Transorganizational Development and the
    Death of Organizational Development
    David M. Boje
    October 3, 1999, Revised April 20, 2000


      Organizational Development (OD) is dead. OD died as we moved from the modern to late modern postindustrial life modes of the 1970s and most recently from post-Fordist production and consumption to postmodern capitalism of the 1990s.  A pluralistic assembly of Transorganizational Development (TD) consultants attended OD's wake. There was Samuel A. Culbert, J. Max Elden, Will McWhinney, Warren Schmidt and Bob Tannenbaum acting as OD pole bearers in their 1972 call for Transorganizational praxis to go beyond the now dead OD. Transorganizational Networking is defined as planned change in the collective relationships of a variety of stakeholders to accomplish something beyond the capability of any single organization or individual (e.g. Culbert et. al., 1972). Despite Thayer's (1973) similar call, the ghost of OD walked the earth until the late 1970s and early 1980s without knowing it was dead. In 1978, Kurt Motamedi sent a wake up call for the evolution from interorganizational design into TD. In 1979 and 1981, I called for activist TD interventions into networks of organizations. Motomedi and Cummings (1981) did the same. Our work got little notice among the ghosts of OD, except for Tom Cummings who in 1984 reconstructed Motomedi's and my work into his revitalization of sociotechnical systems (STS), a sort of STS/TD. I tried again in 1989 (with Wolfe) to call for TD to replace OD. Finally, the call for TD got heard, not by reading Culbert et al., (1972), Thayer (1973), Motomedi (1978), Boje (1979), Cummings (1984), or Boje and Wolfe (1989) but from awakening to the realities of global economic restructuration of corporate work life. The burgeoning field of large systems change or TD, as I prefer to call it, is today a jungle of contending epistemologies and ontologies that seek to be successor to OD throne. And succession to the throne means big consulting bucks.
    OD work goes on even though OD is dead. There are people trained to work on single organization change projects with reading lists that include The Machine That Changed the World (Womack, et. al. 1999), Reengineering (Hammer & Champy, 1993), one or two pieces from TQM (e.g. Crosby, 1979 or Deming, 1984) and a Tom Peters video. To me this represents "dead" OD. A number of critics (Barker, 1993, 1999; Parker & Slaughter; Steingard & Fitzgibbon; Boje & Winsor, 1993) are challenging the dead OD purveyors. There are also OD training colleges that train their OD consultants in one of the many TD Gameboard squares without looking at the historical roots that interrelate many of those squares in rhizomatic ways. A single story of change or of strategy is reductionistic, monophonic, and totalizing (Barry & Elmes, 1997; Boje, 1991, 1995, 1999d).  Rather, change and strategy that assume one story fits all is a dead way of thinking of OD. Instead with the new Tamara Organizations, many stories are sorted and recounted in poly-centered webs of relationships across a multi-organizational field (1999d).  OD is dead because the defining and embedding dynamics are across organizations. This is why the field of complexity and chaos is becoming so important. It is also why I have been working this past decade as editor of Journal of Organizational Change Management (JOCM) to bring new philosophies of practice to revive dead OD practice. In particular, critical and postmodern theories of change.  Finally, single organization change is passé because boundaries between the one and the many are gone. Organizations are tangled in webs of relations with other organizations in supply chains, cooperative alliances, joint ventures, outsourcing, contracting, and patterns of multi-organizational complexity and transnational relationship. Changing anything within the mythic single organization does not have staying power.  Elsewhere I review the holon nature of multi-organizational networks within networks, systems within systems, and contexts embedded within contexts. In short, OD is dead because no organization can be thought of as an island (Boje, 1999a).  And to do OD work as if there were totalizing, unitary organizations that can be restructured from a shallow reading list of social engineering jargon without empirical foundation can set off consequences that are destructive to transorganizational health.  Billions of dollars in long term loss is being accumulated by corporations and industries that have played the fad of the month game. The new industry work is cleaning up after the dead OD consultants have decimated their clients in ill-conceived restructurations based upon a shallow reading list of guru armchair thinking and a couple of magazine articles.

    I want to be clear about this. There are many fine consultants doing great OD process consultation to effect better conditions. However, as most of the process consultation is rooted in philosophies of unitary, isolated organization change, it may do more harm than good. I am calling for OD to rebirth itself as TD in order to move beyond the open system model of an organization embedded in a "target model." A target model places the one organization at the center, draws a circle around it and puts supplier, customer, subcontract, and collaborator relations around it. Grace Ann Rosile and I call it the pre-Galileo model, where the Sun is the center or Galileo model where the Earth is the center and all the other planets revolve around it. But we know that centered-models do not explain the patterns of cosmology any more than target or ice-cube (unfreeze, move, refreeze) models explain the collective dynamics of large system, multi-organization change. When I say OD is dead, I am not saying there is no more OD. I am saying that it is time for a paradigm shift to polycentered (many centers), polyvocal (many voices), and polysemous (many meanings) transorganizational praxis.  In this practice that Mary Parker Follett wrote about in the 1920s, the consultant works across systems, across organizations, across the divide of management and labor to bring about multiorganizational collaboration. The consultant is not tied to one CEO or one firm, but networking to changes in a transorganization system within systems orbiting fragmented global contexts. In sum, OD is dead even though thousands of sleep walking OD consultants bill and get paid for their target model services. When will the sleepwalkers awaken?

