Maths as others see it
This unit explores reasons for studying mathematics, practical applications of mathematical ideas and aims to help you to recognise mathematics when you come across it. It introduces the you to the graphics calculator, and takes you through a series of exercises from the Calculator Book, Tapping into Mathematics With the TI-83 Graphics Calculator. The unit ends by asking you to reflect on the process of studying mathematics. In order to complete this unit you will need to have obtained a Texas I
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Learning through video clips
This unit explores reasons for studying mathematics, practical applications of mathematical ideas and aims to help you to recognise mathematics when you come across it. It introduces the you to the graphics calculator, and takes you through a series of exercises from the Calculator Book, Tapping into Mathematics With the TI-83 Graphics Calculator. The unit ends by asking you to reflect on the process of studying mathematics. In order to complete this unit you will need to have obtained a Texas I
Author(s): The Open University

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1.1 Mathematics and you
This unit explores reasons for studying mathematics, practical applications of mathematical ideas and aims to help you to recognise mathematics when you come across it. It introduces the you to the graphics calculator, and takes you through a series of exercises from the Calculator Book, Tapping into Mathematics With the TI-83 Graphics Calculator. The unit ends by asking you to reflect on the process of studying mathematics. In order to complete this unit you will need to have obtained a Texas I
Author(s): The Open University

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1 Aims
This unit explores reasons for studying mathematics, practical applications of mathematical ideas and aims to help you to recognise mathematics when you come across it. It introduces the you to the graphics calculator, and takes you through a series of exercises from the Calculator Book, Tapping into Mathematics With the TI-83 Graphics Calculator. The unit ends by asking you to reflect on the process of studying mathematics. In order to complete this unit you will need to have obtained a Texas I
Author(s): The Open University

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Why study mathematics?
This unit explores reasons for studying mathematics, practical applications of mathematical ideas and aims to help you to recognise mathematics when you come across it. It introduces the you to the graphics calculator, and takes you through a series of exercises from the Calculator Book, Tapping into Mathematics With the TI-83 Graphics Calculator. The unit ends by asking you to reflect on the process of studying mathematics. In order to complete this unit you will need to have obtained a Texas I
Author(s): The Open University

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Next steps

After completing this unit you may wish to study another OpenLearn Study Unit or find out more about this topic. Here are some suggestions:

If you wish to study formally at The Open
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6 Conclusion

We have covered a lot of ground in this unit – yet, at one level, the message is simple: knowledge involves knowers – people – who learn how to think and act in the here-and-now of specific contexts. Practice situated in specific contexts is rarely if ever idiosyncratic, utterly individualistic or random. Rather, it is shaped by past practice. Informal and explicit formal rules – the institutional ‘rules of the game’ (North, 1990) – enable and constrain particular ac
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5.2 Institutionalising French bread

The context-specific nature of rationality is such that, as we have just indicated, many insider norms are not apparent to outsiders. From the point of view of an organisation, the institutional rules of practice that prevail in any given context enable and constrain the dimensions of viable practice. Managers who try to do things that violate accepted norms about practices that insiders judge to be sacred or profane tend to encounter resistance. The capacity to achieve a difference – the p
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5.1 Decision making

Decision making is understood as management's main task. Usually, the model of decision making is described as a perfectly well-organised, rational and logical process. First, the problem is defined. Second, all the relevant information that leads to an optimal solution is collected. Third, reviewing the data, management (perhaps with the help of technocratic ‘experts’) develops several possible solutions. Fourth, evaluating the possible solutions carefully, management makes a decisi
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4.2.2 Rational organisations

The third source of authority, based on rational-legal precepts, is exactly what Weber identified as the heart of bureaucratic organisations. People obey orders rationally because they believe that the person giving the order is acting in accordance with a code of legal rules and regulations (Albrow, 1970, p. 43). Members of the organisation obey its rules as general principles that can be applied to particular cases, and which apply to those exercising authority as much as to those who must
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4.2.1 Three sources of authority

According to Weber, there were three major bases to authority.

