Organizational Dimensions of Global Change: No Limits to Cooperation


Edited by: David L. Cooperrider & Jane E. Dutton

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Sensemaking and Global Change

    Part II: Collaboration and Partnership Arrangements: The Structures of Global Change

    Part III: Social Constructionism and Global Change

  • Copyright

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    To our children: Daniel, Matt, and Hannah Cooperrider Cara and Emily Sandelands


    Today's global forces for change are moving us into a remarkable new set of circumstances, one in which human social organizations inherited from the modern era may be unequal to the challenges posed by overpopulation, environmental damage, technology-driven revolutions, gross imbalances between rich and poor, and the onslaught of treatment-resistant diseases. Although very different in form, these various trends, from ozone depletion to 24-hours-per-day trading, are transnational by nature, crossing borders all over the globe, simultaneously affecting local-global realities, and reminding us that the earth, for all its historically reproduced divisions, is a single unit (for a powerful analysis of this point, see Kennedy, 1993). A world of thoroughgoing interdependence is upon us, and along with it is a historic opportunity to anticipate and imagine, to discover and design a new vision of the world's cooperative potential.

    The Launching of a New Series

    This pioneering volume is the first in a new series at Sage Publications that is devoted to advancing our knowledge of the Human Dimensions of Global Change. The series is designed to support a broader, worldwide movement—a call to all of the social sciences—to create an interdisciplinary domain seeking better understanding of the earth as a total system and to define ways in which human activities are both a source and a potentially positive response to alterations in earth and human systems that are not and cannot be localized; in short, the rapidly growing global agenda for change. The series is created out of concern for the future of humanity and the earth and recognizes that how humanity responds today to the consequences of ecological and economic global change will reverberate well into the future and across generations. What sets this series apart is its special attempt to augment the largely deficit-focused science of global change with special emphasis on constructive human response to the global agenda. In particular, it will attempt to search for new forms of human cooperation and global action. Thus, the call is to: (a) help build a foundation within the human dimensions of global change community for a scholarship of transformation that seeks to interpret basic new trends in humanity's global cooperative capacity; (b) anticipate new possibilities in organizational forms and processes; and (c) study the new relational practices that can contribute to a deeper understanding of the life-giving interrelation of humanity and world ecosystems, cooperative forms, and global society.

    Background and Brief Overview

    This volume grows from a special national Academy of Management conference hosted at Case Western Reserve University in the spring of 1995 that was intended to “begin building a solid Foundation under the Organization Dimensions of Global Change as a coherent intellectual enterprise … to explore how global change research needs organizational theory and change scholarship, and vice versa.” The logic is simple: There is not one item on the global agenda for change that can be understood (much less responded to) without a better understanding of organizations. More than anywhere else, the world's direction and future are being created in the context of human organizations and institutions. Today, as the walls to global cooperation have tumbled, new spaces have opened for transboundary corporations, networks, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), regimes, associations, grassroots groups, and many others to proliferate. The significance, in many respects, of the relatively small number of decisions made by our nation-state leaders pales in comparison to the billions of decisions made every day by members and leaders of such organizations. It is within this context that the editors of this volume offer an orientation and normative focus for organizational dimensions of global change (ODGC) inquiry as follows:

    ODGC research is an enterprise dedicated to the study and development of worldwide organizations and leaders that is capable of addressing the complex and pressing global issues of our time. In the transformative mode, ODGC research is deliberately capacity or “opportunity focused” and is “radically appreciative”—where inquiry itself is constructed as an intervention for the better and where the very framing of questions is recognized as a crucial choice-point for the kind of world that the “scientific construction of social reality” helps bring to focus, and perhaps fruition. Methodologically, it proceeds from the premise that there are “no limits to cooperation” and that virtually every item on the global agenda can be addressed, given the creation organizations and other cross-boundary cooperative systems that have as their primary task a world future of (a) human and ecological well-being; (b) sustainable economic development; and (c) an articulation of a set of values (emerging global ethics) capable of inspiring human action in the service of the widest possible good.

