• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL
Help

Chapter 13. Open Architects > Keeping the Door Open

Keeping the Door Open

One of the best collaborative groups I ever knew was known as the Theory Construction Workshop, an independent working group loosely affiliated with a professional society. Members met as colleagues trying to advance a common enterprise of theory construction in an atmosphere of free discussion and mutual support. Its meetings were completely open to anyone who shared an interest in building better theory. The content and format of meetings were negotiable within the group's strong tradition of enhanced cooperation and communication. Inevitably, at almost every annual business meeting, some newcomer, flush with the excitement of joining in such a rare and wonderful interchange, would propose some form of institutionalization—incorporation, membership credentials, bylaws, printed proceedings, or the like. Every year we would dutifully discuss and debate these proposals; every year they would be defeated, the consensus being to stay open, informal, and flexible.

Then one year, without thinking it through, I arose with a radical proposal. Henceforth, to avoid wasting time deliberating these perennial proposals, all attempts to institute fixed and formal rules or structures would be banned. Even before I could finish my thought, I started laughing at my own self-contradictory suggestion. Our sincere and serious consideration of even the most ill-considered suggestions from the rankest newcomer were precisely what made the group process work. Everyone smiled, I sat down, and we went back to debating the latest plan for formal proceedings. To stay open, an open process must remain open to alternatives.


PREVIEW

                                                                          

Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial


  
  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint