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Organisation Development

As living entities, organisations are subject to processes of change, growth and development . They are conceived and brought into the world by pioneers. Over time they grow and adjust to the changing demands, both internal and external. In maturity they achieve a degree of stability by integrating, at a higher level, the dynamic forces of initiative and the ordering principles of structure.

Bernard Lievegoed was a pioneer in understanding developmental phases in human life as well as in organisations. My organisation support work builds on his insights as well as the experience of those many consultants and researchers who have applied his theories in diverse organisations around the world.

The articles below pertain to the development of schools as organisations with a cultural purpose. Schools differ from economic organisations with a production focus in that the relationship between teachers, students and parents is the medium within which the educational activity unfolds. Lean systems thinking applies to economic production where the product is external to the producer. In the school the “product” arises within the social/ cultural life of the organisation.

Questions to consider:

  • Are we still operating out of original pioneer forces? Are we over-ripe and is it time to develop the next phase?
  • Do our administration systems and practices meet the demands of size and complexity?
  • Is our focus on administration systems and practices stifling the creative enthusiasm we experienced in early pioneer activity?
  • Is there a tension within the organisation between administrative demands and creative intent?

A facilitated process can help you reflect on the current development challenges in your school or organisation.

The following documents will be of interest to those of you wrestling with organisation development questions within the Waldorf / Steiner school movement. Readers are expected to be familiar with Steiner Education and its basis in anthroposophy.

pdficon_largeMichael Ross – The-Social Task in Developing the Organisation

pdficon_largeBernard Lievegoed – Institutions of Spiritual Life