      Right now, sleepwalking OD is highly profitable. Most of the big consultation dollars in the hundred plus billion dollar large system change industry still goes to the social engineers and reengineers like Mike Hammer and to Tom Peters who reinvented himself as a social engineer in the Tom Peters Seminar (1994a) and Wow (1994b) books (Boje, 1999c). A sizable portion goes to the MIT learning organization consulting ventures of Senge and Schein as well as Harvard's Argyris. Next there are the various forms of action research, and different approaches to sociotechnical systems consulting (the Emerys, Lou Davis and Marvin Weisbord). Cummings (1984) STS-TD did not catch on. These four (Emerys, Davis, Weisbord, & Cummings) are all quite different. Most of all Fred and Merrelyn Emery call for participative democracy with a focus on ecocentric and pragmatist reasoning differs from the more managerialist approach of Cummings, the labor-management joint committee work of Davis, and the social constructionists search events of Weisbord [(press here) for Emerys and compare it the others (press here)]. In the last decade Appreciative Inquiry (AI) has gained an impressive following, including doctorate consultant training at Case Western, Benedictine and Pepperdine university programs. The trendy work is in knowledge organization (KO) and knowledge workers (KW) and knowledge management (KM) or its joining as KWKOKM. And there are fledging approaches ranging from deconstructive narrative therapy and emancipation work of the neo-Marxist critical theorists and postmodern theatrics and storytelling work. These last three have very few billings in comparison to the restructuration work of the reengineers. KWKOKM is the new buzzword of TD consultation with legions of consultants signing up for the latest conferences (press here). Each new TD approach is a way to declare that your consulting firm has the "Holy Grail," the absolutist latest in TD technologies. I say this is TD gaming at its finest. The new approaches to TD tap into techno-centric information theories of networks, virtual networks of knowledge transfer, Cyber-War Game Theory, and migrants from the ever popular social construction of knowledge epistemology.

      The purpose of this article is therefore to help you the buyer or consultant sort through this jungle of TD approaches by looking carefully at the underlying epistemological and ontological positions of the contenders. What may rhetorically seem empowering can be disempowering, what seems efficient reengineering in the long run can spell long term disaster. What appears postmodern, can be just another post-industrial thesis. Winsor (1992), for example, points out that a good deal of postmodern organization writing is post-Fordist versions of the postindustrial Third Wave variety.  and what passes for TD can just be they same warmed over ice-cube unfreeze-change-refreeze metaphor of OD.

Why did OD die and get succeeded by TD? In late modern there was a significant turn in large system change praxis from modern to late modern assumptions. Modern Fordism forms of capitalist production relied on mass production and consumption and paid high wages for union support including reluctant support of the welfare state. "Fordism involved a period of stable economic growth and capital accumulation that lasted until the late 1960s in the United States" (Otero, 1996: 4). After World War II, the economy of capitalist nations transformed from a centered Fordist massive economy to a decentered postindustrial service economy of flexible and lean production. In the 1960s transnational corporations (TNC) began to perceive a crisis in growth combined with excess capacity. By the 1970s it became increasingly obvious that U.S. worker output had fallen behind Japan and Germany. So TNCs began to locate manufacture and assembly to "less unionized parts of the United States or to Third World countries" (Otero, 1996: 4). A neo-liberalism philosophy of "Post-Fordism" began to take hold that stressed linking national production and markets to global ones, de-unionizing, decreased regulation by the State, and free market economics. As firms left capitalist, union-countries in droves, the State promised everyone cushy jobs at slightly lower salaries in the service industry (now called KW). This late modern (Post-Fordist and Post-industrial) trend accelerated with the end of the Cold War. Patterns of global commerce also began to combine the polar opposites of standardized centrist mass production with the flexible and fragmented production.

The rhetoric was stronger than the statistics. For example Otero (1996: 5-6) reports about the results of late capitalism and KW:

In the United States only 50 percent of its population has an income equal to or higher than the national means; the figures are 75 percent in Germany, 80 percent in Sweden and Switzerland, and 89 percent in Japan (citing Castaneda, 1993L 519 fn.).

(press here) for World Hunger map - it updates before your eyes.
(press here) for World Population Counter - it updates before your eyes. Today over 6 billion; in 2025 over 8 billion; 10 billion by 2035.
(press here) for Species Extinction Rate.

 There were several related global trends. First, corporations figured out they could act as networks of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and consumption niches instead of concentrating it all in one place. This meant the paradox of mass marketing standard units and marketing custom units to differentiated life mode consumer groups could occur simultaneously. Second, information technology breakthroughs and robotics could reconfigure CAD/CAM to allow different styles of autos and other products to be produced on the same lot with hours instead of months to reconfigure, JIT, continuous improvement, etc. Third, a new wave of globalization occurred in which cheap labor pools across Third World countries could be linked to networks of suppliers, manufacturers, assemblers, and distributors. This stimulated reengineering, downsizing, and outsourcing labor from First to Third World locations. Fourth, with shorter product development cycles, quicker manufacturing line reconfiguration, and networking supplier to manufacturer to distributor, to consumer desktop, the flexibility of networks of organizations to configure and reconfigure to map demand and supply killed OD. Fifth, new transorganizations began to form such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (the old General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). With NAFTA and related agreements nation states lowered trade restrictions and made it possible to pursue cheap labor all over the globe. Sixth, with the new holonic ontology there are no more organizations and therefore no more OD, there is only transorganizational development of whole/parts or holons. Current thinking on transorganization is rooted in holon theory (Wilber, 1996a, b). IT is for these six reasons that "transorganization development" (TD) has replaced OD.

And in the 1990s, some countervailing positions began to be heard. Concerns about over-work, falling wages, over-consumption, and limits to sustainable business practices as usual were voiced. Critical theory gained in popularity, as did postmodern theories. Postmodernists raised the issue that people belong to many organizations and fragment their identity into temporary life mode cultures. Some critical theorists called for a redefinition of OD from Sociology (Collins, 1998) while others questions guru consultant wisdom (Alvesson & Willmott, 1996). Commenting on the feminist movements in Mexico (Stephen, 1996: 169) asserts "The fact that not all members of an organization think identically or necessarily share the same [gender] identity is also important in understanding variation within one organization. " In short transorganization ontologies have overtaken OD thinking.

The assumptions of TD are different from OD, including shared fate in the natural world, fluid organizing contexts, embeddedness in multiple transorganizational systems, and various assumptions about collective multi-organization processes defining the TD worldview.

           Insert Table 1: Transorganization Theory and Assumptions (press here).

    Organizations died as a construct when the perspective of the collective embedded in webs of holons replaced the "organization and environment" vantage point. A "holon" is Greek for "whole/parts" meaning literally the whole that is simultaneously a part, and vice versa. The Greek word "holon" became popularized in Arthur Koestler's (1967) book, The Ghost in the Machine. Ken Wilber (1996a, 1996b) has also applied holon in numerous ways we will soon explore. "We exist in fields within fields, patterns within patterns, contexts within contexts, endlessly" (1996b: 65). Here I am concerned with people in their whole/part relation to organizations that are whole/parts of mechanistic networks, organic communities, organizations, nations and the bios-universe, and the formistic ideal types our theories and metaphors (even these) impose on the world. While postmodernists and poststructuralists are critical of Grand narratives (Lyotard, 1984) that violently aggregate it all into universal histories. Yet most of postmodernists take a less radical stance that says, "you can not just toss all grand narratives" because some are humane and they just keep being constructed all about us (Best, 1995; Best & Kellner, 1991, 1997). A middle ground is to see the relation of micro and macro story as part/whole or holon. Microstories are embedded within macrostories within Grand narratives, and contexts within contexts. It is without foundation and without end.

     Proclaiming the death of OD is a postmodern move. Not only are organizations dead, but from a holon perspective part/wholes are fragmented and dispersed across different geographic locations so that no convergence of "organization" exists. We have lived through the death of the author and the subject. We have seen how writing is a corporate project, especially in academia where reviewers and journal editors and the discipline of the Academy have made single-author writing an illusion. Gender and race fragments as women and minorities want economic justice, social justice (e.g. women's control over their body), and an end to white male superiority. OD went through its cycle of development from group and within organization models in closed systems frameworks to recognition of an organization situated in an uncertain, ambiguous, turbulent, and now chaotic environment. But, with the death of single organizations people became aware that they were embedded in transpersonal and transorganizational relationships, and no longer embedded in or wedded to an organization for life. And TNCs began to worry that temporary employees would not feel any commitment or loyalty.

Several approaches (e.g. Emery-Search Conference, AI, Future Search, Learning Organization, etc.) involve storytelling and TD. For example, Michael Jones of UCLA folklore and mythology helped me extend the storytelling aspects into the ICEND model of consultation to large interorganizational network for TD change. ICEND is a term that Michael Jones and I coined in 1982 to develop a story-based model of TD to give to the federal government, unions, and auto firms for retraining autoworkers displaced by the layoffs of the late 1970s and early 1980s

    I - Interactive - Share stories around issues

    C- Communicative - Stories of the collective

    E- Experiential

    N- Network

    D- Development

The ICEND theory, along with various search conference models assumes that by convening people to interact, communicate their stories, and form common experience, a network for action and change develops around their collective storytelling (See Boje, 1982). In ICEND, three subsystems are formed. Subsystem One (outside process consultant) facilitates the formation of the second subsystem (internal problem solving networking cycle) so people can crystallize issues, identify leaders, form a temporary organization (of organizations) that will change the status quo response patterns of a TD1 (Subsystem Three: Extended Network Involvement Cycle).





Subsystem One: Outside Process Consultation Cycle

I. Diagnosis

II. Involvement

III. Active Intervention

IV. Support

V. Evaluation



Subsystem Two: Internal Problem Solving & Networking Cycle

I. Issue Crystallization (issues that bring form community)

II. Locate Stakeholders

III. Expanded Stakeholder Involvement

IV. Search Conferences & Focus Group Intervention

V. Convene Temporary Organization

VI. Withdrawal of Temporary Organization (before bureaucracy sets in)

VII. Assessment & Evaluation


Subsystem Three: Extended Network Involvement Cycle

I. Issue Perceived More Widely in the Extended Network

II. Initial Organizational Involvement beyond Temporary Organization

III. Discovery of Under-employed Resources

IV. Breakdown of Status Quo Response Patterns (Subsystem II Interventions in Extended Field)

V. Demand Builds for Greater Organizational Involvement

VI. Breakdown of Status Quo Responses

This is just one of several models that assume transorganizational storytelling networks represents a shift from single organization thinking and praxis to collective organizational practice, a shift from OD to TD.

     I view TD as collective storytelling work, "shaped and co-constructed among the network of [organizational] participants. Each stakeholder [organization] is negotiating the meaning of the collective story. Each story is a fragment, a perspective on the whole. Some are problem based, issue based, solution based or just fantasy based. Each is a candidate to become the dominant collective story" (Boje, 1979, 1981). It is the stories that construct and reconstruct the exchange relations of the transorganizational network over time.

Ideal Types of TD - With the five late modern shifts described above, the death of OD thinking requires a new cosmology to take shape. In fact I will argue that there are two transorganizational development (TD) cosmologies, I will call TD1 and TD2.

TD1 – Type One Transorganization Network – Seeks to recombine the community or global division of labor such that fragments of the self, social, and market can put the status quo back together (Boje, 1999: 14-189).

TD2 – Type Two Transorganization Network – Seeks to resist or modify the behavior of TD1 networks by forming an alternative TD2 network to conduct campaigns of resistance and power realignment (Boje, 1999: 14-18).

Insert Table 2 Comparisons of TD1 and TD2 (press here).

