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Randy Fisher's Masters Project II

MA, Organization Management and Development, Fielding Graduate University, California (April 2009)

Randy Fisher (aka Wikirandy)

Primal Needs Gone Digital: Educators' Motivations in Collaborative Wiki Spaces

Randy Fisher (aka Wikirandy

wikirandy AT yahoo DOT com

Masters Project Paper

Masters Program in Organizational Management and Development
Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California
April 2009

Copyright Statement:

2009 Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) Randy Fisher

Copies available from the author upon request

wikirandy AT yahoo DOT com

This document was originally created and published on WikiEducator and Open Office V2.4 using Ubuntu Hardy Heron


A derivative work was created on a Dell PC with Microsoft Word 2003

Standard Citation

Fisher, Randy S. (2009). Primal Needs Gone Digital: Educators' Motivations in Collaborative Wiki Spaces. Masters Project Paper, Fielding Graduate University, Master’s Program in Organizational Management and Development, Santa Barbara, California. Published in Public Domain wiki

Core hypothesis

Educators from learning organizations participate in the WikiEducator community due to their Need for (1) Power (n-Pow); (2) Achievement (n-Ach); and/ or (3) Affiliation (n-Aff), as defined by David McLelland's Theory of Needs Motivation.


Pioneering educator-authors are self-organizing and contributing their energies and talents and approaches to developing Open Education Resource (OERs) projects and the global, open source WikiEducator Community. Otago Polytechnic, an established, forward-thinking education institution in Dunedin, NZ has embraced WikiEducator as a collaborative project development platform. Motivated by self-interest and their need for power, achievement and and/or affiliation.


motivation, *wiki, collaboration, cooperation, education, organizational change, *open source, * self-organization, complexity, community, linux, FOSS, fear, resistance, needs, technology, technological change

Key references

Babbie, E. (1998). The practice of social research. Eighth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Hofstede (1984, 1991) Cultures and Organizations. McGraw Hill: New York, as cited in Global Organization Development, in Rothwell, William J. and Roland Sullivan (eds). (2005). Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Consultants, 2nd Edition, John Wiley and Sons Inc. (published by Pfeiffer)

Lamb, B. (2004). "Wide Open Spaces: Wiki, Ready or Not", in EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 36-48. Retrieved December 6, 2008 from

McLelland, David C. (1961). The Achieving Society. New York. The Free Press.

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

Moore, Geoffrey A. (1991). Crossing the chasm : marketing and selling technology products to mainstream customers. N.Y.: Harper Business.

Raymond, Eric S. (2000). The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Version 3.0 Thyrsus Enterprises [1]

Webb, Eugene J. [et al.] (2000). Unobtrusive measures. Rev. Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. (Originally published 1966, as “Unobtrusive measures; Nonreactive research in the social sciences. Chicago, Rand McNally).

WikiEducator Statistics Reports (Tables & Charts). (2008). Retrieved December 5, 2008, from

WikiEducator Strategy and Timeline: Quick Facts and Highlights. (2008). Retrieved December 2, 2008, from

(Comment.gif: Insert TOC) (Comment.gif: Don't forget headers and footers)

Executive Summary

Pioneering educator-authors are self-organizing and contributing their energies and talents and approaches to developing Open Education Resource (OERs) projects and the global, open source WikiEducator Community. Otago Polytechnic, an established, forward-thinking education institution in Dunedin, NZ has embraced WikiEducator as a collaborative project development platform. In this thought experiment, Otago's educational designers and authors are increasing their productivity and performance, through motivated self-interest and a need for power, achievement and and/or affiliation.

A Bold Vision for Sustainable Digital Futures

WikiEducator (WE) is a global education project focused on the development of a free and open education curriculum by 2015, in line with the UN's Millennium Development Goals. This free content is being developed for use in schools, polytechnics, universities, vocational education institutions and informal education settings and removes barriers to active and meaningful international collaboration among educators (formal and informal), regardless of educational level, language, culture, technology, and geography. It is an e-Learning project of the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, an intergovernmental organizations established in 1987. (COL was established to tackle the daunting challenges of development through Open and Distance Learning "ODL").

As both project and community, WE understands that Western business and education models can neither accommodate nor scale cost-effectively to meet global demands for affordable and universal education.

"There is something fundamentally wrong with our world considering that the majority of our children will not be going to school. Consider, for example, that in Sub-Saharan Africa, 76% of the children in the age group for the last three years of high school will not have the privilege of attending school. We do not have enough money to train the teachers or build the classrooms needed to achieve universal secondary education." (Wayne Mackintosh, 2007)

On February 14, 2006, WE was born, under the watchful eye of by charismatic founder, strategic catalyst and project leader Wayne Mackintosh, Ph.D., an Education Specialist for e-Learning and ICT Policy at the Commonwealth of Learning, and former project director for the eXe e-Learning XHTML Editor project in New Zealand. On its front page, it boldly heralded a new era in the collaborative development of open education resources in the context of a sustainable community of support. WikiEducator is an evolving community intended for the collaborative:

  • planning of education projects linked with the development of free content;
  • development of free content on WikiEducator for e-learning;
  • building of capacity and sustainable communities of support for educators;
  • work on building open education resources (OERs) on how to create OERs;
  • networking on funding proposals developed as free content.

By December 2007, WE had developed a 3-year strategic plan with defined inputs, outputs and outcomes (see Figure 1); 2,165 registered users (up from 1 in February 2006); and was hailed as the ‘Best Educational Wiki’ by Stephen Downes, an e-learning opinion leader. (Downes, 2007) WE also won a $100K training grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the largest wiki skills training initiative in the world. Free wiki skills training (with or without online facilitator support) was available for educator-author (regardless of institutional affiliation) who wished to learn basic or advanced wiki skills, through the innovative Learning4Content initiative until June 2009. (Learning4Content is based on the premise that WE will provide free wiki skills training in return for an educator-author's contribution of one OER lesson or learning activity containing free content, by each person receiving the training.

Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes

Figure 1: WikiEducator's Logic Model

Free / Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS / FLOSS)

WE uses free and open source software to 'bridge-the-digital divide' (a WE slogan). The powerful Mediawiki software allows multiple authors from any location around the globe to collaborate on developing educational content through editing and publishing features (i.e., templates, scripts) that are enabled by knowledge of, and competency with, the underlying 'wiki syntax' or language ~ (similar to the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) for websites). Mediawiki was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation, and powers Wikipedia, the world's largest encyclopedia, and other wikis around the globe.) Mediawiki software is an open and viable network of connections, relationships and content. Unlike proprietary software providers such as Microsoft and Apple, the Mediawiki programming code is ‘open’ and can be hacked and tinkered with, to improve its functioning, robustness and scalability.

“The free knowledge community now has the tools and processes to collaborate on a global scale in developing educational materials as a social good.” (Mackintosh, 2007).

Indeed, much of WE's success is rooted in the hacker-programmer ethos and adaptive culture described in Eric Raymond’s seminal work --The Cathedral and the Bazaar -- about the subversive qualities of developing (free and open source) Linux software.

“Linux overturned much of what I thought I knew (about software development). Linus Torvald’s style of development — release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity — came as a surprise. No quiet, reverent cathedral-building here — rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites), who’d take submissions from anyone) out of which a coherent and stable system could seeming emerge only by a succession of miracles.” (Raymond, 2000)

Right-to-Copy vs. Copyright

WE has taken a firm stance on the right-to-copy, and history will judge its success or failure. Being a contributor to WE is truly a values statement: participating educator-authors agree to work within the boundaries of open copyright licensing, whereby all works on WE are licensed as Creative Commons-By-Attribution or Creative-Commons-By-Attribution-Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA). The CC-BY-SA copyright statement ensures that any authored content on WikiEducator may be used with complete freedom: for either noncommercial or commercial purposes.

There is considerable debate between forces wanting stronger copyrights and others wanting unfettered access to open and free knowledge has been a galvanizing force for the Free Culture Movement, which believes that access to open and free knowledge is a basic human right -- ranging from software to all cultural and creative works. (Lessig, 2004). Within WE, there is an ongoing dialogue about restrictive copyright provisions for educational content; content that cannot be used, modified or updated to reflect local teaching and cultural contexts without 'expressed written permission', payment or both. For example, teachers in small villages in Ghana, are unable to (cost-effectively) localize Basic English 101 materials or Grade 8 math texts, because of various legalities, prohibitions and copyright restrictions as to how, and on what information devices the content can be used (i.e., books, CDs, DVDs, iPods, etc.).

Project-Focused Wiki

A key success factor for WE, is the focus on projects of interest to formal or informal educators. A WE project consists of either a single wiki page or a series of hyperlinked pages. Educator-authors create wiki pages by registering as a New User (often referred to as "Newbie"} on WE. Then, they can 'edit' any existing page on the wiki and save the changes; or create a new page and save the changes, by simply entering text or adding their own content (i.e., syllabi, course outlines, learning activities, audio, video, images, hyperlinks) in a wiki editing box, and clicking 'save'.

Kiwi Cluster, #8 Wire & Adaptive Learning Culture

The first self-organizing community cluster within WikiEducator was comprised of educators and hacker-programmers from Mackintosh's former stomping grounds in New Zealand. (WikiEducator emerged as a next-generation project, from the e-learning XHTML editing (eXe) project he founded in New Zealand.) The Kiwi Cluster benefited from a pioneering spirit, similar to systems thinker Ibn Khaldun’s asibaya (Hudson, 2000). Kiwis are proud of their ability to solve daunting problems, and their contribution to education/e-learning (i.e., the Moodle Learning Management System was developed in NZ). Also of significant pride is their farming history, and ingenious use of #8 Wire, which can be configured and adapted for a variety of applications.

