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Welcome to the Organization Management and Development Page

Featuring Useful OD Resources, Readings & Strategies

Core Reading

Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2008) The Leadership Challenge, 4th edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (K-P)

Hesselbein, F. & Goldsmith, M, Editors (2006) The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the New Era. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (H-G)

Hatch, M.J. (1997) Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. (H)

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization, updated edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (M)

Week 12 (Apr 12-18)

Paper Discussions/Closing Reflections Post Papers 4/12

1. Now that you have some fabulous papers to discuss, this week will revolve around asking questions and giving feedback to your colleagues regarding their papers. I ask that you respond to at least 2-3 other papers by noting your observations that match/don't match, asking further questions, adding your own thoughts, or otherwise contributing to the discussion started by a specific paper.

Replies to others' papers DUE April 15th

Week 11 (Apr 5-11) - Individual Synthesis Papers

This paper should effectively synthesize or explore many of the themes, metaphors and areas of interest in this course. It should also reflect concepts of theory and practice and incorporate the notions of organizational systems and leadership, again drawing from the readings, discussions, and your own experiences. Collaboration is always encouraged to help you add depth and quality to your thinking and writing. These papers should run approximately 10-15 double-spaced pages and will be posted no later than the beginning of the 12th week (April 12, 2009)

Week 10 (Mar 29- Apr 4) - Future Issues

Pick one way that you think organizations will need to change in the future. Describe what will be different, why and how it will show up. In what ways will leadership need to adapt? (1-2 pages)

Shifting Education Environment, Expectations

Fundamental changes are affecting the educational system, due to a proliferation of cost-effective information and communications technologies (ICTs); turbulent economic, social and political change; and changing learner expectations and demographic shifts. In the developed world, educational institutions are experiencing increased financial pressure, thanks to the commoditization of education and education resources, increased competition and reduced public sector funding. Faced with these challenges, education institutions are seeking ways to innovate and differentiate their value proposition - to get bums-in-seats and generate valuable research dollars and extra-budgetary revenue. Moreover, the learning process is shifting from top-down teacher-centric models, to facilitated, peer-collaborative student-centred models bolstered by ICTs, including the Internet / Web 2.0 technologies.

States Lev Gonick, CIO, Case Western Reserve University: "First professors posted syllabi online and used e-mail to supplement their office hours. Then learning activities like classroom presentations were supplemented by student-published Web pages, searchable discussion forums, and collaborative wikis. In a curve that has only been accelerating these past 20 years, we now have an educational economy of information abundance confronting an educational delivery system that was built for a time of information scarcity. Colleges have shared some of their best teaching using new systems like Apple’s iTunes U, OpenCourseWare, and explosive content-creation activities underway in countries like India and China." (Gonick, 2009)

Face-to-Face vs. Online, Social Learning

In many ways, the factory/production model of public education design and delivery makes it really difficult for educational institutions to innovate. The 1960s/1970s 'business model' is based on a face-to-face model to recruit more students (matched with appropriate public sector funding) for their classes and programs and meet annual targets. Moreover, the tenure system rewards quality research not necessarily quality teaching.

With the Internet, affordable access and social learning Web 2.0 tools, online learning has taken off as a credible learning model, and in the process has created a vast array of global educational choices previously unavailable. Increasingly, the the 'new' Consumer is the learner or student.

Many public educational institutions are struggling to catch up to the competition posed by an alternate delivery format, and the prospect of generating additional revenue, particularly from existing educational materials and faculty. Challenges and uncertainty abound too, for faculty who require different skills (i.e., facilitating vs. teaching) to operate effectively within an online environment.

"Differences include a generally higher ratio of adjunct faculty, smaller course sizes, higher training costs and sustained investment, and a requirement for greater flexibility in managing salary and development costs." (Olson, 2002))

New Leadership Required

This new reality translates to increased pressure, at many levels.

"Leadership in online education is new terrain for many administrators and faculty. As educators and leaders, we are working toward development of a new context for leading and connecting in a relational non-hierarchical structure. "We are trying to expand our leadership behaviors and actions by applying them in radically new contexts that require us to unlearn and relearn new rules of leadership." (Olson, 2002)

Educational institutions which wish to have the capacity to thrive in this new era, require leadership who understand the role and function of traditional education stakeholders (i.e., faculty core groups, parents, government) and can garner their support throughout change and transition; and the new, emergent business reality.

" every company, agency, institution and enterprise, there is some Core Group of key people --- the "people who really matter". Every organization is continually acting to fulfill the perceived needs and priorities of its Core Group...An organization's Core Group is the source of its energy, drive and direction." (Kleiner, 2003)

These leaders must be able to wear multiple hats, to develop strategy, build bridges and model the way (Kouzes and Posner, 2007) -- in a world that is ambiguous, complex and where opportunities are emerging. They must be able to develop the organization's value proposition and distinguishing characteristics, and effectively convey those messages internally and externally. They must be able to share the vision with linguistic and cultural meaning that stakeholders - and their communities - can understand and act upon, and facilitate cooperation, dialogue and readiness among and across departmental silos and leaders. (Hatch, 2006 p. 49). Certainly, there will be resistance, as there always is, to change. transition and (perceived) loss of power, With adequate resources including training, time and the appropriate leadership, an education institution can reconfigure itself to survive, thrive and adapt in a more open ecosystem.


