being used. It also addresses the role of values in the transdisciplinary work.
Axiology, Ethics, Values, and Problem Solving
In philosophy, axiology can be defined as a study of values. It studies two kinds of values, ethics (good and bad) and aesthetics (beauty and harmony). In ethics, a value can be said to be the property of something or a simple action that reflects its importance. Values that are gained from the backdrop against thinking of people, perceptions and beliefs, values that are underpin in relationships and priceless, invaluable and of deep importance to the work of transdisciplinary. The values of people whether spelt out or not are fixed in anything they do, say, write, create and perform. Values inform of the behavior of people profoundly and their actions and inactions. It is not surprising to see that axiology is in most times intended to link valuing with an action. Axiology is also considered to envision a better world with ethics and some responsible acts being deeply influenced by people’s values.
Back dropped by values, the main intention of the transdisciplinary work is to address the wicked and complex problems that face the humanity. These problems include a climate change, poverty and unsustainability. Most of these problems have their cause in the development of social, political values and technology. People need to bring in science technology and politics together so as to solve these problems. This can simply be done by interconnecting the solutions with the society in the manner that gives some respects to the survival of humans in the worth living future. These kinds of connection need to focus on some values that can inform of the interactions in some disciplines, i.e. governments, non-governmental agencies, industries and citizens. This can be done in the interface of a transformative conversation.
The society runs the risk of experiencing bad decisions if the world of values is not taken into consideration. This can also take place if the conflicts experienced cannot be resolved. Given the number of crises we face, we cannot risk having too many bad decisions or risk having a persistent conflict. People need to have respect towards the value of differences between those insights and themselves. There is a suggestion that the act of solving problems can be argued about if through an axiological analysis, the most unique patterns of each person are seen and compared to other people’s patterns. Then, they are later integrated into the process of problem solving. The differences in values can be scaffold, and the conflicts defused in this manner.
In solving some complex problems, it depends on many different kinds of knowledge and understanding of functioning in a dialogue with each other. The actors explore continually some existing possible relationships between contending perspectives and knowledge. Through this dialogue, the boundaries are being discovered, therefore, by opening up the axiology (values, morals and ethics) and other axioms (reality, knowledge and logic) to their reconstruction.
Transdisciplinary leadership appeared as a good approach to solving the most complex and interconnected world problems in the early 1970s.This happened when people discovered that multi- and interdisciplinary leaderships were never enough. At most times, problems seemed to become more and more complex to be solved in a boundary of just one discipline or using the conventional methodology being empirical. Another influential approach that can be used in the transdisciplinary views is a methodology that can be used in its right, in addition to the empirical, critical and interpretive methodologies.
This is understood as a research that “addresses the knowledge that demands the societal problem solving regarding some complex societal concerns”. This makes an implication of total cooperation within the particular scientific community refer to and also integrate into the variety of disciplines. This also involves a participatory research design. The concepts being used in the transdisciplinary research and those used in the research for a sustainable development are being related in a close manner. This shows that the two terms are at times used interchangeably. This is correct to say that a transdisciplinary research is a form of research being necessary to meet the knowledge demands for a sustainable development.
The transdisciplinary research usually considers the complexity of the problem it has. It also considers the diversity of perspectives concerning some problems, the value dimension of the research for a sustainable development and the tension between conceptuality and generality of the problem at stake. The transdisciplinary research process requires the one to grasp and then to try reducing the complexity of the problem at hand while taking into consideration the real world diversity and scientific perceptions. As well it should link an abstract or in general the specific knowledge. It should also take into account a number of social goals and as well the conflicting values. The methods that are applied in a transdisciplinary research should follow correctly these principles. They should, in particular, provide a great potential for the integration.
The prescriptive models that are used for transdisciplinary developments of programs, valuation and also assessment are seen as insufficient g considering heterogeneity, complexity and emergent practice nature. However, what is usually called for is the conceptual models that capture adequately and integrate the historical traces of dynamic activity of the program. This is done in readiness for the unknown future.
System Dynamics as a Potential Instrument for the Transdisciplinary Research
System dynamics can be defined as an approach that is performed for understanding and analyzing some complex dynamic systems originated in the late 1950s. It has been applied to numerous problems in management, ecology and the society since they have been discovered as a problem oriented research. Later, along the participatory modeling and the modeling used for learning organizations appearing, there occurred the focus of the system dynamics method. This led to the comprehensive reflection being as the valuation and process design.
