Putman, A.O., & Davis, K.E. (Eds.) / Published 1990 / Hardcover
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Putman, A.O., & Davis, K.E. (Eds.). 1990. Advances in Descriptive Psychology (Vol. 5).
Ann Arbor, MI: Descriptive Psychology Press.
Two themes are explored in this volume: (1) the nature of organizations and conceptual tools for enhancing organizational effectiveness and (2) the nature of appraisals and their role in life and in therapeutic applications. Putman's "Organizations" provides an alternative to general systems theories and shows how a Descriptive Psychology formulation of organizations allows one to understand the three perspectives on organizational worlds machine, financial, and person that develop in almost any organization. He identifies organizational interventions to clarify and renew organizational mission, and to enhance productivity and job satisfaction. Other chapters focus on culture change and technology transfer and on various aspects of person-machine and person-software interactions. These provide insights into the difficulties encountered in effective software engineering, and into the importance of a sophisticated conception of artificial intelligence.
In the second section, seven chapters address the concept of appraisal and its implications in a variety of setting. Ossorio's "Appraisal" reviews the various uses of the concept within Descriptive Psychology and shows the coherence and interrelatedness of the uses of the concept. Holt makes it clear why appraisals are an essential part of the development of moral judgment and behavior. Sapin and Forward develop the implications of the insight that everyday concerns about "masculinity" and "femininity" are critic terms used to appraise behavior, not merely to describe it. Using the Descriptive Psychology distinctions between performative appraisals and significance appraisals of behavior, they show that persons operating at the performative level are more likely to stereotype persons along sex-role lines. Lathem is concerned with self-appraisals and self-criticism and how these are related to gender and to power. Bergner's papers develop the direct clinical implications of appraisals. In the case of "impulsive persons," he shows that it is a mistake to think that they are defective in executive function. Rather their behaviors may be criticizable on ethical and prudential grounds. In "Father-Daughter Incest," he illuminates the power of the concept of status degradations in the kinds of negative self-appraisals that incest victims characteristically develop. Understanding these negative self-appraisals provides the starting point for therapeutic interventions likely to reduce the trauma and consequences of such incest. Overall, this is a very rich volume indeed.