Gonick, L. in Wired Campus (February 24, 2009),retrieved March, 7, 2009 from

Hatch, M.J. (200) Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kleiner, A. (2003). Who Really Matters. New York: New York. Currency Books. [A division of Doubleday.], ISBN 0-385-48448-8

Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2007).The leadership challenge, 4th edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization, updated edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Olson, C. (2002). Leadership in Online Education: Strategies for Effective Online Administration and Governance, in Handbook of Online Learning: Innovations in Higher Education and Corporate Training, Kjell Erik Rudestam and Judith Schoenholtz-Read (eds). (2002). Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA.

Week 9 (Mar 22-28) - Organization Types & Leadership Challenges: Change & Learning

H:Chap 12 and selections from previous readings With different metaphorical perspectives of organizations, what leadership challenges emerge in change & learning?



  1. Reflecting on your personal experience which of the three theoretical perspectives of organizational change would work best in your organization? Why?
  2. Using your experience as a guide, who have symbols been used in organizational changes, and to what effect? Were they successful or not? How would you use them, or what might have you changed?
  3. Many organizational changes fail to achieve desired end results. From your experience, examine why is this the case, who pays the price for failure, or less than stellar success? What must occur to achieve higher rates of success?
  4. What is involved in making organizational change enduring and sustainable? Is it a top-down or grassroots process? For whom? Please support with specific examples from your experience; identify possible interventions that you might consider, to support change over the longer-term (I.e. 5+ years).


I am always amazed by the breadth and depth of experience that people have, and the extent to which we share common ground - even if it is not immediately obvious. This week was characterized by a lively discussion around four (4) questions regarding organizational change and learning, and its impact on leadership and self. I will summarize the dialaoge within the context of these questions. [edit] Question 1

1. Reflecting on your personal experience which of the three theoretical perspectives of organizational change would work best in your organization? Why?

The discussion in this thread seemed to suggest that Lewin's model, while relevant, is somewhat linear and datesd as compared to other models for organizational change and renewal. Several models of change where shared, with various factors identified as supporting meaningful organizational change: In the Beckhard-Gleicher Model, change is possible when the level of: D = Dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the clarity of V = Vision of what is possible; and the grasp of F = First, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision, can combine to be greater than, R = Resistance to the Change.

Another model discussed by Howard, as the Cultural Changes Models which includes Cultural incrementalism (Gagliardi) - to include new assumptions, new values, and new artifacts; and the Cultural Dynamics Model (Hatch) – which depicts culture as a process whereby symbols, artifacts, and assumptions are continually created, either internally or externally. Cultural language, values and symbolism often act as tipping points, in supporting an organization to move in one direction vs. another. The point was also made that theory is theory, and may not yield results as espoused or anticipated by theoretical musings.

2. Using your experience as a guide, who have symbols been used in organizational changes, and to what effect? Were they successful or not? How would you use them, or what might have you changed?

Organizations cannot be changed in a meaningful or sustainable way by cosmetic touch-ups or interior or exterior renovations. One thread focused on an organization which tried to create an optimal environment to attract, retain and motivate staff. Soon after the initial euphoria, excitement was brought back to reality with a recognition that hard work was required by 'senior leaders to establish the vision, beliefs and strategy of the organization as well as the methodologies to assist in implementing whole systems change in complex organizations'.

Another thread discussed the importance of creating a 'culture of recognition', particularly in another culture (India), and in asking how Cultural Incrementalism could work in changing, or challenging core assumptions. Some of the ideas shared include: (a) visibility and program awareness over the medium term; (b) a Wall of Fame (i.e., formal recognition for managers who 'symbolize' the culture of recognition, and change; (3) Key Messaging, as crafted by the leaders, to facilitate dialogue and interpretation among stakeholders; and (d) Share Testimonials about peer-to-peer recognition, and increased employee performance.

3. Many organizational changes fail to achieve desired end results. From your experience, examine why is this the case, who pays the price for failure, or less than stellar success? What must occur to achieve higher rates of success?

Howard introduced us to Kotter's (Kotter, 1996, 2002) eight-step model for introducing change in an organization including:

 1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
 2. Create the Guiding Coalition
 3. Develop a Vision and Strategy
 4. Communicate the Change Vision
 5. Empower Broad-Based Action
 6. Generate Short-Term Wins
 7. Consolidate Gains and Produce More Wins
 8. Anchor New Approach in Culture 

He shared Kotter's thinking that in order for these changes to endure, it must include ALL of the eight (8) steps, and be rooted in a sense of urgency.

4. What is involved in making organizational change enduring and sustainable? Is it a top-down or grassroots process? For whom? Please support with specific examples from your experience; identify possible interventions that you might consider, to support change over the longer-term (i.e. 5+ years).

This thread generated a lively discussion around models of engagement and organizational change in general, and specifically, for nonprofits.

Jill shared her belief that people at all levels of the organization need to be engaged in change and learning, particularly since today's organizations are complex (and operate in a complex environment); too complex for a single person to 'have all the answers to drive the innovations, visions, strategies and answers to sustain themselves long term.' In today's business world, a 5-year time horizon is a very long time, and it's very hard to predict changes from year to year, let alone in 5 years. Concerns were expressed about the degree of readiness for change, before decisions to act could be made, for whom and by whom.

Another viewpoint, was that cultural change is a combination top-down and grassroots effort. In the case of a nonprofit, Sangita shared that an ED’s or Board’s involvement in a culture change process could make a significant difference in facilitating involvement and participation from both perspectives and levels. [edit] Results-Based Management (for nonprofits)

One of the models shared was Ken Wilber’s 4 Quadrants of Change model. Another model shared was the Baldrige model/framework for organizational assessment, replete with a Balanced Scorecard (BS) with Mission Goals, and and a strategic budgeting process aligned with the mission goals. This tool (with accompanying detail and resource materials) shared the 4 perspectives of the BS Approach(!) used in a nonprofit organizational example: (1) Financial (cost efficiency, solvency, and funding levels); (2) Learning, Growth and Innovation; (3) Internal (business practices and efficiencies, service benchmarks; and (4) Customer Satisfaction. The BS also focused on developing specific and meaningful metrics to measure success - including outputs and outcomes.

Susan shared her knowledge regarding the use of logic models as maps for intended results, and provided resources from the Kellogg Foundation. Having a clear handle on organizational levers, inputs, outputs and outcomes could make the difference between successful grant funding and organizational sustainability (or not)

Susan also shared her knowledge regarding the McKinsey Capacity Building Assessment – 'a tool for gauging where a non-profit is regarding its capability in carrying out its mission and goals by focusing on: (1) a clear translation of the vision into practical steps; (2) setting up strategy goals and performance targets; (3) measuring results; and (4) examining partnerships and alliances for performance; and (5) a positive staff development plan, including a skill-building component.

8 (Mar 15-21) - Organization Types & Leadership Challenges: Getting Things Done

  • H:Part III, Chap 9-11; M:Chap 2-9 (review); K-P:review
  • With different metaphorical perspectives of organizations, what leadership challenges emerge in getting things done? (Team)

Metaphor: Globalism

# Consider your experiences with "globalism" and share with us your recommendation on the strategies for leadership development.

Metaphor: Culture

Respond to one or more of the following questions regarding culture:

  • What factors or influences outline your definition of culture?

I tend to look at culture as 'living culture' - a set of practices, behaviours, expectations and assumptions within an organization, team or community. It ebbs and flows to some degree, and can actually change / transform over time, with the influx of new people or a catastrophic economic or market change, as the organization retools its models, workforce, product suite and customer base. Corporate culture can vary significantly between companies, even with surface similarities. I like what Edgar Schein says: Corporate culture is about learning certain ways of behaving, certain beliefs and values to enable employees to adapt to external realities and provide some sense of identity and integration. (He is generally credited with coining the term "corporate culture".

  • What cultural 'hats' do you wear in our society? What do you compromise when you wear each hat? What do you gain / lose?

First, my society is North America in general and Canada in particular. My 'culture' has many forms: as a white male, living in a priveleged society (I consider it to be, anyways). I belong to specific sub-cultures according to my interests and ethnicity, and to a certain extent are bound by the norms and values that come from identification and belonging in those communities. I don't see that I am making particular 'compromises' by being part of one group and not another, but I would say, that I lack a certain perspective and /or identification in terms of not belonging to one group or another. For example, I am not a salaried employee of an educational institution here in BC, and while I may be able to respond with insights about the particular culture, I am really not able to speak for my experience within that domain. I am not a trusted insider, and for that matter - if I were, it might be part of that 'culture' to not speak openly, or to strangers, not of the culture in which I worked. By not being part of a given culture, I miss a sense of belonging "in-group", camaraderie and sense of identity, but at the same time, I gain a sense of autonomy, independence and freedom. It would be a mistake to believe that 'autonomy, freedom and independence' exist outside of a group. I have frequently had conversations with people of religious faiths who fervently believe (no pun intended!), that once one accepts the general precepts and cultural boundaries of a belief system or faith, that there is an incredible amount of latitude for freedom of expression, autonomy and independence. One of the issues I have with looking at 'culture', or anything else, for that matter, is that it depends on who actually is looking at it, and the lens s/he is using, combined with the history, context and approach.

  • How have you managed to co-exist when the values of the dominant culture have clashed with yours?
  • tread softly
  • observe and learn the culture
  • stay under the radar, and pick my battles
  • cultivate trust with colleagues and stakeholders, build coalitions
  • wear the facilitator's hat
  • NEVER Gossip NOR reveal confidences
  • think strategically, follow directions
  • plan my exit strategy
  • post-exit:
    • talk positively about the organization and its people
    • debrief: focus on my learning - individually and professionally, from all aspects of the situation


Schein, Edgar (2005). Taking Organization Culture Seriously, in Practicing Organization Development, 2nd edition, William Rothwell and Roland Sullivan.

Metaphor: Communication

* Considering the topic of face-to face vs. virtual communication, think about an incident where felt placed in a psychic prison, because of a communication incident where one wya of communicating could have resulted better, and share the outcome.

I completely agree, that email and distributed communications introduce a new dynamic in clear communications. In fact, I find it amazing that some people, while clearly aware, that their 'message' is not getting through, persist in sending another email, and another explanation, spiralling into email hell. Why picking up the phone to talk to someone to clarify, without getting further wrapped up in a content-heavy mess, is completely beyond me. (sheesh). I draw the line at one or two email missives - with a lack of clarity, before I pick up the phone to take care of business - and deal with both the content, and the relationship. After all, both parties are interested in shared meaning, and getting the job done - and both will not happen without someone who makes the first move towards a clarifying moment. I also find it interesting, that will all of the communication devices / choices abounding, people still feel disconnected and misunderstood. Which leads a thinking person to believe, it's not about the hardware stupid! <smile>

I was particularly interested in the quote about the Andres' study, about 'the lack of social context cues in computer mediated communication leading to increased negative communicative tone...' Interesting. I would like to contrast this study with my Fielding experience, where I have NOT experienced that in any form, whatsoever. In fact, it's been a hallmark of my Fielding experience, where my colleagues have been civil, positive and uplifting to each other. There could be a number of reasons for this: I, of course, am honoured to be in the company of the cream of the crop; and people who truly care about others, and the quality of communication! But I think that there's another important reason, actually, and it has to do with an initial intervention, at the beginning of my entry into the Fielding MA, OMD program: there was an Orientation session, where we learned the ins and outs of the FELIX forums, and where there were discussion of initial groundrules and boundaries in the "what" and "how" of communication. I recall that this was also reflected in my 602 - Group Theory course (Ruth House), where we had to put together a group charter: while there are additional details, suffice to say, that the experience created an ethos of respect and consideration for the folks in my class. That experience has permeated the rest of my experience in the Fielding forums, in a positive and respectful way.

I have done my part to insert smileys (emoticons) and pictures, to have a bit o' fun in the forums, and extend some levity and a sense of humour. (I even put together a How-To Insert Images from Flickr on WikiEducator - )It can't be all that serious, eh? But this experience is a wonderful contrast from typical email and threaded communications that can be downright dry, dull and disconnective.

Week 7 (Mar 8-14) - Organization Metaphors II (Psychic Prison, Flux, Domination)

(Comment.gif: See Assignment 3. Flux & Transformation)

M:Chap 7-9

What distinguishes these different views of organizations and how do they show up in real life?

How would leadership differ in these organizations?


Week 6 (Mar 1-7) - Organization Metaphors I (Brain, Culture, Political System)

M:Chap 4-6

What distinguishes these different views of organizations and how do they show in real life?

How would leadership differ in these organizations?

Double Loop Learning

"As double-loop learning diffuses throughout an organization, organizational stability disappears and new organizational orders -- such as self-organizing systems (or ecosystems) -- emerge from the internal dynamics of the organization rather than at the behest of top management." (Hatch, p. 316.)

Double loop learning is an essential ingredient in the success of the WikiEducator project and community. WikiEducator is a self-organizing ecosystem, that is riddled with complexity and uncertainty (we see that as a positive!); where small roles morph into larger roles; where parts of large projects break off, and are added to smaller projects; and where the volunteer workforce, motivated by differing degrees of power, affiliation and achievement (Mclelland, 1976), work together and in parallel to achieve their own particular objectives. WikiEducator is a learning community, and the wiki way, is closely connected to the open source hacker culture, where it's perfectly OK, and encouraged to learn from each other's successes and failures, and incorporate the learning into future iterations of software and / or content releases. The motto "build it, and they will come" is as much about attracting end-user educators, as it is about building an affinitive community of like-minded developers, hackers and engineers - who tinker with the guts of the machine / software, to make it better for a larger community. Double-loop learning is also about actually adding value to the community, and assists in building the community (also a community of support to WikiEd users), where the learning happens in Multiple Loops - hey, shall I go with "Multiple Loop Learning?

Multiple Loop Learning or Complex Loop Learning where learning happens in multiples, where users respond to complex iterations of content and/or software development (innovations), building on simple and complex forms, and informing subsequent generations of new ahas' insights, etc. Action Learning + Double Loop Learning + Mr. Spock's 3D Chess - lots happening at multiple levels, with different shades of organizational metaphor. Brain in some projects, culture, flux and transformation, etc. - OK, this needs work...But the idea is that there's a complexity and layering of learning, feedback and response that is not fully covered by the single or double loop descriptions.

WikiEducator works because the entire ecosystem is learning, growing, and morphing --- in multiple loops and bounds <smile> -Indeed, as Hatch says: "Self-organizing systems learn to learn and thus become intelligent enough to define their own fundamental operating criteria, behaviour and identity. (Hatch, p 316). WikiEd's Multiple Loop Learning processes enable a natural sustainability and scalability that tends not to be present in traditional organizational structures. Randy Fisher 22:48, 2 March 2009 (UTC)


Hatch, Mary Joe and Ann Cunliffe (2006). Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives. Oxford University Press.

Mclelland, David C. And Michael Burnham (1976). Power is the Great Motivator, Best of Harvard Business Review: Motivating People (2003).

Morgan, Gareth (2006). Images of Organization. Updated edition. Sage Publications.


How about a new acronym for the WHOLE Picture of Cultural Impacts, Dynamics:

  • W - The four W's + H - to examine the "What, Why, Where, When + How)
  • H - High Culture (instead of "big culture)
  • O - Organizational Culture
  • L - Low Culture (functional (divisional) culture
  • E - Emotional Culture (the emotional experience of folks with generates its own pulse and dynamics

What does this metaphor say about the internal operation of the organization?

It points to a centralized buraucratic image, that conjures up clockwork-like control, top-down discipline and subordination of individual efforts (in a positive sense), and excessive rules, procedures, 'by-the-book' thinking and duplication (in the negative). The organizational structure is made to support the operation "as precisely as possible, through patterns of authority - in terms of job responsibilities and the right to give orders and to exact obedience." Organizations that use scientific management as its holy grail, operate in a "routinized, efficient, reliable and predictable way." (Morgan, p. 13), emphasize planning (and Management by Objectives MBO) and a fairly rigid division of labour. Sociologist Max Weber (as quoted by Morgan) identified mechanistic "organizations as a form of organization that emphasized precision, speed, clarity, regularity, reliability and efficiency achieved through the creation of a fixed division of tasks, hierarchical supervision and detailed rules and regulations." (Morgan, p. 17). In a mechanistic organization, people are cogs in the Big Machine.

What does this metaphor suggest about strategies for change?

