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Randy Fisher's Masters Project II

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

Annotated Table of Contents

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, Otago's learning design group and educator-authors are increasing their productivity and performance - and experiencing a shift in their power relations - by collaboratively developing OERs within the context of a complex and self-organizing ecosystem, open-source technology hiccups, wiki skills gaps, cultural differences and resistance to change.


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

Table of Contents

(1) A Bold Vision for Sustainable Digital Futures (90% complete)

The first chapter provides background information about the WikiEducator strategy, environment and the success factors supporting its use, growth and development. It is a values-based community and project, and users gravitate to it for the reasons provided in the sections indicated below. It is setting the stage for the thought experiment and analysis to come.

               + 2.11.1 Inputs, Outputs, Outcomes
               + 2.11.2 Free / Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS / FLOSS)
               + 2.11.3 Right-to-Copy vs. Copyright
               + 2.11.4 Project-Focused Wiki
               + 2.11.5 Kiwi Cluster, #8 Wire & Adaptive Learning Culture
               + 2.11.6 Other Success Factors

(2) A Complex, Self-Organizing Ecosystem (60% completed)

This chapter is a major addition to Draft I (which gave a cursory reference to KT & SO). However, upon reflection, this is an essential element to WE's growth and it's users behaviour. The wiki is a complex adaptive system, and its users operate in a self-organizing fashion. Moreover, WE is an adaptive system within an adaptive system, and WE will give birth and death to clusters, nodes and projects within its sphere. All of this activity is intimately tied to overall sustainability, and the ability of other ecosystems to interact interdependently with WE.

Notably, I have inserted the development of the International Center for Open Education / OER Foundation here, because it is an essential part / bridge-builder for the ecosystem, instead of a simple output from Chapter 1 of this paper. The OER Foundation will also enable the wiki to find its own sourse of "sustainability, by changing its model so that it actively seeks formal relationships with educational institutions around the globe. As a sustainable project, therein lies WE's sustainability. In terms of the global open education community, there will be considerably greater momentum and growth, once education institutions sign on, to develop their materials as open education resources, thereby supporting overall system development and sustainability.

This chapter is also about setting the stage, for focusing on educational institutions, as this paper is not focused on wikis for learning, but rather, educators' motivations for using collaborative wikis for development of course materials, within the context of educational institutions. (It's been tough to keep track of this essential focus, as most of the literature that I've looked at is about social learning / Web 2.0 / blended learning for the classroom, not necessarily content creation within the educational institution by the learning design teams in concert with the faculty, who have something to gain from the process, and something to lose - i.e., power relations, culture clash - to be explored in a future chapter.)

I still have to spend time developing the "Complexity and Emergence" sections of this Chapter.

               + 2.12.1 Simple Rules & Roles
               + 2.12.2 Interconnected Relationships, Supportive Linkages
               + 2.12.3 Ecosystem Sustainability & Interoperability
               + 2.12.4 International Center for Open Education / OER Foundation
               + 2.12.5 Complexity and Emergence
                     # Self-Organizing Behaviour
                     # Double Loop Learning

(3) Needs-Based Motivation Supports Wiki Use, Growth (75% completed)

This chapter focuses more squarely on the research question:

What motivates educators to use collaborative wiki spaces?

As I have it now, I am focusing on developing distinctions between educator's needs to collaborate in the first place, wiki or not, and the same for Educational Institutions as an organizational entity. I have interviewed educators using the ADDIE model of course development to come up with the costs of traditional course development as compared to the 'wiki-way'. There are some problems with this section, in how I will eventually deal with the Institution's motivational need for Power and Leadership, or Thought Leadership (n-Pow, n-Ach) - and putting bums in seats (generating revenue AND research dollars, depending on the institution; however, Otago's case, it's Power and Leadership, and that will attract the students and the government funding) in applying McLelland's Theory of Motivation not just to individual educator-authors, but an actual organization in the context of a thought experiment. The Chapter, while mostly complete, is 'loose in places' and needs tightening up, and stronger connections.

               + 2.13.1 Educators' Needs
                     # Accelerated Cycle of Collaboration
               + 2.13.2 Institutional Needs
               + 2.13.3 Curricula Production Environment
                     # Course Development
                     # Assumptions
         o 2.14 Course Development - Traditional Production Model
               + 2.14.1 Fixed Costs
               + 2.14.2 Variable Costs (Labour)
                     # Model 1 - Consultant
                     # Model 2 – College/University Employee
               + 2.14.3 Bundled Time for One (1) Course Development
         o 2.15 Course Development: Wiki Production Model
               + 2.15.1 Savings via Collaborative Peer Production
               + 2.15.2 Difference Between Traditional Model vs. Collaborative Model
               + 2.15.3 Total # of Lecturers @ Institution
               + 2.15.4 Total # of Courses @ Institution
               + 2.15.5 Savings from wiki course production
               + 2.15.6 Net Savings per year (10% of courses, conservative estimate)
               + 2.15.7 Return-on-Investment

(4) Compelling Motivational Needs (50% completed)

Motivation to Collaborate as an approach to Professional Development (Educators) and Educational Institutions (Cost-Savings, Project Collaboration, Leadership)

In this chapter, I introduce McLelland's Theory of Motivation, and the three needs underlying human motivation. What I'm thinking here, is that this is the section that I really explore the concept, my assumptions and stance about the concept, and the research (Concept Review), and the sections for Culture Clash, Power Relations and Professional Development go somewhere else - further into the document). The concept being motivation, but also synonyms for the needs expressed in the theory. For example, power = control, authority; achievement = leadership; affiliation = belonging, group, community of practice (core group). I'm also thinking that further in the paper, when it comes to the Content Analysis, I might look at the actual 'language', as in post-modern theorists Sassure and Wittgenstein's Language and Language Games (Hatch, 2006 pp. 48-49) - because language shifts depending on the communities and contexts in which it is used.

