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Budapest conference may 21 25 2003 systems theory large group dynamics

Budapest Conference

May 21-25, 2003

Systems Theory & Large Group Dynamics


Systems theory large group dynamics
Systems Theory & Large Group Dynamics

  • There are many large group interventions which are offerred today as methods of achieving organizational change. Some such as „Open Space“ are well known. Most of these methods are derived from the theoretical work done on systems theory, originating with Ludwig van Bertanlaffy whose key book on General System Theory appeared in 1951. Many have borrowed from this source of thinking throughout the following decades. Of particular note are Peter Senge (who popularized Systems Thinking) and Robert Fritz (Structural Dynamics).

  • A complimentary stream of thought has been Gestalt psychology which emphasies a holistic approach. Leading proponents here were Kurt Lewin and Peter Lippitt. Marvin Weisbord was greatly influenced by this line of thought.

  • Finally, complexity science has added to the theoretical base. Concepts such as self-organization which are borrowed from natural phenomenon have become commonplace in working with groups. Sherman and Schultz (Open Boundaries) have been instrumental in translating the findings of science for the organizational realm.

Bibliography systems theory large group dynamics 1
Bibliography: Systems Theory & Large Group Dynamics (1)

  • In chronological order:

  • 1945, von Bertanlanffy, Ludwig; Zur allgemeinen Systemlehre

  • 1950, von Bertanlanffy, Ludwig, General Systems Theory; New York, Braziller.

  • 1951, Lewin, Kurt, Field Theory in social science; New York, Harper Collins.

  • 1967, Miller, Eric, and Rice, A.Kenneth; Systems of Organization: The control of task and sentient boundaries; London, Tavistock Institute.

  • 1975, Kreeger, L. (Editor), The large group: Dynamics and therapy; London, Constable.

  • 1977, Beckhard, Richard And Harris, Reuben, Organizational Transitions: Managing complex change; Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley.

  • 1977, Jayaram, Open Systems Planning; in T. Cummings and S. Srivastra (Editors), Management at Work: A Socio-Technical Systems approach; San Diego, CA, Pfeiffer

Bibliography systems theory large group dynamics 2
Bibliography: Systems Theory & Large Group Dynamics (2)

  • In chronological order:

  • 1980; Lippitt, Ronald; Choosing the future you prefer; Washington, D.C., Development Publishers

  • 1987; Weisbord, Marvin; Productive Workplaces: Organizing and managing dignity, meaning, and community; San Francisco, Josey-Bass.

  • 1989; Fritz, Robert, The path of least resistance; New York, Fawcett Columbine.

  • 1990; Senge, Peter, The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization; New York, Doubleday.

  • 1992; Owen, Harrison; Open Space Technology: A user's guide; Potomac, MD: Abbott.

  • 1994; Bohm, David; Thought as a System; New York, Routledge.

  • 1994; Gell-Mann, Murray; The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the simple and the complex; New York, W.H. Freeman and Company.

Bibliography systems theory large group dynamics 3
Bibliography: Systems Theory & Large Group Dynamics (3)

  • In chronological order:

  • 1995; Weisbord, Marvin and Janoff, Sandra; Future Search; San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler.

  • 1996; Emery,Merellyn and Purser, Ronald; The Search Conference: Theory and Practice; San Francisco, Josey-Bass.

  • 1996; Oshry, Barry; Seeing Systems; San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler.

  • 1998; Sherman, Howard and Schultz, Ron; Open Boundaries, Creating Business Innovation through Complexity; Reading, MA, Perseus Books.

  • 1999; Rechtien, Wolfgang; Angewandte Gruppendynamik; Beltz Verlag.

  • 1999; Isaacs, William; Dialogue and the art of thinking together; New York, Doubleday.

  • 2001; Bartelmess, Manuel; Systemische Beratung; Beltz Verlag.

System theory large group dynamics
System Theory & Large Group Dynamics

Large Group Methods








The Search


Future Search


Open Space



Real Time

Strategic Change








Von Bertalanffy








Quantum Mechanics