There are four assumptions:

1. Network participants collectively define and negotiate the issues around which a TD action is organized. Some do environmental scanning, others future search.

2. Domains or divisions of labor are created as stakeholders identify their special interests in these issues. Natural tendency is to create bureaucratic hierarchy.

3. Resource exchanges link participants together in interdependent relations. The collective interests define the relationships and the ongoing relationships reflect those issues.

4. Both TD1 and TD2 processes interpenetrate the same systems. This is not a choice or some kind of transformative function (See Boje & Dennehy, 1999, Chap 2 for more on Mary Parker Follett's work on "interpenetration" as a way around duality. I do not mean TD1/TD2 as a duality. Two Types of TDs interact to link Ying and Yang around problem-saturated domains of interorganizational action.


Insert Table 3 Definitions and Ontological Roots (press here).

I would like to extend the ontological roots of TD1 and TD2 (see Table 3) in the rest of this paper. TD1 and TD2 are ideal type ontologies (views of the world). 

TD1 Ontology - TD1 is the ideal type of "individualism" and "free market" combined with "instrumental calculus" thinking. The TD1 theory of democracy is that it is the right of individuals and individual organizations to exploit and transform the natural world into their productive capital advantage. The self-steering Invisible hand" of the market will work effectively through creative destruction if government plays a "service role" to the market instead of interfering with regulations which always makes more of a mess of things. For Lehman (1996: 2) this is the "service station" just give us service and do not interfere with the self-steering market ontology. The approach is rooted in what Lyotard (1984) calls performativity and others calls "managerialism" and "functionalism." In the performative/functionaist discourse, the rhetoric is all about being "empowered," working in "self-managed teams" and engaging in acts of "speed" and TQM "continuous improvement" and "Kaizen." Organizations do a lot of Tayloristic, reengineering, lean manufacturing, TQM, Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria adopters, and other social engineering approaches to "restructure" with the newest functionality/performative. Most companies do not do a pilot study or engage in some action research, they just seem to adopt the fad of the bench-markers in their industry, rumored "most excellent" company practices, or the favorite guru of the CEO that particular week. Now that reengineering is out of fashion, there are more "humane" approaches at every turn, all promising the nouveau futuristic, even virtual knowledge organization (KO) for the knowldege work (KW) revolution in knowledge management (KM), or KWKOKM.  In all these TD approaches, the point is to socially engineer or entice employees to voluntarily police their own work to be better at customer service, quality, and self-managed team work (Boje & Rosile, 1996) - (press here).

    Service Learning - Functionality/performativity is not limited to social reengineers, to Knowledge Organization and much of the Learning Organization work is also discourse rich in managerialist rhetoric.  The work of Peter Senge and other learning organization (LO) or organization learning (OL) or KO consultants stresses the importance of giving your soul to corporate work.  Customer Are Really Everything (CARE) or "the customer is King" are  rhetorical ways to substitute "customer sovereignty" for  pride in one's work quality and craft.  It is also a way to privilege a market forces ideology of the firm (Boje & Rosile, 1996 - see appendix). Soon the rhetorical move is from CARE to DARE (Dollars Are Really Everything). The worker becomes a functional cog in the supplier, worker, customer transaction chain. In the social engineering and muck of the LO, OL, and KO work service is a way to make the organization market driven, to make customers the #1 priority.  It is also a way to internalize the gaze, to entice labor to surveille their performance from the view of the market as service/knowledge workers.
    Team Learning - Teams are said to be empowering, ways to let workers control the pace of work and to avoid the domination of hierarchy.  But like all stories there is another side.. BArker (1993) makes the point that teams can be very disempowering, introducing levels of peer-control (concertive control) that are more dominating that hierarchical supervision.  Wilkinson and Willmott (1995: 17) argue "... are they empowered only to take responsibility for activities that were previously undertaken by other employees (e.g. supervisors, quality controllers), without a commensurate improvement in their own wages and conditions?" In other words, empowered to do more work.
    Quality Learning -  We used to do sociotechnical systems TD to create higher quality of work life. You do not hear much about that anymore. Instead TD is oriented to improving quality to make the worker, corporation, and nation more competitive. TQM is slow engineering to achieve higher levels of quality, while reengineering is instead engineering to downsize and consolidate functions into fewer hands to achieve quality. In both cases, it is the enactment of principles Taylor fashioned in scientific management. There are differences and mutations. Now the worker does the time and motion studies to self-assess and team-assess variances from operating standards, and can ratchet up those standards through acts of continuous improvement and Kaizen suggestion systems. But, unlike Taylor, the wages get no better. Boje and Winsor (1993) traced the resurrection of Taylorism in the TQM movement pointing out the move from planner-gaze to team and self-gaze over performativity.  Each generation reinvents Taylorism to form a new social engineering consulting strategy rooted in structural functionalism and mechanistic systems principles.
Barker summarizes this in his new book (1999) The Discipline of Teamwork: participation and Concertive Control  (Sage). He points out that there are social consequences to the new forms of TQM/Team/Service control. With what he calls "generative discipline,"... "team works [to] control their own behavior concertively, acting in concert with each other" (p. 168). The generative discipline of concertive control introduces behavioral norms that become backed up by strong formal rules (value-based rules). The value-based rules are often democratically instituted by voting in "good ways" of work and management.  The team learns to think of themselves as self-supervisors, responsible for disciplining self and other-team mates, and the enforcement can be quite severe.  As the generative discipline accumulates the team forms a "community of believers" and the new embers get socialized into the concertive discipline (p. 169). Identify with the values and be socialized into the value-core (e.g. service, quality and team) or leave. "You are not a team player!" The teams thereby implement a concertive methodology for doing teamwork that uses peer pressure as a "main enforcement device" such that "organizational life becomes increasingly rational and controlled" (p. 169). In short, the teams adopt a functionalist, market forces TD1 perspective that becomes more Weberian (substantive rational) than the OL/TQM/KO was supposed to revolutionize:
    "They had a hierarchy of abstract moral gods, with "transorganizational" conceptualizations of being productive and successful as a team at the top, meaning that their understanding of success and productivity was more than, say, a quantitative indicator of meeting the production schedule" (p. 171, emphasis mine).
In TD1 instrumental-reasoning fashion the team came to believe that "team' "quality" and "service" in a disciplined regime equaled happiness and a functionalist solution to turbulent and changing market forces.

From a critical postmodern perspective, TD1 networks tell the "good story" of progress through business without interference and masquerades its social and ecological exploitation behaviors behind Greenwash advertising, public relations, and token efforts to elevate world poverty and environmental degradation. TD1 networks seek to recombine the community or global division of labor such that fragments of the self, social, and market can put the status quo back together (Boje, 199: 14-189). At they same time these network players define any misery as the consequence of the creative destruction of market forces which will make it all come out well in the end.

The logic of TD1 consultation is the ontology of utility maximization neo-classical (neo-liberal) economics where the maximizing of human pleasure and wants without taking any responsibility for social and ecological limits is the legitimating narrative (Lehman, 1996). The reigning gurus of the TD1 model are Michael Porter, Kevin Kelly (New Rules for New Economy), Freidman, Hayek, Watts, Zimmerman & Wildavsky (See Lehman, 1996). In their models market competitive self-interest forces re the answer to social problems as government programs fade away and admit their ineptitude. This is similar to Taylor's (1980) proposal that a just and fair society can be constructed as free market forces achieve libertarian philanthropic aims. The social and ecological domains are simply parts of an overall integrated system of exchanges that the market forces of demand and supply ameliorate in integrated systems of self interested organizations. Through corporate "good will" social and ecological problems will solve themselves through long term techno-rational solutions.

Boje, D. M., Rosile, G., Dennehy, R. & Summers, D. J. (1997) did a  restorying study of  reengineering discourse (press here). Michael Hammer, uses stories and metaphors of medicine, warfare and revolution, which script the fate of disposable workers. Through Hammer's books and speeches, downsizing is storied as a "managerial revolution" which justifies "leg-breaking," "putting hands on the blasters," "trimming the fat," and other metaphors allowing senior executives to "not feel any guilt about what they do." TD1 can be very lucrative and very expensive.  Ironically, reengineering revenues sustained a billion dollar consulting industry from 1993 to 1997 (then the business reengineers switched to government and university reengineering) despite the fact that 65% or more of the reengineering efforts were not successful. The reengineering industry in search of a new characterization  and a new storyline switched labels to become human systems engineering or the new buzz work KWKOKM. And those that survive the down-sizing and reengineering continue to become subject's of Barker's (1999) generative managerial control system in interventions that are over-priced and do not deliver beyond short-term CEO-stock maximizing results.

We deconstructed reengineering storytelling and rhetoric. Hammer and Champy repeat and rescript the moves they critique, and reauthor themselves as new authors. We contend that reengineering undermines the core message it asserts; it reverses itself and becomes the other. What our study asserts is that organizations are more bureaucratic after reengineering than before, less adaptive to changes in market force, and have sold away their institutional memory, the older workers and managers who knew what, where, when, and how. Re-engineering is re-bureaucratization, but done to put the workers in the iron cage of generative discipline and self-gaze  instead of Weber's administrator hierarchy.

In sum TD1 is an individual rights of organizations networking in efficient markets ontology. Any damaging effects of corporate exploitation at the community or global is explained as one part of the market maturing while another self-destructs to become manure for the next market. As Lehman's (1996: 5) critical reading argues it is "a systems approach [that] maintains a commitment to the present exploitative and unjust system." Or as Barker (1999) asserts a "transorganizational" rationality that has negative social consequences that must be explored. Both authors point to an instrumental democratic ontology in which the market is assumed capable of solving human centered problems and creating happiness. It is a romantic plotline that Barker and Lehman, among others, want to counter with tragic consequence analysis. The "ontology of market theorists is reliant on a narrow vision of the self and is supported by the well rehearsed view that the state exists to facilitate the market" (Lehman, 1996: 6). Peter Senge (1990) for example that a LO based in team-learing dialogues will facilitate continuous organizational improvement and resolve key social problems. This romantic narrative is also part of the new environmental LO models.  For example, in narratives of environmental sustainable business practices, the TD1 ontology asserts that business will find Total Quality Environment Management (TQEM) and Learning Organization solutions to environmental problems. Corporations can save money by recycling, reducing waste, and reusing in environmental life cycle models of corporate resources tracked by environmental accounting methods. Yet, this is still an anthropocentric ontology, one centered on the individuation and free market self steering abilities of corporations to provide for social and ecological needs. Critics say it ignores the mean-spirited consequences of wealth generation in which the poor continue to get poor and the riches accumulate into fewer and fewer corporate conglomerations of TD1.

TD2 Ontology - TD2 is defined as seeking and actively organizing networks to change/resist or be beyond the status quo relations of a dominating and sometimes predatory free-market individualistic and utilitarian TD1 system (Boje, 1979; Boje & Wolfe, 1986). There are multiple ontologies in these approaches as portrayed in Table 4. These range for Dewey's pragmatic call for social improvements in the living conditions of the masses through education and democracy; Habermas' pro-modernist Enlightenment call for speech communities operating on rational rules of consensus, Frankfurt critical theorists who call for emancipation from technocratic socially engineered TD, to the Emerys' application of pragmatist work by Charles Sanders Peirce.

