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August 26, 2004

Community Operational Research

OR and Systems Thinking for Community Development

edited by Gerald Midgley Institute of Environmental Sciences and Research (ESR Ltd.), Christchurch, New Zealand and Centre for Systems Studies, Business School, University of Hull, UK., Alejandro Ochoa-Arias Universidad de Los Andes, Merida, Venezuela.

Community Operational Research: OR and Systems Thinking for Community Development sets out the current concerns of Community Operational Research (Community OR for short) and explores new possibilities for its continued development. Leading Community OR writers, with international reputations in operational research and systems thinking, have contributed chapters that illuminate different aspects of Community OR theory and practice. There is a focus on the value of systems approaches, and other significant perspectives are also represented. The result is a rich mix of theories, methodologies and case studies that will be a significant resource for both practitioners and academics engaged in community development. Following an introductory chapter on Community OR by the editors, the book is presented in three

Section One offers ‘Early Contributions and Later Reflections on Theory, Methodology and Practice’. Here, the nature of Community OR, its institutional development, and people’s motivations for engaging in it are all explored. Some significant theoretical and methodological issues are also a focus of this section.

Section Two covers ‘Local Action for Community Development’. This is concerned with how people have translated the theoretical insights of Community OR into practice, and how practice has informed theory. Since the inception of Community OR, the vast majority of projects have dealt with complex, localized community issues using participative methods (mostly in the developed world). This section of the book presents a variety of methodological ideas evolved for Community OR practice, and illustrates them with examples of projects with community groups, voluntary organisations and welfare services.

Section Three is entitled ‘Dealing Locally with Global Issues’. The authors represented in this section seek to extend the practice of Community OR in two important new directions. The first takes Community OR into developing countries, and the second takes it into the arena of environmental management. In both these areas, there are significant opportunities for Community OR practitioners to make real contributions to human welfare and environmental sustainability. Visit our website at: www.wkap.nl.

"….What the many authors in this book have in common is a commitment to serve the interests of all those affected by a community’s behavior – its stakeholders. This is acquiring a new significance as we decreasingly conceptualize corporations and organizations in general as organisms, and begin to think of them, as Charles Handy has, as communities."
Russell Ackoff
(Professor Emeritus of the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania; Ex-President of ORSA; Vice President of TIMS).

Posted by ACASA on August 26, 2004 at 12:26 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 03, 2004

Ackoff Center E-Mail Chaos Halted

Dear Friends of Ackoff Center (ACASA):

We have just undergone a most unusual and unpleasant computing experience. Somehow, a message was sent to the ACASA mailing list which bypassed the list's security and went out to thousands of list members. About 10% of the recipients replied to this message, and their replies also bypassed list security and went out to everyone on the list. This created thousands of further email messages to list members. Although many members did not receive these messages due to company firewalls, many did, and this caused an enormous inconvenience.

We want to extend our most sincere apologies for this mess. Though initially outside our control, it was extremely upsetting for our members as well as our organization. Please be assured that the problem is being resolved: the list has been temporarily disabled and is being completely revamped so that it will never be vulnerable to such an incident again.

Please check back soon for further updates. We greatly value your support during this incident and look forward to resuming regular communications in the near future.

Posted by ACASA on August 3, 2004 at 12:12 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack