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The Berkana Community of Conversations

A Study of Leadership Skill Development and Organizational Leadership Practices in a Self-organizing Online Microworld

by Marilyn L. Hamilton

e-Book PDF
Institution: Columbia Pacific University
Advisor(s): David Hagstrom PhD, Tesfaye Ketsela PhD, Peter W. Pick PhD, Less Carr PhD
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Administration and Management
Year: 1999
Volume: 367 pages
ISBN-10: 1581123302
ISBN-13: 9781581123302


This research used the online experiment, the Berkana Community of Conversations (BCC), as a case study to explore learning and leadership in a self-organizing online microworld (an internet “small world” with rules of engagement simulating complex adaptive organization(s)). Based on theories of learning (Papert, 1996), biology of consciousness (Maturana and Varela, 1992), and integral models (Wilber, 1996), an integral methodological design, analyzed languaging and relationships as key data sources. Leadership was mapped as a continuum of behaviors that created effective processes for meaning making, action/direction and accomplishment. Meaning making was tracked in: four directions; three types of connections (exploratory, transformative and linking) and six plus levels. Self-organizing leaders: 1) initiated patterns; 2) developed patterns; and 3) created connections. The same mapping revealed the ontogeny of community learning within organization(s). System-wide order emerged through learning, tracked on four quadrant developmental scales: intentional, behavioral, cultural and social (Wilber, 1996). The microworld demonstrated: connections create meanings (patterns), create relationships, create identity. As a self-organizing microworld, BCC survived seven months; structurally coupled with its environment; and replicated itself within and outside experiment boundaries. Such a microworld can realistically replicate action-based learning situations where leaders learn new ways of leading and organizing.

About The Author

Marilyn Hamilton, BA, CGA, PhD is Founder of, TDG Global Learning Connections, and TDG Holdings Inc. She meshworks global intelligences in the global village. Marilyn is a Founding Member of the Integral Institute and Integral-Ecology, Canadian Constellation Node of Spiral Dynamics in the Integral Age, a Certified Spiral Dynamics III Facilitator, Certified Cultural Transformation Tools Consultant and Ginger Group Collaborative Affiliate. She has 25+ years of multi-sector, international organization development experience. Marilyn is Alumna of the Foundation for Community Encouragement and Past-CEO/Chair of Consulting Resource Group International Publishers. Marilyn teaches and/or supervises graduate research at Royal Roads University, SFU, California Institute of Integral Studies and Adizes Graduate School. Integrating her BA English, Diploma in Translation and Certified General Accountancy, her Ph.D. (Administration and Management, 1999) researched learning and leadership in self-organizing online community systems.