The emerging practice of whole systems development

Margaret Attwood, Mike Pedler, Sue Pritchard and David Wilkinson

in Leading change

Published by Policy Press

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9781861344496
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302674 | DOI:
The emerging practice of whole systems development

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Through a case study of a courageous effort to deconstruct the old system of local government and challenge it with a structure based on resident self-governance through neighbourhood committees, this chapter illustrates the main principles and themes of whole systems development as they emerge from practice; shows that all whole systems development activities are a process of action learning; and develops a number of other themes and principles through the emerging story of Gladwell – working via ‘widening circles of inclusivity’ within multiple, overlapping systems, using action learning in the whole systems context, creating the space for leadership via ‘holding frameworks’ and ‘middle-ground frameworks’. The story that emerges is more an account of learning than a cause–effect change intervention.

Keywords: local government; Gladwell; whole systems development; action learning; cause–effect change

Chapter.  5964 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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