My Philosophy and Community Development page
(always under construction)
What we ‘see’ can be deceiving......
In the graphic below, do you see the young woman, or do you see
the older woman ?
A simple optical illusion, yes; but it does illustrate how our
brains work, and illustrates that how we look at things determines
what we see. The same is true about politics, religion, race, marriage,
relationships, and indeed any part of our lives.
"You can blame people who knock things over in the
dark, or you can begin to light candles.
You’re only at fault if you know about the problem and
choose to do nothing."
- Paul Hawken, The Sun, April 2000.
For over 100 years, the industrial revolution has
defined how our organizations have been set up, how we looked at each other in the
workplace, how we organized our educational system, our healthcare system, and that outlook has defined how we as world citizens view our world and everyone in it.
Despite our best efforts, problems continue to defy solution, and more complex problems appear as we try to deal with the current ones.
I believe we need to critically examine the largest and yet the least recognized cause of our difficulties; the way we think.
This applies to communities as well as business, government, and non-profit
The premise of organizational development is:
Organizations are social systems in which people are strongly influenced by the
organizational culture. Therefore, the most potent tool for improvement is
The goal is to increase the long-term health and performance of the organization,
while enriching the lives of its stakeholders. Many pay lip service to
principles like this, but continue to cut workforces, cheapen their
products and/or services, and pay their top manangement excessive and
If the United States is to successfully compete in a world market, we
need to improve education (not just the infrastructure, even though our
schools are falling apart while school board salaries continue to rise),
leverage our talent (not merely outsource, a lazy and short-sighted approach),
and use our American drive and know-how to do things better.
Some pages I put together with brief outlines of OD ideas:
I won't outline the lives and many works of the following people; that has
been done many places (and I have included some of those links at the end of
the respective pages).
cover some of the ideas they developed, and how their work
has contributed to our understanding of social psychology and organizational
development. The current (Dec 2006) is just a start; I plant to add more as
my studies progress.
I also have included some comments about how their work has
contributed to the whole, and the uphill battle that we face against the
idea of mechanized organizations, and trying to simplistically apply
scientific principles to our organizations.
The first two links outline the works of Kurt Lewin and John Dewey, two of the
most influential psychologist/educators in the 20th century. These two men
(and many others, of course) have contributed much to our understanding of
organizational behavior dynamics, and deserve a prominent place in a study
of the subject.
The links following Dewey and Lewin outline and discuss Chris Argyris,
G. Edwards Deming, and Peter Senge, whose works have built on Lewin and Dewey.
Taken as a whole, the works of those people outlined here illustrate that
the aged Model I approach of the assembly line that our organizationas have
embraced and tenaciously held to is no longer working in the face of foreign
competition. That much is evident even without the study of these works.
The model that most organizations seem to follow, closely resembles the
owner-serf model of the middle ages, where 'educated', wealthy land-owners
'protect' uneducated, poor land-workers who are given the bare minimum
to exist while the owners are the major beneficiaries.
Chris Argyris and Action Science
Deming Profound Knowledge
Jay Forrester and System Dynamics
A brief synopsis of Senges Fifth Discipline
Some quotes I have found through my studies:
My quotes page
Favorite OD books:
Action Science: Concepts, Methods, and Skills for Research and Intervention
Chris Argyris, Robert Putnam, Diana McLain Smith
Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1985
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization
Peter Senge, Doubleday, New York 1990
There are many sites on the web describing the Fifth Discipline; I have included a few below.
My synopsis of this book is here......
The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization
Peter M. Senge, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B. Ross, Bryan I. Smith, Art Kleiner
Doubleday, New York 1994
The Deming Management Method
Mary Walton Perigee/Putnam, New York, 1986
Tom Peters, Ballantine Books, New York, 1992
The Black Belt Manager
Robert Pater, Park Street Press, Rochester, VT, 1988.
Links of note:
Peter Senge and the Theory and
Practice of the Learning Organization
Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
the Fifth Discipline
System Dynamics and Jay Forrester
High-Performance Systems Inc.
Learning Organizations (Kari
Pegasus Communications, a good site for learning and systemic thinking
Please see the following link to my research paper, written while I was an undergraduate at Northwood University.
Although my Northwood paper is not about OD specifically, it does outline the view that Information Technology has been shown to have limited effectiveness in organizations that do not concurrently change the way the parts of the organization work together.
My research paper done at Northwood University, 1995.
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