• Human systems in motion: exploring the application of systemic ideas in teams navigating change

      Rød, Anne (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-10-17)
      This thesis explores how teams can constructively lead, be in and with, emergence and change, given the challenges they are faced with in today’s complex environment. By helping teams view change and changing as something that naturally occurs in their environments, combined with their own experience of change, the teams may approach, and be with change, in different ways. The title, ‘Human Systems in Motion’ speaks to the very essence of human existence; the transformational, relational and emerging nature of our beings. The target audience is leaders, teams and other practitioners in the organisational field offering an alternative approach to emergence and change processes. The research is situated in a social constructionist perspective foregrounding the meaningmaking and sense-making activities in the teams engaged with, and what awareness and possible responses and actions emerge from these. Social constructionism depicts the relational, also known as systemic processes, where the co- creation of reality is taking place inside the human interaction. Through a parallel autoethnographical account, I share my ‘come from place’ that has shaped the lens through which I – as a long-standing practitioner in the field of organisational change – view, approach and explore change in teams and organisations. It provides an overview of some of the main contributors to the theories of change to create an understanding of how change is often conducted in organisations today. Emergent approaches to the topic are explored through perspectives on systems and systemic thinking. It investigates the relevance of these ideas to teams in change, and also looks into some of the obstacles encountered in the face of emergence. The result is a model: The Wheel of Systemic Ideas. I follow three different teams, operating in different contexts but facing some kind of emerging change. Through Participatory Action Research sessions, the teams’ perception of, engagement with, and responses to, change are explored. The main and final part of the research engages the teams with the Wheel of Systemic Ideas. Each team explores its focus points in the change process, and to what extent the systemic ideas can facilitate the emerging change process. The research indicate that the model can be applied to different change topics and contexts, enabling conversations which break up binary thinking and the questions preferences for linear and normative approaches to change.