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Transformative education for sustainability leadership : identifying and addressing the challenges of… Gonzalez, Julian Matias 2015

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  TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP:  Identifying and addressing the challenges of mobilizing change  by   JULIAN MATIAS GONZALEZ  B.Eng., Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires, 2001 M.Sc., The University of British Columbia, 2007          A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY   in      THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Forestry)   THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)       July 2015  © Julian Matias Gonzalez, 2015 ii Abstract Using a transdisciplinary approach the dissertation explores how change occurs in human systems, and what is needed from us to mobilize such change. Part 1 explores the topic of change in human systems. It includes a literature review regarding the difficulties and realities of mobilizing change on all levels of human systems: individual, organizational, and societal. To complement current change theories and increase their effectiveness in explaining the process of change, two psychological concepts are introduced: individual cycles of emotional experience in the face of loss and crisis, and individual developmental meaning-making structures. From a perspective of practice and mobilizing change the challenges created by different sustainability worldviews are discussed. A simple framework and ten recommendations are presented to aid in the process of diagnosing and mobilizing change. Part 1 concludes with a case study in Costa Rica, diagnosing soil erosion challenges. The study explored motivations of local farmers regarding soil conservation practices, and analyzed their responses to a hypothetical payment for ecosystem services (PES) bidding scheme. It concludes that a PES scheme, in this context, does not address the reasons why farmers are not engaging in soil conservation practices; and is possibly counterproductive to the goal of behavioural change and soil conservation. Part 2 explores how we can better support university students to develop the skills needed to mobilize change and argues that the challenges of sustainability require individuals that have more practical know-how skills and more developed know-who awareness. It concludes that in the context of sustainability, higher education institutions can do more to contribute to the development of these ways of knowing. The cornerstone of part 2 is a case study of a sustainability leadership course taught at UBC. The course aimed to increase individuals’ adaptive leadership skills, and to support transformative learning. The course was successful at both increasing leadership skills and supporting transformative learning, however shortcomings of the course are also presented. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of what has been learned about the limitations of a course based approach to addressing the shortcomings of practical sustainability skills development in a university setting. iii Preface Chapter 4 – Costa Rica Case study. Julian Gonzalez was hired by professor Tim McDaniels in 2010 as a research assistant to support a project led by professor Raffael Vignola from CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in Costa Rica. Julian spent six weeks in the spring of 2010 in Turrialba, Costa Rica, working with Dr. McDaniels and Dr. Vignola, and continued working on the research project for the rest of 2010 based from Vancouver, BC.  The research focused on better understanding what strategies would support small scale farmers in Costa Rica to engage in soil conservation practices in the context of climate change adaptation. The research was based on a lengthy survey developed and administered to farmers by Dr. Vignola. Julian was not part of the development of the survey or administrating the survey to farmers. Julian received the raw data of the survey and his role was to analyze, synthesize and write a paper using the survey data collected. During the data analysis Julian met a number of times with Dr. McDaniels and Dr. Vignola to discuss scope and possible outlines of the paper given what he was discovering from the data. Julian completed a draft of the paper by the end of 2010, which is included in this document in Chapter 4. A revised version of this material is being prepared for submission to a journal. Dr. Vignola will be first author on the paper, Julian will be second author for contributing the majority of written material, framing, and data analysis, and Dr. McDaniels will be third author for contributing financial support and intellectual input into the framing of the paper. This research was covered by UBC Ethics Certificate number H10-00848.  Chapter 6 – Sustainability leadership course case study. The case study reported in Chapter 6 was covered by UBC Ethics Certificate number H11-01323.  The rest of the dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, J. Gonzalez.   iv Table of contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ......................................................................................................................................................... iii Table of contents ......................................................................................................................................... iv List of tables ............................................................................................................................................... viii List of figures ................................................................................................................................................ ix List of abbreviations ...................................................................................................................................... x Glossary ........................................................................................................................................................ xi Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................................... xviii Dedication ................................................................................................................................................... xix Prologue: not knowing ................................................................................................................................. xx Introduction .................................................................................................................................................. 1 Focus of the dissertation ........................................................................................................................... 2 Philosophical perspectives ........................................................................................................................ 3 Research questions ................................................................................................................................... 6 Research methods .................................................................................................................................... 9 Audience ................................................................................................................................................. 12 Terminology ............................................................................................................................................ 13 Part1 – Sustainability challenges and change in human systems ............................................................... 14 Chapter 1. The sad story of change initiatives ...................................................................................... 14 Chapter 2. Theories of change .............................................................................................................. 17 2.1 Theories of evolution .................................................................................................................. 18 2.2 Socio-technical transitions .......................................................................................................... 19 2.3 Organizational theories of change .............................................................................................. 22 2.4 Group / individual / interpersonal change theory ...................................................................... 25 2.5 Individual / intrapersonal change ............................................................................................... 27 v 2.6 Orders of mind ............................................................................................................................ 30 2.7 Barriers to change ....................................................................................................................... 35 2.8 Concluding remarks .................................................................................................................... 36 Chapter 3. Worldviews, sustainability and change challenges ............................................................. 38 3.1 Worldviews and sustainability .................................................................................................... 38 3.2 Typology of the procedural aspects of sustainability challenges ............................................... 42 3.3 Avoiding pitfalls of adaptive challenges ...................................................................................... 49 3.4 Final thoughts ............................................................................................................................. 55 Chapter 4. Case study - Costa Rica........................................................................................................ 57 4.1 Introduction to the case study .................................................................................................... 57 4.2 Costa Rica case study .................................................................................................................. 58 4.2.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 58 4.2.2 Context and methods .......................................................................................................... 59 4.2.3 Results ................................................................................................................................. 65 4.2.4 Discussion ............................................................................................................................ 80 4.2.5 Conclusions ......................................................................................................................... 89 4.3 Concluding remarks of the case study ........................................................................................ 89 4.4 Who leads the change? ............................................................................................................... 92 Part 2 – Education for sustainability leadership ......................................................................................... 93 Chapter 5. The what, how, and who of sustainability leadership ........................................................ 93 5.1 Defining sustainability leadership ............................................................................................... 93 5.1.1 What is leadership? ............................................................................................................. 93 5.1.2 When is leadership needed in sustainability challenges? ................................................... 97 5.1.3 The work of sustainability leadership ................................................................................. 99 5.1.4 The pitfalls of authoritative expertise ............................................................................... 101 5.2 Teaching and learning sustainability leadership ....................................................................... 103 5.2.1 Learning from the stance .................................................................................................. 103 vi 5.2.2 Transformative learning and teaching .............................................................................. 109 5.2.3 Can leadership be taught? ................................................................................................ 127 5.3 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 138 Chapter 6. Case study – Sustainability leadership course .................................................................. 140 6.1 Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 140 6.2 Research questions and methods ............................................................................................. 140 6.2.1 Foundations of the course ................................................................................................ 