"Mechanistically structured [hierarchical] organizations have great difficulty adapting to changing circumstances because they are designed to achieve predetermined goals; they are not designed for innovation." These types of organizations lack the flexibility to respond to fast-changing circumstances, or super-ordinate challenges such as climate change, disruptive technologies - which require mass -coordination, -networking and -collaboration to succeed. Indeed, "standardized procedures and channels of communication are often unable to deal effectively with new circumstances, necessitating numerous ad hoc meetings and committees, which because they have to planned to fit rather than disrupt the normal mode of operation, are often too slow or too late for dealing with [critical] issues." (Morgan, p. 29)

The mechanistic organization metaphor is not at a loss for job roles and responsibilities; hence there is considerable opportunity for introducing job rotation and continuous improvement, to improve organizational flexibility for on-the-job productivity gains (responding to external competition, market shifts); increase organizational; increase in qualitative outputs (and quality); individual learning; and retain loyal and qualified staff. Mechanistic organizations ~ which have built their legacy on this operational modality are often a major employer within a remote community / region, and the impacts of changes on the factory floor, can have dramatic improvements to the organization's bottom line and the community's sustainability. (i.e., as the company embraces change, so too will the community in terms of more, or less employment; house sales / or not; and other economic adjustments). Depending on the degree of mechanization, the availability of capital, and workforce readiness for change (i.e., organized labour has considerable vested power and privelege in things remaining as they are, in many cases), mechanistic organizations may or may not have adequate resilience for contemplating the changes required, or the stomach for enduring the pain of adjustment in the form of new roles and responsibilities and expectations for continuous quality / improvements for both services and products.

How would you measure success using this metaphor?

Measuring success using this metaphor would generally come in terms of quantitative outputs and efficiency - for both products and services. "Mechanistic approaches to organizations work well only under conditions where machines work well: (a) when there is a straightforward task to perform; (b) when the environment is stable enough to ensure that the products produced will be appropriate ones; (c) when one wishes to produce exactly the same product time and again; (d) when precision is at a premium; and (e) when the human "machine" parts are compliant and behave as they have been designed to do so." (Morgan, p. 27). Metrics for success include: increased output per employee; higher rates of quality; rate of profit per employee or workstation; increased plant / manufacturing capacity; increased production per square foot (lower production costs); reduction in worker absenteeism; labour peace;


Morgan, Gareth. Images of Organization. London: Sage Publications, 2006.


Particularist Culture:

While every organisation claims this I somehow am yet to see a clear connection between performance and recognition/rewards. In a particularist culture (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner,1998) the amazing role of relationships beats all objectivity. Just based on relationships people survive jobs irrespective of their performance or behaviour.

Power - on a continuum - between individual and system

I agree with you the power is on a continuum between an individual and a system. And more so how low power numbers relate to power members and vice versa (Johnson and Johnson,2009).

Resistance ... along the way to transformation...


Johnson, D.W., & Johnson, F.P. 2009. Joining Together. Group Theory and Group Skills. Pearson Education, Inc.,Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458

Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Global Business. Irwin.

Week 5 (Feb 22-28) - Leadership-Challenge, Empower, Encourage

K-P:Parts 4-6

H-G:Chap 2-5; 6-11

What do we need to understand about leaders need to challenge, empower and reward? Why are they important?

  • individual as whole system AND set of individual, interconnected parts.... (re: David's comment about Whole System perspective for organizations)
  • integration and leverage

Question 1

Several points:

1. Susan and Howard quote Kouses and Posner in saying that "leadership is inextricabley connected to the process of innovation" (2007, p. 165), and paraphrasing that 'Searching for opportunities to infuse innovation creates a culture of initiative and leasders will take the charge to be proactive, which will lead to better results.'

Call me a stickler, but just because leaders search for opportunities to innovate doesn't necessarily mean that a culture results from that search, and that better results will happen. Certainly, it creates a more compelling climate for experimentation and risk-taking, er "Challenging the Process", but if their aren't appropriate HR infrastructure supports and processes that allow for failure, learning and integration of that learning, in almost an action inquiry type of process, then one might just have leaders running amok, looking to innovate for innovation's sake. That could be deadly - (Ever hear of the Sony Betamax (the better technology than yer plain old VCR tape?). All I want to say here, is that one needs appropriate infrastructure and people support, so that they are as invested in the culture of innovation as the leader(s) is / are.

2. "When developing innovation in yourself and others, don't forget to look outside your organizational circles. Create communication and let ideas flow both inside and outside your organizational circles.

I would add:

  • create communication between multiple levels using different technologies, formats, frequencies and phasing
  • "between" your organizational circles too, for greater learning and cross-pollination of ideas.
  • organizational circles and networks

Open Systems Breed Communications; Natural Organization Structures

In a sense, the authors are speaking of open systems, that allow this sort of communications, cross-fertilization and pollination of ideas, information-sharing and relationship-building and networking. At least that's what I'm reading into it, as I try to adapt what they're saying to the self-organizing ecosystem (i.e., wiki world) that I work (and play) in. <smile> one of my great insights this term, is the recognition is that while all of these 'words' are nice, they have to be stuffed into fairly traditional forms of organizational structure, that actually mitigate against the free-flowing organizational communications that the authors allude to. Further, in my master's research project, informed by action inquiry, content analysis and unobtrusive measurement, I am finding that traditional organizational structure brings an imposed, interfering unnaturality to open self-organizing behaviour that could allow operational sustainability at best, and at the very least, co-exist with the traditional organizational structure - to effect greater collaboration, learning, adpativeness and responsiveness to a complex, changing environment.

(Comment.gif: make sure to refer to the biology reference)

Emotional Intelligence

I found this section to be quite interesting, and appreciate the tool from the Evidence-Based Coaching class. It really allowed me to see areas for development, particularly in reviewing past situations for further awareness, learning and development. I could see that there would be real benefit to coaching leaders to 'challenge their own process', by practicing both self-care and self-management - looking to shore up their areas for development by either working on them and/or delegating tasks and projects who are really good at not just getting the job done, but doing so in a may that minimizes disruption around them and their projects, and enables considerable leverage and relationship-building throughout project implementation. This is important, particularly when projects are killed, and one project, or a piece thereof, morphs into another - aha! more evidence of complexity! <smile>

Another example of challenging the process is looking at sustainability in an entirely new way, vs. hopping on the 'green bandwagon'. For example, how a leader uses and re-uses knowledge, could indeed be an important and renewable resource. Same goes for an organization. All too often, organizations invest vast sums of money in developing "knowledge management" systems in a fruitless drive to capture explicit AND tacit knowledge - trouble is, no one wants to give up the tacit knowledge(!). Besides, when a new leader takes on a job, s/he wasn't hired to do it the same old way - s/he puts his/her stamp on it, bolstered by prior (yet new to the organization) knowledge and relationships.

Strategic Tipping Points

"And when mobilized, the opposition and fence sitters become engaged with the issues, provodked to work through the problems of loss, loyalty, and competence embedded in the change they are challenged to make. Indeed, they may continue to fight, providing an ongoing source of diversve views necessary for the adaptive success of the business or community." - (Heifetz, in Heselbein & Goldsmith (2006) pp. 74-75)

Another means of challenging the process, is to directly engage the opposition and fence sitters as 'strategic tipping points', in the move to build energy, movement and momentum for a specific strategy and approach. Consider in a change that 10% of the people are truly on board, and 50% are waiting to discover which way the wind will blow. Smart leaders use all of the resources and communication tools available to them to tip the balance in their favour, by building a strong team around them, having access to internal and external information and intelligence, and then sending out trial balloons to see what happens. Then, they interpret and process the feedback - and can judge what the real risks are in challenging the process one way vs. another. Hmm, did I mention the tipping point in their own thinking, assessment and evaluation? <smile>


Gladwell, Malcolm (2000) The Tipping Point. How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.

Heifetz, R. A. (2006) Anchoring Leadership in the Wake of Adaptive Progress. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 73-84). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Q2. Acceptance, triage, and Scenario Planning - now essential tools in the Leadership War Chest

In thinking about the values, visions and traits of leaders in a complex world, I was immediately drawn to the chapter on "The Challenge of Complexity by John Alexander. Clearly, the world is a messy and complex place, as evidenced by the impact of manmade and natural disasters - and current leadership models are inadequate to address their sheer size and nuances. It's quite cool to run through one's mind and simulate what effect an entire constellation of factors and interventions might have in a specific situation, and they run through a different model: something like the disaster simulations or military exercises one sees from time to time. The reality is, that most enterprise executives (small, medium, or large-szed) just don't have the training or the preparation for these cross-silo events, and if they do, it usually is in the form of command-and-control army training, which has proven ineffective in responding in a timely and equitable manner, during and post-disaster. So, new leadership models, processes and approaches are needed to deal with challenges far greater than one individual can command, or even muster the appropriate resources. There needs to be a recognition that there are forces beyond one's control, and that the unseen force - the self-organizing behaviour of many others - in pursuit of particular objectives - are also important to the mix. Moreover, while one leader, or a group of leaders is at the controls - the environment is changing (internally within the organization, and external to the organization) in a way they, in the past, felt they might have been able to control, but now cannot. Acceptance, triage and scenario planning are becoming new tools in the leadership war chest.

Well, now that I got that off my chest, let me focus on answering the question. <smile>

I'm going to focus my answer on Ronald Heifetz's chapter on "Anchoring Leadership in the Work of Adaptive Progress", and the example that I'm going to use is the project leader for WikiEducator, Wayne Mackintosh. In astutely observing that the current models of education are insufficient to meet global demand, he is at the helm of a global community project (WikiEducator - that uses a specific technology platform (a wiki) for the collaborative development of free and open education resources. He has oft shared his thinking, that this project is in response to the reality that even if all of the schools required were built in Africa, there wouldn't be enough teachers to staff them. And even if there were enough teachers to staff them, there wouldn't be enough money to pay them, and they likely would not be adequately trained. Consequently, (and there are several other factors here), approx. 75% of kids in Africa will never see the inside of a secondary school. Pretty scandalous.

So, Dr. Mackintosh set out to harness the potential of e-learning and collaborative materials development, to facilitate the development of a self-motivated army of passionate educators, and show them how they could achieve their goals, and realize interdependence - through smart use of technology and open systems.

Part maverick and sage, rabble rouser and education-insider, Mackintosh is on the cusp of a global movement to develop open education resources built on open source values. He is uncompromising in his vision, with clearly-stated values; a specialized language for communication (the mediawiki syntax of the wiki - the same language' that powers Wikipedia); an appreciation of the technical challenges to achieving the vision; and an adaptive approach to responding to environment er, ecosystem challenges which portend directions in which the WikiEducator community would like to pursue. Over time, he has developed a strong recognition, that WikiEducator is more than just a powerful means of production, it is also about a very strong community identity and ethos: they go hand in hand. There is considerable experimentation within this self-organizing ecosystem, and all 'mistakes' are not seen as such, but just an opportunity for greater learning, and incorporation into the larger whole.

