Fielding Graduate University News

Putting Complexity to Work in Your Management Consulting Practice: Part II

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Sep 16, 2013

Fielding Alumni Track 2013 Recap

By Jim Webber, PhD (HOD '03)

describe the imageThis entry adds to the prior blog posted by my esteemed partner, Alice MacGillivray (HOD '09). We learned a lot in co-designing and co-facilitating this workshop and we learned even more from the Fielding practitioners who participated.

1. Linking complexity and management to enrich a consulting practice is fun, especially if workshop leaders use complexity facilitation rules such as giving ambiguous instructions, encouraging spontaneous contributions, using humor as a mode of learning, and losing control of an exuberant class.

2. The field of complexity thinking has become much more accessible to managers in the last decade. A marker of this trend is the recent publication of The Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management. However, the application of complexity in management lags in business schools, major consulting firms, and organizations across the board. This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Fielding HOD consultants and coaches as well as the institution itself.

3. You can enrich your consulting and coaching practice with complexity concepts, frameworks and/or methods. You can think of the field as a smorgasbord of various approaches ripe for picking or as a fixed menu, full-course dinner from a particular chef. Complexity and management chefs of note are Ralph Stacey, David Snowden, Curt Lindberg, Brenda Zimmerman, Bill McKelvey, and Kurt Richardson. Most of these authors have generous websites and intriguing blog conversations (see below).

4. Whatever enrichment you choose, make sure it fits your style of consulting. For instance, if you love matrices, as I do, pick Snowden. If you love stories, pursue Cynthia Kurtz’s work. If you love conversational consulting, choose Stacey. If you love complexity science read, Richardson. If you want examples of imaginative consulting assignments, see Alice McGillivray’s articles. If you are interested in healthcare, Curt Lindberg, founder of the Plexus Institute, is your man.

5. You can position yourself as the expert/originator of ideas, or as a focused value-added provider of other’s ideas, or as a member of a network of those doing similar work. Jason Hwang & Clayton Christenson provide an excellent example for developing a business model of a complexity/management practice. Another great reference is Snowden’s firm “Cognitive Edge,” who combines all three levels of practice and offers training for potential value-added members of his firm’s network.

References for "Putting Complexity to Work in Your Management Consulting Practice" as recommended by Jim Webber:

Allen, Peter, Steve Maguire, & Bill McKelvey, Editors (2011) The Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management, Los Angeles, Sage.

Stacey, Ralph (2001). Complex Responsive Processes in Organizations: Learning and knowledge creation, London, Routledge.

Snowden, David & Boone, Mary E. (2007) “A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making,” Harvard Business Review November, 2007.

Lindberg, Curt & Schneider, Marguerite (2013) “Combating Infections at Maine Medical Center: Insights from complexity-informed leadership from positive deviance,” Leadership 9(2) 229-253.

Westley, Francis, Zimmerman, Brenda, & Patton, Michael Quinn (2007) Getting to Maybe: How the world is changed, Vintage, Canada.

McKelvey, Bill, (2011) “A Scientific Realist Epistemology for Complexity Science,” in Allen et al, Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management.

Richardson, Kurt (2011) “Complexity and Management: A pluralistic view,” in Allen et al, Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management.

MacGillivray, Alice see:

Kurtz, Cynthia (2013 in progress) Working with Stories in Your Community or Organization: Participatory narrative inquiry.

Hwang, Jason and Christensen, Clayton, (2008) "Disruptive Innovation in Health Care Delivery." Health Affairs. Vol. 27, Number 5.

Snowden, David,

Skarp, Arri-Pecca, Wu Wei Coaching (Social Complexity)

Bernie and JimJim Webber has many years of experience facilitating strategic thinking in groups. He was a colleague of the late Bernie Novokowsky (HOD '99) to whom this workshop was dedicated. He is the ongoing organizer of the Fielding Alumni Cluster of New England and a member of the International Association of Humor Studies. Jim is enamored with the use of complexity in Wu Wei Coaching, an approach created in Finland by Arri-Pecca Skarp. Jim is also is a booster of Cynthia Kurtz’s book-in-progress entitled: Working with Stories in Your Community or Organization: Participatory narrative inquiry. His email is

Tags: management education, higher education

Chapter in AACRAOs first comprehensive SEM publication since 2001 authored by Fielding associate provost Dr. Monique Snowden

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Wed, Aug 29, 2012

monique resized 600The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) announces new publication, Strategic Enrollment Management: Transforming Higher Education featuring a chapter authored by Dr. Monique L. Snowden, Associate Provost for Academic and Enrollment Services at Fielding Graduate University.

Nineteen chapter contributors share their wealth of expertise on topics ranging from student success, financial aid, the use of data and metrics, Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) in the post baccalaureate context, international initiatives within SEM, constructive conflict, SEM as community, the role of executive leadership in SEM, personnel training, and SEM planning.

Monique holds an adjunct faculty appointment in Fielding’s School of Human and Organizational Development (HOD). Her current research interests include examining the communicative role and impact of professional associations on profession identity, knowledge and practice. She is an engaged scholar-practitioner leader in AACRAO, currently chairing the AACRAO Graduate and Professionals Schools Committee and serving on the Public Policy Advisory Committee.

AACRAO is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education admissions and registration professionals who represent more than 2,600 institutions and agencies in the United States and in over 40 countries around the world.

To order: Call (301) 490-7651




Tags: organizational change, Enrollment Technology, management education, higher education, graduate education

Fielding alumni publish book on the theory of Coordinated Management of Meaning

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Wed, Aug 29, 2012

CMMThe Reflective, Facilitative and Interpretive Practices of the Coordinated Management of Meaning: Making Lives, Making Meaning, showcases practical applications of the theory of Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM). In the facilitation section, CMM creates dynamics within groups leading toward improved ways of working together; in the interpretation section CMM offers alternative frames to interpret interactions with one another; and in the reflection section CMM is a means to reflect on experiences and interactions to deeper levels of understanding and learning. CMM is grounded in social constructionism, takes a communication perspective and provides concepts and tools for making better social worlds.

“To be at home in the universe is to know the universe as well as we can, to know our place in the universe as well as we can, as fully as we can, what we are—the seventh miracle; the makers of better social worlds through the coordinated enactment of compassion, empathy and mindfulness.” —Barnett Pearce, 2011

Fielding Graduate University alumni contributors include:

Beth Fisher-Yoshida (Editor), Catherine Creede (Editor), Placida Gallegos (Editor), Karen Bentley (Contributor), Linda Blong (Contributor), Lydia Forsythe (Contributor), Jeff Hutcheson (Contributor), Jeff Leinaweaver (Contributor), Paige Marrs (Contributor), Darrin S. Murray (Contributor), Adair Linn Nagata (Contributor), Kim Pearce (Contributor), W Barnett Pearce (Contributor), Jane Peterson (Contributor), Irene Stein (Contributor), Ilene Wasserman (Contributor)

ISBN-10: 1611475139 | ISBN-13: 978-1611475135

To purchase the book on Amazon, please click here.

Tags: educational leadership, management education, distance education

Alumnus Cliff Hurst accepted a position at Gore School of Business

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Mon, Aug 27, 2012

Fielding Graduate University is please to announce alumnus Cliff Hurst, school of HOD, has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Management at Gore School of Business at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT. He teaches management and entrepreneurship at the MBA and undergraduate level. This assignment began in August of 2012.


Tags: management education, higher education, graduate education