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Published Articles

2012. Design Guidelines to Address Global Challenges

Design Guidelines to Address Global Challenges: Lessons from Global Action Networks.  Journal of Organizational Design 1(3): 1-19 (2012)

Abstract:  Traditional organizations appear incapable of adequately addressing critical global issues such as war, climate change, and inequality. Addressing these issues suggests the need for organizational innovation to develop global social contracts. Successful innovation must address four integration imperatives: of effort and resources across organizational sectors (business, government, civil society) and sense-making, aggregations of individual-to-global, time horizons of short and long term, and of issue areas themselves. A new type of organization, Global Action Networks, aims for this integration. Based upon analysis of this new organization, five design principles for global social contract organizations are proposed.

2012. Global finance as an action research domain: Testing the boundaries

Global finance as an action research domain:  Testing the boundaries.  Action Research. 10(1) pp40-60.

Abstract:   Conducting action research with large global systems presents particular challenges. A major one is the need to easily and succinctly present complexity in a way that is meaningful for stakeholders and supports developing their connections to take effective joint action. The Global Finance Initiative (GFI) explored the use of three different visual mapping methodologies to help address this challenge. These are associated with social network analysis methodologies. But of course other issues with a global action research project also are significant. Identifying participants requires selecting from billions of people who are stakeholders. Additionally, this project also explored the role of action researchers as initiators of change, rather than ones invited into a change arena. To address some of these challenges, this article draws from the GFI experience and proposes an eight-step methodology.

2011. The Global Compact: An Organizational Innovation to Realize UN Principles

The Global Compact: An Organizational Innovation to Realize UN Principles. Global Compact Governance Paper Series

Abstract:  The United Nations was established to prevent war, promote human rights, support justice and international order, and promote social progress.  Its broad strategy is represented in its inter-governmental secretariat-based structures.  In order to supplement traditional implementing agencies, in 2000 it launched the UN Global Compact to promote the alignment of business action with the UN’s universal principles. In doing so, the UN was at the vanguard, creating a new form of network-based organization.  Such organizations are called Global Action Networks (GANs).  GANs are multi-stakeholder change networks that are addressing critical global issues.  Understanding and supporting the distinctiveness of the UN Global Compact is critical to realizing its full potential.  To deepen understanding of how to work effectively with the UNGC, this paper looks at the Compact first through the framework of GANs strategic characteristics, and second through its distinctive operating logics.

2009. Global Action Networks: An Organizational Innovation

Global Action Networks: An Organizational Innovation. Reflections: Journal of the Society for Organizational Learning.

Abstract:  GANs, or Global Action Networks, are a leading innovation for scaling impact to address issues of common good. GANs are a specific type of innovation that contrasts starkly with traditional approaches to global challenges and opportunities that focused upon national and intergovernmental organizations. Over the past few decades, as the pace of globalization has increased and environmental issues have grown, the limits of the nation-state have become increasingly apparent. This article introduces the five strategic qualities of  GANS, the stages these networks typically move through, and includes examples of successful initiatives the author has been involved with.

2007. Realising Global Change: Developing the Tools, building the Infrastructure

Realising Global Change: Developing the Tools, building the Infrastructure. Journal of Corporate Citizenship Special Issue. (26): 69-84.

Abstract:  Tackling global change challenges is becoming increasingly important with the rise of global interdependence. However, seemingly intractable global issues such as environmental sustainability, war and poverty suggest that current mechanisms and processes for responding to them are insufficient. There are some emerging experiences that suggest more successful possibilities are under development. Drawing on work with these multi-stakeholder global networks called Global Action Networks (GANs), the author proposes seven principles to guide successful global change strategies: (1) make the approach multi-stakeholder; (2) aggregate stakeholders by organisational sectors; (3) address the individual to societal change challenges; (4) make ‘learning’ a core value; (5) understand the work as building complex systems; (6) organise for ‘third-order’ change; and (7) think in terms of development stages.

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