Accelerating Innovation and Protecting Organizations: Pluralism in the COVID-19 Age
José Antonio Rosa
Originally published: May 5, 2021
Read time: 15 minutes
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Among logicians, pluralism is the view that under certain circumstances, such as when contending opinions over priorities and time horizons are present, there may be more than one correct logic to set what is most important (Beall & Restall, 2000). Organizational responses to complex social problems such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change qualify as such circumstances. On the one hand there are expectations, if not outright demands, from customers and other stakeholders for expedient and directed action by organizations. On the other hand, are the human and social system complexities and frailties that the circumstances bring to light. In a now classic paper, Weick (1984) pointed out that individuals and organizations are not well-equipped by evolution to address massive social problems, and he recommends that problem-solving approaches be sensitive to human limitations. Crises like the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for a more nuanced understanding of what organizations can do, and bring to light research opportunities to help address the seemingly ever-rising demands that externalities and stakeholders can place on organizations.