               + 2.16.1 Needs-Based Motivation Theory
               2.16.2 Concept Review2

(Comment.gif: Should the 3 topics below be contained in its own chapter - or sections within a chapter, further up....because it all talks to the culture within an educational institution, and then there's discussion about what happens after the intervention -- where would it go?)

                     # Culture Clash: Reconciling Wiki Roles with Organizational Job Requirements
                     # Changing Power Relations (Internally)
                     # Professional Development

(Comment.gif: N-aff - Community of Practice - to support Participatory Learning and Engagement - also, mitigate power shift inside education institutions - explore this link)

(5) Intervention (80% completed)

In this chapter, I introduce the intervention from the point of view of Educators effectiveness, by using a revised model for wiki skills development.

There are several problems in this section:

  1. I refer to WikiEducators' Effectiveness, but it is really Educators' Effectiveness in the context of using wiki skills on WikiEducator (whereby they become WikiEducators) - what language should I use?
  2. and I refer a bit farther down in the section to an Educational Institution. That is what I want to say, but it's really convoluted.

The TX is about the intervention in the context of an educational institution. This current educational institutions is using WE as a content development platform already, but it does not have wide numbers of faculty using the plaform. My experience on WE as a facilitator for wiki skills development for individual learners tells me that the new and improved wiki skills training makes a difference, but in the context of an educational institution, that's another question - hence the intervention. Thoughts?

               + 2.17.1 Increasing & Measuring WikiEducators' Effectiveness...
               + 2.17.2 an Educational Institution
                     # 1. Number of user accounts registered on WE
                     # 2. Rate of conversion from new users to active contributors on WE

(5) Research Methodology (70% Completed)

This chapter describes the research design


  • Should I discuss the findings here?
  • Is this the appropriate place to bring in "Culture, Power Relations & Professional Development", as discussed above?
    • Do I need to discuss these things somewhere else first, before I refer to them in this section, or the following analysis section - a bit confused on this point

(Comment.gif: Do I need to focus on Content Analysis / Unobtrusive Measures pertaining to: educators an their motivation to collaborate; within culture change situations; social learning & online collaboration; or motivation in general in wiki / Web 2.0 collaborative platforms - to validate the use of CA / UM as a validation to the methodology, in this Thought Experiment?)

               + 2.18.1 Content Analysis
               + 2.18.2 Unobtrusive Measures
         o 2.19 WikiEducator Community Characteristics
               + 2.19.1 High Level of Productivity
               + 2.19.2 Active Users Motivated by 'Power'
               + 2.19.3 Monitoring User Contributions
               + 2.19.4 Community of Practice & Support
         o 2.20 Institutional Motivations, Concerns and Accountabilities
               + 2.20.1 Global Leadership, Increased Power & Influence
               + 2.20.2 Project Numbers (a Business Case for Change)
               + 2.20.3 Fear & Resistance to Change
                     # Academic vs. Wiki Culture

Hippie Era Motivation Theory Meets the Digital Age (75% completed)

This chapter applies McLelland's Theory of Motivation to the outcome of the intervention, in the context of the educational institution. It discusses the degree to which it applies in this environment. (I have open questions from classmates, which I will incorporate into the final text).

  • Is the theory valid? When, Where, when not, why
  • Review my stance in light of this discussion
               + 2.21.1 McLelland's Theory of Motivation is plausible with a few caveats:
                     # WE is a large online community, not a large bureaucracy
                     # WE is a self-organizing ecosystem with simple rules governing behavior
                     # Hybrid Motivational Needs
                     # Motivations & Roles Change Over Time
                     # Motivations & Unobtrusive Measures: Are Occurrences Deceiving?
                     # Open Source Values & Dynamic Community Energy
                     # Collaboration Woes
                     # Outcome Measures: Validity and Reliability
                           * Definition Bias (Joe S.)
                     # Feelings of Loss, Possible Resistance
                     # Organization Culture (Institution)

Where Do WE Go From Here? (70% Completed)

This chapter explores the consequences and unintended consequences of the intervention, correct? The way the paras are worded, are more like - What to do as a result of the intervention, vs. exploring these consequences further - some clarification would be helpful here... <smile>

Also, exploring implications for (educator) motivation theory, power relations, cultural change / transition theory, complexity theory and self-organizational behaviour.

               + 2.22.1 Adjustments to Training Model 
               + 2.22.2 Metaphoric Opportunities to Challenge Thinking & Respond to Change
                     # Learn how to use small changes to create large effects (#3)
                     # Live with continuous transformation and emergent order as a natural state of affairs (#4) - note the connection to "Adjustments in Training Model
                     # Be open to new metaphors that can facilitate processes of self-organization (#5)
               + 2.22.3 Internal Resistance to Technology Adoption
               + 2.22.4 Institutional Shift in Power: A Changing Model of Education
                     # Cultural Shifts, Power Discovery
               + 2.22.5 Reference "Surprises"

The Control Paradox and a Paradigm Shift (50% Completed)

This chapter includes both recommendations for the future and and summary, focusing on a training model / approaches for motivating educators to collaborate online, within the context of greater ROI due to institutional economies of scale, professional development and meeting the goals of Free / Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) and the UN's Millennium Development Goals.


  • Reconsidering Motivation of Educators to Collaborate
  • Reconsidering Educators' motivation to collaborate on wiki spaces
  • Reconsidering my stance
  • Reflections on my learning as a researcher and as an online community builder
               + 2.23.1 The New 'Natural' Form of Organization



  • Information such as spreadsheets, tables, etc.