     TD2 networks seeks to attain greater democratic control and local community accountability over multinational corporations by appealing to communitarian and ecocentric theory and praxis rather than narrow engineering and market forces models. With decreasing worker wages, rising CEO wages, increasing temporary employment, decline in species diversity, fewer benefits, massive layoffs, etc. there are calls for democratic control over corporate behavior, economic and ecological justice. TD2 – seeks to resist or modify the behavior of TD1 networks by forming an alternative TD2 network to conduct campaigns of resistance and power realignment (Boje, 1999: 14-18). Here are some examples.

             The Association for Accountancy & Business Affairs (AABA) theme is "WORKING FOR AN OPEN AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY." The AABA (click here) asks these questions:  "Are you concerned about the narrowness of public choices? Are you concerned about the way organized interests have colonized the public space to advance their narrow interests? Are you concerned about the excesses of insolvency practitioners, audit failures, lack of democracy at work, poverty wages. Are you concerned about the 'visible hand' of accountancy practices in losses of jobs, investments, savings, pensions and environmental degradation? Do you wish that someone would challenge the prevailing orthodoxies, disseminate competing views and develop alternative policies?" As an example of TD2, the AABA takes an advocacy position.  AABAs patron is the Rt. Hon. The Lord Paul of Marylebone. AABA trustees are: Professor Christine Cooper, Mr. Jim Cousins MP, Professor Colin Haslam, Professor Richard Laughlin, Dr. Austin Mitchell MP, Professor Prem Sikka and Professor Hugh Willmott.  IT has a campaign of reforms it seeks in accounting firms, employer associations, and employer organizations. As such this TD2 network seeks to make changes in TD1 relations. For example, "ACCA officialdom claims that ACCA Council elects the leaders, but it has failed to give anyone any sight of the alleged ballot paper" (press here). In the area of auditing, "Auditors claiming that company accounts are 'true and fair' and the public discovers that the same accounts would have easily won the Booker Prize" (press here). Mitchell, Sikka & Willmott (1998) argue that the work by AAB is helping to raise auditing standards. For example, "Money laundering, described as the ‘mother of all crimes’, is on the increase. The amounts laundered through Western financial markets are estimated to be anywhere between US$ 750 billion
and a trillion dollars: large enough to dwarf the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many nations and destroy thriving economies."

NAFTA is a complex interaction between TD1 neo-liberal free market policies and TD2 grassroots activist ontologies. NAFTA promised to increase the number of service jobs for U.S. workers and to aid the Mexican economy.  However, according to the Campaign for Labor Rights, "more than 200,000 U.S.. workers have qualified for a special NAFTA retraining program for people who lose their jobs because their employer moved production to Mexico or Canada or was hurt by import competition from those countries."  I observe the impact on El Paso and other border communities where apparel and electronics industries collapsed. According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics (as cited in Wall street Journal 8/28/98) unemployment rate in U.S. counties bordering Mexico went from 10.4% in 1994 to 13.5% in 1998. In Mexico, "more than a decade of frenzied neo-liberalism - privatization, deregulation of the economy, the demolition of populist traditions and attempts to roll back the 'strong state' - was designed to encourage and placate domestic and, especially, foreign capital" (Carr, 1996: 209). Carr and others recommend increased grassroots activism in ways that go beyond the radical grand narratives of neo-Marxism and the Post-Fordist Capitalism. The number of Mexicans living in "severe" poverty (surviving on less than $2 per day) has grown by four million since NAFTA began (Campaign for Labor Rights, 1999). And wages in the Mexican manufacturing sector have dropped 23%. With the rise in misery, there is a reemergence of transborder labor internationalization as a response to predatory TNC globalization practices. This means reestablishing transborder sister locals, horizontal relations among rank-and-file workers in different countries, international boycotts, and other transnational campaigns. Such actions were frequent from 1913 o the mid-1920s, but are now on the rebound. This revitalizes a focus on radical, transformative, and emancipatory politics, but without the grand narratives of inevitable worker revolution or progress through technology and global trade. Can TD2 go beyond the romantic hero, grand narratives of Marxism and capitalism? With more transborder labor links and exchanges, Carr (1996: 238-240) is optimistic that solidarity networks may from that do not trot out the old grand narrative mythologies. He sees "the argument that internationalization of capital… finally laying the material framework for an end to national fragmentation of works and their organizations [as] … excessively economistic" (p. 219). Rather than one political or ideological grand narrative of history and future, there are multiple storylines and agendas competing for workers' attention. The Internet age may allow for coordinated transborder actions. A new form of citizen politics may emerge from the fragmented and sectional interests of labor, and adds, "there are still many dangers ahead" (p. 226). These include change Mexico labor laws, mass migration of peasants to the cities, and attaining more equitable income distribution.

     TD2 is an ecocentric and communitarian ontology that recognizes the primacy of "hyper-goods." A hyper-good is incommensurate with the price/use instrumental calculations of other goods (Taylor, 1989: 63). The question for TD2 system debate is which goods become socially defined as "hyper-goods." Taylor (1989) argues that it is those goods that are important to community and species survival. Hyper-goods are natural resources that once exhausted in transorganizational transactions are non-renewable. When the forest of Redwoods is harvested it is gone. When water and air are so contaminated they can not be reclaimed beyond mortal lifetime they are gone. When various species of plant and animal life are extinct, that is all there is. Hyper-good are scarce resources and the source of deep social conflict between TD1 and TD2 networks. TD2 system from communitarian ontology argues that corporations mush comply with demands of the community or lose their corporate charters (Korten, 1996; Lehman, 1996). There are two paths to dampen TD1 social and ecological effects (1) by state regulation and (2) by learning volunteeristic civility (Lehman, 1996: 4-6). Corporations one way or they other are morally compelled to comply with community stakeholder demands and to heed entropic hyper-good limits.

