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Designing More Functional Organizations: The 12 Step Model

Lee Robbins (Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, Philadelphia, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 1 April 1992



Using strikingly different managerial techniques from conventional organizations, 12 Step Fellowships, most prominently Alcoholics Anonymous, provide useful clues to producing more effective, functional and humane organizations in contrast with our many dysfunctional firms which abuse their employees, behave unethically towards their customers, damage their social and ecological habitat and find it difficult to complete in a turbulent global environment. The founding Fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), extends to 131 countries with 1,550,000 members while the second largest, Al‐Anon/Alateen, has 414,000 members in 84 countries. Without advertising, government support or experts, AA is widely considered the most effective method for treating alcoholism. This success story was produced by members who, prior to AA, were themselves severely dysfunctional and often unemployable. Examines facets of the Fellowships (organizational structure, culture, communication and problem solving techniques) to demonstrate a powerful, little studied model for organizational learning and transformation.



Robbins, L. (1992), "Designing More Functional Organizations: The 12 Step Model", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 41-58.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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