A nimble, close-knit group, the Kiwi Cluster developed significant workarounds with the less-than-perfect Mediawiki software. The #8 Wire cultural legacy also plays a prominent role by bolstering the Cluster's identity (i.e., shared values, history, meaning and sense of pride), and in providing a backdrop for Otago Polytechnic’s learning designers in developing a practical business case for the institution to adopt CC-BY copyright licensing, and develop and publish OERs on WikiEducator. (Blackall, 2007).

Other Success Factors

WE’s success factors also include:

  • WikiEducator as a smaller, sustainable ecosystem operating within a larger sustainable ecosystem (which includes Wikipedia), with the potential to spin off new ecosystems
  • An inclusive and self-motivated user-focused community aligned to project goals interested in collaborating with like-minded users and organizations
  • Transparent community decision-making and communications (i.e., leading to trust)
  • No value judgments regarding content (i.e., one user has a page about dolphin hunting, another user has developed content on transgender issues)

A Complex, Self-Organizing Ecosystem

WE has enjoyed considerable success in just 2 years: 7,500 unique visitors per day, 8,200+ users and a rapidly-growing user community; a ranking in the world's top 115,000 websites (Alexa, March 2009); increasing adoption and use by educators developing free and open content; the support of the Commonwealth of Learning; server hosting support from Athabasca University (2Q 2009); strategic links with UNESCO; international legitimacy; project funding from a major US charitable foundation (focusing on OERs); a seat on the advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation; a robust platform for testing collaborative and open technologies; and frequent accolades for innovation and task achievement. It has broken new ground in facilitating a mass collaborative self-organizing system for universal access to education, and scalable, modifiable and reusable digital knowledge assets aligned to the values of the Free Culture Movement. It has leveraged its organic successes, and the Linux-hacker culture lessons of the Bazaar (Raymond, 2000), and navigated skillfully with other open ecosystems with different organizational cultures, structures, processes, priorities, policies and requirements.

WE’s success is more complex than it appears, and there is no single factor responsible for its success, nor the development of its particle swarm culture behaviours. It is a complex adaptive ecoysystem comprised of visible and hidden interdependent factors that dynamically respond to and leverage each other to facilitate (and even accelerate) free and open collaboration. As a self-organizing project and community (of practice), WE is tightly focused on attracting new users and retaining existing users, whether individuals, NGOs or educational institutions. WE's great promise is turning these users into "Active Users": defined as formal or informal educators, or individuals who support the aims and objectives of WikiEducator and free software, cultural and creative works).

Educator-authors decide on the content they want to develop on WE, in line with their interest and priorities as: (1) individuals; (2) a dyad, small cluster or larger group of authors from one or more educational institution(s) / organization(s); and/or (3) a cross-disciplinary group of authors in one or multiple locations, who have self-organized individually or have been appointed to work together on a project, such as the Sustainability course at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand. Other possibilities abound, and content may be developed in line with pre-existing course requirements, special collaborations, pilot projects and/or emerging needs.

When observing WE's self-organizing behaviour, there is a real sense of the complex and unpredictable; visible and hidden energies; the competing forces and interdependent layers and patterns -- all contributing to strong wiki culture with an innate capacity to develop capacity and facilitate participatory engagement.

Simple Rules & Roles

In open source communities, reputation and skills mastery comes from experience, synchronous and asynchronous mentoring and support. Mastery comes to those who try, observe and reflect -- and help the community through their individual, often volunteer efforts.

In the open wiki, anyone can be a leader, and different people bring different and valuable knowledge, skills and abilities. In organizations, there are significantly greater limits on who can lead (the focus being more on ‘leadership behaviours). In either case, it is important to ensure a supportive and accepting environment where people are valued for their talents and contributions. Mackintosh’s role as a charismatic visionary to layperson and hacker-programmer alike (Raymond, 2000) and strategic catalyst has been critical in attracting key people and resources, and guiding WikiEducator in alignment with its strategy, framework and community values.

Many organizations have designed a plethora of rules, policies and procedures which restrict innovation, creativity and transparency. Organizations and project teams can look closely at the WE model of one explicit rule (a user registration system) and several implicit ones (i.e., focus on community values) and its key success factors — and find appropriate levels of customization and adaptation for an enterprise’s environment, objectives, people and cultural identity. Exploring Wikinomics, YouTube and Facebook and Linux for their successful practices, also offers lessons for organizational success and niche market dominance in a world operating by new rules, accelerating change and a great deal of complexity and unpredictability.

Interconnected Relationships, Supportive Linkages

As living examples of two open, self-organizing ecosystems within a larger open self-organizing ecosystem, there is a close and supportive, yet arms-length relationship between WE and the WikiMedia Foundation, as WE project founder, Dr. Wayne Mackintosh sits on the International Advisory Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Erik Moeller, the co-author of the Free Cultural Works Definition with Benjamin Mako Hill, is the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and an an appointed member of WE's first formal governing Community Council. (Note: This paper's author is an elected member of WE's Community Council.) Previous to the WE Community Council, Moeller was an appointed member of WE's Interim International Advisory Board. (In the early days of WE's technical infrastructure, Moeller set up and maintained WE's server in a price-competitive data center in Germany, and to this day, WE account registration emails arrive via his email address (not "WikiAdmin"). When WE completes its Phase 2 Server Hosting migration in collaboration with Athabasca University, Canada (likely in 2Q 2009), Moeller's name will be removed from the WE account registration process.)

Ecosystem Sustainability & Interoperability

The interconnections and supportive relationships are important factors in strengthening ecosystem sustainability, and individual open education projects such as WE. In March 2009, Wayne Mackintosh requested WE Community Members to help develop a case study for WE's Learning4Content initiative, for inclusion in an open education course for another project:

"The Mozilla foundation ( , CC Learn ( ) and the P2PU ( are developing an exciting course about about open content licensing, open web technologies and open teaching methods (

They have asked us to develop a case study on our Learning4Content initiative which they will use in the course as an example --- I've started a draft over here:

In the spirit of collaboration in Open Education movement -- I'm keen to help contribute to the success of their course. Like all of us -- I wish we had more time .... Please help me refine and improve this draft before "handing over" to the folk at Mozilla/CC-Learn/and P2PU." (Mackintosh, 2009)

The overarching goal facing the open education ecosystem, is sustainability. However, if individual projects cannot work together or re-use content (i.e., interoperability), the success of the OER movement will be seriously compromised. It's a clarion call to future collaborative action.

"We need to improve interoperability between OER projects to facilitate remixing on a planetary scale. We've started some technical discussions with Connexions to figure out interoperability between Connexions and Mediawiki installations. Jim Tittsler has started playing with a script to that converted into on WikiEducator. As Jim say's: "It's fragile. It doesn't do tables, italics, bold, or math markup. Or probably lots of other things. But it is a start." I'm pursuing funding options to get this code developed. You'll be pleased to know that WE develop all funding proposals as free content openly and transparently on the wiki. I'm going to be working on a funding proposal to get some of this functionality funded in the first 2 weeks in April -- watch this space :-).

As you know -- we have a strong history of collaboration with Mediawiki developers. Erik (Moeller) is a member of our Community Council and we benefit tremendously from the experiences of (Wikimedia Foundation) WMF in hosting large wiki projects." (Mackintosh, 2009)

International Center for Open Education / OER Foundation

  • up to 1Q 2009, sustainability in WikiEd, has been focused on individuals, but that will have to change...WikiEd's sustainability will come from educational institutions joining up a new OER Foundation / International Center for Open Education....any profits will be reinvested in the development of content and appropriate supporting technical infrastructure (i.e., software upgrades)
  • outgrown the Commonwealth of Learning incubator, and no can serve all of the countries in the world, not just th 52 Commonwealth countries.

Complexity and Emergence

Once the project can work together, then complex forms can develop and emerge.

(Comment.gif: Focus on theory)

Of the several key concepts of complexity theory, emergence serves as one that is both an outcome of complex systems and an operating principle of them. Emergence appears from complex systems as well as takes part as enabling emergent properties. It can be viewed as one of the “unseen influences [that] affect behavior” (Wheatley p. 54) In complexity theory, when complex adaptive systems approach “the edge of chaos,” conditions are created that allow a state of change or disequilibrium. A new state is triggered and emerges. The system undergoes transformation or metamorphosis as the outcome. The concept of emergence is this outcome, a new condition of a system that had undergone a change.

Many things can be at play to bring about emergence. The conditions for emergence can be likened to a magnetic field and “emergence as the aligned pattern of iron filings when placed in that field”. (Pascale, Millemann, and Gioja, 2000, p.113) Some systems will tend to self-organize when they approach disequilibrium. “The system becomes capable of redesigning itself into a more sophisticated form that is better able to cope with its problems and challenges.” (Pascale, Millemann, & Gioja 2000, p.125)

  • Openness as an Attractor - allowing people and resources to come in....

John Seely Brown's metaphorical ‘knowledge iceberg’, where 10 per cent of knowledge is explicit and visible, and 90 per cent is tacit and invisible is illustrative of complexity. (Brown, 2002)

Skype Chat, March 11: Sundar (KRUU FM) : funny - jimmy just called me. i'm on the phone with him right now. so something in the universe is responding :)Sent at 8:56 AM on Wednesday (Randy): it probably always's just that people weren't 'wired to hear it

Also: Shared Visions piece (on my kitchen table)

Clearly, there are non-visible elements and interacting agents (within WikiEducator or anything else), Complex patterns do exist, whether they are visible or not.

