Alfonso Montuori is a Professor in the Transformative Studies Ph.D. and Transformative Leadership M.A. at California Institute of Integral Studies. A graduate of the University of London, he has been Distinguished Professor in the School of Fine Arts at Miami University of Ohio, and in 1985-1986 taught at the Central South University in the People's Republic of China.
Born of an Italian father and Dutch mother, Alfonso Montuori grew up trilingual, and spoke five languages by age 12. He was born in Holland, and grew up in Lebanon, Greece, and England before coming to the United States in 1983 after graduating from the University of London. In London Alfonso worked as an interpreter for Scotland Yard, and then as a professional musician (saxophone and flute), making numerous recordings with his own band and as a session-man, and gigging extensively throughout England for several years. Today, Alfonso continues his passion for music in his collaboration with his wife, the jazz singer Kitty Margolis, as producer of her award-winning recordings, and a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys).
Alfonso's research interests were profoundly shaped by his experiences as a musician, and growing up in different countries. His interest in creativity emerged as a response to his effort to develop a form of education that could counteract authoritarianism, racism and prejudice. Over the years, he has sought to explore ways of knowing, being, doing, and relating that stress the potential for human creativity and prepare us to live in a complex, ambiguous, and uncertain world. Drawing on his musical background, Alfonso sees the practice of improvisation as a creative response to complexity in everyday life. He has also explored its implications in organizational life and in academic inquiry. Over the years he has developed Creative Inquiry as a way of approaching scholarship that sees inquiry as a creative process, a process that also includes the (self-)creation of the inquirer, the continuing exploration of new, different and collaborative approaches to inquiry, and the challenge of researching topics that are on the edge of the mainstream. Central to Creative Inquiry are Transdisciplinarity, where research is guided by the demands of the subject matter and not the discipline, and the work of French thinker Edgar Morin on complexity.
Alfonso has taught at the College of Notre Dame, the Saybrook Institute, and South-Central University in Changsha, Hunan Province, in the People's Republic of China, where he developed and taught the first course in management and organization theory. In 2003-2004 he was Wiepking Distinguished Professor in the Fine Arts department at Miami University of Ohio. His books include Evolutionary Competence (Gieben, 1989); From Power to Partnership (co-authored with Isabella Conti, Harper San Francisco, 1993); Creators on Creating (co-edited with Barron & Barron, Putnam, 1997); and Social Creativity, vols. 1-2 (co-edited with Ronald E. Purser, Hampton Press, 1999). In 2006, he became a San Francisco Library Laureate. Alfonso has written articles in publications such as Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Journal of Management Education, Journal of Transformative Education, Pluriverso, and Journal of Humanistic Psychology. His translations include Constraints and Possibilities (Gordon & Breach, 1996) by Mauro Ceruti; Solidarity or Barbarism: A Europe of Diversity against Ethnic Cleansing (Peter Lang, 1997); and The Narrative Universe (Hampton Press, 2002), both by Gianluca Bocchi and Mauro Ceruti.
As principal of Evolutionary Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in executive development, and the development of creativity and innovation, Alfonso has consulted on executive and management development and creativity and innovation with numerous international corporations, including Procter & Gamble, Network Appliance, Training Vision (Singapore), Pacific Bell, Stentor Group (Canada), Kaiser Permanente, Interstate Insurance, Omnitel-Olivetti (Italy), ENEL (Italy), U.S. Department of Labor, University of Missouri Kansas City, Nestle Beverage, Pilkington Barnes Hinde, 3Com, Progressive Insurance, and others.
Alfonso started, and is General Editor of, Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences at Hampton Press, which has published important works by Gregory Bateson, Gianluca Bocchi & Mauro Ceruti, Edgar Morin, Ervin Laszlo, and other leading thinkers; he is Associate Editor of World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution; and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Transformative Education; Tamara: The Journal of Research Practice; The Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Theory; Pluriverso (Italy); Cognitive Psychopathology. (Italy); Narrare il Gruppo (Italy), and Elites (Italy). Alfonso is also a member of the General Evolution Research Group, theScientific Advisory Board of the Multiversidad del Mundo Real Edgar Morin, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, the Center for Complexity at Ricardo Palma University in Lima Peru, and a member of the Association Pour La Pensée Complexe, Paris, France.
The Joy of Inquiry
The Quest For A New Education: From Oppositional Identities to Creative Inquiry
The Complexity of Improvisation and the Improvisation of Complexity: Social Science, Art and Creativity
Edgar Morin: A Partial Introduction
Literature Review As Creative Inquiry Reframing Scholarship As a Creative Process
Cross-Cultural Encounter As An Opportunity For Personal Growth
Deconstructing the Lone Genius Myth: Toward a Contextual View of Creativity
Frank Barron: A Creator on CreatingGylany and Planetary Culture: A Personal Exploration
Reflections on Transformative Learning Social Creativity, Academic Discourse, and Improvisation of Inquiry
How to Make Enemies And Influence People: Anatomy of the Anti-Pluralist, Totalitarian Mindset
Adjusting the Granularity of Management Perception and Action
The Partnership Organization A Systems Approach
Miles Davis in the Classroom: Using the Jazz Ensemble Metaphor For Enhancing Team Learning
Creativity, Consciousness, And The Direction For Human Development