Usable Social Science
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Part T.scW.scO. T.sch.sce B.scig.sc Pic.sctu.scre of Usabil.scity.sc9. Social Change, Social Problems, and Demands for Knowledge 293...
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Bankers and sociologists seldom work together. Nor do they overlap very much in their social circles. Most of them do not seem to mind this void; some probably like it that way. as coauthors of this book, we are an exception to this principle of noncontact. in this preface, we explain both this anomaly and the circumstances Reed had been in banking not only for his entire career before retirement, ...
Introduction: The Problem and Our Take on It
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The starting point of our thinking about usable social science is that all purpose-ful human action — whether the behavior of individuals, organizational action, or activities by collectivities such as social movement groups — is informed by some kind of definition of the situation in which the action takes place. Put another way, any action is always accompanied and given direction by an explicit ...
PART ONE. ARENAS OF USABILITY
1. Space and Time: Constraints and Opportunities
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We focus first on two omnipresent dimensions of human life: space and time. Their very pervasiveness, however, sometimes renders their precise inf_luence elusive. it is not common to find them as chapter headings in books such as this one. Therefore, our gathering of knowledge under these headings as organizing principles for usable knowledge is unorthodox and sometimes speculative, but ...
2. Some Dynamics of Cognition, Judgment, and Bias
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...in this chapter we present a view of the mind as embedded in its personal his-tory and its contemporary — including its social — situation. our account yields a special perspective on human nature. Not all its ingredients are new; many echo ancient philosophical traditions that still inform our worldviews. The view we represent derives primarily from systematic, of_ten experimental, scientific tradi-...
3. Sanctions in Organizational and Social Life
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The play of sanctions — devices to inf_luence behavior by rewarding or punish-ing — is pervasive in social life. We praise, cajole, withhold love, and sometimes coerce when rewarding and punishing our children. Sanctions are the cement of informal social relationships, as we see in the f_low of inf_luence and power in fam-ilies, friendships, and small groups. They are the lubricants of organizations, as ...
4. Groups, Teams, Networks, Trust, and Social Capita
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...in perusing the social-science literature, we of_ten find that a research topic — for example, individual stress — is claimed to be both important in itself and more important in social life than ever before. Reasons for this are then given. it is also sometimes claimed that the phenomenon is being studied more than ever before. another variant is that, while the phenomenon is important, it is understudied ...
5. How Decisions Are Made
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...in one respect, this chapter is at the core of our ef_forts because it is the point at which issues of usability of social-science knowledge arise most directly. Decisions include assessment of problems, determining what to do about them, the psychological and social processes that go into making decisions, setting in place machinery and processes to make and implement decisions, and trac-...
6. Organizations and Organizational Change
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...in this chapter, we provide knowledge on the settings in which most decision-makers live: formal organizations. This knowledge ranges from general to spe-cific, which means that it varies in its usability; some is generally orienting, some more immediately relevant to decisions and actions. Such a chapter is mandatory • formal organizations are the preferred social forms in most spheres of ...
7. Economic Development and Social Change
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The fields of growth and developmental studies pose a great challenge to the idea of usable social science. it may seem odd to include a relatively dif_f_icult account, but our view is that we learn as much from dif_f_icult as we do from easy cases. in the first part of this chapter, we elucidate problems in theory and application. The remainder is more positive, attempting to pinpoint some salient themes ...
8. Methods of Research and Their Usability
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...our strategy in chapters 1 to 7 was to select important areas in the social sci-ences — almost all interdisciplinary — and employ our best judgment in identi-fying findings, perspectives, and theoretical outlooks most usable for people with decision-making responsibilities in organizational contexts. in chapters 9 to 10, we move in a macro direction and explore demand for and supply of ...
PART TWO. THE BIG PICTURE OF USABILITY
9. Social Change, Social Problems, and Demands for Knowledge
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Why, we might ask, should human history ever have produced a situation in which society might find it necessary, valuable, and desirable that groups of specialists calling themselves social scientists should specialize in the production of knowledge that might be regarded as useful? The answer to that question is not self-evident, and any intelligible answer calls for ref_lection on many levels....
10. The Production of Knowledge in the Social Sciences
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...in the foregoing chapter, we learned that societies are continuously “demanding” in their search to define their situations, to find their way, to locate answers to specific questions, and to acquire resources to implement decisions. These forces have driven much research and intellectual development in the social sciences. in addition, their several disciplines have had developmental trajectories of their ...
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Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2012