The term "paradigm" comes from the Greek word paradigma, meaning pattern or example. Its modern usage dates from a small book by Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 3rd ed. Chicago: University Press), written in 1962. Kuhn was interested in the philosophy of science and in particular in how scientific progress actually comes about. He argued that all 'normal science' takes place within a pattern or paradigm and that revolutions in scientific thought only come about when people are able to break out of the pattern and create new ways of seeing and thinking - a new paradigm.
Other writers have developed Kuhn's thinking in different fields. Fritjof Capra, for instance, offers the following definition:
In the field of organisations, a number of writers have found the term useful. Gerry Johnson, Richard Pascale, and If Price & Ray Shaw have all found the concept useful. My own Culture and Complexity also uses the concept to help explain how cultures change - and why they often do not.
Johnson, Gerry & Scholes, Kevan 1997 (4th ed). Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases. London: Prentice Hall.
Pascale, Richard 1991 (1990). Managing on the Edge: How Successful Companies Use Conflict to Stay Ahead. Harmondsworth: Penguin
Price, If & Shaw, Ray 1998. Shifting the Patterns: Breaking the Memetic Codes of Corporate Performance. Chalford, Gloucs.: Management Books 2000.
Dick Richardson gives a table of differences between a model and a paradigm.
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u/dr325/genweb/paradigms.htm" target="_blank">Dick Richardson gives a table of differences between a model and a paradigm.