The system dynamics as a modeling approach relies on three main constituents. These are mainly the computer simulation feedback loops and the notion of ‘mental models’. It also involves much of the participatory involvement of stakeholders. The system dynamics usually claim that state variables can describe a system and help in influencing on actions which later change the state of the system. The feedback loops that are mentioned usually involve a process of accumulation and drainage triggering the delays and nonlinear ties in the system.
The computer stimulation which is seen as the second element is needed so as to help the humans in capturing the inherent dynamics of a good feedback model. It has been clearly shown that although human beings can conceptualize the feedback loops, they often lack the consequent dynamic behavior without having any form of assistance for the computer simulation seen as an essential element. Actually, it helps in uncovering some not anticipated side effects and also the counter-intuitive behavior.
The system dynamics, as the third element, deals with the involvement of the so-called problem owners, i.e. the stakeholders in the process of modeling. Experts have recognized that most important information in regards to the social situation is not held in a written form but as the ‘mental models’. The mental models are usually a basis of the organizational decision making. They are complex and subtle and always involve the hard and quantative information; also, they are also more judgmental or have the subjective aspects of a given situation. The modeling process has to be designed in a more participatory way so as to elicit the aspects discussed and also to stimulate the learning experience that may help to change the mental models gradually and allow a better management of the system. If it can be built on these traits, the system dynamics can be in the position to be used in any participatory decision making and also as a decision support.
This has resulted to the system dynamics studies being focused on people understanding and not having the prediction. The initial and most focused goal of the system dynamics is to be able to comprehend some interactions in a complex system usually leading to a problem. It should also understand the casual structure of policy changes and also the dynamic implications to improve the behavior of the system.
A model that offers a plausible representation and, hence, being in the position to offer an explanation of behavior being observed as usually considered to embody a theory of the phenomena observed. This shows that a system dynamic can be categorized as a casual theory like a model which aims at illustrating and also explaining the behavior of the system by unraveling some casual relations. This is contrary to the purely correlation models. This process that involves addressing, discussing and illustrating casual relations can be used in the formation of an important element of participatory negotiations in a difficult problem setting.
Expanded Leadership Concept
This kind of knowledge framework is in most times made possible through the mind expansion of the “locus of leadership from the isolated, role-based actions of individuals to the innovative and contextual interactions that occur across the entire social systems”. They are recognizably the elaborative “products of interactions among agents, rather than ‘caused’ by the specific act of individuals described as leaders” (Lichtenstein et al. 2-3). This kind of dynamic interchange is mostly made possible through some leadership processes (Uhl-Bien, Marion and McKelvey). These processes navigate the tension that is found between simplicity and complexity, consensus and agreement, “universality” and a “dialogue of local-regional-global”, insulation and hybridity. This is usually highlighted so as to illustrate the dynamic shifts and the need for having the proper investigations of cultures where the knowledge is found. The instabilities that are created by these tensions are some of key elements that test the abilities of any leadership to manage and also influence on the creation of knowledge. The dynamic tension can be said to be a driver of adaptive leadership (Lichtenstein et al.). It can also be termed as the attractors that entice some “recurrent shifts in the centralization and decentralization of decision making, or functional specialization vs. cross-functional integration” (McKelvey 243). The organizational creation of knowledge is grounded on traversing. This is usually between the multi-layered model managements that have at their core assumptions that differ in the knowledge source. The transdisciplinary environments that the said dynamics breed can be termed as “open, evolutionary aggregates the components of which are dynamically interrelated and being cooperatively bonded by the common purpose or outlook” (Uhl-Bien, Marion and McKelvey 302). The challenges that are embedded in management of these diverse and complex agents are related to a leadership intervention task. This always strives to make some responses to the complex environments on multiple levels. This ensures that the tensions are being used to generate the new understanding instead of serving as the barriers to them (Hannah, Woolfolk and Lord).
Social Conflict and Intervention
Tension experienced in many social systems usually serves as a measurable unit and can be said to be dynamic. This tension usually leads to some social association analysis and the processes made to sustain the relationships. It triggers the forces that help in instigating such interactions and also their forms. The conflicts that are experienced in the interactions’ definition describe some underpinnings and also highlight the tension that always discloses. It also helps in making some informs about social dynamics. The social exchange acts like an indicator of disruptive barriers being within the system that communicates with the system’s inability to move beyond boundaries to achieve the new consideration orders. Georg Simmell (1955) has called this as “sewing together” the society “by the variety of cross-cutting conflicts between its component parts” (Burrell & Morgan).