      Lehman (1996: 8), for example argues that the "purpose of social and environmental accounting is to articulate hyper-goods that are fundamentally import in the choices determined by the community." And it is the community to which TD2 serves its praxis. TD2 is based upon the "axiom of connectedness" that ecosystem and the health and viability of the human world are interconnected. From ecocentric ontology, humans are one of a multitude of species that co-evolve on this planet. TD2 narratives point to the community of organizations impact upon the social and ecological. TD praxis is the open and transparent transformation of community life style within the entropic limits of our ecosystem. From a communitarian ontology there is a web of relations between political, economic and techno systems that requires transorganizational democratic forums in which human and biotic stakeholders are represented. The good of the transorganizational and biotic community transcends narrow market forces ontologies.

      Instead of fixed, short-term linear time ontologies, TD2 focuses upon long term cyclical time ontologies where the ecosystem is a collective hyper-good. TD praxis models enact democratic participation where the whole population and all species act to dampen the effects of predatory capitalism. TD2 transformations of production and consumption networks aim for "green" life styles.

      In sum, TD2 is collectivist and communitarian ontology stressing an ecocentric worldview and an advocacy praxis. Consulting praxis consists of clarifying collective norms and roles, training in ecocentric democratic processes and moral reasoning. It is assumed that TD1 systems entrench in transorganizational practices particular norms and beliefs about social and ecological rights. From communitarian ontology the individual person or organization is subordinate to the whole community of stakeholders. It is as (Lehman, 1996) observes an advocacy model of stakeholder involvement, social and ecological action.

Middle Range Ontologies of TD - There are many middle-range constructivist approaches to TD that try to compromise or integrate TD1 individualistic, self-steering, free-market and TD2 collectivist, communitarian, ecocentric advocacy ontologies. Radical advocacy TD2 models argue that the middle ground ontologies do not provide a critical theory, postmodern theory critique of predatory practice, thereby enabling TD1 apologetics to spin stories of sustainability and democratic accountability without enactments in praxis. Middle range TD models try to operate between extreme ideal typifications of transorganizational relations and praxis. The middle range approaches do not favor government regulation of markets or corporate behavior and attempt to change life practices through value and discourse training in democratic action and consensus seeking (e.g. Habermas). The middle range approaches do not advocate to the point of demanding local community stakeholder or ecological representative control over trans-corporate behavior.

Recently I set up a TD Gameboard on the web (press here) to compare and contrast the ontology and praxis of large system change models. I organized these into 14 approaches that were combinations of TD1, TD2, and mid-range approaches. These are summarized in Table 4.

           Insert Table 4 Contrasts of TD Ontologies and Praxis (press here).

In TD1 ontologies are rooted in social engineering (neo-Taylorism and reengineering) and in free market individualism, self-steering markets with a shrinking State role. TD2 ontologies include the labor organizing approaches rooted in the trade union movement. This is where Saul Alinsky and Ted Watkins got their training. It also includes pragmatist, poststructuralist, and critical postmodern approaches. Between these two extremes that seek are more middle-range positions. These include structural functionalist and a preponderance of social constructionist and the affirmative postmodern ontology of appreciative inquiry. For more on each of these approaches, please check TD Gameboard web site (press here).


OD is dead and a jungle of TD approaches are ready to succeed. However, the approaches are based on incommensurate ontological and epistemological positions. The good news is that you have a variety of positions to choose from. The bad news is that those more polemic TD approaches that dogmatically claim they have found the "Holy Grail" are unappreciative of the convergence with other approaches. I therefore call for comparative TD research to assess the costs and benefits, differences and similarities of the approaches listed in Table four.

Since OD is dead, the way in which TD is being taught in universities and training programs needs to be visited. Right now, there appear to be too many programs teaching a one best way approach to TD, be it AI, AR, PDPD, STS, KWKOKM, LO, OR, ICEND or some other approach. I contend that TD needs to be taught from a variety of ontological perspectives such as pragmatism, critical theory, social construction, poststructuralism, and postmodern theory. It may be time to heed Collins' call for sociology of OD, make that TD. We are just beginning to compare and contrast for example restorying, AI, and the PDPD (Boje, Alvarez, & Schooling, 1999).

Enter any TD context and you will find a contesting set of consulting firms offering services based in widely variant ontologies. It seems appropriate therefore to call for interdisciplinary theory and research. For example Boje, Alvarez and Schooling (1999) are comparing several interdisciplinary approaches to TD that use storytelling. I am also working with Luhman (1999) to link pragmatist and narrative approaches. I do not run across many cross-TD comparative studies.

Finally it seems sensible to suggest that interdisciplinary TD praxis approaches be initiated. This could mean "transperspectival" approaches that cut across the disciplinary boundaries of TD1 and TD2 or between middle-range and TD2 approaches, etc. It could also mean combining approaches within TD2, since there are so many ontologies represented. This is not like to happen in the immediate future because training programs, publishing houses, consulting firms, and university departments have adopted particularistic perspectives based on a favored ontology.

Barker, James R.
1993 "Tightening the iron cage: Concertive control in self-managing teams." Administrative Science Quarterly. 38: 408-437.

1999  The Discipline of Teamwork" participation and concertive Control. CA: Sage.

Best, Steven
1995 The Politics of Historical Vision: Marx, Foucault, Habermas. NY/London: The Guilford Press.

Best, Steven and Kellner, Douglas
1991 Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations. NY/London: The Guilford Press.

1997 The Postmodern Turn. NY/London: The Guilford Press.
Boje, D. M.
1979 "The Change Agent as Revolutionary: Activist Interventions into Inter organizational Networks," Transorganizational Development Session of the Academy of Management Meetings, Atlanta, Georgia, August 1979. This became the piece with Wolfe and the basis for See Tom Cummings' (1984)-review piece.

