Living System: Org Theory and Practice LO21908 -Call for Materials
Mon, 14 Jun 1999 22:49:24 -0400 (EDT)


Living System: Organizational Theory and Practice
A Guide to Nonprofit Organizations

Pressured by changes in their economic and socio-political environments,
increasing numbers of organizations in the nonprofit sector are going
through large-scale organizational changes; many of these aspire to become
what is most broadly known as a Learning Organization. Although, there is
a prolific literature on learning organizations, most of it is not
tailored to nonprofits. Our experience tells us that this constitutes a
significant barrier to learning. Furthermore, surveying and sorting
through the more generic literature and trying to marry theory to practice
is often overwhelming and time-consuming for practitioners who look for
guideposts relevant to the needs of their own organizations. The purpose
of this book is to address these problems in a comprehensive way. We will
use the stories of nonprofit organizations that have progressed some
distance along the path of becoming a learning organization to illustrate
core concepts, disciplines and practices. Through these same stories we
will document the processes people have gone through and discuss the
challenges, revelations, struggles, and resistance to change that these
organizations have faced.

In our effort to create a comprehensive guide, we are asking for help
collecting the following materials:

1. Nationwide search of case studies: Examples of nonprofit organizations
that have a number of the following attributes of learning organizations
(Please include contact information):

a. There is a healthy level of honest dialogue with all
major stakeholders including the program
participants/community constituents.

b. Organizational learning and accountability systems are
active at all levels and are closely aligned with the
needs of the organization to move forward.

c. Collaboration between people and programs, and with
other organizations is high.

d. Core management systems are transparent.

e. The organization understands its role in the larger
system or field in which it exists and is taking a
strategic/ generative role in that system.

2. Articles, books, papers from academic and professional sources. What
are some of the resources you would recommend as being most relevant to
this project?

3. Web sites and lists relevant to this project.

The authors of this book are:

Dakota Butterfield, an independent consultant to
nonprofits specializing in democratic management.

Deborah Linnell, the director of a battered women shelter
in Newport, R.I. who, herself in leading an organizational
change effort.

Ruth McCambridge, a consultant to nonprofits specializing
in transformational change and whole systems change.

All are working with Third Sector New England on this project and all
played significant roles in developing COMMONGROUND, a nonprofit learning
community involving 17 multi-service centers in Greater Boston.


Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>