    The book is divided into three parts. The chapters in Part I by Karl Weick, Kathryn Kaczmarski and David Cooperrider, Frances Westley, and Ram Tenkasi and Sue Mohrman explore and broaden our understanding of organizational sensemaking and knowledge exchange—it is called Sensemaking and Global Change. Part II is about the structuring of global cooperation and argues that organizations working on the global agenda are almost everything but unitary organizational forms. Part II, therefore, is titled Collaboration and Partnership Arrangements: The Structures of Global Change. Included are chapters by L. David Brown and Darcy Ashman, Mayer Zald, Barbara Gray, Julie Fisher, and John Aram. Part III is titled Social Constructionism and Global Change and invites greater attention to ethical discourse and inquiry into ever-evolving visions of the good. It invites greater disciplinary self-critique and reflexivity. It seeks expansion of voices participating in the world of global change science and action. And it invites anticipatory theorizing, constructing future images, propositions, and languages of positive possibility. Again, the authors are leading thinkers in their fields: Kenneth Gergen; Raza A. Mir, Marta B. Calás, and Linda Smircich; Rene Bouwen and Chris Steyaert; Nancy J. Adler; and Stuart Hart.

    Although the contributors to this volume come from the arena of organization studies, this book should be of greater interest to human dimensions of global change scholars and practitioners all over the world and from an array of disciplines, including interdisciplinary fields of organization and management science, policy studies, international relations and development studies, and earth systems science, as well as the disciplines of sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, and psychology.


    In addition to the featured authors who contributed the chapters to this volume, our friends and colleagues from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan have offered continuous goodwill, inspirational input, and support.

    At Case Western Reserve University, we owe a large debt to faculty and students at the Weatherhead School of Management and its SIGMA Program on Human Cooperation and Global Action. Together, they hosted the conference with great hospitality and enthusiasm. In particular, we want to thank those faculty who made an important contribution in their willingness to give of their time and energy to lead a variety of sessions: Lisa Berlinger, Diana Bilimoria, Richard Boland, Richard Boyatzis, Ron Fry, Michael Ginzberg, David Kolb, Eric Neilsen, William Pasmore, and Don Wolfe. One of our richest sources of inspiration, as always, was Suresh Srivastva. He was the person who insisted that the conference needed a clearer direction; his suggestion to add “No Limits to Cooperation” as a subtitle for the event assisted in giving it a more affirmative and normative focus. Likewise, tremendous energy and a sense of purpose were infused throughout the conference by doctoral students from the Department of Organizational Behavior. Its success owes much to Kathryn Kaczmarski, Gurudev Khalsa, and Punya Upadhyaya, who were key organizers as well as visionaries about the importance of this domain for the future of the field. They, in turn, were assisted by a number of other doctoral student colleagues serving in a variety of ways: Don Austin, Ilma Barros, Rama Bhalla, Chet Bowling, Carla Carten, Tom Conklin, Mary Finney, James Ludema, Angela Murphy, Alice Yoko Oku, Charleyse Pratt, Cheryl Scott, Param Srikantia, Jane Wheeler, and Rob Wright. We are also grateful to Retta Holdorf and Bonnie Copes for their responsible, never-ending assistance in managing the conference and making sure that all of those who attended felt at home. In addition, two of our greatest advocates throughout have been Claudia Liebler and Ada Jo Mann, mainstays of our Global Excellence in Management Program. Their consistent sustenance for our efforts is gratefully received. In addition to the above, our very deep appreciation is given to the Dean of the Weatherhead School, Scott Cowen. Scott has always been an exceptional leader to all of us; and without his inspiration, encouragement, and ability to facilitate action, this conference (and, indeed, SIGMA) might not have happened. We are particularly grateful to him for his conviction that schools of management have a special, noble responsibility to society vis-a-vis the global agenda for change. He has been unfailing in his support for us personally and professionally and for the SIGMA Program.

    Likewise, there were many from the University of Michigan who helped us with the conference. We appreciated the input and enthusiasm of several doctoral students: Gelaye Debebe, Bill Dethlefs, Stephanie Mackie-Lewis, Gina McLaughlin, and David Obstfeld. Dean Joseph B. White of the University of Michigan Business School lent his presence, ideas, and support for the conference. In his own leadership style, Joe has opened endless possibilities for inspiration and collaboration. Finally, Cheryl Vereen has helped with all of the details, assembling and caring for the production of this book. Without her help, the book would not have happened. This is her first book production, and, based on her enthusiasm, our guess is that it will not be her last.