Defining the coordination is necessary to achieve the combination of some various social affiliations that might be the matter of the organization type that breeds interdependence in their cooperatives. The goal of coordination is to manage the exchanges and trigger the emergence from some interactive social environments. Through some interdependent activities, the power struggles, and the conflicts usually arise among the actors involved. The coordination can be said, therefore, to be driven by the function of interactions’ management and some periodic attractors. These are said to be actor driven. The dependences in this are not routed in the collaboration tasks. They are rather imbedded in incentives, motivations and emotions that surround the reason why human beings interact with each other. They are seen as the indicators of tension being embedded in any social action and paving their way to opportunities for the creation of new knowledge.
Transdisciplinary (TD) Environment
Envisioning leadership as embedded in the open systems of knowledge interfacing that lack the generalized theory so as to describe its dynamics. Most of materials about the kinds of environments have been brought together by joining together some various social systems’ theories. They talk about crossing boundaries and the boundary blurring. They also talk about identifying the interdependence zones. This is done beyond the knowledge to include the interactive nature. From the above theories, the notions about a transdisciplinary and mostly evolving form of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary researches emerge as a new mode of governing science. That is “directed towards solving some complex issues and addressing the scientific knowledge promising to pass through the schism between the scientific expertise and policy-making with involving stakeholders [that] make sure the ‘right problem ‘gets addressed’ in the right way” (Maasen and Lieven 401).
Complexity within Transdisciplinary (TD) Learning Environments
The environment that gives home to the aforementioned problem solving character concerning the TD is adaptive by nature and being of the simultaneous complexity. This complexity is put in increasing the number of agents that usually make up some influential factors. They affect the whole as the entropy that these agents give to the structure, in general. “In dealing with the social cultural system, we need yet a new concept to express not only the structure-maintaining feature, but also the structure of elaborating and changing the feature of an inherently unstable system” (Buckley 85).
The perspective of these complexities makes the clarification on how the transdisciplinary leadership can be a social interaction mechanism and also a nascent characteristic of the environment. Such is social and gives the challenges by the innovation of its own. Tension and instability can be seen as the requirements of having the rejuvenation for the entire system. The knowledge in this dimension can be said to be both productive and catalyst. It can be said to be dependent on the influence that leadership has to continually give the information to generative processes in the whole learning system. There are some factors that serve as the overarching dynamic elements in the learning environment of transdisciplinary. These include a social conflict and intervention, and the expanded leadership concept that have the ability to recognize the complexity and multiplicity of influence factors and adaptation.
The relationship of the mentioned factors at times provides a leadership conversation and learning a paradigm being in the position to consider in-put and out-put in the system as the relational entities. It focuses on capturing the social dynamic characteristics as one of the duty of inquiry. It can also suggest on how the systems behave during the knowledge creation and learning. This is done through new perspectives and can be studied in the light of embedded tension and some emergency innovations being intrinsic to most of social systems.
A transdisciplinary approach always tends to move human beings away from science consideration. I It is bound by discipline and leads them to a more holistic schema that usually considers the entire system of dynamics of concepts and actors. It also requires the integration reappraisal and the systems’ reconsideration that it brings together to gain integrative properties and make it in the position to respond to the environment. Kerne has accepted this step as a recombination. This is by taking some existing compositions being coded and breaking them down into some smaller constituent elements and later recombining the elements to make the new ones.
This framework tends to move us away from considering the exchange of knowledge. That lives in the category of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary to a new form of transdisciplinary. This is done so that the research can increase ultimately a focus on the unit of the inquiry interaction.
Most people enter into the transdisciplinary border worker having their own value premises. These self values may have to be reconciled so as to have the work of the transdisciplinary unfold. The values discussed may favor the work of the transdisciplinary approach but at times they may not. However, hope is held out that the value differences can be sorted out through a dialogue so as to allow the transdisciplinary problem solving. In solving the complex problems, it depends on much of different knowledge and understanding the functioning in a dialogue with each other as the actors explore continually some existing possible relationships between the contending perspectives and knowledge. This, however, requires a good and envisioned leader since the envisioning of leadership can help in working in open systems of knowledge. This interfaces the lack of a generalized theory so as to describe the environment dynamics. This would help in making a good and proper basis of any problem, thus, having a smooth problem solving procedure.