Integral Review

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

Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jordan’

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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The Mental Demands of Marine Ecosystem-Based Management: A Constructive Developmental Lens (by V. G. DeLauer, 2009)

Reviewed by Thomas Jordan

Abstract: Our societies face a number of challenging issues that are both important, because of their impact on the wellbeing of people and nature, and complex, because many causal and conditioning factors and diverse stakeholders are involved. We find such issues in many areas, such as climate change, biodiversity, environmental pollution, intractable conflicts, crime, unhealthy lifestyles, drug abuse, mobbing, etc. Arguably, building capacities to skillfully manage complex societal issues should be a central concern for many of us. I believe most readers of this journal share a belief that the field of adult development sits on a treasure of insight that could contribute very significantly to our understanding of how we could build such capacities. However, the number of solid empirical studies using a developmental perspective on meaning-making among people with crucial roles in organizations and initiatives working on issues of great societal significance is still small. I was therefore very satisfied, not to say thrilled, when I stumbled upon Verna DeLauer’s doctoral dissertation The Mental Demands of Marine Ecosystem-Based Management: A Constructive Developmental Lens. DeLauer has, in my view, written a doctoral dissertation

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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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Integral Review and its Editors


Abstract: In this introduction to Integral Review’s inaugural issue, we explain the meaning we give to the title of this electronic journal which is open-access, both refereed and peer-reviewed, and why that meaning is important for us in today’s world. The draft of the basic article, which was intensely discussed among the members of the editorial committee, was written by Sara Ross and Reinhard Fuhr,* and following it, other members of the editorial committee added their personal emphases in reference to the integral paradigm as well as their (critical) evaluation of the premises made in the basic article. Thus Thomas Jordan offers a set of categories and criteria for integral qualities which turned out to be most important in practice and evaluation processes. Michel Bauwens makes distinctions about the multi-perspectival nature of the integral paradigm, points out ways to avoid four different kinds of reductionism, and highlights layers of awareness. Russ Volckman emphasizes the connection between the diversity of worldviews and methodologies, which allow us to also integrate recent developments in behavioral approaches in his professional field of organization and leadership development. Jonathan Reams emphasizes the new, transcendent quality of an integral approach that enables us to use different qualities of “reflection” flexibly and – as we have a meta-framework of human perceptions and values – to recognize everybody’s truth and feel compassionate with it. We then close with a discussion of the relationship between Integral Review and the mission of its non-profit publisher, ARINA, Inc.

Editor’s note: Sara Ross is president of ARINA, Inc. and coordinator of IR, Reinhard Fuhr is editor-in-chief of IR

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Good, Clever and Wise: A study of political meaning-making among integral change agents

Thomas Jordan in an Interview with Russ Volckmann

Abstract: Thomas Jordan discusses the intellectual and research foundations that have led to his creation of a consciousness development model. In interview research that he conducted among selected personnel in Swedish defense and security agencies, Jordan has focused on three key skill sets: consciousness skills, self-awareness and embeddedness or identification. From this he has identified seven characteristics that show up in various patterns among those he interviewed. The first three—good, clever, and wise—are key characteristics. The next four follow from them: curious, inventive, modest and handy. These show up in variable combinations among these integral change agents involved with promoting change within political institutions.

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