Roger Harrison Ph.D.
Adjunct Faculty in Transformative Leadership
I have participated in nearly every phase of the evolution of organization development (OD)-from survey research to sensitivity training and team building, to large systems change and culture transformation. My interests in OD have varied widely, though they have almost always been focused on assisting learning processes, whether at individual, group, or organizational levels.
Since childhood, my life as a teacher and as a learner has been shaped by a passion for learning through doing and through conversation. While at Yale in the sixties I went as far as I could towards making my classroom a hands-on, experiential process that empowered the learner. After leaving Yale I found outlets for that passion in work with The National Training Laboratories and in training Peace Corps volunteers to live and work in other cultures. Later, during the eight years I lived and practiced in Europe, I developed the Autonomy Laboratory, a radical experiment in experiential education, and (together with David Berlew) the Positive Power & Influence Program, a highly successful and long-running experiential training program.
My time in Europe fundamentally shaped my thinking about organizations and organization culture, and is largely responsible for my having done a good deal of thinking and writing about organization culture.
In my professional writing and speaking, I have focused on identifying and crystallizing emerging issues of theory and practice. Most of my numerous articles and two books have been written primarily for consultants and educators.
My consulting practice has often focused on large multinational organizations such as Exxon, Shell International, Volvo AB, Norsk Hydro and Imperial :Chemical Industries, and on research and development organizations like the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Chevron Research and SRI International. I have also worked with high technology firms like Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.
During the nineties, I became deeply involved in exploring Bohmian dialogue and its variations, as ways of resolving conflict and coming to deeper levels of understanding complex issues. I see dialogue as a potent antidote to the polarization in which we humans often become mired, and I continue to be active in participating in and facilitating these ways of learning.
My own spiritual life has engaged a good deal of my energy and attention since mid-life, and I have given much thought to ways of integrating spiritual practice into one's work. My most recent writing and speaking addresses those issues.
Currently, I divide my practice between dialogue and coaching, and I especially enjoy the practice of "shadow consulting" with other consultants. I am also deeply involved in community building, working to establish a senior co-housing development. Although I am a principal in this work, I find it uses and tests my accumulated skill and experience as a consultant.