REAL : Regenerating engagement and learning within, across and beyond system scales and contexts

Gardiner, Louie J. N.

Adaptive action research; Learning

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©2016 University of Hull


The purpose of this research is about regenerating engagement and learning within, across and beyond system scales.

I am undertaking a Case Study with IofC because of a four-way fit: this issue is a global concern (because of escalating conflicts, divisions, corruption, abuse in organisations, governments, nations, communities); it is of concern to IofC as a global peace-building fellowship facing internal challenges threatening its viability; both the above are of deep concern to me and, additionally as a systemic change professional I am worried about the inadequacies of current Newtonian approaches to learning and change within organisational and political arenas.

Conventional management approaches are based on assumptions that human systems are closed, subject to linear causality, and have low dimensionality. In fact the opposite is true. They are open, high dimension with nonlinear causality – meaning that it is impossible to predict or control them. The best we can do is anticipate and influence. If this is the best we can do, how best can we do it? Drawing on theories relating to Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) Theory, Self-organised criticality and Swarm behaviour I intend to introduce innovative methodologies and methods to explore my research question:

Can working systemically with individuals, using Adaptive Action Research and CAS-coherent methods, bring about wholescale learning?

This research stretches into psycho-therapeutic, Coaching and Coaching Supervision realms. There is an almost total absence of peer reviewed papers on the subject of ‘working systemically with individuals’, pointing to a gap in both systemic practice and research in these fields. When working with individuals in the fieldwork I will be experimenting with a method developed in the field: The Potent 6 Constellation. The research will be emergent guided by multi-iterations of Adaptive Action. I will primarily use recordings of sessions plus ethnographic and autoethnographic modes for collecting data and evidence of shifts in scale-frames between REAL programme participants, IofC-UK and global IofC.

New innovations that arise through Adaptive Action iterations will be integrated into the research where and when they are fit for purpose, context.

Hull University Business School, The University of Hull
Peer reviewed
Additional notes
Formal Assessment (upgrade) Report submitted in July 2015.
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