GABEK® - WinRelan®
In many cases, in an organization the experience and knowledge of employees and customers are the biggest potential. Yet, one employee uses to see primarily individual aspects, only useable in a holistic interconnectedness. This integration of experiences, knowledge and attitudes of several people is normally taking place in talks. If, however, the organization is large and their products are complex, usual formal and informal communication habits are no longer sufficient to ensure a coordinated cooperation. It comes then to the point where we can make use of methods of knowledge processing, knowledge organization and knowledge representation. For this, the computer-assisted qualitative GABEK was developed (Holistic Processing of Linguistic Complexity - © J. Zelger, Innsbruck 1991-1998). It allows for a holistic view of complex social situations, using the rich experience of the staff and other interested persons as a source of knowledge. The idea is to combine the experience and knowledge of personnel with the expertise of decision makers to a higher-order, coherent "big picture". There for it has to be explored what the people involved in the organization really think and feel about, where they set priorities and where they see realizable opportunities for improvement. If so all available sources of information have been exhausted, the organization will develop positively by linking the results in line with the persons concerned: The services can be improved and well-being in the organization can beadvanced.
For example, Colloquial expressions from an open survey can serve as source texts for a GABEK analysis. They are compressed using the PC program WinRelan (© J. Zelger, Innsbruck 1992-1998) to a transparent system of beliefs, interconnecting knowledge about causes and effects, beliefs and emotional attitudes in the form of "linguistic Gestalten", "Hyper Gestalten", "Gestalten trees," "causal networks", "assessment profiles". Hereby every step of the analysis reconstructable and intersubjectively verifiable. Methodological Studies have shown that the process meets the criteria to a high degree of reliability and validity.
GABEK supplies immediately actionable resultsat reasonable expense. The normal work flow remains undisturbed. With repeated application of the method, the development of enterprises, social institutions, etc. can be tracked from the perspective of employees and stakeholders. Providing comprehensive information of the respondents conveyes a better understanding of the overall situation.The employees usually accept the results because they partly due to their own proposals. Therefore, they are also motivated to endorse their active implementation.
GABEK projects differ from quantitatively designedprojects a) not only through open interviews, in which any respondent can say what appears very important to him/ her. It also distinguishes itself b) by the qualitative evaluation and integration of all responses, c) through a holistic view of the complex diversity of opinions, d) through the formulation of the results in the language of the respondents who e) can be revised and queried computer-assisted interactively and f) by a hierarchical order of the results in terms of their relevance to the respondents.
The verbal data are completely analyzed in terms of the following process steps:
Following transcription, word documents or text documents are imported into the Winrelan program.
The texts are then encoded
These are automatically split into provisional text groups.
The text groups are clustered into meaningful and contradictionless problems and themes and are ordered hierarchically according to linguistic gestalts and
The causal network
The statements of the interviewees concerning assumed causes and effects are represented as a complex network.
The value profile
Value judgements, wishes and attitudes expressed in the answerrs are listed according to their frequencies.
The Relevancy analysis
From the gestalten tree, causal network and evaluation profile we can obtain the strategically relevant core variables for the project investigated.
Understanding complex situations
By navigating through the gestalt tree we can follow the argumentative links of the interviewees and obtain a deductively ordered overview.
Basic values and higher goals
Some of the significant core variables express the value system of the goup. They are basic values and higher aims, which are explicated - they serve the formulation of a model.
Usually, interviewees’ propose realizable means to improve problem situations. Probable effects and side effects in relation to basic values and primary goals can be simulated.
Decision Support in the Selection of Means
Groups of individuals, professional groups, departments and organizations determine focal problem fields and select priority means for the realization of specific goals.
Comparison of Results
To compare opinions pro and contra, dialogues between groups of individuals are simulated to facilitate the understanding of others in their own language and to resolve conflicts.
This text has appeared in the original (German):
Zelger, Josef: Projektbericht Nr. 56 der Reihe: Philosophie und Verfahren kreativer Selbstorganisation, Innsbruck, Dezember 1998, Institut für Philosophie der Universität Innsbruck