The practice ofgenerativegovernance:A case study              Debra Beck, EdD           University of WyomingHawaii Intern...
The Research Question     “How do preparation for,and participation   in, nonprofitboard meetings      impactmembers’ abil...
Generative Governance• Creative,  exploratory process• Future focused• Uncertainty  embraced• Meaning-making• Defining pro...
The Research Approach• Case study • Meeting observations • Interviews • Focus groups • Content analysis• The board • Wasn‟...
Theoretical Foundation• Theories of practice, particularly: • Situated Learning Theory    • Learning occurs in everyday li...
Community of Practice• Domain of knowledge • Common ground and identity• Community • Group of people who care about domain...
Findings: Major Themes• Mission • How mission commitment is built • How mission drives deliberations • Individual connecti...
COP: Domain Theme   1:         Domain Mission
Domain: The Evidence• Member Motivation • Civic • Moral/spiritual • Social/political• Mission • Focus • „Success‟ consensu...
COP: Capacity                       Theme 2:Community   Practice                       Capacity
COP: Community                 Recruitment                 Community    Leadership                 Climate
Community: The Evidence• Recruitment • Mission connection • Skills needed• Leadership • Executive director, founder • Situ...
COP: Practice                   Role                  Clarity                               Peer     Resources   Practice ...
Practice: The Evidence• Resources • Print (minutes, agenda, ED report) • Executive director• Role Clarity • Knowing why th...
Putting It All Together…             Domain Community                Practice             Generative             Governance
Conclusions• Community of practice useful frame for  context-based nonprofit board learning• Key messages • Constant missi...
Practice: Going Global
Contact/More Information• Dr. Debra Beck • debbeck@uwyo.edu • 307-766-2066 • Blog: boardlearning.org • Twitter: @npmaven •...
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The Practice of Generative Governance: A Case Study

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Presented at the 2013 Hawaii International Conference on Education

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  • In this workshop, I will share two things:The practical background and highlights of my doctoral researchThe ways in which social media have helped meShare what I learned with practitioners – those who will be most interested and will benefit from knowing it, tooExpand upon that foundation, on my own and with othersBuild connections with peers and practitionersCreate new professional consulting and research opportunitiesBuild an international brand
  • Felt that generative governance hadGreatest potential to transform nonprofit work as a fulfilling leadership experienceGreatest potential to connect board members to why they signed on to serveWanted to have a chance to see what generative governance might look like ‘in the wlld’Also wanted to explore and understand how boards learn within the day to day workField tends to define “learning” as butts-in-chairs “training”
  • Can’t survey what I REALLY wanted to knowAlso a limitation of most research re: nonprofit boards – we count thingsWanted to have a chance to witness learning as it took placeAlso wanted to take advantage of the serendipity of discovering something I didn’t expect Wanted to be able to discover things invisible to participantsSurvey wouldn’t allow thoseWanted to get to know a board over timeWanted to have a chance to witness patternsWanted to be able to dig deeper and ask whyApproached a board I knew wasn’t struggling with the basicsHoped – but knew there were no guarantees – to see examples of generative governance
  • The reason for their existence – as an organization and as a boardStrong, vivid, textbook evidence across the studyStrong links to their INDIVIDUAL reason for service
  • The reason for their existence – as an organization and as a boardStrong, vivid, textbook evidence across the studyStrong links to their INDIVIDUAL reason for service
  • The community/environmental factors that facilitated governance:The right people in the roomThe right climate for workingShared leadership – beyond titles
  • The fun stuff – and the place where the big ‘news’ emergedThe masterful ways in which member questions fostered generative governance – and in very natural waysThe absolute clarity of understanding why I am here and what I am expected to contribute – before they accepted the invitation to serve.They were ready to step up when needed. No cajoling.The critical importance of peer learning -- largely connected to the role clarity. They acknowledged, and drew upon, the wisdom within the room to respond to those big questions.
  • What I GOT was an exemplar boardNot only did I have opportunities to witness generative governance, I also found strong evidence of a community of practiceI read widely in my lit review, hoping to remain open to witnessing informal board learning in whatever format it might be foundNo significant research before this exploring topic – especially not by adult educatorSocial theories of learning resonated early in my reading, especiallySociocultural learning – strong connection to the purpose-driven nature of nonprofit work and the missions that draw people to themSituated learning theory clicked on many levels – especially the central role of context – a big limitation of the canned training events so many boards tend to experienceCommunity of practice was intriguing, but I set it aside on purpose. Feared digging too deeply before beginning the research might lead me to ‘see’ something that really wasn’t there.Was so successful at stuffing COP in the corner that I had trouble organizing my data until I brought it back into the mixDomain – STRONG evidence in the centrality of organizational missionBig mix of fascinating but hard to organize dataTried for a couple of weeks before finally stepping back and revisiting lit reviewThere I found it – the COP
  • While making the most of the obligatory rites of academic passage, I was very clear about my goal of creating content thatWould resonate for practitioner audiences – especially nonprofit board membersWould expand the governance conversation – beyond the usual 101 and “10 easy steps” approachesWould reach a broader audience than my local communitySocial media made that possible, especially:BlogTwitterFacebook – blog page and elsewhereGuest posts on others’ blogsTweet represents regular affirmation of that goal being met
  • The Practice of Generative Governance: A Case Study