141 6.2.2 Details of the course ......................................................................................................... 142 6.2.3 Creating challenging and supportive experiences ............................................................ 147 6.2.4 Course structure................................................................................................................ 148 6.2.5 Experiential exercises ........................................................................................................ 152 6.2.6 Course assessment of student learning ............................................................................ 162 6.2.7 Research assessments of learning .................................................................................... 164 6.2.8 Self-inquiry and research-as-praxis ................................................................................... 167 6.3 Findings and discussion ............................................................................................................. 168 6.3.1 Student learning ................................................................................................................ 169 6.3.2 Course pedagogy ............................................................................................................... 194 6.3.3 Learning and growing ........................................................................................................ 223 6.3.4 Merits of the course .......................................................................................................... 231 6.4 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 233 Chapter 7. Final thoughts and conclusions ......................................................................................... 236 7.1 Changing landscapes ................................................................................................................. 236 7.2 Future of higher education? ..................................................................................................... 239 7.3 Where do we go from here? ..................................................................................................... 242 7.4 Conclusions and future research .............................................................................................. 246 Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................. 251 Appendix A – Course syllabus and advertising ..................................................................................... 282 vii Syllabus ................................................................................................................................................. 283 Email advertising ................................................................................................................................... 291 Poster advertising ................................................................................................................................. 292 Appendix B – Assessment instruments ................................................................................................ 293 Pre assessment ..................................................................................................................................... 294 Post assessment .................................................................................................................................... 298 Exit web survey ..................................................................................................................................... 302 Student interview semi-structured questions guide ............................................................................ 318 Appendix C – Survey results ................................................................................................................. 321 Exit web survey results ......................................................................................................................... 322 UBC exit survey results ......................................................................................................................... 339 Appendix D – Sustainability simulation ................................................................................................ 341 Example: farmer stakeholder ................................................................................................................ 342 Example: forestry stakeholder .............................................................................................................. 349 Stella control panel ............................................................................................................................... 356 Appendix E – Student quotes ............................................................................................................... 358 Appendix F – Sex work and the practice of leadership ........................................................................ 372 Appendix G – The challenges of evaluating unconventional work ....................................................... 382 Looking back: self-evaluation ................................................................................................................ 387 Knowledge contribution ....................................................................................................................... 390 Contributing to practice, and/or addressing a societal challenge(s) .................................................... 393 Transformative learning of candidate and/or those affected by the research process ....................... 394 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 396  viii List of tables Table 3-1. Worldviews and sustainability – adapted from Clapp and Dauvergne (2005) .......................... 39 Table 3-2: Typology of sustainability change challenges ............................................................................ 44 Table 4-1: Cultural background ................................................................................................................... 67 Table 4-2. Variables influencing farmers motivation for soil conservation ................................................ 67 Table 4-3. Awareness and understanding of climate change impacts ....................................................... 70 Table 4-4. Farmers response to the PES scheme ........................................................................................ 70 Table 4-5. Farmers suggestions for a PES scheme ...................................................................................... 71 Table 4-6: Three approaches of providing ES ............................................................................................. 87 Table 5-1: Explicit and tacit knowledge .................................................................................................... 106 Table 5-2: Constructive developmental stages ......................................................................................... 112 Table 5-3: Loeviger's stages of ego development – source (Manners & Durkin, 2001) ........................... 113 Table 5-4: Ego development in the workplace – source (Cook-Greuter, 2004) ....................................... 115 Table 5-5: Questions most associated with particular forms of mind – source (Berger, 2012) ............... 116 Table 5-6: Summary three educational perspectives – source (J. P. Miller & Seller, 1985) ..................... 119 Table 5-7: Leadership training vs development – adapted from Carroll et al. (2008) .............................. 131 Table 5-8: Increasing ability to reflect – adapted from Kegan (1994) ...................................................... 133 Table 5-9: Leadership at different stages – source (Rooke & Torbert, 2005; Torbert, 2004) .................. 136 Table 6-1: Course syllabus ........................................................................................................................ 143 Table 6-2: Class distribution ...................................................................................................................... 169 Table 6-3: Emotional intelligence results .................................................................................................. 190 Table 6-4: SCT pre and post scores ........................................................................................................... 191 ix List of figures Figure 4-1: Area of study ............................................................................................................................. 60 Figure 4-2: Birris sub-watershed – source (Landry, 2009) .......................................................................... 60 Figure 4-3: Typical farming slopes – source: kristinepaulsen.com ............................................................. 61 Figure 4-4: Conceptual framework ............................................................................................................. 63 Figure 4-5: Main points from the results .................................................................................................... 66 Figure 4-6: Factors influencing motivation ................................................................................................. 81 Figure 4-7: Soil management incentives ..................................................................................................... 82 Figure 6-1: Exit survey question 24 ........................................................................................................... 170 Figure 6-2: Exit survey question 3 ............................................................................................................. 172 Figure 6-3: Exit survey question 26 ........................................................................................................... 173 Figure 6-4: Exit survey question 28 ........................................................................................................... 183 Figure 6-5: Exit survey question 2 ............................................................................................................. 185 Figure 6-6: Exit survey question 12 ........................................................................................................... 195 Figure 6-7: Exit survey question 19 ........................................................................................................... 199 Figure 6-8: Exit survey question 20 ........................................................................................................... 199 Figure 6-9: Exit survey question 4 ............................................................................................................. 202 Figure 6-10: Exit survey question 7 ........................................................................................................... 214 Figure 6-11: Exit survey question 8 ........................................................................................................... 214  x List of abbreviations ACE  American Council on Education AESHA  An Evaluation of Sex workers’ Health Access CATIE  Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Educacion - Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center CEO  Chief Executive Officer CSL  Community Service Learning DProf  Doctor of Professional Practice EBM  Ecosystem-Based Management EDT  Ego Development Theory EI  Emotional Intelligence  ES  Environmental Services ESL  English as Second Language FONAFIFO Fondo de Financiamiento Forestal de Costa Rica - National Forest Financing Fund  HIV/AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome ICDP  Integrated Conservation and Development Projects ICE  Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad - National Electricity Institute ID  Interdisciplinary IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LEED  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LIC  Living In Community  MASL  Meters Above Sea Level MBA  Master in Business Administration MLP  Multilevel perspective MOOCs Massive Open Online Courses MSc  Master in Science NGO  Non-governmental organization NIMBY  Not In My Back Yard OEA  Others’ Emotion Appraisal PBL  Problem Based Learning PES  Payment for Ecosystem Services  RGS  Regional Growth Strategy ROE  Regulation Of Emotion SCT  Sentence Completion Test SDM  Structured Decision Making SEA  Self-Emotion Appraisal SLATE  Strengthening Learning And Teaching Excellence SPSS  Statistical Package for the Social Sciences SoTL  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning  STT  Socio-Technical Transitions TD  Transdisciplinary UBC  University of British Columbia UOE  Use Of Emotion VOC Voice of Cynicism VOF  Voice of Fear  VOJ  Voice Of Judgment  WKKF  W.K. Kellogg Foundation WUSCT  Washington University Sentence Completion Test  xi Glossary Most of the words and terms of the glossary are in reference to leadership metaphors as used by Heifetz and associates. The entries that have an asterisk ‘*’ are sourced from the book The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World by Heifetz, Linsky, and Grashow (2009). act politically* Incorporate the loyalties and values of the other parties into your mobilization strategy. Assume that no one operates solely as an individual but represents, formally or informally, a set of constituent loyalties, expectations, and pressures. adaptation* A successful adaptation enables an organism to thrive in a new or challenging environment. The adaptive process is both conservative and progressive in that it enables the living system to take the best from its traditions, identity, and history into the future. See also thrive adaptive capacity* The resilience of people and the capacity of systems to engage in problem-defining and problem-solving work in the midst of adaptive pressures and the resulting disequilibrium. adaptive challenge* The gap between the values people stand for (that constitute thriving) and the reality that they face (their current lack of capacity to realize those values in their environment). See also technical problem. adaptive culture* Adaptive cultures engage in at least five practices. They (1) name the elephants in the room, (2) share responsibility for the organization's future, (3) exercise independent judgment, (4) develop leadership capacity, and (5) institutionalize reflection and continuous learning. adaptive leadership* The activity of mobilizing adaptive work. adaptive work* Holding people through a sustained period of disequilibrium during which they identify what cultural DNA to conserve and discard, and invent or discover the new cultural DNA that will enable them to thrive anew; i.e., the learning process through which people in a system achieve a successful adaptation. See also technical work. ally* A member of the community in alignment on a particular issue. ancestor* A family or community member from an earlier generation who shapes a person's identity assassination* The killing or neutralizing (through character assassination) of someone who embodies a perspective that another faction in the social system desperately wants to silence xii attention* A critical resource for leadership. To make progress on adaptive challenges, those who lead must be able to hold people's engagement with hard questions through a sustained period of disequilibrium. This is the currency of leadership. The heart of leadership strategy is getting people to pay attention to tough issues rather than diversions. Exercising leadership for an authority means redirecting attention from his or her person and role to the issues that are generating distress. authority* Formal or informal power within a system, entrusted by one party to another in exchange for a service. The basic services, or social functions, provided by authorities are: (1) direction; (2) protection; and (3) order. See also formal authority and informal authority. bandwidth* The range of capacities within which an individual has gained comfort and skill. See also repertoire. below the neck* The non-intellectual human faculties: emotional, spiritual, instinctive, kinetic. carrying water* Doing the work of others that they should be doing for themselves. casualty* A person, competency, or role that is lost as a by-product of adaptive change classic error* Treating an adaptive challenge as a technical problem Community- Based Natural Resource Management  Community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) is an approach under which communities become responsible for managing natural resources (forests, land, water, biodiversity) within a designated area. CBNRM gives communities full or partial control over decisions regarding natural resources, such as water, forests, pastures, communal lands, protected areas, and fisheries. For more information see (Leach, Mearns, & Scoones, 1999) confidant* A person invested in the success and happiness of another person, rather than in the other person's perspective or agenda. courageous conversation* A dialogue designed to resolve competing priorities and beliefs while preserving relationships. See also orchestrating the conflict dance floor* Where the action is. Where the friction, noise, tension, and systemic activity are occurring. Ultimately, the place where the work gets done dancing on the edge of your scope of authority* Taking action near or beyond the formal or informal limits of what you are expected to do. default* A routine and habitual response to recurring stimuli, also called conditioning deploying yourself* Deliberately managing your roles, skills, and identity. disequilibrium* The absence of a steady state, typically characterized in a social system by increasing levels of urgency, conflict, dissonance, and tension generated by adaptive challenges elephant in the room* A difficult issue that is commonly known to exist in an organization or community but is not discussed openly. See also naming the elephant in the room. xiii engaging above and below the neck* Connecting with all the dimensions of the people you lead. Also, bringing all of yourself to the practice of leadership. Above the neck speaks to intellectual faculties, the home of logic and facts; below the neck speaks to emotional faculties, the home of values, beliefs, habits of behavior, and patterns of reaction. See also below the neck. experimental mind-set* An attitude that treats any approach to an adaptive issue not as a solution, but as the beginning of an iterative process of testing a hypothesis, observing what happens, learning, making midcourse corrections, and then, if necessary, trying something else. faction* A group with (1) a shared perspective that has been shaped by tradition, power relationships, loyalties, and interests and (2) its own grammar for analyzing a situation and its own system of internal logic that defines the stakes, terms of problems, and solutions in ways that make sense to its own members. faction map* A diagram that depicts the groups relevant to an adaptive challenge, and includes the loyalties, values, and losses at risk that keep each faction invested in its position. finding your voice* The process of discovering how to best use yourself as an instrument to frame issues effectively, shape and tell stories purposefully, and inspire others. formal authority* Explicit power granted to meet an explicit set of service expectations, such as those in job descriptions or legislative mandates getting on the balcony* Taking a distanced view. The mental act of disengaging from the dance floor, the current swirl of activity, in order to observe and gain perspective on yourself and on the larger system. Enables you to see patterns that are not visible from the ground. This is accomplished by asking the right questions that can help illuminate key patterns in the events that are happening. Leadership capacities for reflection and analysis include: stepping back, observing the fray, and interpreting political and organizational dynamics in real time; engaging in process and strategic thinking; and reasoning up and down levels of abstraction.  giving the work back* The action of an authority figure in resisting the pressure to take the responsibility for solving problems off of other people's shoulders, and instead mobilizing the responsibility of the primary stakeholders in doing their share of the adaptive work xiv gross, subtle, and causal cognition “Wilber distinguishes between gross, subtle, and causal cognition. Very briefly, whereas gross cognition takes the external, material, sensorimotor realm as its object of reflection, subtle cognition takes the internal world of thought and altered states of consciousness (including both mental and subtle realms) as its object of reflection. Subtle cognition involves precisely those forms of mental activity that Western cognitive psychologists have tended to ignore, downplay, or dismiss: imagination, creative visions, reverie, hypnotic and hypnogogic states, and transcendental, revelatory, and other noetic states. Causal cognition involves both the root essence of attention itself as well as the capacity to take the "position" of witnessing.” (Marquis, 2008, p. 107)  holding environment* The cohesive properties of a relationship or social system that serve to keep people engaged with one another in spite of the divisive forces generated by adaptive work. May include, for example, bonds of affiliation and love; agreed-upon rules,' procedures, and norms; shared purposes and common values; traditions, language, and rituals; familiarity with adaptive work; and trust in authority. However it may include brute force or use of threat or fear. Holding environments give a group identity and contain the conflict, chaos, and confusion often produced when struggling with complex problematic realities.  holding steady* Withholding your perspective, not primarily for self-protecting, but to wait for the right moment to act, or act again. Also, remaining steadfast, tolerating the heat and push back of people who resist dealing with the issue. hunger* A normal human need that each person seeks to fulfill, such as (1) power and control, (2) affirmation and importance, and (3) intimacy and delight. illusion of the broken system* Every group of human beings is aligned to achieve the results it currently gets. The current reality is the product of the implicit and explicit decisions of people in the system, at least of the dominant stakeholders. In that sense, no system is broken, although change processes are often driven by the idea that an organization is broken. That view discounts the accumulated functionality for many people of the system's current way of operating informal authority* Power granted implicitly to meet a set of service expectations, such as representing cultural norms like civility or being given moral authority to champion the aspirations of a movement. Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDP)  Are biodiversity conservation projects with rural development components. These projects seek to address biodiversity conservation objectives through the use of local socio-economic investment tools. (for more see Alpert, 1996)  interpretation* Identifying patterns of behavior that help make sense of a situation. Interpretation is the process of explaining raw data through digestible understandings and narratives. Most situations have multiple possible interpretations xv intervention* Any series of actions or a particular action, including intentional inaction, aimed at mobilizing progress on adaptive challenges. leadership with authority* Mobilizing people to address an adaptive challenge from a position of authority. The authority role brings with it resources and constraints for exercising leadership. leadership without authority* Mobilizing people to address an adaptive challenge by taking action beyond the formal and informal expectations that define your scope of power, such as raising unexpected questions upward from the middle of the organization, challenging the expectations of your constituents, or engaging people across boundaries from outside the organization. Lacking authority also brings with it resources and constraints leap to action* The default behavior of reacting prematurely to disequilibrium with a habituated set of responses. lightning rod* A person who is the recipient of a group's anger or frustration, often expressed as a personal attack and typically intended to deflect attention from a disturbing issue and displace responsibility for it to someone else living into the disequilibrium* The gradual process of easing people into an uncomfortable state of uncertainty, disorder, conflict, or chaos at a pace and level that does not overwhelm them yet takes them out of their comfort zones and mobilizes them to engage in addressing an adaptive challenge. naming the elephant in the room* The act of addressing an issue that may be central to making progress on an adaptive challenge but that has been ignored in the interest of maintaining equilibrium. Discussing the undiscussable. See also elephant in the room. observation* Collection of relevant data from a detached perspective and from as many sources as possible. See also getting on the balcony opposition* Those parties or factions that feel threatened or at risk of loss if your perspective is accepted. orchestrating the conflict* Designing and leading the process of getting parties with differences to work them through productively, as distinguished from resolving the differences for them. See also courageous conversation. pacing the work* Gauging how much disturbance the social system can withstand and then breaking down a complex challenge into small elements, sequencing them at a rate that people can absorb partners*  Leadership cannot be exercised alone. Each leader has blind spots that require the vision of others and passions that need to be contained by others. Leaders can lose the capacity to get on the balcony and stay in the diagnostic mode. They need help in distinguishing self from role when attacked or idealized and in identifying the underlying issues that generate attack.  personal leadership work* Learning about and managing yourself to be more effective in mobilizing adaptive work. pressure cooker* A holding environment strong enough to contain the disequilibrium of adaptive processes.  xvi productive zone of disequilibrium* The optimal range of distress within which the urgency in the system motivates people to engage in adaptive work. If the level is too low, people will be inclined to complacently maintain their current way of working, but if it is too high, people are likely to be overwhelmed and may start to panic or engage in severe forms of work avoidance, like scapegoating or assassination. See also work avoidance progress* The development of new capacity that enables the social system to thrive in new and challenging environments. The process of social and political learning that leads to improvement in the condition of the group, community, organization, nation, or world. See also thrive purpose* The overarching sense of direction and contribution that provides meaningful orientation to a set of activities in organizational and political life. reality testing * The process of comparing data and interpretations of a situation to discem which one, or which new synthesis of competing interpretations, captures the most information and best explains the situation. regulating the heat* Raising or lowering the distress in the system to stay within the productive zone of disequilibrium. repertoire* The range of capacities within which an individual has gained comfort and skill.  resilience* The capacity of individuals and the holding environment to contain disequilibrium over time. See also holding environment and pressure cooker. ripeness of an issue* The readiness of a dominant coalition of stakeholders to tackle an issue because of a generalized sense of urgency across stakeholding groups. ritual * A practice with symbolic import that helps to create a shared sense of community. role* The set of expectations in a social system that define the services individuals or groups are supposed to provide. sanctuary* A place or set of practices for personal renewal. scope of authority * The set of services for which a person is entrusted by others with circumscribed power. skills A short hand word to refer to the complex constellation of perceptual, intellectual, intuitive, and emotional abilities of an individual. social system * Any collective enterprise (small group, organization, network of organizations, nation, or the world) with shared challenges that has interdependent and therefore interactive dynamics and features. song beneath the words * The underlying meaning or unspoken subtext in someone's comment, often identified by body language, tone, intensity of voice, and the choice of language. sustainability The process of mobilizing change to make progress on the economic, ecological, and social imperatives a group and/or society faces xvii taking the temperature * Assessing the level of disequilibrium currently in the system. technical problem*  Problems that can be diagnosed and solved, generally within a short time frame, by applying established know-how and procedures. Technical problems are amenable to authoritative expertise and management of routine processes. technical work * Problem defining and problem solving that effectively mobilizes, coordinates, and applies currently sufficient expertise, processes, and cultural norms. thrive * To live up to people's highest values. Requires adaptive responses that distinguish what's essential from what's expendable, and innovates so that the social system can bring the best of its past into the future. tuning * An individual's personal psychology, including the set of loyalties, values, and perspectives that have shaped his worldview and identity, and cause the individual to resonate consciously and unconsciously, productively and unproductively, to external stimuli. See also default. work avoidance * The conscious or unconscious patterns in a social system that distract people's attention or displace responsibility in order to restore social equilibrium at the cost of progress in meeting an adaptive challenge.    xviii Acknowledgements The seven years that I have been journeying in the PhD world have been generously supported by my friends and family, whose never-failing sympathy and humorous questions “Are you done?” have encouraged me to complete the journey. My colleagues at Ecoplan International have given me an opportunity for practice and reflection that has shaped this dissertation in crucial ways. If I had not undertaken these fascinating projects this dissertation would have been finished in half the time, but would have been much less rich. I am grateful for the friendships I have developed with Raffa and Tim during my time in Costa Rica, and I look forward to many more projects together. Mike has been a true companion since my master’s studies; I cannot imagine a better supervisor. My committee pushed me to teach at UBC; for that, I am grateful, as both I and many students have been incredibly nurtured by the experience. Without Carissa’s support, I doubt I or the students would have made it to the end of the course. My friend Diego was an invaluable confidant, who helped me discover from the inside the work of Heifetz and coached me along the rocky road of teaching it. Musho, my teacher: I am eternally grateful for your ferocity and gentleness teaching me that everything is workable.    xix Dedication Throughout the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to spend this lifetime with Ines.  xx Prologue: not knowing For a PhD dissertation this is a paradoxical way to start. Through more than ten years of working, researching, and reflecting on human conditions and the challenges that we face as a global community I have learned a lot. Some of it is shared in this document. Above all, I’ve been humbled by the experience. Let me explain. I now stand at an interesting point: I have mastered many skills and developed expertise, I have written a dissertation, I am working on sustainability issues and have many interesting projects ahead; a perfect springboard to act and influence the world for the better. Yet the mystery of all this — I mean ALL this — is incredible. This tiny planet, in this ‘still’ tiny galaxy, part of this somewhat larger universe that has been around for just 13.5 billion years. If one is able to fathom the enormity and the smallness of all this it can only leave you in awe. How little we really know . . .  This is just the beginning of not knowing. As I sit and contemplate the human condition, I realize how much I construct this world of good and bad. It is a world that is full of suffering that needs compassionate action to alleviate. From one perspective, there is an important truth in the notion that the world needs compassionate action to alleviate suffering; and many of us look up to such exemplary historical figures as Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela for the inspiration of their actions towards improving the well-being of many. From another perspective this is insignificant. I don’t say this as a nihilist, but as somebody who is in awe of our smallness. I realize that the constructs of climate change, extreme poverty, war, and suffering in general have less of a hold on me now. I guess I’ve come to accept that I just don’t know how to understand their significance in the grand scheme of things. In a more practical sense it is astonishing what we humans have constructed — cities, planes, medicine, psychology—all of it. It is amazing given how feeble we are; being tricked by all the biologically inherited biases that we have. Biases that, in practice, will never go away. Even the smartest, most trained, most logical of us is limited by our biology. We can design better processes to scaffold us up around them, yet in everyday life we operate as if partially blind. It is quite astonishing that our decisions have been successful enough to allow us to create all of this over the generations. The magnitude of the achievement holds even though, as I will share later in this document, a very large part of our decisions fail to make any significant progress toward the results we desire. How all this came to be seems to be a xxi mix of luck, intention, and the ability of systems to self-organize independent of our individual and collective purposeful actions. I have arrived at the conclusion that, given the complexity of the problems that we are currently facing, we human beings are limited in our ability to know the impacts of our choices. Consequently, even our best-intended actions can have adverse effects on the system as a whole. Interestingly, this dissertation is in essence about how to better get things done, how to make more progress on those difficult things that we care about. In a sense I feel a bit like I am participating in a hoax — the truth is that I don’t feel I have answers to the questions I have before me, even though you will find many ideas and answers in this document. I do believe that what I will share with you can better prepare us to make progress on the challenges that we face, but only if I am also able to communicate how lightly and deeply all of this should be taken. I am not skilled enough to say this in my own words so I’ll rely on two sources that are. First, is an ancient tradition that has worked with this paradox for centuries. The Zen Peacemaker Order (Glassman, 1998), a socially engaged Buddhist organization, lives by three vows, the first of which is ‘not-knowing’ and it states: 1. Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe The vow of not-knowing in the Zen Peacemaker Order encourages us to drop our conceptual framework, such concepts and assumptions as ‘us and them’, ‘good and bad’, ‘knowing and not-knowing’. When realized, not-knowing is a state of open presence without separation, allowing us to deeply listen to all that arises in a situation. The second source that speaks gracefully to not-knowing is the modern poet Mary Oliver: Mysteries, Yes  “Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.  How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs. How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity, while we ourselves dream of rising.  How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken. How people come, from delight or the scars of damage, to the comfort of a poem. xxii  Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.  Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.”   1  Introduction It was close to 8 o’clock in the evening, a colleague and I had just finished facilitating a four hour workshop with mayors and elected officials of a heavily populated region in the interior of British Columbia. As participants were leaving the room I approached a younger woman still seated at her table and asked if she thought the evening had been productive for her. She started out by saying, “It is the first time that I see so clearly the importance of clarifying my own and my community’s values as they are crucial in helping us make better decisions”. The workshop was part of a longer participatory process focused on creating a Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) with a vision of promoting socially, economically, and environmentally healthy communities in the region. What was a surprise for her was that even though Regional Growth Strategies focus on land resources and public facilities, the workshop mainly focused on eliciting and clarifying values of the participants, and through the course of the workshop connected the participants’ values back to the trade-offs they needed to make in the planning process. Another male participant that I approached said, “As an elected official I have gone to many symposiums, but there are only a handful of them that I recall learning – you know, those ‘aha’ moments – and seeing other people at my table also feeling the same way”. By the end of the workshop my colleague and I had observed a profound shift in the preferred strategies that the electorate had initially voted on at the beginning of the evening.  Though I personally continue to struggle to make sense of what sustainability means in practice, that evening remains fresh in my mind as it speaks to some of the dynamics of sustainability work that are not readily captured in the vast literature of sustainability. This gap between what we know of sustainability and what I have found to work in the practice of sustainability is what I have come to experience as the blind spot of sustainability.  This dissertation was born from practice. As a consultant I experience daily the challenges my clients face, and the difficulties they encounter in trying to create more sustainable futures. They hire me, and the organizations I work for, because they are looking for answers – they want solutions they can implement, not only to survive, but to thrive in today’s complex and rapidly changing world. No matter the context of the work, all my clients face the same challenge of mobilizing change in a group, a neighbourhood, a city, a province or a country. The reason I embarked on the journey of a PhD is because I was inspired by people like my clients who are doing their best to create a more sustainable  2  world for all of us, and they face incredible difficulties in mobilizing and creating long-lasting sustainable change.  Focus of the dissertation Sustainability related challenges and the accompanying discourses continue to be central topics in government, the private sector, and civil society. Most organizations, public and private, include some sustainability related statement in their visions or goals. The definition of the term sustainability is an ongoing conversation resulting in many, sometimes diverging interpretations of the term (Dobson, 1996). The most common use of the term sustainability refers to the goal of achieving environmental, economic, and social continuity over time, also commonly referred to as ‘sustainable development’ (WCED, 1987). Since the late 1990s the term sustainability has also been used to define the process by which a society can purposefully change to narrow the gap between the normative aspects of sustainability and the current reality (Meppem & Gill, 1998; Robinson, 2004). Robinson (2004) suggests that sustainability is more usefully defined by two dimensions, one substantive and the other procedural. The substantive aspect seeks to reconcile the three imperatives: ecological, social, and economic. The procedural aspect argues that sustainability is a social process, not an end state, of constructing with citizens the preferred outcomes to address the substantive aspects of sustainability.  This dissertation focuses on the procedural rather than the substantive aspects of sustainability for two practical reasons. First, the more difficult sustainability challenges that we face, like climate change, resist being addressed by the application of knowledge and solutions (Hulme, 2009; Prins & Rayner, 2007). They require that we engage in a multi-scale processes of continual action, learning, and adapting (O’Brien, 2012; Ostrom, Janssen, & Anderies, 2007). To me such a process speaks to the procedural challenges of sustainability, and not the substantive aspects of it. I will expand this point further in chapter 3. A second reason for focusing on the procedural aspects of sustainability is that the reasoning that emerges from seeking substantive solutions is typically limited in its ability to effect change. This is because that reasoning typically assumes that, once better knowledge and understanding of the problem is reached, it will naturally lead to solutions that can be implemented. While very common, this assumption is false. As Hungerford states “We still believe—so very strongly—in the knowledge > attitude > behavior model of learning when, at the same time, we know how desperately inadequate  3  this is when it comes to changing the citizenship behaviors of large numbers of learners over long periods of time” (quoted in Simmons & Volk, 2002, p. 7). Many other academics and practitioners assert that the theory of change that assumes knowledge will naturally lead to change is flawed (Finger, 1994; Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002; Leiserowitz, Kates, & Parris, 2005; McKenzie-Mohr, 2011; Pfeffer & Sutton, 2000), especially when change is required to meet complex challenges. It is therefore important to appreciate that sustainability challenges are complex in at least three dimensions (Kahane, 2007): (1) dynamic complexity when cause and effect are far apart in space and time, (2) generative complexity when the future is unpredictable and uncertain, and (3) social complexity when the parties involved have different assumptions, objectives, and values. All of these dimensions add to the difficulty of arriving at any one view of the underlying causes and best solutions to sustainability challenges; especially the social complexity dimension. Thus, substantive positions on what to do about sustainability issues are limited in their ability to effect change, not only because knowledge by itself rarely leads to action, but also because any one account of the underlying causes and best solutions to sustainability challenges is necessarily limited. I will also expand on this point further in chapter 3. The term sustainability is powerful because it can cut across disciplines and worldviews. It can do so not as a clearly defined and widely understood term, but as a call for action. What sustainability means is context specific and generally includes an ill-defined problem with inevitable tension between stakeholders and their diverging interests and worldviews. The polarization of values and differing interpretation of facts is a concern for a pluralistic society facing challenges that require widespread coordinated action. In summary: The focus of this dissertation is on the procedural dimension of sustainability; on how groups, organizations, and societies transition from one way of being and acting to another. Therefore, sustainability in this dissertation is defined as the process of mobilizing change to make progress on a group or society’s economic, ecological, and social imperatives. Philosophical perspectives Before discussing the research questions this dissertation undertakes to address, and the methods that it employs, it is important to situate the reader in the philosophical perspectives that ground this work (Zuber-Skerritt, 1992, pp. 124–140). This is because the questions that I ask and how I approach them follow from my beliefs about the purpose of research, the nature of knowledge (epistemology), and the  4  nature of reality (ontology). I situate myself in a philosophy that has renounced the tenants of positivism and subscribed to a critical philosophy regarding the purpose of research; I take a constructivist-developmental philosophy regarding the nature of knowledge; and a Buddhist view regarding the nature of reality. This dissertation is in line with Giddens’ (1984) approach to sociology, which renounces the futile pursuit of positivism; that is, of finding timeless laws of human behaviour and organization. I share with Giddens the belief that positivism applied to social problems is of little use given the realities of individual agency and evolutionary patterns of self-organization that spontaneously create novelty in how we interact in groups and organizations. Giddens suggests that the best that social science can do is offer ‘sensitizing concepts’, or simply ‘distinctions’, which, when skilfully used, provide us with more options for observing, interpreting, and intervening in human systems in a way that mobilizes increased consciousness, freedom, and learning.  Furthermore, I fundamentally disagree with the following four assumptions that stem from a positivist perspective: 1. That advances in knowledge stem mainly from the application of the scientific method: observation, hypothesis and evidence. 2. That there is an objective, value-free approach to research and knowledge generation. 3. That reality exists separate from the knower, and therefore a phenomenon can be studied independently from the researcher studying the phenomena, and the historical/social context of the time. 4. That empirical factual science is the only legitimate form of knowledge generation. This is not to say that I am against the scientific method, knowledge generation, research or empirical studies; not at all. It is to agree that all these are more fruitfully undertaken within a critical rather than positivistic paradigm. I include this statement because what I have experienced as a student in the 21st century is similar to Miller’s (1988) observation almost three decades ago that, although nobody claims to be a positivist, “positivism remains the dominant philosophy of science” (p.3).  5  Given the myriad of social challenges that we face, I find most meaningful research that purposefully aims to facilitate change in individuals and society. This philosophical view on the purpose of research goes by many names such as critical theory (Calhoun, 1995), action research (Stringer, 2013), activism (Freire, 1970), and research-as-praxis (Lather, 1986). From this perspective, the purpose of research is to go beyond the goal of better understanding a phenomenon and aim to empower individuals and shift oppressive social structures. This is a radical shift in positioning from the stance of objective, value-free researcher to one of researcher as an agent of change. From a constructivist perspective I forgo the belief that there is one objective reality that can be known, and accept the challenge that knowledge is an interpretation of reality, which many times creates conflicting claims on what is true and valid. Constructivism stems from the work of many scholars. Heidegger (1962) and hermeneutic philosophy in general emphasize that our understanding and interpretation of our experience are bound by the concepts, language and symbols of our particular historical time and social context. Furthermore, Piaget (1970) and other constructivist-developmental scholars have informed my view that how we construct reality is to a large degree a function of the breath of our internal awareness. Therefore a constructivist-developmental perspective leads to research as a meaning-making activity, where the phenomenon under study is constructed from the perspectives of those who experience it, and through the research the researcher and those involved can expand their meaning making structures. Finally, from a Buddhist non-dualistic ontological-epistemological view I disagree with those western philosophical perspectives that assume that the ultimate answer to the question “What is reality?” can be grasped by the intellect and formulated abstractly. To challenge this assumption is not to say that reality cannot be known, or that the intellect and its concepts have no value. Rather, it is to affirm that ultimate knowledge relies on dhyāna, which can be translated as meditation or introspection. Buddhist and other eastern traditions assert that reality reveals itself when concepts are dropped and one comes into direct, non-conceptual contact with reality (Loy, 1997). The poet Yeats (1939) states this beautifully: “Man can embody truth but he cannot know it”. From such a perspective that see all conceptual knowledge as partial and approximate, how should one meet the practical challenges of day-to-day living, including research? One possible answer to this question based on Buddhist principles is Glassman’s (1998) three tenets:  6  1. Not-knowing: is the practice of engaging with a situation without being attached to any opinion, idea or concept, which translates to a complete openness to what arises, and to deep and authentic listening. 2. Bearing witness: is the practice of presence and surrendering to what one sees and experiences, which allows for a deep and powerful intelligence to arise that does not depend on study or action. When one bears witness there is a shift from being an observer of a situation to becoming the situation. 3. Loving actions: not-knowing and bearing witness do not mean passivity or in-action, quite the contrary, in a state of not-knowing and bearing witness the actions that arise naturally are congruent with what is needed in the situation. In summary: the research I find compelling is that which explicitly aims to create change and empower individuals. I believe conceptual knowledge is a constructed interpretation of reality that is always partial and incomplete, because we can develop ever deeper and more complex ways of perceiving reality and constructing knowledge. Finally, I endorse the view of Buddhist and other contemplative traditions (east and west) that reality can be known most accurately through direct, intimate, non-conceptual experience.  Research questions Within the context of its focus on procedural sustainability the dissertation explores the following two broad questions: 1.  How does change occur in human systems?  2. How can we better support university students to develop the skills needed to mobilize change? These two questions are broad; no one study could give a complete answer to them. My objective is to offer useful contributions to what is currently believed. To do so, in this dissertation I address these  7  questions first in more general terms, in the literature review chapters, and then more narrowly, in the case study chapters.1 The answers to these questions are complementary and interconnected, each informing the other. However, in the dissertation they stand somewhat separately in part 1 and part 2 of the document. The objective of part 1 is to present my understanding, in the light of relevant literature and my professional experience, of some of the key conditions under which change happens in individuals, organizations and society. It is comprised of four chapters. Chapter 1 sets the stage for the dissertation by providing an account of how often we fail when trying to change, including individual, organizational and societal change initiatives. Chapter 2 provides an overview of theories of change spanning the scale of individuals to societies. Chapter 3 discusses challenges of sustainability from the perspective of a practitioner, and introduces a simple framework and ten recommendations to aid in the process of diagnosing and mobilizing change. Finally, chapter 4 illustrates, via a case study, some of the concepts introduced in chapter 3. The case study explores the following questions, which are narrower, yet within the context of the broader question of part 1: 1. What motivates small scale farmers to engage in conservation practices? 2. Do small scale farmers believe that a PES policy would support them in furthering their conservation practices? The case study concludes with a set of recommendations for addressing the procedural challenges of encouraging farmers to adopt soil conservation practices in a Costa Rica watershed. In synthesis, part 1 argues that in the sustainability discourse, we have overly focused on what needs to change and less so on how to go about creating the changes to which we aspire. Part 2 explores the question of who leads the change, which in essence is a question of leadership, and how to better support students to develop leadership skills. Chapter 5 briefly introduces the larger field                                                             1 The literature review chapters for part 1 are chapter 1, 2, & 3. The literature review chapter for part 2 is chapter 5. The case study for part 1 is chapter 4, and for part 2 is chapter 6.  8  of leadership studies and in particular a framing of leadership that is coherent with the challenges of sustainability, it then follows to discuss some of the weakness of higher education in preparing individuals to tackle sustainability challenges, in essence arguing that know-what knowledge is overemphasized over practical know-how skills, and personal know-who awareness. This is followed by a review of educational approaches that encourage transformative learning, and a discussion of the importance of encouraging transformative learning in leadership development courses.2 Chapter 6 presents a case study of a sustainability leadership course carried out at UBC, and is the cornerstone of the dissertation.3 Within the context of the broad question of part 2, the case study explores the following question: 1. What impacts on students does a course have that fosters cognitive understanding of sustainability leadership diagnostic abilities, encourages deeper awareness of themselves and the complexities of change, and provides embodied leadership skills for mobilizing people? I designed and was the lead instructor of the course in the fall term of 2011 at UBC. The chapter describes the course, the transformative learning and teaching approach, the impacts it had in students’ lives, and my reflections on teaching it.  Finally, chapter 7 discusses some implications of the findings for higher education institutions, and offers a summary of the overall conclusions of the dissertation. In summary; part 2 argues that the challenges of sustainability require individuals that have more practical know-how skills and more developed know-who awareness, and concludes that in the context of sustainability, higher education institutions can do more to contribute to the development of these ways of knowing.                                                               2 Transformative learning as defined by constructive developmental theories (Kegan, 2009). 3 The significance of this chapter accounts for its length, which is almost equal to that of all the other chapters combined.  9  Research methods The research methods used for the case studies are those found most appropriate to studying the research questions within the context of the philosophical perspectives that ground this work. This dissertation uses predominately qualitative methods, though both case studies use some quantitative methods and analysis. Qualitative research can be defined by the following five features (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006): 1. The actual setting is important because the researcher is concerned about context. I would add that research is context specific (Flyvbjerg, 2001). 2. It solicits meaning from the participants in order to access participants understanding of their experience. 3. Research is about the process and not just the outcomes or products. 4. The data used is descriptive and narrative, in other words “qualitative researchers do not reduce the pages upon pages of narration and other data to numerical symbols” (p. 5). 5. The research method is inductive, meaning that generalizations are derived from specific observations. That is, the researcher is not seeking “data or evidence to prove or disprove hypotheses they hold before entering the study; rather, the abstractions are built as the particulars that have been gathered are grouped together” (p. 6). Within qualitative research there are various methodologies. For example, the Costa Rica case study in chapter 4 looks into farmer motivations and the impacts a payment for ecosystem services (PES) policy would have on soil conservation practices. The study is exploratory and does not aim to prove or disprove any hypotheses. To better understand farmer motivations a mixed survey of open and closed end questions was used.4 The resulting data was analyzed using grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), a qualitative research method, to discover underlying patterns of meaning making that give rise                                                             4 As stated in the preface, I was not part of the development of the survey or administrating the survey to farmers. I was given the survey raw data, and my contribution was the analysis, synthesis and writing of the findings.  10  to farmer’s behaviour. Within the field of study of PES, using a qualitative method to study the motivations behind farmer’s behaviour is novel, whereas most studies of PES use a neoclassical economics paradigm (Gómez-Baggethun, de Groot, Lomas, & Montes, 2010; Kosoy & Corbera, 2010). To my knowledge there is only one other study (Petheram & Campbell, 2010) similar to this one that takes a behavioural and qualitative approach to studying PES. The case study in chapter six, the development and teaching of a sustainability leadership course, used more elaborate research methods. First, the research method used a critical and emancipatory approach (Calhoun, 1995; Freire, 1973) to developing the course curriculum, and teaching materials and practices, this is also referred to as research-as-praxis (W. Carr & Kemmis, 1986; Lather, 1986). This means that the research goal was not only to study the phenomena of teaching and learning sustainability leadership, but also to uncover and make visible the power dynamics of the phenomena being studied, in this case the teacher-student relationship. By taking a critical stance on the status-quo, it was hoped that students would come to realize and emancipate from both the personally habituated behaviours and institutionalized norms that create unhealthy and sometimes oppressive authority relationships. Taking a critical and emancipatory approach is a direct response to the “instrumental rationality” model of education (Giroux, 1988), where a large part of our educational system is tightly bound to the positivist view of the sufficiency of technique applied to problems and does not take into account or train students well for the real world where we are all embedded in a web of power dynamics and authority relationships. Taking a critical emancipatory approach is in line with a long history of educators such as Paulo Freire, John Dewey, Donald Schön, and many others. In essence research-as-praxis is a commitment to supporting oneself and others to become more integrated free-functioning human beings (Merzel, 2007). A second aspect of the research method used was self-inquiry as part of the research process. Self-inquiry as a research method is part of critical praxis research (Kress, 2011), where the researcher in the process of conducting research is critically aware and examines their identity, context, and purpose. This method was expanded using the Buddhist practice of samatha and vipassana meditation; or, in other words, a contemplative cycle between ‘open attention’ and ‘focused attention’ (Zajonc, 2008, p. 39). The purpose of this research method is to develop insights into that which one cannot see at the moment, especially within oneself. This is similar to the ‘bracketing’ technique used in phenomenology research methods (Moustakas, 1994), where one tries to suspend the critical mind and create space for  11  awareness to illuminate that to which one is blind. This method is fundamentally different from conventional methods in the sense that ‘objectivity’ in conventional science is achieved by distancing oneself or being independent from the phenomena studied, whereas in self-inquiry one seeks to engage in direct experience to participate more fully in the phenomena, achieving ‘objectivity’ through self-knowledge (Zajonc, 2008, p. 35). In essence, self-inquiry as a research method forces the researcher to pay attention to a vast, but largely silent and hidden world of interiority of oneself and others.5 Third, a constructive-developmental method (Hy & Loevinger, 1996) was used to better understand and gauge transformative learning. Constructive-development methods use more rigorous and validated methodologies for gauging transformative learning (Kegan, 2009) than the more common ‘Learning Activates Survey Questionnaire’ (King, 2009) used to gauge transformative learning in other studies (E. W. Taylor & Snyder, 2012). Furthermore, a constructive-developmental framework provides constructs and distinctions that help to better understand how meaning-making structures in a leadership context can grow and expand; this is explained further in chapter 5.  Fourth, and similarly to the Costa Rica case study, grounded theory was used as an inductive method to discover broader patterns from the individual surveys and interviews collected from students. The broader patterns or generalizations found in this dissertation are by no means proof that applying the same interventions will give rise to the same findings.6 Furthermore this dissertation does not go as far as to develop a theory from the patterns found. An exploratory method as grounded theory was used because the phenomena studied in this dissertation is in its infancy. To my knowledge there are only three other studies (K. M. Brown, 2006; Madsen, 2010; Nelson, 2011) that explore transformative learning in a leadership course context, and no previous study that applies a constructive-developmental method for gauging transformative learning in a leadership course.                                                             5 Three other benefit of expanding the self-inquiry method with Buddhist practices and principles are: (1) our addictions and attachments, what Buddhist call our aversions and cravings, naturally surface and come into our attention so we can work with them; (2) it helps us become aware how we construct a sense of ‘other’ apart from the self that limits our ability to connect and understand others; and (3) it emphasizes the practice of compassion with self and others as an antidote to our delusion or ignorance. 6 By interventions I mean: course advertising, course syllabus, and pedagogy.  12  Finally, with the intent to contributing to the scholarship of integration (Boyer, 1990), both part one and two of the dissertation include a few chapters dedicate to interpreting relevant literature, performing critical analysis, and synthesizing across disciplines to draw broader patters and insights into the research question. These chapters are grounded in the philosophical perspectives discussed above, draw from my interdisciplinary work experience, and have been enriched with my understanding of the relevant literature in different disciplines. Audience This dissertation is a product of my background in engineering, professional consultancy, and adult education. This covers a wide audience that rarely share philosophical perspectives, and even less so concepts, theories, and methodologies. Part 1 of the dissertation dwells in the domains and possible experiences of professional sustainability practitioners. The main lessons learned are in regards to better supporting change in groups and society. Part 2 of the dissertation is aimed at a wider audience of sustainability educators, especially those who are experiencing the limitations of traditional teaching methods in the context of sustainability. Educators who are versed in transformational educational pedagogies will be familiar with many of the methods applied in the case study. However, these educators may find novel the constructive-developmental approach (Kegan, 2009) utilized for better understanding and supporting individuals and groups in the process of transformational learning.  Even though the dissertation has two distinct parts which seem to be written for different audiences, the ideal audience for the dissertation are those individuals that bridge the worlds of part 1 and part 2 of the dissertation. These are individuals who engage in the realpolitiks of sustainability practice, working with multiple stakeholders to address challenging problems, and at the same time have realized the limitations of only applying expertise and skillful facilitation as tools for working through the difficulties encountered in the process of planning and implementation. These individuals have come to see that change requires a type of leadership that is educational, which can mobilize people through a process of adaptation that goes against the grain of many of those involved, therefore requiring to some degree a transformative learning process. From this vantage point readers will find that the two parts of the dissertation are complementary, informing each other, even though they may seem worlds apart to some.    13  Terminology Given the trans-disciplinary approach (Russell, Wickson, & Carew, 2008; Wickson, Carew, & Russell, 2006) of the dissertation I draw and use distinctions and corresponding terms from multiple disciplines (see Appendix G for a discussion of challenges in trans-disciplinary research). While I introduce and define the words that are critical for understanding the discussion, there are many words that I do not define because doing so would turn this document into more of a manual than a dissertation. This can lead to two communication challenges. The first would be that the reader is not familiar with the terminology used and might have difficulty following the discussion. A second, and more troubling challenge, would be a diverging interpretation of the meaning of a word between how I use it and how the reader understands it, given the different disciplinary worlds that we may come from. For example, a term such as ‘skills’ is imbued with meaning, discussion, and even disagreements in the field of education; yet most people use it as short hand for behavioural competency. In the dissertation I will use the word ‘skills’ as short hand to refer to the complex constellation of perceptual, intellectual, intuitive, and emotional abilities of an individual. Given that it is unrealistic to explain the meaning of each term used in this document I ask the reader to engage with the dissertation in a spirit of receptiveness, not losing sight of the ‘forest’ when caught up on the definition and use of the word ‘tree’. The glossary contains words and terms used in the document that might be new or ambiguous to the reader.       14  Part1 – Sustainability challenges and change in human systems Chapter 1. The sad story of change initiatives “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” — Mark Twain Mark Twain’s tongue-in-cheek statement contains a puzzling paradox and sounds a cautionary note. We develop New Year resolutions or plan how best to decrease poverty in a neighbourhood. We carry out our actions successfully using nicotine patches or creating training centres, only to realize that the challenge persists over time. Although we have the best of intentions and are informed by the best practices of the time, the sad reality is that our interventions have little effect or actually make matters worse. Nassim Taleb coined the term “Naive Interventions” (Taleb, 2012) to describe when ‘do-gooders’ actually do more harm than good. History is full of examples; Taleb describes how George Washington's premature death is attributed to the medical practice at the time of bleeding the patient, thinking it would remove the illness. This disjunction between intentions and results happens in initiatives large scale and small, including individual, organizational and societal efforts to make progress on meeting tough challenges. Many international development initiatives are examples of societal efforts of change that are plagued by failure. In 2005 Jeffry Sachs (2005) , a world superstar economist, argued that with enough funding and proper planning extreme poverty in the world could be history in 20 years. In 2006, with seed money of US$120 million, a five-year Millennium Villages Project was launched, working across 14 villages in 10 countries of sub-Sahara Africa. A formal review of the Millennium Villages will be published mid-2016 (Sachs, 2013); but Munk (2013) describes what she observed over a period of 6 years following Sachs as he implemented his bold plan to end extreme poverty in Africa. She tells a sobering tale in which the life of people has been improved by the generous flow of money into the villages, but not more than what other international development organizations have achieved with far less economic resources. Sach’s plan, outlined in a 147-page handbook, did not take into consideration ageing infrastructure, political violence, drought, local values far diverging from western ones, and resistance to change. In some of the villages the project had the opposite effect than what was planned, fostering a culture of dependency instead; creating a ‘refugee syndrome’ that re-enforces patterns of  15  behaviour detrimental to making progress on ending extreme poverty. The clear path that Sachs had laid out to eradicating poverty now seems like a naive idealist’s dream.  The success ratio of change initiatives in organizations is disheartening, which speaks to the real difficulties of shifting realities at an organizational level. For example, Paul Nutt (2002) found that only half of senior management decisions are acted upon. His research spans over 400 decisions across the United States, Canada, and Europe, made within medium to large organizations of all types; business, government, and civil society. The ratio of failures also does not vary much by sector or type of decision. Kotter (1995) documents over 100 well-known companies with which he worked that tried to re-create themselves to be more competitive. Only a few succeeded, most of them failed. Even more discouraging is a 2006 McKinsey and Company survey of business executives from 1,546 organizations that found that only 30% of them thought their change efforts were mostly or completely successful (Isern & Pung, 2006). We can assume these are conservative numbers given that the evaluation comes from the same people in charge of designing and implementing the change programs. Both Miller (2002) and Higgs & Rowland (2005) report a similar gloomy picture in which 70% of change initiatives that are critical for the success of the company fail to achieve the desired results. Even with the incredible resources and talented individuals that many of these organizations enjoy, their track record of sustaining meaningful change is poor. At an individual level we are not doing much better. Most of us know that some simple actions such as exercising more, reducing our intake of alcohol, and not smoking increase our health and help prevent premature deaths. Given our busy and sedentary lives, it is not surprising that most of us are not too good at following those simple actions; delaying into the future the day we will exercise more, drink less or stop smoking. What is surprising is that, even after being diagnosed with chronic and life threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses, most of us still do not change our behaviours. A recent longitudinal study (Newsom et al., 2012) found that, even if behavioural change does happen after a new chronic diagnosis, it is only short term. They conclude that in the long term “the vast majority of individuals diagnosed with a new chronic condition did not adopt healthier behaviors” (p. 279). It is shocking that, even when faced with the prospect of death, many of us still cannot change our behaviours. The above examples report on our staggering failure, even though we are purposefully trying to improve; be it at the individual, organizational or societal level. Sadly, I would argue that we fail even  16  more often than what the studies above conclude when having to adequately respond and adapt to continual changing conditions around us. We are often blindsided by them; resulting in cardiac arrests, failed business, and economic meltdowns. The collapse of the Atlantic cod fisheries (Frank, Petrie, Choi, & Leggett, 2005) is just one example of a system-wide failure to adapt — where a whole society turned a blind eye to underlying changes occurring in the environment, resulting in collapsed economies and permanently degraded environments.  This chapter began by sharing one case of how, as a society, we fail even when purposefully trying to change, as in the example of Millennium Development Villages, and we end with another failure; the collapse of the cod fisheries, when as a society we did not respond fast enough to the changes around us (L. C. Hamilton, Haedrich, & Duncan, 2004). This pattern holds true at smaller scales, such as organizations and even at the individual level. Why is this? Why are we not good at changing or adapting even if our lives depend on it? In the next chapter I will explore this question through the lens of theories of change.  17  Chapter 2. Theories of change  “What are the three hardest things in the world to  do? 1) Transform the culture you are part of; 2) Transform a meeting or conversation you are in; 3) Transform your own mind?”  — Bill Torbert (2012) The question of how organisms, which includes individuals, organizations, and society, adapt and transition has been explored for various centuries across multiple disciplines; including but not limited to biology, philosophy, economics, political sciences, sociology, psychology, and system sciences. This section will present a combination of theories of change that I find most useful for understanding the complex nature of change in human systems ranging from individuals to societies. I have not come across any document that summarizes change theories across individual, organizational, and societal scales using multiple disciplinary perspectives, either during literature reviews or through work experience. Some change theories address the range of scales from individual to organizational, like panarchy (Gunderson & Holling, 2002) and socio-technical transitions (Grin, 2010) theories; however, they do this within a disciplinary view. For example, the two theories mentioned above focus heavily on a systems science perspective that overlooks the psychological dimensions of change. The same is true for psychological theories of change, such as ‘immunity to change’ (Kegan & Lahey, 2009), which focus on the individual and group change processes but lack a more systemic, societal view of change dynamics. Each theory presented below has its strengths and weaknesses, and in the end I do not attempt to propose an integrated change theory. Metaphorically speaking, each theory offers a distinct lens and perspective that can inform what we observe, how we interpret, and ultimately what actions we decide to take to support a change process. My final objective is supporting groups, organizations, and societies to more effectively engage in a change process. With this objective in mind, I think the main contribution of this chapter is foregrounding two key psychological concepts and placing them in the context of organizational and societal change theories. First, this is the concept of psychological loss and the process an individual goes through when coming to terms with a new reality. Second, is the concept of individual developmental orders of mind and the patterns of meaning making structures that are associated with them.  18  I will present the theories of change starting from a societal scale to an intra-individual view. As I present each theory I will highlight the gaps and begin to fill them in as I progress towards an individual view of change. The concept of loss is described in the section 2.4, which focuses on individual theories of change. And the individual developmental ‘orders of mind’ is introduced in section 2.6. Before I begin, a word of caution: underpinning these theories of change are concepts derived from evolutionary biology. An evolutionary biological perspective has limits when applied to social domains and as history has proven can be dangerous if taken too literally, as in the examples of eugenics and the holocaust. These concepts are best used as metaphors that at times can give us insights into a challenge and help us derive new options for intervening, while at other times they will not be of use. In this section I will not explicitly address the methods or processes of change by which individuals and groups facilitate change. This will be addressed in chapter 3 and 5. 2.1 Theories of evolution The theories of biological evolution can generally be grouped into three camps (Sammut-Bonnici & Wensley, 2002): natural-selection, probability, and complexity theories. Summarizing Sammut-Bonnici and Wensley (2002) , the key points of each of these camps applied to organizations are as follows:  Natural selection:  Survival of the fittest: the organizations that are best fit to their environment will survive. However, the environment can shift quickly because of disruptive technologies, environmental or social shifts. These shifts can make a previously fit organization weak.    Diversity: for novelty to arise there has to be variation or diversity. From a strictly biological perspective, variations in the gene pool happen by chance and trial-and-error, whereas in organizations intent plays a role in defining the scope of where to experiment with novelty.   Gradual steady rate of change: from a natural selection perspective organizational change is gradual and takes time. It is incremental with small changes accumulating over time. Probability  Punctuated equilibrium: the idea in natural selection of gradual change is contested with a view that change happens in quick spurs over long periods of stability.  19   Historic contingency and stochastic drift: referring to the probability that future events are determined by previous events, this term is more commonly known as path dependencies.   Sources of change: given that a group is limited by historic contingencies, novelty in a population occurs in isolated pockets that are not influenced by the larger population. The idea is that change can happen faster in a small groups that are isolated from the main group.  Dual nature of evolution: large groups tend to be more stable and discourage change; whereas small isolated groups can rapidly change and bring novelty back to the large group, destabilizing its inertia. Complexity:  Self-organizing systems: a few simple rules and goals followed by individuals create complex emergent patterns in a group.  Continuous adaptation: a system is seen as always being on the edge of chaos and order. To maintain stability the system is always adapting to the changing environment.  Sensitivity to initial conditions: states that two identical systems starting out in slightly different environments will evolve entirely differently.  Non-linear: cause-consequences are spread out through space and time, which makes it practically impossible to predict how a system will evolve.  Increasing returns and lock in: refers to positive feedback loops that prize early innovators. QWERTY keyboards are a great example of this phenomenon because their design no longer is a good fit yet they continue to be ubiquitous.  Emergence of novelty: implies that the novelty of a system emerges from its predisposition to self-organize.  Out of these distinctions and principles of evolution, many theories of change have emerged to explain individual, organizational, and societal change, which I discuss below. 2.2 Socio-technical transitions With its beginning in 2005 (Grin, 2010), the socio-technical transitions (STT) theory incorporates many of the above principles with the purpose of explaining historical trajectories of socio-economic  20  development, as well as deriving practical interventions to help redirect a society into more sustainable pathways.  There are four overarching concepts in STT: co-evolution, multilevel perspective, multiphase, and co-design and learning (Grin, 2010), each of which I will briefly describe below. Co-evolution broadly refers to the interlinked continuous adaptation of social, environmental, and economic systems that influence but are not determined by each other. It can also refer to more specific interactions, such as actor and structure (Giddens, 1984), where individual behaviours and collective structures (i.e., norms, policies and laws) shape one another. The concept of co-evolution draws from many points introduced above, principally the following: 1) stable periods in society are punctuated with periods of rapid change; 2) adaptations are contingent on the past and are normally irreversible; 3) shifting a system is difficult because of lock-ins, such as institutionalization of norms, agreements, laws, and cultures. I agree with Grin (2010) that lock-ins occur because of structural histories of a society. At the same time, we need to look further into why it is difficult to change a societal norm or a law. I would add that changing norms, laws, and cultures requires that some factions in a society are able to accept the loss of something that is dear to them and which is upheld by the norm, law or cultural behaviour that we are trying to change.7 Multilevel perspective (MLP) draws from probability theories of evolution to describe the transition dynamics between structural scales of the system. MLP distinguishes three scales of a nested hierarchy: landscape, regime, and niches. Landscape refers to the stable macro systems, such as the environment, globalization, and western culture, that are slowest to change and impose on the lower scales exogenous pressure to conform. Regimes are the meso scale encompassed by the means of production that are embedded in practices, processes, institutions, and infrastructure of social groups and society. Niches are the micro-level where new ideas are incubated and protected from the cultural and market forces of the macro and meso scales. In change initiatives, landscapes are seen as beyond the scope of what one change initiative can affect. Regimes are the main target for change; however, they are dynamically stable and change only incrementally. Both the macro and meso scales are affected by co-                                                            7 By faction I refer to a group that has a common understanding of problem definition and solution.  21  evolutionary dynamics of path dependency and lock-ins. On the other hand, protected niches are the source of radical innovation and novelty that, when correctly scaled up, affect change in the regimes. Similarly to the comments I made in the co-evolutionary view of STT, the multilevel perspective focuses on the brighter side of change and how niche innovations scale up, while not addressing the more internal, hidden dynamics of why the meso and macro scale resists change.  The concept of multiphase is used to describe possible phases or patterns that systems go through in a process of transitions. Though the transitions are non-linear they tend to follow a gradual pattern called the four phased S-curve: pre-development, take-off, acceleration, and stabilization of innovation into the mainstream. This pattern spans one or two generations or a period of 25 to 50 years. STT also draws on socio-ecological theories such as panarchy (Gunderson & Holling, 2002) that describe cross scale linkages (co-evolution) and phases of change. The multiphase concept of transitions seems to derive the pattern of change heavily from the history of technological innovations and less so on the history and patterns of change in social innovations, such as the women’s suffrage movement, civil rights movement, the transition out of apartheid, and so forth. When managing change processes, Kemp et al. (2007) distinguish five key difficulties that need to be addressed. First is ‘dissent’, which refers to the factions that arise to a given challenge; representing different interpretations and solutions to the problem. Second is the difficulty of ‘distributed control’, which refers to the reality that, in pluricentric societies, authority is distributed and no central entity exists that can directly control from the top; therefore necessitating cooperation and coordination across multiple organizations. Third is the uncertainty of developing ‘short-term’ actions that achieve the long term envisioned structural changes. Fourth is the ‘danger of lock-in’, where the initial development dominates over all later improved options. Finally, they list ‘political myopia’; referring to the common mismatch between short-term political cycles and priorities, with long term actions required for socio-technical transitions.  To overcome these difficulties Kemp et al. propose a governance model that can side-step political cycles. This is the final overarching concept of STT, which describes a governance model that works at multiple levels and across stakeholders on a process of co-design and social learning. The governance model aligns three levels of action: a strategic level where vision and problem formulation are carried out; the tactical level where networking, negotiation, and agendas are build; and finally the operational  22  level that implements projects, experiments with new options, and monitors progress (Kemp et al., 2007).  The strength of STT is in its broad view on change. It provides us with structure and useful distinctions for understanding how long term change and transitions occur in society. Their value notwithstanding, the insights of STT are not enough to help us understand the difficulties of change and why we often fail to achieve the results we desire. STT needs to be complemented by other theories of change to give us more perspectives on the dynamics of change. The strength and weakness of STT is in its ‘outside-in’ focus. This is not to say that they emphasize top-down approaches to change, it just means that its strength is its ability to frame the challenges of regime transition from a broad structural and temporal perspective, and the weakness of this approach will become apparent as I introduce other perspective on how change happens. The organizational theories of change that I describe below have a ‘middle view’ focus: their unit of analysis is the organization, which spans from small and medium groups to large corporations and governmental agencies. From an STT viewpoint these are the agents that make up both niches and regimes. Lastly, I will present individual theories of change that have an ‘inside-out’ focus; where the unit of analysis is mainly the individual, and both the external behaviours and internal processes are reviewed. 2.3 Organizational theories of change  First of all it is useful to introduce the distinction made by Argyris (1999) between two different types of change in organizations. First order change, which requires single-loop learning, seeks to improve or alter current methods and practices while retaining existing norms and structures. In contrast, second-order change, which requires double-loop learning, is disruptive and seeks to reformulate norms and structures to enable innovative solutions. The study of organizational development focuses on first order change; for example, total quality management or re-engineering approaches. In contrast, the study of organizational change focuses on second-order change.  With regards to theories of organizational change, Kurt Lewin (1952) is arguably the forefather of many of today’s more refined theories of organizational change. His planned approach to change interweaves four elements:  1. Field theory: the current patterns of individual behaviour are shaped by the group environment and structure. The group environment is a complex field of symbolic  23  interactions between all members of the group. The group structure is the implicit and explicit norms and policies that an individual must conform to in order to be part of the group. Lewin’s work is pre-Giddens theory of structuration (Giddens, 1984), yet it has a lot in common with the polarity described by Giddens between agents and structures.  2. Group dynamics: aims to understand how the forces of field theory actually shape group behaviour. It explores how factors such as roles, group norms, theories-in-use, and socialization processes impact what we are trying to change. Lewin proposes that the focus of change should be the group dynamics and not individual behaviour. 3. Action research: is the planned approach to change composed of continuous cycles of planning, action, and reflection with the aim of learning from what worked and what did not. In essence: one cannot understand the organizational dynamics that we want to change without intervening, and learning as from what worked and what did not. 4. Three-step model of change: a successful change initiative involves unfreezing, moving, and re-freezing. This process aims to first destabilize (unfreeze) the equilibrium in the field, which creates the space for learning and novelty (moving) that lead to new fields ,which then have to be stabilized (re-freezing). In essence, his planned approach to change stated that, on the assumption that the group field strongly shapes individual behaviour, interventions to create change should focus not on individual behaviour but on the group dynamics that give rise to the behaviour. Lewin argued that the individual is constrained by the group pressure to conform. Chan