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Richard Seels Writings

Below are some articles which may be of interest to those who work with or in organisations:

Organisational Culture

Culture & Complexity: New Insights on Organisational Change

Conventional approaches to organisational culture and change have been inadequate, partly because they have been based on outmoded models of organisational dynamics. A complexity approach can offer a new perspective, or paradigm,  which leads to a radically different kind of practice for change agents.

Describing Culture: From Diagnosis to Inquiry

For the practitioner who works from a complex or living systems perspective, describing culture is a key part of the change process itself. This article outlines a number of ways of facilitating a rich collaborative inquiry into organisational culture. It also presents a ‘simple rules’ approach to cultural description which offers a new way of enabling people to articulate their own culture and negotiate to change it.

The Culture Checklist

The culture check list covers some of the areas which an anthropologist might consider when entering an organisation. It offers a series of questions to ask and issues to ponder.

Change in Organisations

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry

A brief guide to the principles and practice of Appreciative Inquiry, a very effective form of collaborative inquiry.

Creativity in Organisations: An Emergent Perspective

An attempt to see how our understanding of the conditions which might facilitate creativity in organisations can be informed by insights from the study of emergence. It is illustrated by some reflections and reminiscences about working in a highly creative organisation: the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Emergence in Organisations

In this article I offer some reflections on emergence in organisations and suggest ten 'conditions' which might help to facilitate emergent change. I also outline a process—'emergent inquiry'—which can be used to help emergent creativity. This is an expanded and updated version of the 2003 paper of the same name.

Story & Conversation in Organisations

Here I reflect on the emerging metaphor of 'organisation as conversation' and take a whistle-stop tour of some of the work being done in this field. This article is quite long (7000 words).

The Nature of Organisational Change

This article offers a simple typology of different kinds of change. It was developed to help clients understand change in organisations and explains the specific nature of organisational change as the most fundamental of these. It also offers some thoughts on the nature of organisational change.

Towards a Model of Self-Organised Transformation

I offer here some preliminary thoughts on a model of organisational change which has been floating around in my mind for a while. It incorporates the notion of a compelling vision (effective organisational story) with strong boundaries within which self-organising change can occur.

Living in the Soft Edge

The 'Soft Edge' was one of my earlier attempts to make sense of the reality of living and working in organisations. It tries to express and explore the realities of the living co-created wholeness which we experience in organisation.

Organisational Dynamics

Anxiety & Incompetence in the Large Group: A Psychodynamic Perspective

In this paper (which first appeared in the Journal of Organisational Change Management) I explore some of the mechanisms which underlie large group dynamics and show how they can help to illumine some of the destructive processes which may occur when more than about a dozen people meet together. These insights will be used to help explain the dynamics of an organisational event in which a group of experienced consultants were reduced to feelings of profound incompetence and helplessness.

New Ways of Organising

This brief piece was written for a client to trigger some discussion about different organisational forms and ways in relating which are being explored today.

Out With the Old

Ageism is common in organisations. Its effects can be both subtle and devastating. This piece first appeared in The Guardian.


Complexity & OD

Based on a seminar I ran at South Bank University, this piece is a little out of date now but still offers a reasonable introduction to some of the basic concepts of complexity theory and how they might have some practical application to organisational change and development.

Complexity Bibliography & Links

This bibliography originally belonged to 'Complexity & OD' but it kept getting expanded and deserved a life of its own.

I've written lots of other stuff as well, much of it is now available online. For three years I was a freelance computer journalist writing (in my spare time) about programming, reviewing software and running a 'programmer's clinic'. I've also written about parentingmy book The Uncertain Father was published by Gateway Books in 1987. It is now out of print but an online version is available. In addition I have edited two collections of papers for AMEDVirtual & Flexible Organisations and Tensions & Transitions.

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Last modified: 12th January 2008
href="http://www.amed.org.uk"> AMEDVirtual & Flexible Organisations and Tensions & Transitions.

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