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Radical Decision Making offers a controversial new framework to the conventional strategic change management conversation. While many approaches provide a discussion on a singular level, Dr. Hruška blends theory and research of decision making and social interaction to develop a consistent framework of strategic change.




Hruška offers an original insight into the genesis and implementation of radical change. The germ of the book is the notion that we do not know how leaders devise ideas which, at the time they are conceived, most people find crazy and how they eventually make others believe in them. The book goes against the conventional view on the issues of leadership and change management. Hruška avoids using the “cook book” approach to business problem solving by focusing on the two-way effect of how individuals cope and interact in social systems. The focus on the ongoing adaptation and adjustment that an individual goes through provides a more pragmatic and more realistic approach to organizational life than much of the mainstream literature.

Domagoj Hruška

1. The Radical Decision

Radical change, a fundamental change in the way people make sense of their surroundings, occurs on individual level, on organizational level but also on the level of larger systems such as industries and the societies as a whole. Hruška describes types of radical change and deals with the question of idiosyncratic radicalism. By distinguishing between the leader’s perspective and the status quo organizational perspective, Hruška identifies four types of arenas of change implementation: radical, navigated, leaderless and adaptive organizations. Finally, Hruška examines the four phases of the process of radical decision making and radical organizational change: construction of leader’s mental model, search for the new governing metaphor, radical decision taking and rhetoric of radical change.

Domagoj Hruška

2. Leading Complex Organizations

The frequent simplifications that can be found in the business administration literature offer false perspectives on how people think and act. Hruška brings the reader to the domain of several theoretical frameworks of cognitive science, social psychology and sociology in an attempt to demystify concepts whose definitions are too often blurred. The four main themes are organizations, leadership, change and strategy. According to Hruška, organizations are groups of people that work together to achieve a particular purpose. Leadership is about aligning people to the purpose. Strategy regards to how we achieve the purpose. Since circumstances in and around the organization change, a leader needs to find new ways of achieving organizational purpose. The process is called strategic change management.

Domagoj Hruška

3. Building Mental Models for Effective Leadership

Opening with an engaging narrative about famous inventor Nikola Tesla, Hruška sets the reader into the information processing paradigm. Two research paradigms, paramount for the depiction of radical decision making the managerial and organizational cognition and the personal development theory, are explored. The author also describes elements of human cognitive apparatus, which are of essential use in organizational psychology: perception, mental models construction, adaptive learning and action. Finally, Hruška elaborates on how leaders develop competence by reflecting on their experience. The central proposition is how an attribute of experienced professionals in any profession is the development of mental representations that control and sensitize their perception so that they are able to notice the elements of crucial importance for the decision-making situation.

Domagoj Hruška

4. Driving Radical Change

Hruška explores dynamics of radical change by focusing on two issues: mobilization for radical actions and leader’s character. First, Hruška explores the driving forces behind radical decisions: deep conviction in the soundness of the radical way, commitment to the pursuit of the new governing metaphor, extreme emotional disturbance and the willingness to take risks. Special attention in understanding radical change is put on the radical leader’s identity. Hruška argues that the only appropriate way of looking at the object of change is a perspective of loyalty without particular interests which, in the continuum of affection and rationality, he calls irrational optimism.

Domagoj Hruška

5. The Loadstar

In this chapter Hruška gives insight into the adherent steps in the development of the radically different mental representations. Concerning the origins of new concepts, the three issues are apostrophized: a novelty of concept; a degree of novelty for different people; origins of novel concepts—their embedding in mental models and the nature of the relation between concepts and conceptual structures. Hruška also elaborates the use of metaphors in the process of developing organization and management theories. Special focus is on the genesis of the governing metaphor of radical decision making that Hruška calls a “Loadstar”.

Domagoj Hruška

6. Taking a Radical Decision

Hruška examines two connected but separate processes: creation of the radical mental model and the process of its validation—the moment of decision. First, Hruška describes the process of mental model construction which consists of three phases: search for the governing metaphor, construction of initial mental representation and construction of a developed radical mental model. Second, the author deals with the validation of radical mental model. After the radical mental model is constructed and elaborated, the decision maker will find that many aspects are foggy and not accounted for. That is why the leader needs to infuse the mental model with the spirit of hope. Hruška elaborates origins and consequences of the virtue of hope on the radical decision making process.

Domagoj Hruška

7. Rhetoric of Radical Change

Hruška gives practical insight into the ways of persuasion. First, the author explores people’s resistance to change the status quo mental models. Particular attention is given to the leader’s role in the process of reducing resistance to change in radical decision making situations. Also, Hruška explores rhetoric based on beliefs as argumentation and expectation setting and rhetoric based on action as behavioral commitment and manipulation. The author also gives particular attention to the description of the three phases of the incremental process of rhetoric for radical change. Finally, Hruška describes a parrhesian approach to radical rhetoric, which in his opinion, is the most suitable way of persuasion in radical change situations.

Domagoj Hruška


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