Top‐down or outside‐in change methodologies are increasingly seen to be ineffective. Systems thinking suggests that change in organizations is a much less straightforward and more subtle phenomenon than previous models allow. Since the late 1970s and as organic metaphors have become used more, the concept of organizational learning has emerged as central to the issue. However, an understanding of how this may take place is still undeveloped. Recently technologies for whole systems development have emerged based on Weisbord′s dictum that for change or learning to occur we need to “get everybody into improving the whole”. Whole systems development can offer a way to realizing the learning organization. Provides a case study of whole systems development in action within Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council in the UK. Begins with a brief account of the ideas on which whole systems development is based and concludes with a commentary on the case study.
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