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In a recent post I proposed a distinction between foundational thinkers and “how” teachers. While defining the generic concept, I did not give any concrete example of what I consider to be foundational thinkers. In this post, I introduce a select few. The selection criteria for these thinkers is the development of a complete and internally consistent paradigm related to life, human organization and management.

Russell Ackoff – for providing a complete ontology of the management practice and its pphilosophy,

Elliott Jaques – for providing a complete ontology for human organization,

Frederic Vester – for providing a complete bio-cybernetic model of complexity,

Ilya Prigogine – for the pursuit of the unification of natural and social sciences using complexity.

It is worth mentioning another trait these four shared: they were all iconoclastic personalities within their respective fields.