  1. Charismatic authority means that deference and obedience will be given because of the extraordinary attractiveness and power of the person. The person is owed homage because of their capacity to project personal magnetism, grace and bearing. For instance, management gurus such as Jack Welch, politicians such as Nelson Mandela, or popular characters such as Princess Diana are charis
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4.2 Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy as a concept has had an interesting career: it begins in France in the eighteenth century. By the nineteenth century, the German state constructed by its first Chancellor, Bismarck, was a model bureaucracy in both its armed forces and civil administration. Weber (1978) realised that the creation of the modern state of Germany had only been possible because of the development of a disciplined state bureaucracy and a bureaucratised standing army – innovations pioneered in Prussia
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4.1 Scientific management

Frederick Winslow Taylor, who is often regarded as the father of modern management, was an engineer, born of a wealthy Pennsylvanian family. He was expected to go into the law or some other genteel profession: instead he preferred to work on the shop floor. As he reflected on his experiences as a foreman in the Midvale Steel Works, he concluded that the workers knew more about the actual processes they were working on than their managers did. Workers could tell stories about why things were t
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3.3.2 China

When the medieval Italian traveller, Marco Polo (1254–1324), returned from China, he shocked Europeans with the news that the Chinese used not metal but paper money; indeed, European resistance to representative money based on paper notes stretched into the nineteenth century (de Soto, 2000, p. 222). While China might have had a few centuries away from the global limelight, it is currently staging the biggest economic boom in the history of the planet. In common with Japan, China runs a sub
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3.3.1 Japan

After the Second World War, the commander of the allied occupation of Japan (1945–52), General Douglas MacArthur, proclaimed in a September 1945 interview with the New York Times that ‘Japan will never again become a world power'; and, five years later, his economic experts advised that ‘the Japanese economy's best course in the postwar era would be to make “knickknacks” – their word – for underdeveloped countries’ (Fingleton, 1997, pp. 1–2). Today
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3.2 Institutions in flux

Although the implosion of the Soviet Union, after the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, has extended the flow of global capitalism, de Soto (2000) argues that the lack of capitalist institutions – and specifically legally enforceable rights to own property – has frustrated Western expectations about achieving increased prosperity through free-market economic development: ‘Ten years ago, few would have compared the former Soviet bloc nations to Latin America. But today they lo
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3.1.1 Global convergence?

The Nobel Laureate, Douglass North (1990, p. 46), has argued that progress, from a less to a more complex society, is characterised by a lengthy and uneven but unidirectional move from informal institutional rules of practice to formal constraints. Thus, informal sanctions, taboos, customs, traditions and codes of conduct are superseded by formal rules embodied in constitutions, laws and legally enforceable property rights, including intellectual property and copyrights. North argues that the
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3.1 Interconnectedness

In making sense of the stretch from the here-and-now to the wider context, social science has often seized on distinct levels: the micro – dealing with things that happen in organisations, for instance – and the macro or national level. Explanations are often generated at either the micro or the macro level and critical connections between the two are ignored (Flyvbjerg, 2001, p. 138). Arguably, increased talk about globalisation provides a convenient label for things that g
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2.5.1 Anglo-zone connections

Much of today's global interconnectedness has been shaped by the legacies of long-standing trading patterns, imperial expansion, colonisation and strategic military interventions. From the late seventeenth century to the mid twentieth century, Britain presided over the largest empire in global history – although expansion was tempered by adjustment as former colonies gained independence. With the benefit of hindsight, the American War of Independence (1775–1783) or the American Revolution
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2.5 Clusters

A striking contradiction of the internet revolution is that, although cyberspace allows firms to be located anywhere, they still seem to cluster together in global cities such as New York, London and Sydney (Castells, 2001). Four years after publishing a book proclaiming The Death of Distance, Frances Cairncross noted in the book's second edition that, ‘Economists, most of whom have long ignored or despised economic geography, are now taking a fresh interest in it’ and, after
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