1981 "Organization Lore in Transorganizational Praxis," Invited Paper for the  Academy of Folklore Meetings," in San Antonio, Texas, October 22-24.

1982 "A Networking approach to the problem of securing Hi Tech jobs for unemployed minority autoworkers" This paper contends my first write up of ICEND model. December 31.

1997 "Radical transorganizational development theory and praxis: From Weber and Durkheim to Postmodern." Research Monograph (September).

1999a "Holon and Transorganizational Theory" (September 30th). (press here).

1999c "Who Rules Large System Transorganizational Development (TD)
          Consulting?" {October 6,} (press here).

1999d "Storytelling and the Collective Dynamics of Transorganizational Networking"
          {October 7} (press here).

Boje, David M., Alvarez. Rossana C, and Schooling, Bruce
1999 "Reclaiming Story in Organization Narratologies and Action Sciences." Chapter to appear in Robert Westwood (Ed.) Language and Organization.

    • Three excerpts are available: (press here) for table of various disciplines of narrative. (press here)) for contrast of single-discipline approaches of Appreciative Inquiry, Restorying, Emery Search Conference, and Hopewell's Congregation. And (press here) for contrasts of several interdisciplinary approaches including Narrating Organization, Storytelling Organization, and Embedded Narrative discussed in these excerpts.
Boje, David M. and Luhman, John
1999 "Narrativism: A 5th World Hypothesis for Organization Theory." In review.

Boje, David M. & Rosile, Grace Ann
1996   " In the Belly of the Beast with Tom Peters: A Deconstruction of Guru and Evangelist Tom Peters (press here)

Boje, D. M., Rosile, G., Dennehy, R. & Summers, D. J. 1997 “Restorying reengineering: Some
     deconstructions and postmodern alternatives.” Communication Research. 24(6): 631-668.
     (press here).

Boje, D. and Winsor, Robert
1993   "The resurrection of Taylorism: Total quality management's hidden agenda." Journal of Organizational Change Management," 6(4): 57-70 (for a copy send email to JOCM).

Boje, D. M. and Wolfe, T.
1989 "Transorganizational Development: Contributions to Theory and Practice," 733-753 In Leavitt, H., Pondy, L. R., and Boje, D. M. Readings in Managerial Psychology, Chicago Press, Third Edition, 1989.

Carr, Barry
1996 "Choosing borders: labor internationalism in the Era of NAFTA." Pp. 209-232, In Otero, Gerard (ed). , Neo-Liberalism Revisited: Economic restructuring and Mexico's Political Future. Boulder CO: Westview Press.

Culbert, Samuel A., James Max Elden, Will McWhinney, Warren Schmidt & Bob Tannenbaum.
1972 "Trans-organizational praxis: A search beyond organizational development," International Associations, XXIV (10, October). 1972. Still an excellent piece. This was the first piece I read that got me started in TD.

Collins, David
1998 Organizational Change: Sociological Perspectives. Routledge NY/London.

Crosby, P. B..
1979 Quality is Free. London: McGraw Hill.

Cummings, Thomas G.
1984 "Transorganizational development," In B. M. Staw and L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 6: 367-422. Greenwich, CN: JAI Press. Puts TD into an STS input, throughput, output model.

Deming, W. E.
1986  Out of the Crisis. MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Study.

Lehman, Glen
1996 "Social and environmental accounting: A review of the non-role for accounting." Annual International CPA meetings paper (press here).

Mitchell, Austin, Prem Sikka and Hugh Willmott
1998    The Accountants' Laundromat" ISBN 1-902384-01-6) - September (press here).

Motamedi. Kurt
1978 "The evolution from interorganizational design to transorganizational development." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Meetings in San Francisco.

Motamedi, Kurt & Tom Cummings
1981 "Transorganizational Development." Proceedings. Academy of Management Meetings in Seattle: 220-225, 1981.

Otero, Gerardo
1996 Neo-Liberalism Revisited: Economic restructuring and Mexico's Political Future. Boulder CO: Westview Press.

Peters, Tom J.
1994a. The Tom Peters Seminar: Crazy Times Call for Crazy
Organizations. NY: Random House.

1994b The Pursuit of Wow!: Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy
Times. NY: Random House.

Senge, Peter
1990 The Fifthe Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organiztion. NY: Currency/Doubleday.

Steingard, D. s. & Fitzgibbons, D. E.
1993 "A postmodern deconstruction of Total Quality Management (TQM)." Journal of Organizational Change Management. 6(5): 27-42 Press JOCM for free copy.

Stephen, Lynn,
1996 "Democracy for Whom? Women's grassroots political activism in the 1990s, Mexico City and Chiapas." Pp. 167-186, In Otero, Gerard (ed), Neo-Liberalism Revisited: Economic restructuring and Mexico's Political Future. Boulder CO: Westview Press.

Taylor, C.,
1980 'Understanding in the Human Sciences', Review of Metaphysics, Volume 34, Number 1, pp.25-38.

1989 Liberalism and the Moral Life, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1989, pp. 159-182.

Wilber, Ken
1996a A Brief History of Everything. Boston: Shambhala.

1996b "Transpersonal art and literary theory." The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology.
28(1): 63-91.
Wildavsky, A., 'Accounting for the Environment', Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 19, Number 4/5, May/July 1994, pp.461-481.

Winsor, Robert
1992  "Post-industrial, post-Fordist, or post-prosperity: talking the post-Fordist talk, doing the post-industrial walk." Journal of Organizational Change Management, 5(2): 61-69. For free copy email to JOCM.

Womack, J., Jones, D. & Roos, D.
1990 the Machine That Changed the World. NY: Rawson Associates.

Press to return to TD Game Board or dfor a TD narrative.


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