Oct. 4, 2017
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — A new book by Dr. Thomas Whalen, an associate professor of business at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), “Complexity, Society and Social Transactions: Developing a Comprehensive Social Theory,” recently was published by London, England’s Taylor and Francis of London, a division of Routledge.

According to Whalen, “Complexity, Society and Social Transactions: Developing a Comprehensive Social Theory,” explains how humans come together to form society, culture, and the economy.

“If we think of humanity as being one with the world around us, then it becomes easier to understand how we as humans form the socially constructed things that we do – things like morals, religion, culture, money, history, language and nations. All social constructions emerge out of social transaction – our continual interaction with one another in our environment,” Whalen said.

The impetus for the book began back when Whalen was a doctoral student in the leadership program at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., as he prepared to write his dissertation.

Because he had a history of working with suppliers in the Far East as a supplier quality engineer in a former career, Whalen decided to explore the cultural differences in leadership styles between American and Chinese companies, and set about searching for a social theory that explained culture and cultural formation. When he failed to find one that made sense to him, he developed his own.

“Complexity, Society and Social Transactions: Developing a Comprehensive Social Theory” found its beginnings in Whalen’s 2012 paper, “Utilizing the Social Transaction Theory of Social Ontology to Understand Organizational Culture Change.”

Whalen joined MCLA’s Department of Business Administration and Economics in 2014. He comes to the campus from McPherson College in McPherson, Kan., where he was an assistant professor in business administration.

Whalen earned his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., his Master of Science degree in management from Troy University in Troy, Ala., and his Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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