To paraphrase Heifetz:

He proactively seeks to clarify aspirations and the values of the WikiEducator community, develop new ones; and then involves the very hard work of innovation, experimentation and cultural development -- utilizing scenario planning NOT strategic planning.

Working with him makes for a very exciting, yet unpredictable time. Just about anything is possible.


Alexander, J. (2006). The Challenge of Complexity. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 85-94). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Heifetz, R. A. (2006) Anchoring Leadership in the Wake of Adaptive Progress. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 73-84). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hesselbein, Frances and Marshall Goldsmith (2006). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies and Practices for the New Era. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.

Week 4 (Feb 15-21) - Leadership-Vision & Values

K-P:Parts 2-3

H-G:Chap 12-19;27

How are values integral to leadership and how is vision important?


Week 3 (Feb 8-14) - Organization Theory

H:Part II

What should every student of organizations understand about organization theory?

Organization Theory

What should every student of organizations understand about organization theory?


  • re: Derek C., good way of explaining the productivity increase in WikiEd.
  • action inquiry book, that I bought

Language Games

  • people fail, increasing readiness'....
  • Tipping point (Gladwell(
  • Sassure and Wittgenstein's language games...
    • because people do move with the way the wind blows....

and if it is successful, they will find a way to jump on board, even if they don't understand it....

  • so demonstration of a pilot.

Technology & Social Systems, African Village & Tavistock

gain this highlights the importance of integrating, balancing, aligning all parts of org as system to reach intended outcomes (and behaviors). The technology can be used in so many ways. Good examples.

The village one also brings out the realtionship between technology and social systems. This is the whole arena of socio-technical systems brought forward originally by researcher from Tavistock in England in the 50's & 60's.

Social Constructs, KT

Original post
  • see 603 Week 3 notes
  • One of my previous supervisors told me an interesting story, that when do-gooder North American types went to an African village, and persuaded the local townsfolk to locate their water well (a new technology) right in town – so that the women didn’t have to walk 3 miles each way – it upset social harmony. Why? Because it was not just about getting water ~ the daily ritual was about women getting together – away from their husbands, so they could share a relaxing, albeit essential and caring experience for themselves and their families. Introduce a new technology, and there are all types of externalities that one could predict, and never know either.
Response from Susan

Hi Randy – thanks for your response and sharing the African village story – a great example of social harmony. I can also understand the point about technology being socially constructed.

A construct one quickly learns in working in/for a union – or perhaps any association - is this: It is all about democracy. On the surface, one might react with, “Fantastic!” However, the reality is that in a democratically-bound organization, the ability to deal with complex unknowns is challenging. The organization is drawn to protocols and established ways of practice like strange attractors. As a catalyst for change, I continually hover (and play!) in the edge of chaos and it is edgey to say the least. You can likely understand why I’ve selected fractals as my KT concept? I see KT as a venue for considering organizational shift, perhaps one fractal at a time. A possibility for new social harmony, or for introducing a KT-like core technology!

Week 2 (Feb 1-7) - Leadership & Organization

K-P:Part I

H-G:Chap 1; 23; 24

M:Chap 1-3

H:Part I

1. Using K-P as the base model, how do the other leadership readings add to, differ or reinforce what leadership is or needs to be?

2. Why is leadership important for creating and sustaining organizations? What do you pick up from Hatch and Morgan about organizations that support your conclusions?

Culture & Environment: Who is a Leader?

I especially enjoyed the Hatch book.

Maybe it's because the other books seem very populist to me - as in American pop culture, what sells. Maybe I'm looking for a book that's called: The Leader of the Past...., or in the Past.... I know there are tons of examples.... Mother Theresa, Moses, Golda Meir...

Leadership has so much to do with context, culture and history too. One organization's leader is another organization's has-been. Could Moses lead Enron out of the desert and into the promised land? As I reflect on this, there are parallels between the moral corruption of the Israelites and Enronites....- maybe the stuff of a Masters project (alas, I only have one to do! <smile>

  • environmental context
  • universal leadership qualities

Leadership Alignment & You: Examining Conscious and Unconscious Behaviours

Randy: "one organization’s leader is another’s has-been"

(coaching point) "Executive leadership, culture and your direct boss in an organization combined can really impact your effecitveness as a leader in an organization."

Everytime the economy takes a beating or great shock, it forces folks to re-evaluate their decisions and life choices....and some, take the painful step of examining the situations that they get themselves into, consciously or unconsciously.

I mean who would consciously put themselves in harm's way? Yet, that is precisely what people do, when they work in a toxic environment, and set themselves up for failure, by not doing the important kinds of due diligence that you allude to.

Henry Fayol

focused on 'esprit de corps'

  • Multiactive example

Mary Parker Follett

  • "She argued that 'by directly interacting with one another to achieve their common goals, the members of a group fulfilled themselves through the process of the group's development." pp. 34-35 Hatch text.
    • WikiEducator example

Self-Organization & Complexity Theory

Person: I agree with your statement that, "human life which comprises organizational life has been uncertain, contradictory and paradoxical from the beginning of recorded memory, and before that. " Because organizations at that time were new...there was much to be understood and learned. I am assuming that humans kept it simple and uncomplicated because they didn't know any better. It is like a child who plays in a very simple and uncomplicated way. It is only when apparent older and wiser adults enter their lives and interfere that complications and complexities begin.

WR: Agreed as well. Your comments remind me of an article I’ve got on my desk to read shortly – “Teaching Mindfulness to Children (2008). Actually, we’re ALL children, especially when we don’t get our way!

I think by exploring and being open to these dynamics between people is the source of much wisdom and understanding. Maybe we can develop this further, in other weeks of the course.