Self-Organizing Behaviour

Double Loop Learning

  • processes as essential to informing the individual and clusters of individuals in their own processing, interpretation and action. In, these self-organizing ecosystems, there's a more complex learning that happens and informs future actions. Call it Multiple Loop Learning or Complex Loop Learning I dunno, but 'actors' in these settings get feedback from what they do, the environment and this feedback is in turn amplified by ALL of what's happening both in the environment, and within themselves.

Needs-Based Motivation Supports Wiki Use, Growth

Educators' Needs

  • Educators' motivation to collaborate in the first place - wiki or not?
    • Professional Development: learn about new technology, community of support (practice), time, boredom, participatory / peer learning, values (see Newbie survey)
  • Educators motivation to collaborate on the wiki
  • What makes humans collaborate, and online

The phenomenal success of Wikipedia has turned the tables on traditional economic and business models which suggest that most people will only do serious and useful work when they are paid at the highest market rate. In both Wikipedia and WikiEducator, there are many examples where highly-competent educator-authors have contributed their time, talent and resources for seemingly less-than market rates of compensation ~ financial or otherwise. Indeed, a vast majority of WE educator-authors receive financial compensation from educational institutions as a condition of their employment/service.

Increasingly, a small, growing cluster of educator-authors perceive WE as a place to jump-start their own projects and collaborations, for activities required in their job descriptions. Regardless of where the work takes place (i.e., on- or or off-wiki), it does not mitigate an educator-author's professional responsibility to to seriously develop, update and revise useful educational materials (i.e., course outlines, syllabus, handouts, media, learning activities, formative reviews) to reflect changing societal conditions, cultural influences; local contexts and teaching innovations.

On an individual, self-managing basis, these educator-authors are choosing to do something: to develop OERs on WE to satisfy their own needs for power, achievement and/or affiliation. (McLelland, 1976) Part of what makes WE so compelling to educator-authors is how they are able to control their own destiny: with a freedom to experiment and learn, succeed and fail, and share the experience openly in a way that (1) serves their own private and professional interests; and (2) that their employers may or may not support. Experimentation, observation and reflection in a supportive environment, are seeding individual innovation, creativity and connection.

Accelerated Cycle of Collaboration

There is a palpable energy as educator-authors collectively work online, on projects of shared interest. One can 'feel' the flow of dynamic intellectual and physical energy, through an accelerated cycle of collaboration:

Person A works on Person B's wiki page; a WikiAdmin email is automatically sent to Person B, notifying him/her of the change; Person B then compares the revision history of the specific page; then, deciding what to add or modify next. The process repeats itself with each subsequent change.

As the collaboration energy increases, so does individual interest, performance and productivity: leading to an experience of a new experience. The wiki model of peer collaboration, takes less time (than conventional course development and revision) and is less onerous, drudgery fading away. This is evocative of 'energetics', a discipline that combines quantum physics, chaos theory and ancient traditions, to identify hidden, below-the-surface forces within organizational interactions. Subtle energy impulses called 'thoughtforms' are sent to others, which unconsciously creates healthy or unhealthy energy links between people, and within groups and organizations. (Heorhiadi & Conbere, 2008). When educator-authors collaborate on the wiki, they can 'sense' the energy' of their peers working with them (supplemented by email, instant messaging and voice-over-IP communications), creating healthy, positive energy links, and helping them to achieve a specific task or objective. Above-the-surface, it can appear as positive interdependence and promotive interaction, where individuals encourage and facilitate each others' efforts to accomplish the groups goals. (Johnson & Johnson, 2006)

Institutional Needs

As educational institutions embrace WE as their organizational OER development platform (i.e., on a CC- BY or CC-BY-SA basis), they do so with a motivational need expressed by power, achievement or affiliation, but perhaps not as McLelland's defines. When the established hierarchical, academic and reasonably predictable organizational culture meets the complex, unpredictable and self-organizing WE operating culture, there's bound to be resistance to change and a clash of cultures.

  • challenge to power relations; established culture...

Curricula Development

(Comment.gif: Some of this is repetitive - has to be more tightly focused - maybe even focus on Educational Culture, Hierarchy)

WE offers a collaborative, open-source production environment and complex, self-organizing ecosystem to test-drive new technologies and edu-cultural approaches intimately connected to a global peer learning community. Within this education-project development platform, there is a noticeable lack of hierarchy, particularly as compared with traditional academic / learning organizations. Simple rules govern individual behaviour in the wiki space whereby anyone can join and participate according to their level of motivation and skill development.

Like a radiating circle which pulses in and out unpredictably, the 'flat' wiki structure enables the creation of wiki pages and projects. WE as both Community and Project Development Platform, software capability, and strategic leadership provide a supportive environment for educator-authors to learn wiki skills (whether formally or informally), and develop, contribute and collaborate on OER projects within, and external to the WE community. (Other OER projects exist in the ecosystem.) Individual barriers to entry include: lack of confidence in their own abilities to learn wiki skills and navigate the wiki; erroneous assumptions, misperceptions and limited beliefs; and cultural resistance within their own peer groups and organizations).

WE operates as hybrid economic model, whereby educator-authors and specialized experts receive both tangible and intangible compensation for their membership input, participation and contribution. As educator-authors become more involved in WE, they can participate in a process which enriches their professional journey: by creating peer learning opportunities for greater access to technological innovation; enhancing their job/project productivity through collaboration and silo-bridging, and increasing their performance and productivity, regardless of whether their motivation is driven by a need for power, achievement or affiliation.

Course Development

Course development (including significant course revision) varies significantly among institutions: whether it is a credit or continuing education course; a bachelor’s level or graduate level course; the extent to which it incorporates pedagogy, media and participatory learning approaches; the knowledge and subject matter expertise of the course writer; the quality and standard of the educational institution.

As Derek Chirnside of the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, NZ. Puts it: “How long is a piece of string?”


The linear ADDIE Model of course development;

    • Needs Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation
  • Full course development - Master’s level course of 120 credit hours (12 weeks).
  • A good set of learner outcomes
  • Depends on the preparedness of the lecturer, and whether s/he has access to  educational materials and/or resources

Additional Requirements:

  • Educational design, course structure, pedagogy
  • Technical support – creating web pages, cropping images, etc.
  • Typing
  • Writing / editing / proofing
  • In general, 10-20% of courses are revised annually; some institutions will do up to 60% (Source: Derek Chirnside, University of Canterbury, NZ)
  • 5% of courses get completely redeveloped due to a change in curriculum, etc.

Course Development - Traditional Production Model

Fixed Costs

  • Buildings, computers, furnishings and other amortized costs
  • Administrative and support staff costs.
  • Computing equipment, software, security and Internet costs
  • Debt-servicing

Variable Costs (Labour)

Model 1 - Consultant

  • Average cost of course development - $25K, time 2-3 months
  • Average cost of course revision for - $10K, time  1 month

Model 2 – College/University Employee

Not including Benefits

Annual Salary (not including Benefits)
Hourly Salary (1760 hours per year)
Lecturer/Subject Matter Expert
Educational Designer
Writer/Editor, Proofreader
Casual Staff


Bundled Time for One (1) Course Development

(for College/University Employee)

No. of Hours
Times (X)
Hourly Salary (not including benefits
Lecturer/Subject Matter Expert
Educational Designer
Writer/Editor, Proofreader
Casual Staff

Course Development: Wiki Production Model

Savings via Collaborative Peer Production

  • Estimated 30 per cent increase in performance. Based in interviews with folks who have used WikiEd as a peer production platform, the 30% increase in performance was discussed, and the original time estimates. Thus, 30% of time was deducted from the original time amounts Randy Fisher 18:49, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Original No. of Hours
No. of Hours
Times (X)
Hourly Salary (not including benefits
(less 30%)
Lecturer/Subject Matter Expert
Educational Designer
Writer/Editor, Proofreader
Casual Staff

Difference Between Traditional Model vs. Collaborative Model

Traditional Model
Peer (Wiki) Model

Total # of Lecturers @ Institution


Total # of Courses @ Institution

1200-1600 courses (depending on definition of course)

  • Assuming, conservatively 10% of courses need significant course development / revision per year: 1200 /1.10 = 120
  • Number of courses needing development /revision X traditional course production= 120 x $5,411.93 = $649,431.82
  • Assuming 10% of total staff of 700 pursue (70 employees) wiki skills training at $50 per employee = 70 X $50=$3,500
    • Notes:
  1. Actual time-to-train staff not factored in for assignment. A 5-day course = 45 min. per day. Some people do it on personal time, in gaps between work activities.
  1. There is actually no cost for training outlay, as it is covered in the Hewlett grant. However, an individual institution may wish to have specialized onsite training for its people, and there is a cost to that.
  2. Another element, is the use of a community facilitator, to design/build and facilitate the community of practice around the project.

Savings from wiki course production

  • Number of courses needing development /revision X peer (wiki) production= 120 x $3,788.35 = $454,602.27

Net Savings per year (10% of courses, conservative estimate)

  • $649,431.82-$454,602.27 = $194,829.55 annually - training costs ($10,500) = $184,329.55


  • 28 per cent, per annum.


  • 3.39

In developing these Project Numbers, I interviewed several educators who have used the wiki, with the questions(s):

  • Have you used the wiki for content development?
  • To what extent, in terms of percentages, has using the wiki increased your productivity?