    In addition, we wish to thank a number of institutions and individuals who made this whole experience possible. The invitation and the seed grant funding came from a special initiative of the Academy of Management. Overall leadership and further funding came from two groups of the Academy: the Division of Organization and Management Theory and the Division of Organization Development and Change. Individual contributions were offered by a number of people; most notably, a generous gift from Jane Seiling was provided in support of SIGMA. Likewise, outside the Academy, inspiration and encouragement for the idea came from conversations with Tom Baerwhald at the National Science Foundation's Global Change Research Program and with John P. Grant and Elise Stork from the Office for Private Voluntary Cooperation (PVC) at the U.S. Agency for International Development. PVC's direct support in the field of Case Western Reserve University's Global Excellence in Management initiative provided a much-needed grounded context for the more academic theorizing about the organizational dimensions of global change.

    As mentioned earlier, this volume is the first in a new Sage series. Marquita Flemming, our editor, has been a wonderful colleague, friend, and guide throughout this entire process. Instinctively, she knows that management today is a matter of world affairs and that the entire field is being called to aim higher. Her courage and commitment to work with us to connect organizational thinking to the research domain of global change cannot be overstated. We both want to thank Marquita and each of her colleagues at Sage for their professional assistance, encouragement, and willingness to open new pathways for the study of human cooperation and global action in the new century.

    David L.CooperriderCase Western Reserve University
    Jane E.DuttonUniversity of Michigan
  • About the Editors

    David L. Cooperrider is Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Chair of the Social Innovations in Global Management (SIGMA) Program at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. He is a former chair of the National Academy of Management's Division of Organizational Development and Change. From 1994 to 1997, he served as Principal Investigator of a $3.5 million grant from USAID working with international organizations dealing with global issues of human health, environment, peace, and development. As part of this grant (renewed for 1997–2000), he and his colleagues have organizational learning projects in 57 organizations in more than 100 countries. Most of these efforts are inspired by the “appreciative inquiry” methodology for which he is known.

    Professor Cooperrider has published in journals such as Human Relations, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, and Contemporary Psychology, and he has participated in research series, including Advances in Strategic Management, Research in Organization Development and Change, and Inquiries in Social Construction. He is editor of a new Sage book series, Human Dimensions of Global Change. He has served as researcher-consultant to a wide variety of organizations, including BP America, GTE, Touche Ross Canada, World Vision, Nature Conservancy, Cleveland Clinic, Imagine Chicago, TechnoServe, Omni Hotels, and the Mountain Forum.

    Jane E. Dutton is the William Russell Kelly Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan Business School. She taught at New York University for 6 years before joining the Michigan faculty. Her research focuses on invisible relational work in organizations—what it is and why it matters. She is searching for ways to write and ways to theorize that put the relational side of organizational life center stage. Right now, she is doing all of her work on the construction of care for place and is studying people who do cleaning in all kinds of contexts. Her research articles have appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, and Academy of Management Journal, as well as a variety of other journals. She serves on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly and Organization Science. She is co-director of the Interdisciplinary Committee of Organization Studies (ICOS) at the University of Michigan.

    About the Contributors

    Nancy J. Adler is Professor of Organizational Behavior and Cross-Cultural Management at the Faculty of Management, McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She conducts research and consults on strategic international human resource management, global women leaders, international negotiating, culturally synergistic problem solving, and global organization development. She has authored numerous articles, produced the film A Portable Life, and published the books International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior (3rd ed., 1997), Women in Management Worldwide (1988), and Competitive Frontiers: Women Managers in a Global Economy (1994). She has consulted for private corporations and government organizations on projects in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and Asia. She is a recipient of the American Society for Training and Development's International Leadership Award, the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research's Outstanding Senior Interculturalist Award, the YWCA's Femme de Mérite (Woman of Distinction) Award, and the Sage Award for scholarly contributions to management.