Person: I have been told that I can have a tendency to complicate things. I strive to keep things simple...and the more experience I gain in the corporate world...I truly beleive that most humans only have the capacity to keep things simple day in and day out. With economic times the way they are today, do you think humans and organizations may come to terms with the fact that we have overcomplicated ourselves and our environment? How could this affect organizations?

WR: You’re not alone – ever since some idiot came up with the idea of a fig leaf, we’ve got people under cover, and at least two industries: fashion (clothing) and psychiatry! There are many more, I’m sure!

I remember a great quote: To err is human, to completely %#$# things up, requires a computer! Ahh, but who programs these things ~… Human beings...! Being complicated and simple are one and the same. Who’s deciding what’s simple and not so simple? From who’s perspective, and who’s agenda? Ahh, a simple conversation becomes complicated… For organizations, it depends of course. Much has been talked about CK Pralahad’s book describing the development of core competencies. Yet, when an organization gets really good at its core competencies, it focuses on growing its markets and developing efficiencies for greater production and greater returns – because organizations like to grow, right? Then it get sticky – as the org’s start doing things that aren’t exactly focused on their original core competence, but instead a new one. So, McDonald’s isn’t really in the food business, it’s really in the land ownership and management business….because the property underneath the restaurants are worth a helluva lot more, than the restaurant business.

Week I - Intro Posts

3. Write a short observation (page or less), drawing on your own experience of exercising leadership and/or of being led by others, on what you think might make a good leader: Illustrate this with examples which have inspired you, or which you think you have learned from – including mistakes you think you or others have made. The emphasis is on what you have encountered, rather than what you are reading. This is a starting point, so be as speculative or puzzled as you like.

4. Write a short observation (page or less), drawing on your own experience and observations of what makes for an “effective” organization? a “great” organization? There is no “right” answer to this question. This is an opportunity for you to reflect on what you believe from your own experience.

2. Post an introductory paragraph to introduce yourself to the course group: let us know who you are, what your interests, passions and hopes are, how you spend your time, what you bring to this course, and what you are hoping to get from it. DONE!

My name is Randy Fisher, and I am in the final semester of an epic transformational journey and learning experience. Professionally, I am known as “WikiRandy”, due to my work with wikis, social networks and community-building.

I have been very active supporting open education projects (incorporating an OD approach) with the Commonwealth of Learning, including WikiEducator, Community Media and Governance. (WikiEducator is for educators, as Wikipedia is for information; We are affiliated with Wikipedia. Also, I am an elected member of WikiEducator's Community Council.)

Currently, I am focused on building several communities of practice (with a complex, self-organizing flavor) relating to HIV AIDS Treatment Literacy, and Really Good Practices for Community Media/Radio in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Much of my time is spent on these activities.

I bring a great deal of passion to my work, and luckily, my Fielding online learning experiences have helped to make my work better, and in turn, my online work activities have helped me to realize the benefits and “energetics” (Heorhiadi, Conberre, 2008) underlying a rich online learning experience.

I bring to the course a sense of humour, irreverence, awareness of theory, as well as practical application of these theories within professional practice in general, and specifically, online educational and wiki environments. Over the course of the Fielding courses (!), I have honed my online facilitation skills considerably.

In this course, I hope to gain a more solid grounding in organizational theory, and reflect on how I can apply various theorems to my practical work activities. One very interesting exercise I’ve had, was in the development of my Master’s Project, where I am looking at Mclelland’s Theory of Motivation (Mclelland, 1976), and how it applies to the motivation of educators using collaborative wiki spaces. It was fun to see where the theory applies, and where it does not. I am hoping to repeat a similar exercise when examining other theories too.


Alexander, J. (2006). The Challenge of Complexity. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 85-94). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Goleman, Daniel, (1998a), Leadership that Gets Results, Harvard Business Review, March- April

Griffin, Douglas and Ralph Stacey, Eds. (2005) Complexity and the experience of leading organizations. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 0415366933 (soft cover) Library call No: HD57.7 .C65

Kanter, R. M. (2006). How Cosmopolitan Leaders Inspire Confidence: A Profile of the Future. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 61-70). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Heifetz, R. A. (2006) Anchoring Leadership in the Wake of Adaptive Progress. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 73-84). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hooker, Karen E. and Iris E. Fodor (2008). Teaching Mindfulness to Children, Gestalt Review 12(1); 75-91, 2008

Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2007).The leadership challenge, 4th edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Masaoka, J. (2006). Ten Things I Learned About Leadership from Woman Executive Directors of Color. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 55-60). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Morgan, Gareth. Images of Organization. London: Sage Publications, 2006.

Mroz, J.E., (2006). Leadership Over Fear. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 107-112). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pierce, P. (2006). Leading in a Constantly Changing World. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 113-120). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pralahad, C.K. and Gary Hamel (1994). Competing for the Future. Harvard Business School Press.

Senge, P. (2006) Systems Citizenship: the Leadership Mandate for This Millennium. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 31-46). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Shinseki, General E. K. (2006) Leaders of the Future: Growing One-Eyed Kings. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 121-127). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Thomas Jr., R. R (2006) Diversity Management: An Essential Craft for Future leaders. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 47-54). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tierney, T.J. (2006). Understanding the Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit. In F. Hesselbein & M. Goldsmith (eds.). The Leader of the Future 2: Visions, Strategies, and Practices For The New Era (pp. 95-105). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wildflower, Leni, Sample Ideas (Activities And Practices) For Improving Emotional Intelligence, 2004