Rationalization of metaphorical exploration: Improving the creativity phase of Total Systems Intervention (TSI) on the basis of theory and practice

Torlak G.

SYSTEMIC PRACTICE AND ACTION RESEARCH, vol.14, no.4, pp.451-482, 2001 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Doi Number: 10.1023/a:1011304119123
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.451-482
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Metaphors play a significant role in the creativity phase of Total Systems Intervention (TSI). They help managers and other stakeholders to think creatively about their organizations and to highlight their organizational problems. However, in the current form of the creativity phase of TSI there are no explicit criteria in the selection of metaphors or in the disclosure and prioritization of organizational issues. This paper seeks to open a dialog with management consultants who might be interested in the consulting meta-methodology called TSI. It proposes the creativity phase of TSI to management consultants along with the theoretical improvements, as well as the context-dependent and conditional practical innovations. It emphasizes my reflections about the potential of this stage in the appreciation of organizational problems and invites new modifications. To reach this aim, the paper initially gives a brief account of the creativity phase of TSI, deals with its shortcomings, highlights its theoretical improvements and empirical findings in the PALMEK manufacturing company, Turkey, and then rationalizes this phase through proposing an appropriate method for its implementation. This method, on the whole, facilitates systematic and comprehensive analyses of problem situations, characterization of organizational issues, and disclosure and prioritization of concealed organizational problems in a structured and democratic conversational setting.