All of the people I spoke to, said that their productivity increase was >30%. Derek Chirnside, at the University of Canterbury in NZ, said:

  • once specific techniques - such as bucketing (i.e., placing content in specific buckets that correspond to other course development activities) are mastered, the number could much higher, up to 50%.
  • higher gains could be realized if a development team with a critical mass of five (5) people were involved in a wiki production project.
  • this content repurposed and reused for:

Compelling Motivational Needs

Needs-Based Motivation Theory

David McLelland's elegant theory of human motivation provides a useful foundation for explaining why educator-authors are motivated to provide their time, talent and resources on an complex working environment. He applied his theory to many situations, including managerial motivation and effectiveness in large, complex bureaucracies. (McLelland, 1976) While: (1) WikiEducator is a complex, open-source, flat collaborative software platform; and (2) is a sub-domain of WikiEducator aligned to, and under the corporate umbrella of NZ-based educational institution, there are considerable opportunities for application and comparison.

McLelland focused on three needs underlying human motivation: (1) Need for Power: (2) Need for Achievement; and (3) Need for Power. In an interesting web-world twist, another David McLelland summarized these needs (McLelland, 2002)

  1. Need for Power (n-Pow) - the desire to control others, to influence their behavior, or to be responsible for others.
  2. Need for Achievement (n-Ach) - the desire to do something better or more efficiently to solve problems, or to master complex tasks
  3. Need for Affiliation (n-Aff) - the desire to establish and maintain friendly and warm relationships with others.

In Power is the Great Motivator (McLelland & Burnham, 1976), the authors explore the relationship between motivation and managerial effectiveness for what constitutes a good manager. For McLelland, a manager's motivation comes from the need for achievement, but an achievement-motivated manager is not necessarily in the best interests of the organization. The authors contend that top-level institutional managers who desire organizational clarity and effective management of their direct reports, require a high need for power and influence -- because they simply can't do every task or project by themselves. With power and influence comes the political clout, economic power and moral suasion to persuade subordinates, assign roles and responsibilities and delegate tasks in line with strategic and operational objectives.

Their research showed three kinds of managers:

  1. Institutional Managers = high in power motivation, low in affiliation motivation, and high in inhibition;
  2. Achievement (or Personal-Power) Managers = the need for power is higher than the need for affiliation but with a low inhibition score.
  3. Affiliative Managers = the need for affiliation is higher than the need for power

Professional Development

(Comment.gif: This goes somewhere - where I don't know)

Culture Clash: Reconciling Wiki Roles with Organizational Job Requirements

In the WE Community, there are a vast range of 'people' who support the WE project, including educators, learning designers, multimedia and technology support individuals from learning organizations and institutions. For Otago Polytechnic, the 'people' include educators, learning designers, multimedia and technology support and administrative and executive support people. In general, these roles (WikiEducator Roles, 2008) are self-assigned depending on one's motivational need (n-Pow, n-Ach, n-Aff); however, for institutional projects and domains, specific roles emanate from the project nature, timeliness and resource allocation. Indeed, their roles maybe a combination of self-assignment and delegation from a n-Pow manager or a n-Ach manager.

Beyond the phalanx of tangible and intangible opportunities available to learning organizations, the flat wiki culture is likely to be an integration challenge for the established academic order. In many respects, going the wiki-way may be a culture clash for even the most progressive academic institutions.

The WE community is comprised of people with a high need for achievement (i.e., individuals who want to make a difference, learn new skills and share OERs). They attain this through pursuing a wiki skills certification, as well as thought-leadership and performance within the community. In the open WE community, there are few top-down institutional managers, other than project leader Wayne Mackintosh. There is a distinct emphasis on active participation vs. active influence. 'Those who do' (with an emphasis on quality), are accorded the highest status in the community.

Within the context of Otago Polytechnic, it is far more complex: there is likely to be considerable anxiety about the expectation for the Otago WE community from top institutional managers for desired results (stated or unstated); the stress experienced by both educator-authors and learning support staff about recognition, workload, job role and compensation; the limits to freedom within a wiki/organizational context. For example, there is also likely to be a more expressed power differential between those with n-Pow, n-Ach in the case of content development; achieving a skills certification and initiating a project may not reconcile with the need for high quality peer reviewed OERs, as demanded by the NZ Ministry of Education. Under the reins of the institutional manager, the care-free n-Ach, n-Aff wiki-ways of early Otago innovators may take a backseat to strategic and operational imperatives. In the merging and mixing of the self-organizing wiki-culture and the established academic organization culture, some form of transition coaching in tandem with wiki skills education may be required, with judicious expectations and timelines for satisfactory implementation and results. (Bridges, 2003)

Opening up the organization to consider alternate stakeholder roles can herald opportunity, challenge and unpredictability — with the potential for breakthrough ideas and fear and resistance, and a pervasive sense of (gaining or losing) control.

The WikiEducator experience provides ample evidence that self-organizing and autocatalytic activities are both positive and disruptive — but they aren’t for the unprepared nor the faint of heart. Strong community values and a clear purpose are essential to harness or unleash (depending on your perspective) the enabling / supportive wiki technology which leverages the potential for mass collaboration and peer dialogue and information exchange.

Changing Power Relations (Internally)

(Comment.gif: This repeats some of the content below, as in Lev Gonick's comments - the point that I want to bring up here, is the changed power relations AS A RESULT of all of these changes set forth below)

  • Silos work, even if they don't work....

"It's not that people resist change, it's that people resist being changed." -- Anonymous

Indeed, at both organizational and individual levels, there is likely to be considerable resistance in this transition from 'old-school' to 'new-school', as stakeholders see the potential erosion of their own power-base (i.e., they've got something to lose), and their lack of confidence/mastery and certainty in the staying power of the new way.

Many educational institutions are experimenting with the new technologies, but not adapting pedagogical design to enhance the learning experience (i.e., videotaping lectures instead of redesigning courses using the video element judiciously). As Western educational institutions are being challenged to work with a new, emerging model of educational service design and delivery, differentiated by learner support, quality, certification options and reputation NOT content.

This new reality can be threatening to faculty and professionals alike, who may be reticent to embrace a new culture of work; new technologies and learning models: after all, they have already proven themselves in the old academic system which still works.

Concept Review2


One of the major barriers to entry to developing projects and contributing to the WE Community, is learning wiki skills. WE uses a very simple yet powerful editing interface which is challenging for new users ~ "WikiEducators". (It is not WYSIWYG or rich text editing). Consequently, in 2007, the WE project received $100K in co-funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to train 2500+ teacher-educators in wiki skills with online and face-to-face workshops in 52 Commonwealth countries. In return, the L4C participants were asked to donate one lessor or teaching resource back to the WE open education project.

A full set of wiki skills tutorials (over 10 days) was developed covering basic skills editing to more advanced skills such as setting up tables, templates and project development. A wiki skills certification framework was also developed. The Hewlett funds enabled a performance intervention: the hiring of online facilitators to provide synchronous and asynchronous learner support.

In response to feedback from learners and facilitators, the 10-day workshop was revised in August 2008. It became a 5-day pilot workshop covering basic wiki skills and partial communications directly on the wiki. It was further refined and trialled with Community Media/Community Radio practitioners. Several months later, another L4C facilitator redesigned the 10-day workshop, to incorporate the majority of workshop communications directly on the wiki - using a Feedback page.

This addressed another barrier to entry: WE's truncated communications. As discussed previously, a funding shortfall for software development did not enable automatic notifications via email, when using WE's 'Talk/Discussion' feature. Facilitators used a workaround solution: the use of Google Discussion Groups in conjunction with WE.

Increasing & Measuring Educators' Effectiveness...

My proposed intervention, is to develop a pilot wiki skills workshop to increase WikiEducators' effectiveness, by integrating workshop innovations and revisions, and comparing the results against prior workshops and interventions. The pilot wiki skills workshop incorporates:

  • The 5-day version wiki skills workshop training
  • Using a feedback page for direct wiki communications
  • Providing enhanced facilitator support for WE account registration and setup (i.e., identifying the verification email from "Moeller", not WikiAdmin, finding this email message in either the Inbox, Spam or Trash Folders of a User's email inbox, and clicking on the embedded verification message; logging in and modifying preferences for setting up automatic WikiAdmin email notifications)

There are two challenges regarding "What Makes an Effective using WikiEducator":

  1. Educator-authors' lack of confidence in their ability to use wiki skills
  2. Educator-authors' lack of understanding of how to operate within wiki culture

Point #1 deals with the anxiety and stress faced by Educator-authors as they learn a new and essential skill. They start off with an mix of excitement, interest and curiosity about an empowering skill that will allow them to share their talents and connect them to educators globally. Excitement soon turns to frustration and anger when they encounter difficulties in the learning process and a 'work-in-progress' wiki. A tricky WE account registration process (primarily because of WE's organizational history (i.e., the account verification comes from Erik Moeller not WikiAdmin); a lack of real-time support; and, a confusing 'wiki-logical' syntax structure creates a sense of going in circles, trapped in a kind of WikiEducator hell. Without synchronous or near real-time facilitator support/intervention, Newbies drop out of the wiki skills course and seek other alternatives including doing nothing further. (This is an acceptable occurrence in self-organizing ecosystem.)

