David K. Hurst, Jerome Bruner

Psychologist Jerome Bruner contends that individual learning requires the construction of a mental model of reality to make meaning of our lives. In Actual Minds, PossibleWorlds (Harvard University Press, 1987), he suggested that there were two complementary ways of building such models. The first is the narrative method, or the telling of stories, and the second is the paradigmatic method, or the formation of logical arguments and conceptual frameworks. To learn to manage better, we need to employ both.

Without conceptual frameworks, we easily become addicted to “war stories” and overloaded with vicarious experiences. Unable to distinguish what is relevant to our individual situations, we may simply stumble from fad to fad, mindlessly copying someone else’s best practices.Without narrative, on the other hand, we cut ourselves off from the past, our only database.

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