May 2, 2019

Empiricism and Psychology: The harmony of being at odds

In this post, the contrast between empiricism and psychology is briefly discussed



During my last few engagements and following recent trends, I have been observing two worlds in which I co-exist at odds. The world of empiricism and hard sciences and the world of human sciences or psychology. The so-called ‘tree hugger’ (as it is sometimes dismissively called) and the unwavering pragmatist. As someone who has a strong background in both of these, this is not only an extrinsic observation but also an intrinsic one.

How do you reconcile the world of engineering challenges like control systems which provide constant empirical feedback with the non-causal nature of working with people? On top of this, as coaches, we are challenged to step into organizations and facilitate quantifiable practical change.

When considering wider change, people are the influencers of the culture and the wider organizational system. If we then try to facilitate change in a non-causal context and desire immediate results that can be mathematically quantified, it comes as no surprise that an inherent tension exists.

I have worked in organizations where Scrum Masters were called ‘blah-blah’ men. They were silent influencers having conversations which seemingly did not have an impact on the ‘real’ world. This, of course, was not the case. The challenge emerges that the truth becomes extremely subjective to the perception. This tends to create some organizational tension.

Although these worlds seem to be in contrast and at odds I believe that harmony is what needs to be pursued. Music presents a great metaphor for the next generation of skills that need to evolve. I’m pretty sure that when rock music first made its appearance, the concept of including a violin was the last option on the table. However, today some of the most iconic rock albums include the violin. The synergy created something unexpected and timeless.

Two worlds colliding in harmony bringing about an unexpected experience of delight. In the age of Millennials and Generation Z people want to be accepted and included in organizations which fully acknowledge them not just for the skills that they bring, but for the people that they are. The culmination of truly being good at being human and purposefully honed skills becomes the environment in which true harmony can exist.

The harmony of empirical sciences and human sciences is thus becoming more and more relevant to today’s organizations. In order to deliver true delight, the world of ‘hard’ science and ‘soft’ science need to join forces in a whole new set of ways.

It’s time to bring a soft hand to a ‘hard’ world and a firm touch to a ‘soft’ world. As coaches, this is the art that we dabble in.

Image of elrich.faul

Elrich Faul

I’m passionate about helping the current and next generations to develop the skills they need to be successful in a rapidly changing world. I believe that by leveraging my expertise in engineering, psychology and management I can empower individuals and teams to reach their maximum potential. I’m inspired when given the opportunity to coach teams as well as individuals toward growth and happiness.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Image of elrich.faul

Elrich Faul

I’m passionate about helping the current and next generations to develop the skills they need to be successful in a rapidly changing world. I believe that by leveraging my expertise in engineering, psychology and management I can empower individuals and teams to reach their maximum potential. I’m inspired when given the opportunity to coach teams as well as individuals toward growth and happiness.

Latest Posts

From Agile to Agility in Lisbon

Andrea Tomasini will talk about ORGANIC agility and the path from Agile to Agility at the eXperience Agile conference in Lisbon on Sep. 30, 2019

Image of andreat

Andrea Tomasini

I am an Agile Coach and Trainer and I am helping customers all around the world to become more Agile. I am more and more keen on adopting adaptive emergent approaches to improve people's quality of life. Through an holistic and pragmatic approach - I consider Lean and Agile very powerful frameworks - it is possible to improve results, performance and also personal satisfaction.

Advanced Agile Team Coaching Course in Berlin and Helsinki

Join agile42 coaches to learn a more structured approach to coaching teams
Image of pascal

Pascal Papathemelis

Pascal has worked as an agile project manager/scrum master/facilitator of various developments in size and type for almost two decades. His focus is on people and practical approaches in order to deliver value. Currently Pascal is working at agile42 as an agile coach on a journey to help organisations and individuals grow, improve and become more efficient in a sustainable way.
Image of javierperez

Javier Pérez

Javier invested his first years of career working as developer and business analyst in Madrid. When Javier moved to Berlin, he discovered his passion: to help teams and organizations in their cultural transformation towards agility working first as Scrum Master and later as Team Coach.
Image of simsab

Simon Sablowski

Simon has spent several years working as a software developer, ScrumMaster and CTO. He is dedicated to shortening feedback loops to accelerate learning and strengthening team collaboration to maximise synergies. At agile42, Simon enjoys coaching and training teams and organisations that desire to attain higher productivity, continuous innovation and extraordinary performance.

Cynefin, Wardley Maps and ORGANIC agility in Stockholm

Workshop by Dave Snowden and Simon Wardley “Navigate uncertainty: Strategy and innovation with Cynefin™ & Wardley Maps” is coming to Stockholm

Image of sofia.svanback

Sofia Svanbäck

I am the Business Relationship Manager of agile42 in Finland and Sweden. I started working at agile42 in May 2018 and haven’t done anything so interesting before. The decision to join agile42 is a decision I am proud of today. My days are filled with customer related things, like negotiations, offers, and training / coaching bookings to mention a few.

Invitation and Call for Paper: Manage Agile 2019

Call for Paper for Manage Agile 2019 conference, to be held in Berlin in November 2019, is open until June 30

Image of abragad

Alessio Bragadini

Web community manager of agile42, trying to post relevant, informational, fun bits of content on the blog and social networks

Peter Hundermark One on One with Klaus Leopold

Watch Peter Hundermark on Klaus Leopold's Lean Business Agility channel

Image of abragad

Alessio Bragadini

Web community manager of agile42, trying to post relevant, informational, fun bits of content on the blog and social networks