Point #2 addresses Educator-authors' lack of understanding of how to operate effectively within the wiki culture. The wiki technology enables easy access to 99.99% of pages on the wiki (the WE Home Page is one of the few pages that is locked down, accessible only to people with 'sysops' and administration privileges. Users come from all over the world, steeped in varying educational, ethnic and organizational cultures. They are encouraged to 'collaborate' with each other; often this can take the form of breaching established norms of communication expected by some educators. (Unwanted edits can easily be reverted via a software feature which provides a complete and comparative history of any wiki page.) However, this experience can be jarring and stressful, as it imprints a negative first impression and sows the seeds for future resistance. an Educational Institution

Since its launch in February 2006, WE has successfully attracted the interest of educational institutions from North America, Asia and Africa to use it as an OER development platform. However, New Zealand's Otago Polytechnic has steadily demonstrated its commitment and global leadership in open education. (Blackall, 2007)

The following measures will help assess WikiEducators' Effectiveness in the context of an educational institution (i.e., Otago Polytechnic) that has embraced WE as collaborative OER development platform. They include:

  1. Number of user accounts registered on WE
  2. Rate of conversion from new users to active contributors on WE
  3. Number, diversity and growth of active contributors on WE

1. Number of user accounts registered on WE

This measure is a clear indication of the number of educators actually putting WE through its paces. In general, registering an account on WE is an anonomyous process; however, Otago's educators (including learning designers) will be aware of who their colleagues are, and their progress beyond account registration. Otago will have a dedicated space on WE (i.e.,, and comprehensive web statistics and data will be available, based on WE's metadata and Otago's scripts/customizations (i.e., )

An early indicator of user stress and anxiety will occur when Otago WikiApprentices (in the WikiEducator Wiki Skills Certification Framework) begin populating their hyperlinked User Pages: using their new wiki skills to edit their pages with text, hyperlinks, images, and multimedia. Anyone -- administrators, facilitators and users can view Users' contributions in real-time, as well as feedback and interaction on the wiki and in discussion groups.

2. Rate of conversion from new users to active contributors on WE

This measure shows that WE's are migrating from their 'Newbie' status to a more active role. An Active Contributor is an Otago educator-author who has completed the skill requirements associated with the WikiBuddy level which includes creating and inserting wiki-pedagogical templates; developing one lesson or content resource for WE; and adopting another user in the Otago WE community. This is equivalent to 75 edits over a 5-day period (in an L4C wiki skills workshop. WE defines Active Contributors as having more than 100 edits per month.

Otago Active Contributors will be engaged in organizational meetings and discussions (on- and off-wiki), starting new WE projects, contributing to their colleagues wiki pages and beginning to collaborate in an effective meaningful way. They will also be better positioned to understand the nuances of the wiki culture (i.e., how to exercise 'professional courtesy' with colleagues on-wiki); how to develop taxonomies for the lack of organization; and how resources and knowledge can pool in the Otago WE Community. They will begin to experience the aha's and insights associated with the wiki experience: just how powerful the software is, and how they can improve individual performance and productivity, and migrate to just-in-time learning without facilitator support. Active Contributors will experience greater control over their performance; exhibit greater influence and leadership in their communities; and experience lower levels of stress and anxiety in the Otago WE Community. As the conversion rate increases, it is an important indication of the maturity of the Otago WE community and project development space, and an indicator of the potential for meaningful project collaboration ahead.

3. Number, diversity and growth of active contributors on WE

At the heart of a sustainable Otago Community of WikiEducators, is the number, diversity and growth of active contributors. These outcome measures and associated timeline are indicators of a credible and maturing community-of-practice, increasingly drawing in serious educators (who are concerned about peer review and program quality). Otago will be able to identify when it is 'crossing its own chasm' and individual and organizational resistance is decreasing; and how its adoption curve is migrating from innovators and early adopters to early- and late-majority (Moore, 1991).

Once these OER projects get rolling, WE's production environment kicks into high gear, enabling mass production of customized learning resources at a fraction of the cost of traditional publishing alternatives. Otago's educator-authors will gain a greater sense of their power and influence. They will be able to easily update and revise their learning materials, and publish them for small production runs, such as the groundbreaking OER Handbook for Educators V1.0, written and published entirely on WE. (Wiley, 2008) They will be able to confidently manage cost-effective project collaborations with like-minded WikiEducators from other educational institutions; increase their own effectiveness; and leverage Otago's OER leadership and experience nationally and globally.

Research Methodology

The research methodology in this research project uses Content Analysis and Unobtrusive Measurement.

Content Analysis

The hypothesis in this Thought Experiment states that educators are motivated by the need for power, achievement and/or affiliation, This paper focuses on discovering patterns that recur in different times and places (Babbie, 2008, p. 350) -- namely, in public, recorded pronouncements and dialogue within open communities and sub-communities; online and offline meetings (recorded); or on public fora such as the main WE Discussion Group (formerly, the WE Mailing List), on Google Discussion Groups., or within related community discussion groups and WE nodes / spaces. Additional communication occurs through email discussions with attached documents and/or embedded hyperlinks to text, audio, video or other media.

As of March 22, 2009, the main WE Discussion Group on Google Groups had 527 members. It is the primary communications channel for member discussion (i.e., postings) and is publicly available for anyone who wants to view it. Public communications also occur directly on the wiki (i.e., talk/discussion pages where comments are inserted directly in response to pages of interest to users).

These wiki pages use an open-source extension to the installed Mediawiki software (which drives WikiEducator) called Liquid Threads (LQT). LQT was originally envisaged as the primary means of communications to support inter-individual and inter-project collaboration on WikiEducator. It has important collaborative features: including assigning unique 'learner identifiers' for each posted message (for tracking individual messages and creating 'learning bubble' groups); and automatically notifying users via email of postings and changes to their Talk/Discussion pages. Thus far, the LQT technology has only been partially implemented (due to a lack of funding). This has led to inconsistencies in performance and a cumbersome user interface, and has forced users to go outside of the wiki to communicate with each other (i.e., the main WE Discussion Group on Google Groups). While collaboration takes place within WikiEducator, the fact that communication is somewhat external to the overall wiki site has compromised participation between educator-authors, inter-project connectivity and a sense of cohesion within the WE Community. In the future, LQT's promise may be realized, when it secures additional development funding and/or volunteer assistance.

Unobtrusive Measures

As a complex, self-organizing and social learning ecosystem, the WE project has dynamics that are common to traditional organizational structures and some differences. The flat wiki structure creates opportunities for increasing connection and collaboration, diminishing power distance' (Hofstede, 1984, 1991). It also poses challenges to the established hierarchical order and work culture. Informal educators, learning designers and educators with less tenure have the same opportunity to voice their concerns and effect change within the wiki environment than more established and tenured educators. 'Professional courtesy' seems to take a back seat to a free-wheeling open source culture where editing someone else's work is fine in the name of 'collaboration'. It's enough to wreak havoc on established 'respectful' relationships, established organization work practices and the well-preserved culture of the Academy.

This paper focuses on using unobtrusive measures (Webb, 2000) to research educators' motivations in the context of a public, online and rapidly-evolving wiki community. Using this method sidesteps some issues associated with selection and investigator bias in terms of questionnaire design, surveys, interviewing methods and role/position (i.e., the author is an early adopter of WE, and a member of the WE governing Community Council.). However, there are ethical concerns with using online communication data and 'digital footprints' unobtrusively (Wikipedia 2008), and analysis and dissemination of results must be performed with sensitivity and tact.

In the wiki, communications are public, but an individual's decision(s) for making one decision over another is not. Recorded written and verbal communications of participating educator-authors are an important means for identifying and analyzing their public and rarely-seen rationale, motivations and intent. Such clues to their needs and motivations are affected by the communication source, the level of detail, language used, tone and communications privacy and confidentiality.

In reaching out to educators to join the WE project, the WE community has developed and leveraged its messaging to appeal to different educator interests and motivations. Once the individual has joined s/he is likely to respond to different appeals and messages.

There are several primary ways to 'join' and participate in the WE community, including:

  • Registering an account on the WE website ( - and create and edit pages and projects
  • Joining the WE main discussion group,
  • Joining a WE node / community-of-practice (i.e., Community Media, India) or discussion group
  • Registering for free wiki skills training in the context of the Learning4Content initiative.
  • Write about WE in an external blog, website, newspaper, or journal

In addition to analyzing the content of online and offline communications, I will examine and cross-reference existing data such as WE's own statistics on user roles (on- and off-wiki), participation, contributions, revision history and community performance over time. For comparative and historical analyses, I will examine WE strategy and governance documents and policies, wiki skills learning contracts, speeches and presentations, and observed participatory behaviours in line with WE's strategy, timeline and growth.

WikiEducator Community Characteristics

Since February 2006, WE's registered user base has grown steadily from (1 user to 8,268+ users, as of March 2009). WE is among the world's top 115,000 websites. In contrast, the Commonwealth of Learning, a 30-employee intergovernmental organization (in operation since 1987), has a website traffic rank of 429,064 (Alexa, 2009). Frequent surveys of new account holders report that a majority of users join because they want to use, test and evaluate new technologies, and apply them to their personal learning and professional educational activities.

High Level of Productivity

The WE Community has achieved a high level of productivity, with approximately 12% of total users achieving the status of 'Active Contributor'. Indeed, they are producing the lion's share of open educational content, and pursuing leadership roles within the WE community. This high level of participation has helped WE achieve its targets faster than originally planned. (WE Strategy and Timeline, 2008)

WE is a community of educators rather than a general public wiki -- 73% of our registered users are teachers. lecturers and trainers working in the formal education sector. As educators our needs are more focused on educational priorities within the day-to-day operation of educational institutions which are not necessarily the same as those of a general public project. (Mackintosh, 2008)

As a 'community of educators', many users freely express their thoughts and opinions in online and offline (public) meetings and correspondence. User feedback can be cross-referenced, compared and analyzed with their real-world role(s), their wiki role(s), and their contributions by date and quality, on- and off-wiki.