    John D. Aram is Professor of Management Policy at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He received his doctorate in management from the Sloan School at MIT in 1968. His current interests focus on the social and organizational impacts of global capitalism and on institutional structures capable of combining ideals of liberalism and community. At the Weatherhead School, he is faculty director of the Executive Doctorate in Management Program, which is an interdisciplinary program of doctoral studies available for advanced professionals working full-time.

    Darcy Ashman teaches courses in organizational behavior at the School for International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, Vermont and the Global Partnership for Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Studies, Education and Training in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is SIT's Chairperson of the Global Partnership, a joint venture between SIT and two distinguished NGOs in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe offering graduate and undergraduate degree programs in grassroots development and NGO leadership and management. She also serves as a Research Associate of the Institute for Development Research (IDR) in Boston. Her research interests are in the areas of interorganizational relations; organizational development of NGOs; and women's organizations, management, and leadership. She is completing her doctoral dissertation on the roles of NGO networks in the democratization of Bangladesh at Boston University.

    René Bouwen is Professor in Organizational Psychology and Group Dynamics at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. He has been involved as a visiting professor in projects in Asia, Latin America, the United States, and several European countries. His research and publications focus on three main topics: innovation, entrepreneurship, and change processes in organization; conflict and conflict management; and the development and effectiveness of groups. A common thread in his work is a social constructionist and multivoiced approach of dynamic and emergent multiparty social contexts. He is involved with change projects in business and social profit organizations, especially through the advanced professionla training of process consultants.

    L. David Brown is President of the Institute for Development Research and Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Boston University School of Management. His research and consulting focus on interventions to strengthen civil society organizations and institutions that promote democratic governance and sustainable development. He works with nongovernmental support organizations in Asia and Africa as well as international organizations and coalitions concerned with these issues. He is an author of several books and more than 50 articles in professional journals and books. He is currently coediting The Struggle for Accountability: The World Bank, NGOs, and SocialMovements, which reports results of a multicountry study of efforts to reform World Bank policies and projects.

    Marta B. Calás is Associate Professor of Organization Studies and International Management at the School of Management of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She was born in Cuba and has lived and worked in various countries. She holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD in organization studies and cultural anthropology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

    Julie Fisher is a Program Officer at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, with responsibilities related to its International Civil Society Consortium for Public Deliberation. Until recently, she was a Scholar in Residence at the Program on Nonprofit Organizations at Yale University and one of several professors teaching a course on global population issues at Yale. She is the author of The Road From Rio: Sustainable Development and the Nongovernmental Movement in the Third World (1993) and Nongovernments: NGOs and the Political Development of the Third World (1998), as well as a number of articles. As an independent consultant on international development, her clients have included Save the Children, Technoserve, Lutheran World Relief, the International Council for Educational Development, UNICEF, Interaction, and CARE.

    Kenneth J. Gergen is Mustin Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He is a major contributor to theory and research in social construction, and his writings treat a wide range of topics, including postmodernism, organizational process, education, technology, and the self. He is an Associate Editor of The American Psychologist and Theory and Psychology, as well as a co-founder of The Taos Institute. Among his most important works are Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge, The Saturated Self, and Realities and Relationships.

    Barbara Gray is Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Center for Research in Conflict and Negotiation at The Pennsylvania State University. She has been studying organizational and international conflict and negotiation processes for more than 20 years. She has published two books, Collaborating: Finding Common Ground for Multiparty Problems and International Joint Ventures: Economic and Organizational Perspectives as well as numerous journal articles. Her publications have appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Human Relations, and Journal of Management Inquiry, among others. She is also a trained mediator and has served as a consultant to numerous public and private sector organizations.

    Stuart L. Hart is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, he taught corporate strategy at the University of Michigan Business School and was Director of the Corporate Environmental Management Program (CEMP), a joint initiative between the Business School and the School of Natural Resources and Environment. His research interests center on effective strategic and organizational change. He is particularly interested in the implications of environmentalism and sustainable development for corporate strategy and the management of technology and innovation. He serves on the editorial board of the Strategic Management Journal and has published more than 40 papers and authored or edited four books. He has also served as consultant or management educator to a number of private and public organizations.

    Kathryn M. Kaczmarski is a doctoral candidate in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University. Her research focuses on the forms of leadership involved with global social change initiatives. Having left a career in corporate human resources to pursue her doctorate, she has consulted in both the private and public sectors, most recently with international development and nongovernmental organizations. One of her current projects is the United Religions Initiative, a global movement to create a United Nations-like organization of the world's religions. She has coauthored an article, “Leadership for a Global Spiritual Movement” and authored numerous other articles on leadership appearing in Global Social Innovations, a publication of the Global Excellence in Management Initiative of the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.

    Raza A. Mir is Assistant Professor in Management/Marketing at Monmouth University. He grew up in India and has been witness to the exponential expansion of international capital there, particularly over the past 15 years. His research interests are based on those experiences; for his dissertation, he is studying the processes of “knowledge transfer” in multinational corporations, and the political and power-laden dimensions that undergird them.

    Susan Albers Mohrman is senior research scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Her research and consulting activities have been in the areas of organizational design and large-scale organizational transformation. Recently, she has been a principal investigator in a study of 10 major corporations undergoing fundamental change in their business model. She is a coauthor of Self-Designing Organizations: Learning How to Create High Performance (1989) and Designing Team-Based Organizations (1995).

    Linda Smircich is Professor of Organization Studies at the School of Management of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In her collaborative scholarly work with Marta Calas, she applies perspectives from cultural studies and postmodern, feminist, and postcolonial theorizing to question current understandings of organizational topics such as leadership, business ethics, and globalization. She is coeditor of the Americas (with Calás) of the new journal Organization: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Organization, Theory, and Society. Her articles and book chapters have appeared in several national and international publications.

    Chris Steyaert is Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at the Institute of Organization and Industrial Sociology, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. In 1996, he received his PhD in Psychology from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. He has published in international journals and books in the area of entrepreneurship and organizational innovation. His current research topics include organizing creativity, language and translation, forms of performing/writing research, and intercultural communication in society.

    Ramkrishnan V. Tenkasi is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Business and Health Administration, Benedictine University. His research examines the impact of cognitive, affective, and communicative processes in organizational knowledge and learning, and their mediation by organizational design choices. A special interest is the role of information technology in facilitating knowledge creation and learning processes in organizations. He is the author of articles and book chapters that have appeared in publications such as Organization Science, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, Employee Relations, Research in Organizational Development and Change, and ACM Proceedings in Computer Supported Cooperative Work.

    Karl E. Weick is the Rensis Likert Collegiate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the University of Michigan and is also the former editor of Administrative Science Quarterly, the leading research journal in the field of organizational studies. In 1990, he received the highest honor awarded by the Academy of Management, the Irwin Award for Distinguished Lifetime Scholarly Achievement. He studies such topics as how people make sense of confusing events, the social psychology of improvisation, high reliability systems, the effects of stress on thinking and imagination, indeterminacy in social systems, social commitment, small wins as the embodiment of wisdom, and linkages between theory and practice. His writing about these topics has been collected in four books, one of which—the coauthored Managerial Behavior, Performance and Effectiveness—won the 1972 Book of the Year Award from the American College of Hospital Administration.

    Frances Westley is Associate Professor in the strategy and organizations area, Faculty of Management, McGill University. She teaches, does research, and consults in the area of strategies for sustainable development. Her particular interest is in organizational design and process and its effects on environmental sustainability.

    Mayer N. Zald is Professor of Sociology, Social Work, and Business Administration at The University of Michigan. He has published widely on complex organizations, social welfare, and social movements. In 1990, he edited (with Robert L. Kahn) a volume of essays titled Organizations and Nations: New Perspectives on Conflict and Cooperation. In 1996 (with Doug McAdam and John McCarthy), he edited a collection of essays, Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures and Cultural Framings. Aside from essays on social movements, he is currently engaged in a reformulation of social science as science and humanities. Several recent publications reflect this theme. He has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (1986–1987, 1994) and was Distinguished Scholar of the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management (1989).

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