(Revised July 2010) Items marked DOWNLOAD PDF can be downloaded to your desktop.


“Future Search.” With Sandra Janoff. Chap. 4 in Improving Performance in the Workplace. Volume 2: Selecting and Implementing Performance Interventions, edited by Ryan Watkins and Doug Leigh. San Francisco: Pfeiffer/John Wiley, 2010.

“Large Group Methods: A Shopper’s Guide,” ASTD Handbook for Learning Professionals. Elaine Biech, ed. Chapter 2,  pp, 333-346. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press, 2010.

“Let People Be Responsible.” With Sandra Janoff. Consulting Today, special issue on “Fresh Approaches to Facilitation,” pp. 2-6, 2008. Available on-line –  (Adapted from Chapter 4, Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!)

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“Techniques to Match Our Values” – An address to the Organization Design Forum, San Francisco, April 2005, revised for the Future Search Network Learning Exchange, Derry, Northern Ireland, June 2005. A short history of the way values-based consulting methods are always at risk of being reduced to the mindless repetition of techniques.

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“Facilitating the Whole System in the Room: A Theory, Philosophy, and Practice for Managing Conflicting Agendas, Diverse Needs, and Polarized Views.” With Sandra Janoff. Chapter 15 in The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation, edited by Sandy Schuman, Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint, 2005. This article describes the rationale and practice behind the popular seminar: Facilitating the Whole System in the Room. See for details.

“Faster, Shorter, Cheaper May Be Simple; It’s Never Easy.” With Sandra Janoff. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Volume 41, Number 1, March 2005. pp.70-82. Describes a redesign of a global distribution system for IKEA, the Swedish furniture retailer. “In 18 hours the plan was developed and signed off on by the company president and key people from all affected functions, with support from several suppliers and customers.”

“Requiem for Bethlehem: The Company Went Broke–The Learning Was Priceless,” Performance Improvement, Volume 43, Number 5, May-June 2004, pp. 7-12. This was one of the cases I revisited in some depth for my 2004 book. It describes some years of work by my erstwhile consulting firm, Block Petrella Weisbord, to help a major American steel company overcome the excesses of “Taylorism,” the application from 1898 to 1901 of scientific management to steel making. “I identified with Taylor, the first consulting engineer because I had once followed in his footsteps. From 1981 to 1983 I consulted with the Bethlehem Steel Corporation on labor-management, quality, and productivity concerns.” The project was instigated by the late Ben Scribner, a former engineer and operations researcher turned behavioral scientist. BPW closed up shop in 1996. Bethlehem lasted a few years longer, its dwindling assets sold in 2003 to International Steel Group.

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“Eyewitness: Whose Resistance is This Anyway?” The OD Practitioner, Volume 36, Number 1, 2004. An account of my work with medical schools from 1969 to 1980, describing research, theory, and ultimately, a training program for primary care medical professionals that led to new insights (for me) into transfer of training. It also summarizes work I did on the differences between industrial and medical systems. This was adapted from Chapter 14 in Productive Workplaces Revisited.

Articles are arranged in three categories. Click to go directly to each section:

Future Search

Medical Systems

Theory & Practice in OD

Future Search

“Three Perspectives on Future Search: Meeting Design, Theory of Facilitating, Global Change Strategy” in Scandinavian Journal of Organizational Psychology, Volume 13, 2003.

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“Future Search: Finding & Acting on Common Ground” (Weisbord & Janoff, Chapter in Organisational Learning for All Seasons, edited by Prem Kumar, National Community Leadership Institute, 2003).

“Preparing for the Future Begins with Today’s Youth,” future search with 50 teenagers in a rural county in SW Michigan, USA. The youth conference followed a series of 8 sector-based future searches that had begun building a world-class, inclusive community in a county that had been bitterly racially divided, (Janoff, in FutureSearching, Issue #27, Fall, 2003.)

“Future Search: Finding and Acting on Common Ground,” how future search is being used in Northern Ireland to build the women’s sector, create an integrated economic development plan in County Fermanagh, throughout the Arts and Culture and Sustainable Environment sectors (Weisbord & Janoff in Nonprofit Quarterly, Vol.8, Issue 3, Fall 2001).