Some users, when first learning about WE are motivated by n-Aff;: they appreciate a new-found freedom (i.e., "I joined WikiEducator to connect, learn, share and help." (WikiEducator User:Jenniep, 2008).

Active Users Motivated by 'Power'

Others motivated by n-Pow, react strongly to proprietary edu-collaboration solutions and appreciate the WE difference.

"When we go off WE, it's like a dungeon. The forums are so controlled, you can't breathe." - Nellie Deutsch, Israel (November 2008)

Some of the most prolific users, primarily motivated by n-Pow, react strongly to WE's rigid, albeit values-based enforcement of 'open-source everything'; for example, the exclusion of embedding highly-functional 3rd party media and proprietary extensions such as YouTube). They argue correctly, that it limits wider and deeper adoption of WikiEducator. Their Google Group correspondence and blog posts rail at the lack of 'control' of software features such as the Liquid Threads Talk/Discussion notification; the absence of a user-friendly graphical user interface (i.e., rich text editing); and 'one-size-fits-all' tutorials that are designed for the lowest common denominator: low-bandwidth Internet connections for developing countries.

Content analysis of learners' feedback in wiki skills workshop mirrors many of these concerns. Despite a steep learning curve and confusing instructions, new users who complete the wiki skills training and observe and reflect on their progress, start to 'get' what WE is all about. (WikiEducator eL4C15, 2008). Many users pursue wiki training because of a desire to create pedagogically-sound learning materials for a lower time-to-cost ratio (n-Ach). However, they are initially drawn to WE because of the strength of the WE Community and the strengths of its affiliations. (n-Aff). It is only after they complete the tutorials that they really understand how they can use WE as a tool to effect change in their communities and educational institutions – whether as individuals, in dyads, clusters or as an institution. (n-Pow).

Content analysis of email/discussion group correspondence, external blogs and on-wiki content, from the elected members of the 1st Community Council, reveals tensions between differing roles, performance expectations, motivations and stressors (i.e., people who are among WE's most Active Contributors and project leader-managers). (WikiEducator Top Contributors, 2008). Internal jockeying for power and influence can be compared to evidence of continuous community growth, skills, achievements, project starts and emerging collaboration. (WikiEducator Strategy & Timeline & Alexa, 2008)

Monitoring User Contributions

Further evidence is available for measuring outcomes at the organizational, node or even project level; statistics which can cross-referenced by the recent changes / revision history by individuals or a group of individuals, or a 'community-of-practice'. (WikiEducator Recent Changes, 2008). Moreover, tracking scripts have been developed to monitor activity in WE Community Media space, to identify participation and early instances of collaboration. This data can be analyzed to determine who's doing what, when they're doing it, and what skills they are using whether individually or with assistance from others in their particular community-of-practice. (WikiEducator Community Media Statistics, 2008). WE's statistical tools can be used as a data-gathering template by organizations, nodes and projects, and further customized for its own measurement and reporting requirements.

Community of Practice & Support

WE is a global Community-of-Practice whereby educator-authors use WE for their own motivated self-interest: by participating in and/or contributing to a self-organizing ecosystem aligned to the values of the Freedom Culture and education.

WE is also a free and open Community of Support for learning and experimenting with new and open-source technologies that widen access and reduce the cost and effort in connection with developing and revising OERs. For many educators working in a n-Ach/n-Aff profession, having access to a powerful 24/7 community help 'desk' is a game-changer, where they realize their personal and professional power and transformation, in becoming n-Ach/n-Pow educators.

In many educational settings, educators are asked to do more with less, by using technology. Yet, they consistently report high levels of stress, fear and anxiety tied to heavy workloads and organizational expectations for greater performance and productivity. It's a recipe for individual and organizational resistance and paralysis – regardless of motivational need. During WE's wiki skills training, educator-authors have expressed their lack of self-confidence regarding technology adoption, and this has mitigated against early wins, higher completion rates and better learner outcomes. By observing learner and facilitator correspondence in the wiki skills workshops, and examining when the drop-offs are occurring (i.e., tied to increases in learner anxiety), WE has urgently redesigned its courses to ease the learning transition from Newbie to Active Contributor. This is an essential precondition to WE's success, as Active Contributors have higher performance and contribution rates in the WE Community, Otago or other communities, create projects and facilitate project collaboration.

Inital attraction to the WE Community expressed as the need to 'connect, learn, share and help' (n-Ach / n-Aff) transforms to (n-Ach/n-Pow) as Newbies become Active Contributors, and they recognize exactly how powerful their new skills really are. Their excitement and confidence soars with the acquisition of new wiki skills and experiences, and amplifies throughout the community. They seek new leadership roles on- and off-wiki, and experience a renewal of self-confidence and personal mastery. Indeed, users' motivation for connecting to, and using WE, changes over time – according to skill level, community status, resources and their ability to build community around their own projects. Once they become Active Contributors, many educator-authors report the WE experience as 'addictive'.

Unlike McLelland's Theory, in the self-organizing wiki community, anything is possible: Roles and needs evolve over time, leading to transformative experiences: educator-authors are not locked into a specific motivational need dependent on their role.

Institutional Motivations, Concerns and Accountabilities

As an educational institution, Otago originally came to WE after instructional designer Leigh Blackall was persuaded by Wayne Mackintosh, that WE was a more secure platform than WikiSpaces. (Blackall, 2007). Driven by a mix of n-Pow and n-Ach, Blackall was able to find a stable platform for his organization's needs. His n-Aff component comes from his relationship with the open source community and willingness to contribute to its growth and development, which in turn reinforces his n-Pow. Limited collaboration is in evidence, mostly due to the stage of development for the WE Community, Otago and various down-level communities. The project is still quite young, wiki skills training is in full swing and there there isn't a lot of content. But that is changing quickly.

Global Leadership, Increased Power & Influence

Otago's leadership has been reinforced through an executive decision to fully embrace WE and spearhead a globally-leading, made-on-New Zealand collaborative OER effort (WikiEducator Heywire8, 2008). This is based partly on the success of its instructional design unit which has been actively working with social media/learning technologies including WE, and engaging Otago teachers and stakeholders on- and off-line, locally and globally.

Project Numbers (a Business Case for Change)

Fear & Resistance to Change

Otago faculty have expressed concerns about OER quality, reverting edits, and WE/Otago site vandalism. The open nature of the community helps to protect it from 'risks' such as vandals and hackers. However, the open environment also encourages participation and a strong sense of common purpose, so the proportion of fixers to breakers tends to be high, and a wiki will generally have little difficulty remaining stable, assuming that people see value in its existence and have a genuine interest in keeping things tidy. (Lamb, 2004)

Challenges abound in terms of how a large group of faculty, instructional designers and other stakeholders will conduct themselves in a WE/Otago community. There are issues of public and private communications; the discipline of speaking with one voice, professional boundaries and the fine line between WE & Otago accountability regarding increasing participation and sustaining meaningful and cost-effective project collaboration. For example, how to reconcile n-Pow Otago faculty heads who don't have adequate wiki skills; or originally n-Ach instructional designers active in WE's community, and now motivated by n-Pow, yet having to be n-Ach in Otago's organizational culture.

Academic vs. Wiki Culture

In educational institutions, few educators would dare changing their peers' work before exercising 'professional courtesy' ~ talking to them about what they propose. Then, it would be up to the that person, to decide how, when and where s/he will make modifications.

On WE, the 'culture' is different.

Eve's comments - Technology, collaboration, Fear & Resistance

So I guess I was wondering looking at your TX if when you included 'fear' and 'resistance' in your key word list were you thinking in terms of the educators/creators fear and resistance to the technology, collaboration, etc or in terms of the potential users or colleagues and bosses of potential users re the value/validity of content offered in this manner?

Hippie Era Motivation Theory Meets the Digital Age

McLelland's Theory of Motivation is plausible with a few caveats:

WE is a large online community, not a large bureaucracy

McLelland's original research focused on the motivation of managers in a large, complex bureaucracy during times of great change and social upheaval. In WE, when an educator-author wants to develop a project, there are no approvals required, s/he can simply create a page, and then build a community around it. Some people who add value to the project are volunteers, others are paid. WE Governance is provided by an elected open community council. In the case of an WE/Otago installation, it becomes more complicated, as there certainly is a defined organizational structure, governance and grievance procedures, with a specific managerial cadre, and associated roles and responsibilities. Senior project managers and faculty are more likely to be motivated by n-Pow, instructional designers motivated by a n-Ach/n-Pow (within their own projects). Perhaps some folks in the HR department are motivated by n-Aff.

WE is a self-organizing ecosystem with simple rules governing behavior

The wiki environment represents a paradigm shift in how work is organized -- it is a grassroots effort vs. top-down. There are few barriers to entry, other than learning basic wiki skills. The self-organizing nature of the wiki enables a faster response to emerging economic, political, social and other forces. It does not have a traditional management structure -- instead, an elected member council and few simple rules governing user behavior. (In the case of a WE/Otago wiki, it operates slightly differently (as previously discussed), but not as a complex bureaucracy.)