    1. 1. The practice ofgenerativegovernance:A case study Debra Beck, EdD University of WyomingHawaii International Conference on Education January 2013
    2. 2. The Research Question “How do preparation for,and participation in, nonprofitboard meetings impactmembers’ ability to engage in generative governance?
    3. 3. Generative Governance• Creative, exploratory process• Future focused• Uncertainty embraced• Meaning-making• Defining problem• Setting questions
    4. 4. The Research Approach• Case study • Meeting observations • Interviews • Focus groups • Content analysis• The board • Wasn‟t struggling • Potential to witness „generative governance‟
    5. 5. Theoretical Foundation• Theories of practice, particularly: • Situated Learning Theory • Learning occurs in everyday life • Learning is context-driven • Community of Practice* • Sociocultural Learning Theory • “Learning to be” vs “Learning about”• Also, Reflective Practice • Reflecting on, in action
    6. 6. Community of Practice• Domain of knowledge • Common ground and identity• Community • Group of people who care about domain• Practice • Framework, routines, ideas, language, etc.
    7. 7. Findings: Major Themes• Mission • How mission commitment is built • How mission drives deliberations • Individual connections to mission• Capacity • The factors (activities, structures, resources, etc., that fuel governance
    8. 8. COP: Domain Theme 1: Domain Mission
    9. 9. Domain: The Evidence• Member Motivation • Civic • Moral/spiritual • Social/political• Mission • Focus • „Success‟ consensus • Commitment
    10. 10. COP: Capacity Theme 2:Community Practice Capacity
    11. 11. COP: Community Recruitment Community Leadership Climate
    12. 12. Community: The Evidence• Recruitment • Mission connection • Skills needed• Leadership • Executive director, founder • Situational• Climate • Structure • Collegiality
    13. 13. COP: Practice Role Clarity Peer Resources Practice Learning Member Questions
    14. 14. Practice: The Evidence• Resources • Print (minutes, agenda, ED report) • Executive director• Role Clarity • Knowing why they were recruited• Peer Learning • Two roles: expert, non-expert• Member Questions • Who asks, what types, to what ends
    15. 15. Putting It All Together… Domain Community Practice Generative Governance
    16. 16. Conclusions• Community of practice useful frame for context-based nonprofit board learning• Key messages • Constant mission focus is critical • Role clarity essential: recruitment & beyond • Recognize, value, use peer learning • Expert AND non-expert • Safe, trusting, respectful environment critical
    17. 17. Practice: Going Global
    18. 18. Contact/More Information• Dr. Debra Beck • debbeck@uwyo.edu • 307-766-2066 • Blog: boardlearning.org • Twitter: @npmaven • LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/debrabeck

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