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"High Stage" Organizing [microform] / William R. Torbert
Bib ID 5438107
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Torbert, William R
Online Versions
Description [Washington, D.C.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1983 
9 p. 

Although a psychological theory of stages of transformation in human development currently exists, organizational researchers have yet to elaborate and test any theory of organizational transformation of comparable elegance. According to the organizational stage theory being developed since 1974 by William Torbert, bureaucratic organization, which is characterized by an instrumental rationality that does not question its own foundations, is to be contrasted to "high stage" modes of organizing, which are both instrumental and self-reflexive. A prime example of one type of postbureaucratic "high stage" mode of organizing--that of the "openly chosen structure"--is manifest in the United States Constitution, which emphasizes a flexible underlying contract over rigid surface structures, and in a business enterprise such as the Graphic Controls Cooperation. A more advanced postbureaucratic mode is that of the "Foundational Community"--exemplified by Jesus and his disciplines and phenomena such as Ghandi and the Beatles--which invites participants to join in a continuing process of foundation-shaking research. A third and even higher stage of organizing, the "Liberating Disciplines" stage, involves helping new generations of persons and organizations to develop to a level as high as that of the organizational leadership. History provides only shadowy examples of the third stage. (JBM)


ERIC Note: Paper prepared for a symposium entitled, "The Developmental Perspective on Organizations: Implications for Organizational Theory and Practice," conducted at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (Dallas, TX, August 1983).



May also be available online. Address as at 14/8/18:

Reproduction Microfiche. [Washington D.C.]: ERIC Clearinghouse microfiches : positive. 
Subjects Bureaucracy.  |  Cognitive Development.  |  Developmental Psychology.  |  Developmental Stages.  |  Developmental Tasks.  |  Human Resources.  |  Organization.  |  Organizational Theories.  |  Psychological Studies.  |  Social Science Research.
Form/genre Reports, Research.  |  Speeches/Meeting Papers.
Available From ERIC 


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