Hybrid Motivational Needs

In the wiki, there's really no such thing as 'either-or' (i.e., n-Pow, n-Ach or n-Aff); it's more of a hybrid model of motivational needs. Usually, educator-authors join the wiki because of their curiosity and interest about the WE Community and they want to be able to accomplish something. (n-Aff/n-Ach). It is only after they complete the wiki skills training, that they gain a greater sense of their own power to influence others and effect change (n-Pow/n-Ach) within the WE Community and potentially within their organization.

When an educator-author can exercise his/her power to rally others to a project, the WE Community will recognize his/her efforts as an indicator of the seriousness of the project. The WE Community will then devote greater resources to assist in collaborative project development. In this role, strategic leaders of the WE Community recognize this as an opportunity to extend their influence while continuing to build the WE Community. (n-Pow/n-Aff)

Motivations & Roles Change Over Time

Users' motivation for connecting to, and using WE, changes over time – according to skill level, community status, resources and their ability to build community around their own projects. As well, a person's motivations tend to change when they experience how peers in the community rally around their project (and others too) in terms of help, resources and people. This has implications for Otago n-Pow managers who may erroneously believe that they can only get things done through the n-Pow orientation, when in fact, the n-Ach orientation is just as valid for getting things done in an open source, wiki community of educators.

Motivations & Unobtrusive Measures: Are Occurrences Deceiving?

Content analysis may not be able to accurately determine which specific motivations are occurring. One-on-one, face-to-face interviews and subsequent interpretation may yield the best information and insight as to which motivations are present. Even then, an educator-author may not be in touch with his /her feelings and/or motivations – to the extent that s/he can relay them accurately to the investigator.

Open Source Values & Dynamic Community Energy

The open-source values of WE draw people into the Community and gives them a fairly consistent supportive experience which is not always the case in a bureaucracy. This 'experience' enhances positive interdependence and promotive interaction, where individuals dynamically encourage and facilitate each others' efforts to accomplish the group's goals. They have a moderate level of arousal characterized by low anxiety and stress and act in trusting and trustworthy ways. (Johnson & Johnson, 2006)

These dynamics feed the energy created in, and by the WE Community, which in turn draws people in further. I have experienced a sense of pride and ownership in belonging to the WE Community, and I want to do my best to help it, when I can. While my motivation was initially a n-Ach, it has now become a hybrid n-Pow/n-Ach/n-Aff at different times, as required.

Collaboration Woes

As of December 2008, there does not appear to be a lot of wiki collaboration in WE, in terms of materials developed for actual courses in actual classes. Otago is one of the few examples of collaboration, both internal to its project teams and externally on the wiki.

There is considerable concern in the Community about the extent of collaboration thus far (given some users n-Aff/n-Ach motivation for joining WE in the first place). While educator-authors collaborate in on- and off-line correspondence and meetings, a quick check of almost any project's "page history", will reveal a significant lack of collaboration. (Google Groups Increasing Collaboration, 2008)

Conversely, collaboration on WE is measured differently, in that collaboration takes place in multiple forms – online, offline, in threaded discussions and presentations. For example, if a WikiEducator learned about a new innovation in a Google Thread from one of his peers, and then applied it to his/her project, that might well stand a test for meaningful collaboration. Moreover, if there is only one editor per page, is it meaningful to say that no collaboration is happening? Or, did it happen in a different forum / format?

This lack of collaboration may simply be where WE is in terms of its current strategy roll-out, or it may be something deeper and troubling in terms of meeting the motivational needs of WikiEducators.

(Comment.gif: Quality concerns and (flagged) revision history )

Outcome Measures: Validity and Reliability

As WikiEducator presides over the establishment of sub-domain communities (i.e.,, will the outcome measures from my intervention be valid and reliable? I'm questioning it, because of the differing host environment and organizational culture (i.e., Otago is an educational institution, distinct from an open-source wiki), whereas the WE project is currently a project of the Commonwealth of Learning (which serves as WE's infrastructure support and home base). As of December 2008, the WE Project is in its early stages of governance formulation and policy development.

Active Contributors are defined as 100 edits per month, but that may be meaningless if the contributions are not of high quality. One educator-author may tinker with text 100 times (as I have done with this paper), but it may pale in comparison to an educator author Ph.D. who pastes a 5,000 word article, the basis of which will be an article for the Harvard Business Review. David Wiley's OER Handbook for Educators represents one of the greatest contributions to WE thus far, but he hasn't been active on the wiki in November /December 2008. Does he not fit the Active Contributor label? Also, when WE/Otago goes into effect, will the same measures for Active Contributor be in effect, or will it change, and on what basis?

Definition Bias (Joe S.)

The more I read about doing research, the more I realize that there's a bias to everything. I remember reading cases in 601 and 602, and looking for what works and did not. Little did I know, you could take a look at the research method, and the interviewer's style, or the way the question was formed, or the reactivity of the interviewer, or the increasing knowledge of the interviewer, as a form of bias on the actual results. Sheesh, you have to be a Ph.D. to know all of this! (Secretly, it's what the Ph.D. cabal really wants.... company! <smile>)

One way to address this, would be to add a post-workshop evaluation to the intervention, utilising predefined pre-defined measures indicating motivation in terms of power, achievement or affiliation (or degrees therein) as defined by some expert in the field, a Delphi Method (i.e., a panel of independent experts), or some level of consensus among people in-the-know.

Still, there would be problems including:: who is generating the definitions; is it really measuring what it's supposed to be measuring (validity); reliability concerns; also, is it consistent with the research method already chosen - unobtrusive measures and content analysis; and what steps would have to be taken to minimize bias, and / or research / results contamination.

Feelings of Loss, Possible Resistance

As Western educational institutions are being challenged to work with a new, emerging model of educational service design and delivery, differentiated by learner support, quality, certification options and reputation NOT content.

This new reality can be threatening to faculty and professionals alike, who may be reticent to embrace new technologies and learning models: after all, they have already proven themselves in the old academic system which still works. Underlying this however, is a deeper fear around their own capacity to learn about new technology and blended learning approaches; concerns about divided loyalties; feelings of discomfort about participating in an environment where students are more adept technically; and having to adjust their style from teacher to facilitator. The brave new world can be confusing, disorienting, overwhelming and downright scary.

"...changes cause transitions, which cause losses, and it is the losses not the changes, that they're reacting to; and... it's a piece of their world that is being lost, not a piece of ours, and we often react that way ourselves when it's a part of our own world that is being lost. Being reasonable is much easier if you have little or nothing at stake." (Bridges, 2003)

Organization Culture (Institution)

There are blindspots of course, and a groupthink mentality akin to a psychic prison. While there are clear symbols of cultural relevance, these serve a kind of political myopia that insulates the organization and isolates employees from reaching out to out-group stakeholders, funding resources and supporters who don't share the same cultural affinity, attitudes or approaches. (Morgan, 2006). Moreover, in a 'family', there's a strong temptation to go-with-the-flow, and not give into conflict, fear or anxiety. At all costs.

"The inability to manage agreement -- not the inability to manage conflict -- is the essential symptom that defines organizations caught in the web of the Abilene Paradox:" a story about a Texas' family's day-long "106-mile trip across a godforsaken desert in furnace-like heat and a dust storm to eat unpalatable food at a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria in Abilene, when none of us really wanted to go." (Harvey, 1988).

In essence, the entire family did the opposite of what they wanted to do, and what they did made no sense at all.

"We frequently fail to take action in an organizational setting because we fear that the actions we take may result in our separation from others, or,....because we are afraid of being tabbed as "disloyal" or being ostracized as "non-team players". But therein lies a paradox within a paradox, because our very unwillingness to take such risks virtually ensures the separation and aloneness we so fear." (Harvey, 1988)

In organizations with a strong culture, the ability to manage agreement contributes to the organization's effective function and dysfunction, paradoxically.

  • working together
  • serial intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs

In organizations, this can be seen with serial entrepreneurs replicate their success with the same team focusing on another problem; or an intact research and development team moving from one firm to another. Simply put, because they know one another and have worked together before - and have a track record for success - their success in working positively together is more predictable than would otherwise be the case. Leveraging successful group experiences is a way of mitigating risk - it's also important to beware of GroupThink (Janis, 1972)

(Comment.gif: Adaptive learning culture (Kouzes & Posner (2007)) (Comment.gif: Metaphor - Organization as Adaptive Learning Culture (in this case, the project team) Morgan, 2006))

Where Do WE Go From Here?

One of the challenges in using Qualitative Data Analysis (Content Analysis), is a danger to "mis-classify observations to support [my] emerging hypothesis." (Babbie, 1998).

In line with the development of a revised wiki skills training workshop with greater facilitator support, I will be analyzing the content of on- and off-line communications, as well as WE statististics and community performance over time (taking into account the three outcome measures).

A challenge to the validity of this intervention, is whether or not the wiki skills training designed for the WE Community is appropriate for the Otago Polytechnic educational community consisting of faculty, instructional designers and other stakeholders. A physical institution has different dynamics than an online collaborative environment, and it is quite likely that the workshop will have to be customized and localized for the NZ language, culture and expectations.

Adjustments to Training Model

  • from 5-day tutorial with facilitator support to 1-hour real time, and then teaching by "Modelling the Way"
  • Magic number of "5" users in learning design team (in an educational institution, or collaborative project) - Derek Chirnside, University of Canterbury, NZ)

Attention will have to be paid to dropout rates in the wiki skills workshops, to ensure that support for the overall WE/Otago effort does not falter. After all, this is not a global wiki, but a local wiki connected globally, but 'owned' by an educational institution. There will likely be more vigilance about the completion of wiki skills learning contracts (i.e., signed, delivered and completed), as they have a critical role to play in helping new users become more Active Contributors, and become the base of the WE/Otago Community-of-Practice. Learners in the wiki skills workshop will have to develop an educational resource that they will actually use in their teaching environment (vs. a generic OER). Learners may also be required to map out where the resistance will be in their departments and roles, to more easily anticipate where changes have to occur, in order for sustainable growth of Active Contributors in the WE/Otago wiki.

