Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘societal entrepreneurship’

The Spectrum of Responses to Complex Societal Issues: Reflections on Seven Years of Empirical Inquiry

Thomas Jordan, Pia Andersson & Helena Ringnér

Abstract: This article offers conclusions and reflections based on nine empirical studies carried out over the last seven years on how increased capacity to manage complex social issues can be scaffolded. Our focus has been on the role of meaning-making structures and transformations in individual and collective efforts to skillfully manage complex issues. We have studied capacities for managing complex issues both in terms of scaffolding group efforts through structured methods and facilitation and in terms of individual skills. Our action research gave us insights into the variability in scaffolding needs: groups are different in terms of the participants’ meaning-making patterns, which means that methods and facilitation techniques should be adapted to the particular conditions in each case. We discuss variables describing group differences and offer a preliminary typology of functions that may need to be scaffolded. In a second major part of the article, we report on our learning about individual societal change agency. We offer a typology of four types of societal entrepreneurship and discuss in more detail the properties of dialectical meaning-making in societal change agency.

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Skillful Engagement with Wicked Issues: A Framework for Analysing the Meaning-Making Structures of Societal Change Agents

Thomas Jordan

Abstract: The argument underlying this article is that innovative and skillful change strategies are needed in order to handle a range of complex and difficult societal issues. For many of these so-called wicked issues, conventional institutions and policies have performed rather poorly. It can be reasonably argued that societal change agents play a crucial role in catalysing developmental processes regarding our societies’ problem-solving strategies and organizational forms. The purpose of this article is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the different ways societal change agents engage wicked issues by developing a conceptual framework for analysing the meaning-making patterns of change agents. The framework integrates relevant concepts and models from the field of adult development with a specific focus on the role of awareness in five domains: task complexity, context, stakeholders, self, and perspectives. The framework is expected to be useful in analysing and explaining the variability in how societal change agents construct visions, goals, strategies, and courses of action, as well as in analysing patterns of effectiveness and success in initiatives that engage complex societal issues. Knowledge gained from such studies can (presumably) be used for designing more effective forms of scaffolding individual competence development as well as collective problem-solving and strategy development processes.

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