Re: Corporate construing

Peter Caputi (
Fri, 17 May 1996 12:11:04 +1000

Lois Shawve wrote on May 14:

When is a construct NOT a corporate construct?

Lois has asked a useful question. Personal constructs are not
corporate constructs. People can contrue corporate constructs as
part of their personal constructs.

Corporate construing can be thought of as specialised skills and
rules( and the processes involved in using those skills or rules),
e.g., language. They can also include a particular style of
reasoning. To borrow from Shotter and Vico, corporate construing is
"knowing how, knowing that and knowing from". The corporate
contructs include these components - so the rules are "knowing
that"; the process of using the rules are "knowing how" and knowing why
the rules are used and how they influence the perceived identity of
the "corporation" is "knowing from".

For example, solving a mathemathical problem, or
discussing Kelly's work requires certain skills and a prior framework
of understanding and a certain way of reasoning or approaching that
problem. The rules for carrying out the solution to the math problem
or the framework for understanding Kelly's work are not determined by
one individual - they are a product of many others, the interaction
of others. So with personal construing the self is actor, contruer
and construed. With corporate construing the action is the self.
The perceived identity of the "corporation" is a product of the

Corporate contruing id different from personal construing because the
site of decision making with corporate construing is not necessarily
the individual. The "inter-action" of the group is the decision-making.

In terms of language, personal constructs may be preverbal (there is
the possibility of a private language). Corporate construing
ivolves the process of using the Kantian notion of public sense.
Private language may be possible, but this is not corporate
construing. With social contructionism all symbols are public -
there is no possibility of private language.

We hope to have clarified some issues; I suspect we have raised
additional questions


Peter and Lindsay ( and Mark Balnaves in spirit)

Peter Caputi
Department of Psychology
University of Wollongong
Wollongong NSW 2522

ph: +61 42 213717
fax: +61 42 214163