The same elements that are necessary in any great adventure--a deep appreciation of the terrain, an intuitive sense of direction, and the courage to carry through--are also essential to the resolution of complex issues in organization and society, says McWhinney. In Paths of Change, Will McWhinney outlines a new foundation for theories of change, initiating a discipline of praxis using concepts from psychology, sociology, anthropology and new methods of working with ontological and narrative concepts to produce intentional changes in society. The components of his theory include: a map of four alternative realities, a guidance theory based on two great myths that have been used in many cultures over the past millennia, and the qualities required to deal courageously with the paradoxes of change and resolution efforts. He indicates the critical role of leaders and followers, and of the coevolution of cultures that must accompany efforts to resolve major issues. McWhinney builds on the proposition that the most frequently encountered sources of conflict are the very changes we make in attempts to resolve related issues. The illustrative cases used are mostly derived from organizational life--a rich variety of examples drawn from history, politics, and technology indicate the broad relevance and practicality of the ideas. The theoretical developments provide a base for exploring topics as different as selection of tools for problem solving, formation of cultures, and new logics of transformative processes. As the theory emerges, it incorporates elements of action research, management and community development work, future studies, and aspects of system thinking that borrow from the human sciences. This synthesis is a new vessel within which to develop a positive human science of action for the 21st century.
Dialectics of Change
Modes of Change
Paths of Resolution
Leaders, Followers and Cultures
Courage for the Journey