Endonomics

Endonomics - endo-: within; -nomics: laws of. 

Endonomics is a term that I use when discussing how organizations behave and operate. Rather than saying organizational development, organizational design, individual psychologies, group dynamics, and all of the other social & behavioral science terms necessary to understand the functioning of humans pursuing individual and collective ends, I use this concept of endonomics.

Humans are fascinating creatures as the apparatus we employ to make sense of the world is fine-tuned by selective pressures outside of our control and intentional pressures within our control. The result is a collection of histories -- "us" -- that are forced to interact and bring about various civilized phenomena.

These phenomena, automobiles, skyscrapers, buildings, irrigation ducts, field equipment, and computers are upheld by the knowledge bases we've spent millennia refining. Mathematics, logic, physics, law, medicine, and the like are the blocks by which we erect literal and metaphorical towers to our accomplishments.

However, something that has plagued me since undergrad was why the proliferation of fields, subfields, and interdisciplinary departments existed in the first place? Why were there so many hermeneutical schisms, so many interpretive wars, and so many fallouts regarding how knowledge should be applied?

The answer, of course, lay in the fact that we are humans, but more useful, it lay in how we conceptualized cause-and-effect. Causality, much like anxiety in psychology, is an extraordinarily powerful concept that sheds floodlights on individuals and their interactions. When people are asked about temporality (time), ordinality (ordering), and spatiality (space), their understanding of dynamics reveal the peculiarities that make us such fascinating creatures.

Our brains are computers, but not the kind of computer found atop your workstation. It is a computer, an information processor, that tunes synapses to respond to environmental stimuli relevant to our biology. I read a piece by Steven Pinker recently where he put forth the idea that natural selection gives you organs of your ancestors; ergo, we have brains that were fine-tuned for life as hunter-gatherers and potentially early agrarians, but certainly not one where the brute crunching of numbers or technological wizardry were norms.

As challenging as it may be for us, when understanding the "laws of within", that is, within organizations, institutions, and other macro systems, we cannot lose sight of this truth. Our computing apparatuses are "natural". They were formed and fashioned by nature.

This should put things like "interpretation" in order and reveal why empirically based methods found in science should dominate collective efforts, while intuitively based efforts will continue to dominate individual efforts. Empiricism is far too costly for most individuals, we simply don't have time to painstakingly double-check every single observation, while collectives can distribute this task across all capable bodies.

What we have, then, is the classic people/policy dyad. People represent intuitions, policy represents empirics; one is not more important than the other, but neither are less important either.

Endonomics seeks stabilities between micro and macro considerations. From individual decision making to nationwide policy efforts, it tries to follow the bread crumbs from the few humans that first introduced the policy, all the way down to it implementation.

Furthermore, and more relevant to our work, endonomics seeks the stabilities between individual histories (individual persons) and the collective process that we call having a job.

Its fun, exciting, and challenging work, but I think there are many groundbreaking discoveries to be made.

Bryce Brown
conover + brown

Bryce Brown