Understanding Public Organisations: Collective Intentionality as Cooperation
Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia Conference, December 2011
11 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 24, 2011
This paper introduces the concept of collective intentionality and shows its relevance when we seek to understand public management. Social ontology – particularly its leading concept, collective intentionality – provides critical insights into public organisations. The paper sets out the some of the epistemological limitations of cultural theories and takes as its example of these the group-grid theory of Douglas and Hood. It then draws upon Brentano, Husserl and Searle to show the ontological character of public management. Modern public institutions – such as advisory organisations and service delivery agencies, including schools and universities – are expressions of human collective intentionality. The central concept within these institutions, as a phenomenology reveals, is cooperation. Public institutions are natural structures that emerge from our evolutionary ancestry as cooperative animals and enduringly display all the features of that ancestry.
Keywords: ontology, management, Searle, intentionality, cooperation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation