Open reviewing process
Inclusional Action: Co-Creating Organizational Change
“ Inclusional Action, as a distinct process, is based on the ability of a ‘co-creative catalyst’ to engage with the people within the organization. IA enables co-creative ‘visioning’ and the design of the required changes through a transformational, inclusional and emergent process. This process allows constructive and transparent viewpoints toe emerge which can create fluid and permeable boundaries. The outcomes of an IA process both challenge an Organization to change, and are at the same time seen as ‘Natural’ and ‘Fit-for-Purpose’ changes that will enhance organizational capability.”
There is little evidence in the paper to support this view. Rather, it reads as a brief review of the literature on organisational change and its fragmented structure (numbered paragraphs, bullet points, lengthy quotes) gives little opportunity for a coherent argument to be developed or supported. The author would do well to decide just what the paper is trying to say and then using the limited words available in a more focused way.
In my view, the paper needs a much clearer line of argument and some detailed description of the inquiry process that is referred to but not pursued to any depth in the text. It would be more convincing (and more interesting) if it narrowed its focus and used one or two examples to show rather than just tell the reader the value of an inclusional approach to organisational change. Indeed, after reading the paper, I’m not really clear what an inclusional approach looks like in practice and how one might differentiate it from other approaches.
As an example of what I mean, take Section 4 entitled Inclusional Action – A process. The process is not shown in any form other than a series of bullet-pointed assertions (some simply quoting the author’s own thesis). Van Tuyl 2009 pp223 may state that:
The following criteria need to be in place to have such a process, based on experience in current practice:
1. Commitment for Change
2. Change Requirements – What needs to Change (Collaborative approach)
3. Developing Capacity to Change
4. Creating Sustainable Change
5. It’s about Me; How I change also!
but what is the reader to make of this? Assertions such as these (and many others in the paper) are left hanging with little or no evidence or examples in support. Consequently the reader is left with the author’s opinions but very little by which to judge them.
There is a need for a clearer line of argument and description of the inquiry process. Evidence is needed to justify assertions. Much more care is needed in presenting the content in ways that are disciplined, coherent and engaging.
I have updated the document, and have incorporated comments from Alan Rayner in this. I belive that this is a better reflection of what it is I want to bring forward as a discussion, and I also believe that I have addressed your issues with the previous 'version' (which I think were all very good comments).
What an interesting paper you have here! I enjoyed reading it. I liked your story and the way you brought the need for personal change discussion in as well.
A new methdology based on NI within organization change is fascinating. You have tackled a complex and interesting topic with some interesting ideas.
Even though you say, "What I hope is that through this paper a debate will refine what an Inclusional Action process is, and that it will enable more change processes in organizations to be more successful and more sustainable" I feel that in parts there is scope for further elaboration. In my view the introduction needs to be expanded. Your abstract is the basis for the intro.
I have made some comments and suggestions, which I hope will help with further refinement as your paper more fully develops.
I hope you find my comments and suggestions useful.
Look forward to reading the next draft.
Your comments are appreciated, and as you can see I have entered a fuller response than you asked for. I am looking forward to your further comments
I've attached the version with some more suggestions.
I have reviewed all your suggestions and have included my revision for your copmments.
my apologies for the late reply, but I have been most unwell.
I am not a change specialist, but have had some experience at community level. So I hope my comments on the attached are useful. I have attended a little to matters of the flow of the text. You'll see my notes in red. I also had a go at suggested changes for the abstract and reshuffled some text into your intro. Don't forget the EJOLTS format requirements for references in the text and also your reference list.
What you are doing is so new and interesting - applying the ideas of NI is very exciting. I hope in some small way my comments are of use.
I hope you find my suggestions useful.
I look forward to the next draft.
Warmest Regards and best wishes,
I have made the changes as we discussed.
Many thanks for the update. Sorry for the delay in responding, but have not been well of late.
I have spent a few hours on the paper today and have made some comments and suggestions on the attached, which are hopefully of help.
Don't forget to check the EJOLTS format for your paper.
As already mentioned I am not a change expert, so have basically attended to matters of flow and readability and where I felt competent added comments based on my community based experience. Having said that, I am learning a lot from your paper with each read that will be relevant to the application of NI in my work with citizens. Your focus on context is vital as is the need to bring folks into the process as equal partners.
One of my challenges when working with activists is to encourage them to see the need for change 'within and without' - tough when you are talking to folks who believe they have the answers.....so busy with action they tend to forget about reflection!
I've read the latest version of the paper. It is clear that Graham has worked hard to improve the readability and flow of the paper since his first submission. There are still specific areas requiring improvement - many highlighted by the latest reviewer - and no doubt these could be addressed. Nevertheless, I still have a major concern about the paper and it is this: there may well be a big idea and a new form of practice deriving from notions of Inclusionality but I just don't see them in this paper. Although the author claims in the Conclusions section that "I have demonstrated in this paper an example of how an Inclusional Action prpcess can be constructed" he has not done so. There is not a single example of what Inclusional Action actually looks like.
In the section "What is Inclusional Action" the author makes a number of - largely unsubstantiated - claims for what Inclusional Action ought to be (list of bullet points). But he does not distinguish this from straightforward process consultancy. I am still quite unsure about what is distinctive about Inclusional Action. Having read the paper I feel rather as though I had been to a play in which all the action was off-stage. The author refers to many ideas and hints at new forms of practice (indeed he even labels them) but does not SHOW them in any convincing way.
I am quite willing to believe that the author is on to something important but I could not recommend the paper for publication until he offers some accounts/evidence in support of his claims. For example, at the bottom of Page 10 he claims "Inclusionality allows all these [previously described] models to be combined" - how exactly? can he show this? Can he for example give us an example of the sort of 'creative conversation across boundaries' that he alludes to in the paper. To say that something is so is not the same as showing that it is so and the author must address this basic issue in the paper before I could recommend it for publication.
We think that Geoff Mead's review focuses on the need to justify the claim that:
"I have demonstrated in this paper an example of how an Inclusional Action process can be constructed"
Geoff points out the importance of distinguishing an 'Inclusional Action process' from 'straightforward process consultancy'.
He says that the paper refers to many ideas and hints at new forms of practice (indeed labelling them) but needs to show them in a convincing way.
Geoff points out that the claim "Inclusionality allows all these [previously described] models to be combined", needs more explicit, evidence-based justification. Can an example be given of the sort of 'creative conversation across boundaries' referred to in the paper.
Warm regards, Margaret and Jack
Good to hear from you as usual.
I am glad to see this particular destilation of the themes because it goes to the heart of the struggle I have with process, single themed or focussed consultancy approaches in general.
I will work on this and will get bacjk to you with a different approach.