“Resolving a New Paradox with Old Wisdom,” in The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook and Companion, by Peter Block and 30 Flawless Consultants, assisted by Andrea M. Markowitz, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2001. In this article I extended my speculations on the parallels between future search processes and the “walk around the seasons” that characterizes the 5000-year-old practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“I Dream of Peace” A Future Search for the Children of Southern Sudan – Describing successive future searches that enabled children and adults in a war-torn country to envision a future for the next generation, leading to the demobilization from the military of 2500 young boys, in FutureSearching, (Wilcox & Janoff, Issue # 18, Spring, 2000; Chatterjee, Janoff & Weisbord, #20 Fall, 2000, #21, Janoff, Spring, 2001). A videotape entitled “The Children of Southern Sudan” is available at

“Zukunftskonferenz: Die gemeinsame Basis finden und handeln” (Weisbord & Janoff, (translated in German) Chapter in Das Feuer Grosser Gruppen edited by Roswita Konigswieser and Marion Keil, Klett-Cotta, 2000).

“Future Search,” (Weisbord & Janoff, Chapter in The Change Handbook edited by Peggy Holman and Tom Devane, Berrett-Koehler, 1999.)

“Future Search: Global Change Strategy,” with Sandra Janoff, showing how future search had addressed South Asia’s many complex problems, including childhood deaths from diarrhea in Bangladesh, eliminating iodine deficiency disorders, population growth in Sri Lanka, curtailing child abuse in Iran and other issues. Training Matters: Promoting Human Potential Development Across Asia, April-June, 1999. Colleagues of ours like Kim Martens, Katherine Esty, and Gil Steil had used the method in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, and Thailand for several years. This is an acknowledgment of their pioneering work.

“Speaking with the Ancients,” with Sandra Janoff, on how diverse residents of Ko’olau Loa, Oahu, Hawaii, reconnected with traditional Hawaiian values of mind, body and spirit to build a healthier community, Healthcare Forum Journal, May/June 1997. It was in this future search that we first came to appreciate the possibility that we had inadvertently stumbled on a cross-cultural methodology, a fact that Bapu Deolalikar, the international development consultant, had sought to convince us of for some time. Being an experiential learner, I had to find out for myself.

“Future Search as a Secular Ritual,” describing how future search crosses cultural boundaries around the world and speculating on why this is happening, SearchNEWS, Issue #7, Summer, 1996.

Future Search: A ‘New Paradigm?’ Maybe Not.” SearchNEWS, #6. Winter 1996. Is it possible that by removing OD technology we enable people in diverse cultures to get back to ancient aspirations for dignity, meaning, community and wholeness? how future search principles and practice correspond to the five elements of traditional Chinese acupuncture practice derived from Taoist philosophy.

“A Conversation with Marvin Weisbord: Future Search – A Power Tool for Building Healthier Communities” by Joe Flower in Healthcare ForumJournal, Vol.38, Issue 3, May-June, 1995. The interview asked me about what future search is and does. My responses were read by Hideo Murakami, a vice-president of the Queen Emma Foundation in Honolulu, and lead to the future search described in the article that follows.

“The Future of Cultural Pluralism in Philadelphia,” At Work: Stories of Tomorrow’s Workplace, January-February, 1993, 11-12.

“A Strategic Umbrella for Work Redesign,” At Work: Stories of Tomorrow’s Workplace, November/December 1992, 15-17.

“Future Search: Innovative Business Conference,” Planning Review, July, 1984, 16-20. The first publication ever of my early experiments with future search. It described a large-group method for recovering the past, present and desired future in “real time,” and planning actions that would make the future come alive.

Medical Systems

“Involving Physicians in Hospital Cost Containment: Developing an Action Research Strategy,” with Johannes U. Stoelwinder and Calvin H. P. Pava. Journal of Health and Human Resources Administration, Volume 6, No. 1, Summer 1983, 23-45. First issued as Issue Paper No. 8, February 1981, National Health Care Management Center, University of Pennsylvania, 28 pages, with 20 page appendix of instruments and findings. Report of a project at Cooper Hospital, Camden, NJ, to reduce hospital costs by directly involving physicians in examining their own norms and practices. We worked with Henry Riecken, a social scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and my fellow NTL Institute member, whose knowledge of social research methodology was central to the project, and whose academic credentials made possible our research grant. Johannes Stoelwinder was an Australian physician and hospital administrator studying at Penn, and the late Cal Pava was a Penn graduate student, both of whom I met through Eric Trist. Pava was later a colleague of Paul Lawrence’s at Harvard (small world), and wrote a seminal book, Managing New Office Technology, that I found helpful in subsequent consulting projects.

“Quality of Worklife in Hospitals” Theory, Values, and Consultant Roles,” Consultation, Summer 1983, 16-23, from a keynote address to The Mercy Health Conference, Institute on Working Life, November 16-18, 1981.

“Linking Physicians, Hospital Management, Cost Containment and Better Medical Care,” with J.U. Stoelwinder. Health Care Management Review, Number 4, Spring 1979, 7-13. An article showing how physicians controlled up to 90% of hospital costs by deciding who goes in, what treatments they receive, and how long they stay. Administrators could do very little to control costs. Stoelwinder was both a physician and hospital administrator in Australia.

“Three Dilemmas of Academic Medical Centers,” with Paul R. Lawrence and Martin P. Charns. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Volume 14, Number 3, 1978, 284-304. A theoretical article on the nature of academic centers and implications for their management.

“Organizing Multiple-Function Professionals in Academic Medical Centers,” by Martin P. Charns with Paul R. Lawrence and Marvin R. Weisbord. North-Holland/TIMS Studies in the Management Sciences 5 (1977), 71-78, Reprint No. 753, Carnegie-Mellon University Graduate School of Industrial Administration. An academic article with statistical analyses of our medical school research in 9 centers.

“Why Organization Development Hasn’t Worked (So Far) In Medical Centers,” Health Care Management Review, Spring 1976, 17-28. Reprinted in Organizational Diagnosis: A Workbook of Theory and Practice, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978. An analysis of the differences between industrial and medical systems that make development problematical. The ideas applied not just to medicine but to academia in general, law, engineering, architectural and, yes, even OD consulting firms, any systems centered on autonomous professionals.

“A Mixed Model for Medical Centers: Changing Structure and Behavior.” In J.D. Adams (Ed.), New Technologies in Organization Development, La Jolla, CA: University Associates, 1975. A report on development work by myself and Allan Drexler at the University of New Mexico’s academic medical center based on research with Paul Lawrence and Martin Charns.


Theory & Practice in OD

“The Flying Starship Factory,” Industry Week, April 3, 1989, reprint. An article on the use of this popular simulation first created by Bill Lytle to introduce the principles of participative work design through a first hand experience . In it people learn the limits of traditional assembly line thinking and the benefits of multiple skills and flatter organizations, tracking costs, quality, and sales to an actual customer. The simulation is still available from Barbara Glickenhaus, email:

“Productive Workplaces: The Function of the Inner Dialogue in Managing Change.” Keynote speech at C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and NTL Institute joint conference, July 27, 1989, 14 pages.

“Redesigning Non-Routine Work: The Key Is Involving More People Sooner.” Productive Workplaces, a Publication of Block Petrella Weisbord, Volume 1, No 1, Winter 1989, 1-4.

“Towards a New Practice Theory of OD: Notes on Snapshooting and Moviemaking,” Research in Organizational Change and Development, 1988, Vol. 2, 59-96. Speculations on the function of organizational diagnosis in workplaces that no longer hold still long enough to be diagnosed.

“Toward Third-Wave Managing and Consulting.”Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 15, No. 3 , Winter 1987, 4-25. The underlying framework for Productive Workplaces, showing the connections among economics, technology and people, and the conditions under which “change” projects are likely to succeed. Reprinted in–Organization Development and Transformation: Managing Effective Change, WendellL.French, Jr., Robert A.Zawacki & Cecil H. Bell, Jr., editors. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.

“The ‘Not -So-Trivial-Trivia’ Game,” December 1986, p. 9. Do you have a copy? I need the name of the publication.

“Team Effectiveness Theory.” Training and Development Journal, January 1985, 27-29. An explanation of Mike Blansfield’s seminal model of work team dynamics, together with practical uses.

“Participative Work Design: A Personal Odyssey,” Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 13, No. 4, Spring 1985, 5-20. Describes the self-managing work teams I organized in the late 1960’s in a family business forms company. Later became the Prologue to Productive Workplaces.

Balancing Person and Organization: Taylor, McGregor and the Modern Human Resource Innovators, Monograph, BDR Learning Products, Inc., 1984, 23 pages. An early essay on the parallels between Frederick Taylor, “the father of scientific management,” and Douglas McGregor, author of The Human Side of Enterprise, who created the concept of two sets of assumptions about human nature that he called “Theory X and Theory Y.” This essay later evolved into several chapters in Productive Workplaces (1987).

“Managing on Behalf of the Customer,” Sources, June 1984, 10.

“The Cat in the Hat Breaks Through: Reflections on OD’s Past, Present, and Future,” OD Practitioner, Vol. 15, No. 1, March 1983, 1-4. Adapted from Keynote Address to OD Network, Lake Geneva, WI, October 5, 1982. Reprinted in Contemporary Organization Development: Current Thinking and Applications, D.D. Warrick (Ed.), Scott, Foresman and Co., Glenview, IL, 1985, 2-11.

“How Long Does it Take to Become a Consultant? 38 years, 9 years, 18 months, or about a minute–it depends on how you look at it,” Consultation, Spring 1982, 43-49. Personal recollections of my early journey into OD.

“The Heart of Socio-Tech,” OD Practitioner, Vol. 15, No. 3, September 1983, 11-14. A book review of Eric Trist’s The Evolution of Socio-Technical Systems: A Conceptual Framework and an Action Research Program, Occasional Paper No. 2, June 1981, Ontario Quality of Working Life , 59 pages.

“Learning How to Influence Others,” Supervisory Management, with C. James Maselko. Reprint, 1981, Amacom, a Division of American Management Associations. An article on learning to support and confront as key skills in working with others.

“Some Reflections on OD’s Identity Crisis,” Group & Organization Studies, June 1981, 6(2), 161-175. Interview: Marvin Weisbord, a dean of OD, by Leonard Goodstein, Group & Organization Studies, June 1981, 6(2), 135-160.

“Organization Assessment Research and Practice: The Continuing Tension,” a book review of Measuring and Assessing Organizations, by Andrew H. Van de Ven and Diane L. Ferry (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1980), in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

“If There’s No Future for OD, What is Top Management Really Interested In?” OD Practitioner, 1980, 6-8. Poking fun at the foibles of the field and its potential megalomania.

“Three-Star Cosmic Cultural Transformation: We Have to Start Meeting Like This!” pp. 9-11, Date and place not noted on my clip sheet. Possibly OD Practitioner. If you have this let me know.

“The Wizard of OD: Or, What Have Magic Slippers to Do with Burnout, Evaluation, Resistance, Planned Change, and Action Research?” OD Practitioner, Vol. 10, No. 2, Summer 1978, 1-7. This was an edited version of a keynote speech to the OD Network in the spring of 1978, in Hartford, CT. I still believe that the best metaphor for OD consulting is the Great Oz, with his smoke and mirrors, asking people to go on risky quests in order to be rewarded by discovering in themselves what they had all along. “Oh you are a very bad man!” Dorothy tells the Wizard after her little dog Toto has unmasked his technology. “I’m a very good man,” the Wizard replies. “I’m a very bad Wizard.” He then goes on to speak a line that ought to be the first lesson every aspiring OD consultant ought to learn: “Can I help it if all these people believe I can do things everybody knows are impossible?”

“Organizational Diagnosis: Six Places to Look for Trouble with or Without a Theory,” Group & Organization Studies, Volume 1, Number 4, December, 1976, pp. 430-447, – The first publication of the “six box model” showing the connections among Purposes, Structure, Relationships, Rewards, Helpful Mechanisms, and the central role of Leadership in “keeping the boxes in balance.”

“The Gap Between OD Practice and Theory–And Publication,” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Volume 10, Number 4, 1974, 476-484. This article was stimulated by my early awareness that “the literature” of organizational behavior seemed to lag the experience of front-line practitioners of organizational change. The theories and models of the time did not quite capture the nature of the dynamics among organization members, nor those of the relationships between consultants and clients.

“Input- Versus Output-Focused Organizations: Notes on a Contingency Theory of Practice,” The Cutting Edge: Current Theory and Practice in Organization Development, W. Warner Burke (Ed.), University Associates, CA, 1978), 13-26. Developing further the notion of how professional organizations (high autonomy and independence valued) differed from business firms (coordination, cooperation, interdependence valued). I pointed out that the very factors that made business firms amenable to OD strategies were inimical to the interests of independent professionals (including those in OD), who were by and large anti-authoritarian at best and at worst anti-organization altogether.

“Teaching Organizational Diagnosis as a ‘Practice Theory’” pp. 18-24. Maybe Organizational Behavior Teaching Journal, circa 1980. Please let me know if you have this citation. Description of many learning laboratories I ran in the 1970’s to help people learn to apply the “six box model” by studying and interacting with real organizations while learning the theory and method.

“How Do You Know It Works If You Don’t Know What it Is?” OD Practitioner, Vol. 9, No. 3, October 1977, 1-8. My take on the age old question, “What is OD?” I turned the prism this way and that and concluded that OD could be understood– whatever methods were used–as a form of “secular religion,” a set of deeply-held beliefs about the way workplaces could and should be.

“How I Lied My Way Out of Latin and Became a Behavioral Scientist,” OD Practitioner, Vol. 7, No. 2, July 1975, 1-6. A personal essay on how I learned about learning, the anxiety, the excitement, and the underlying assumptions.

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“The Organization Development Contract,” OD Practitioner, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1973, 1-4., reprinted in Organization Development Classics: The Practice and Theory of Change, 1987, pp. 107-118. An essay on contracting for OD services from the standpoint of both content and process. When I first wrote it, I naively used “he” and “him” throughout, in the early days of the gender revolution. Larry Porter, then editor of the OD Practitioner, tried to change the gender references. We both gave up, and instead wrote a note acknowledging that “he” meant “she” and “he.” A few years later, revising the piece for a reprint, I made the changes in a few minutes, mainly by using plural pronouns, a great example of cultural learning.

“Getting Computer People and Users to Understand Each Other,” with Ronald S. Kintisch. Advanced Management Journal, Vol. 42, No. 2, Spring 1971, 4-14. An effort to show how computer system and OD consultants could work together to improve systems implementation. Kintisch was a an early practitioner of computer systems analysis and implementation with a keen appreciation for the human equation. I met him through a mutual friend while installing the first computer system in my family business around 1960.

“When Companies Manage the Right Problem,” H&S Reports (A Quarterly of Haskins & Sells), Vol. 7, Number 3, Summer 1970, 20-23.

“What, Not Again! Manage People Better?” Think January-February 1970, 2-9. A survey piece on the emerging field of Organization Development, commissioned by the then-editor and my friend Howard Greenwald. This article resulted from my quest to discover who else was doing the sorts of workplace improvement projects that I had undertaken in the mid-1960’s. It lead to my reading and interviewing OD pioneers like Warren Bennis Alfred Marrow, and Dick Beckhard, and drew on one of my first consulting projects, when I applied Rensis Likert’s concept of human resource accounting. It became the most widely reprinted article Think ever published and resulted in my first speaking engagements, notably to the Cape Canaveral Personnel Association.

“Now, Focus on High School Unrest,” Think (IBM’s External House Magazine), September-October, 1969, 3-7. About the use of sensitivity training in a Long Island high school to deal with racial tensions. Looking for examples of practical applications, I wrote this shortly after my own first experience in an NTL Institute T-group.

“Management in Crisis,” The Conference Board Record, February 1970, Volume VII, No. 2, 10-18. An interview with Rensis Likert of the Institute for Social Research (ISR), Ann Arbor, MI, describing Likert’s work with system surveys and human resource accounting. I used Likert’s survey methods in a business firm to reduce turnover and in a medical school to advance cooperation among faculty and staff. I got considerable support in those early projects from Floyd Mann, a Likert colleague who headed up the Center for Research in the Utilization of Scientific Knowledge at ISR.