chapter  3
47 Pages

Complexity in resource management systems: conceptualising abstractions and internal relations

Conceptualising abstractions and internal relations The conceptual problem and the realm of theory

It is common that modern resource management professionals focus on just a small fragment of the processes that accompany production of a particular commodity. The dominant scientific-technocentric paradigm simplifies complex realities in specific ways: it fragments, subdivides, specifies, objectifies and atomises. It conceives the task of managing resources as technical – technical experts are required to make judgements in order for ‘good management’ to happen. Key participants in industrial resource management systems rarely have a sense of the whole production process, let alone how production is embedded in wider social processes or the implications of various aspects of social, political, ecological and cultural context. For many professionals the observation that resource management systems simultaneously produce both commodities and power carries little significance. The fragmentary nature of their work renders the nature and exercise of power invisible and apparently irrelevant to their immediate professional concerns. It also makes many of the ethical, social and environmental consequences of the processes involved (including the consequences of their own actions and omissions) invisible for them.