Metaphoric Opportunities to Challenge Thinking & Respond to Change

Morgan (Morgan, 2006) encourages the reader to:

  1. Rethink what we mean by organization, especially the nature of hierarchy and control;
  2. Learn the art of managing and changing contexts;
  3. Learn how to use small changes to create large effects;
  4. Live with continuous transformation and emergent order as a natural state of affairs; and
  5. Be open to new metaphors that can facilitate processes of self-organization.

Learn how to use small changes to create large effects (#3)

  • reminiscent of my reading of Gladwell's Tipping Point thesis, where small pivotal changes can have dramatic effects on the larger whole. (Gladwell, 2000). Leveraging knowledge of Gladwell, can be taken to the next level - even in conventional organizations - through the use of 'Strategic Tipping Points'.
  • In an educational institution where 10% of the people are truly on board, and 70% are waiting to discover which way the wind will blow, and 20% dead-set against it. Smart leaders use all of the resources and communication tools available to them to strategically tip the balance in their favour, by building a strong team around them, having access to internal and external information and intelligence, and sending out trial balloons to see what happens, and having a change / transition management strategy. Then, they interpret and process the feedback - and can judge what the real risks are in challenging the process one way vs. another. By understanding Strategic Tipping Points, they can directly engage the opposition and fence sitters, in the move to build energy, movement and momentum for a specific change strategy and approach.
And when mobilized, the opposition and fence sitters become engaged with the issues, provoked 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 diverse views necessary for the adaptive success of the business or community." - (Heifetz, in Heselbein & Goldsmith (2006) pp. 74-75)

Live with continuous transformation and emergent order as a natural state of affairs (#4)

  • Whether they acknowledge it or not, conventional organizations are bound by the same laws of nature and environmental conditions as their self-organizing cousins. The only difference is, how they choose to use tools and techniques to embrace, adapt and/or resist change.
  • Whether long tail economics or surfing changing market waves, smart leaders know that competitive advantages accrue to organizations that are in the water, vs. on the cusp on the wave. Surfer lore tells newbie surfers: 'You can't catch the perfect wave on the beach. You've got to be in the water.' Predicting how things will emerge is hard, but the fun is being in the water when the wave emerges ~ before you know it, you're on it, for the ride of your life. Organizations which recognize that the only constant is change - both internally and externally - are likely to be better intellectually positioned for what lies ahead. However, developing the agility and skillsets to capitalize on such change is an integral element of the challenge in mastering change

Be open to new metaphors that can facilitate processes of self-organization (#5)

  • being open to new metaphors which can assist the organization and its leaders, in seeing its relationship with self, stakeholders and other actors in the environment in a revealing manner. Consider the lessons of complexity, self-organization and emergence ~ everything is changing, yet hard to anticipate. Organizations which see themselves as a hybrid of Culture and Adaptive Learning, can begin to tap into their own culture as a strengths-based alternative to a single metaphor.
  • Similarly, organizations which are trapped by a psychic prison mentality, upon closer examination, can identify how this impacts on internal organizational processes, and the degree to which it enhances or detracts form their value proposition and business relationships.

Internal Resistance to Technology Adoption

Within Otago, there is also likely to be greater resistance to the adoption of one technology over another, if only for organizational cultural reasons. Moreover, while collaboration may be seen as a positive for the WE Community, it may be seen as a shove in the direction of being a 'tall poppy' (i.e, in New Zealand, the tall poppies get cut first, so folks are reluctant to speak out or be the leader).

Some individuals in departments that lead WE/Otago may be more focused on n-Pow, which in turn may be a bruising experience for other departments with a n-Pow, or n-Ach orientation which get involved at a later date.

An important concern is the extent to which a project manager in an educational institution, yet connected to the wiki project, would need to be of a n-Pow orientation to be most effective (McLelland, 1976). If such project managers were first involved in collaborative project development, the possibility of them overpowering later-arriving managers and project teams could be high. This could threaten the success of a young wiki community, which is capable of supporting high performance with folks from all points on the motivational need spectrum. (In future, perhaps another intervention might be appropriate, such as a community-builder, facilitator.)

Otago will use WE's statistics to measure community performance and project outcomes, but it will also have to generate statistics which have meaning for its own users, project outcomes and Otago community growth. Then, it will be comparing kiwis to kiwis, not kiwis to the global WE Community.

Institutional Shift in Power: A Changing Model of Education

There are fundamental changes affecting the educational system, due to a proliferation of cost-effective information and communications technologies (ICTs); turbulent economic, social and political change; changing learner expectations and demographic and psychographic shifts. 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)

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.

Many educational institutions are operating with a 1950s/60s mentality: an insulated ivory tower with an external face or relevant timely scholarly research and openness to new ideas and approaches, and relevant scholarly research, yet internally, they are highly-political, siloed and competitive enterprise organizations - with numerous primary (institution-wide) and secondary (departmental) core groups.

" 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)

Today's research-based educational institutions are searching for ways to cost-effectively compete in the open market, yet handicapped by inefficiencies, duplication and mechanistically-organized work structures (i.e., Organization as Machine), which recruits and promotes faculty on the basis of research expertise, not necessarily teaching ability. (However, before one feels completely sorry for these institutions, it's important to recognize that for years, they have benefited from public sector funding as they've competed with the public sector.) Nevertheless, a new era is upon them, and many are trying to find their way: indeed, they have to reconfigure themselves to survive, adapt and thrive in a new era of choice, competition and disaggregation of educational services.

Cultural Shifts, Power Discovery

  • n-Pow

Reference "Surprises"

  • Also, scenario planning (Mackintosh)

The Control Paradox and a Paradigm Shift

As a community-driven and open platform for peer learning and participatory action learning: to access and share ideas, content and practices for technology innovation; and to collaboratively develop, share, customize, localize, and re-use OERs.

McLelland's theory is elegant and makes sense, however there are significant limitations. He developed his theory before the Internet was developed; an innovation that has revolutionized the world of work and play, and the distribution of power, a form of energy. Taken to the next level, Linux/free software/open-source experience: users directly experience freedom and the power of their own numbers, magnified and amplified through technology, global networks, and a complex, self-organizing social learning ecosystem.

The paradox in the wiki environment, is that if one gives up control, one gains a greater sense of power and influence, self-confidence and mastery. Translated to the language of the organization, going in the direction of the open source WE, yields high productivity gains, faster time-to-market and a pool of highly-motivated knowledge workers -- working at a higher potential.

My major shift in this project is understanding how to move from the general to the specific, and focus directly on a single educational institution. For example, in thinking about how one department with a n-Pow vs a later one with a n-Ach, I inadvertently stumbled on the fact that resistance to change would come into effect, and potentially upset the entire project if it was not dealt with properly. There could be a whole raft of interventions (and research) to deal with this dynamic.

When I began my WE journey, it was initially about n-Ach in the context of an affiliative environment. As I built my reputation in the community and skill level (yes, receiving WikiArtisan status was important to me), I gained a greater sense of the importance of 'power' in the community. However, as a community-builder in a global self-organizing ecosystem, I realized that I could not do it alone. I decided to let go of the impulse to control, to persuade, cajole and nudge people towards the finish line. Instead, I started planting seeds here and there, and only supported folks who took my ideas and their ideas and took them to the next level. The results have been amazing and transformative: for others and myself. In the great 'wiki-way', I have shared my learning with, and coached others (even by posting this Masters paper on a very public wiki). I am modeling the wiki way for others, who are replicating my lead to build their own communities-of-practice, within and external to the wiki.

In the drive to go deeper into users' motivational needs, it's easy to miss the 'big picture' of what's really going on in the wiki: educator-authors experiencing 'affiliation', openness and connection. 'That' is what draws them into the wiki, and keeps them there. Add to the mix their motivated self-interest, and a dynamic, energy where users can experience other users' energy, in contributing their talents, resources and projects to something much bigger and more meaningful, than they currently experience, especially at their educational institutions / learning organizations. Personally, I can attest to that too.

  • Changing Models of Education, Gonick
  • Cultural Shifts
  • Discovery of a new power

The New 'Natural' Form of Organization

Self-Organizing Ecosystems as a new, and more natural form of organization, vs. traditional organizational structure - top-down or bottom up. I'm now more aware that many of the old 'proven' tools simply don't work as well, because they can't anticipate or control what's going to happen in this new form of 'organization'. I'm using the term 'natural' to make the link between naturally occuring biologic and adaptive processes that enable new behaviours, projects and activities to emerge, in a way that is not possible in more stratified, role bound organizational forms.

Organizations bent on pursuing operating efficiencies for better quarterly results will be sorely disappointed that SO/complex adaptive systems don’t deliver results in a timely or predictable fashion. Moreover, organizational cultures which don’t understand the ‘complexity’ of dynamic SO systems can risk more than project failure — as their stakeholders realize that their ‘innovation’ is only skin-deep. Open systems require different decision-making structures and processes; greater transparency and a willingness to share control —which may be more than an organization is willing to accommodate, even over the short-term.


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Needs Work

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Chirnside, Derek (2008). Private correspondence