Nov 2, 2006

Clifford Geertz

Rakesh Khurana the management guru writes about Clifford Geertz who passed away recently

"Part of what contributed to his range, was that he was not trained as a narrow specialist. Geertz was one of the last of a generation of social scientists whose intellectual foundations were broad and wide-ranging. As a graduate of Harvard's social relations department, which has since fragmented into conventional specialized disciplines and sub-disciplines, Geertz's education allowed him to explore many subjects and methods, and to think critically about ideas that have become lemmas in most disciplines. He studied facts without an overarching, grand theory.

One of Geertz's main insights, though he never said in explicit terms, is that despite the steady march of rationalization, humans’ life continues to operate within a web of significance and meaning. Indeed, the intensity for such meaning has only increased, not decreased. This is key theme of Geertz's work, . I believe it is essential to his worldview."

It reinforces my own thinking that the key to understanding human beings (which is so imperative for HR professionals) cannot be complete without understanding sensemaking.