Examination of human civilization reveals that cultures have continually evolved through social and economic forms (Drucker, 2000). Several authors have argued that society is again reaching a turning point where the current mindsets and approaches no longer meet the challenges being faced (Senge, 1990; Veltrop, 2006; Wheatley, 1999). Senge's perspective is that what is required now is a shift from mechanistic viewpoints to wholistic systems approaches. The new paradigm is reflected in the notion of generative change, which refers to change that builds upon itself; calls forth imagination, creativity, and courage; and originates in the interdependence and interconnectedness of people. This study examined the factors and conditions that lead to generative change in the case of nine individuals in organizations and by using practitioners in the field. The research questions examined the personal characteristics, group characteristics, and systemic conditions necessary for generative change to occur as well as the outcomes that result from generative change. This study used a qualitative research interview design to gather data from nine men and women who attended the 2009 Connecting for Change Dialogue. Participants were interviewed about their experiences of generative change along with the catalysts, obstacles, and outcomes of those experiences. Content analysis was used to identify the themes in the data. Facilitators of change were found to occur at the individual, community, and structural levels. A final critical ingredient to support generative change is time. Participants similarly described personal, group, and systemwide outcomes of generative change. While limitations of the sample, bias, and method affected the results and additional research is needed to examine the long-term outcomes of generativity and how this might become a practical and credible change approach, the findings of this study emphasized that generative change is an approach worthy of exploring. Organization development practitioners, as a result, are advised to enhance their knowledge and skills sets related to this powerful form of change.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); Organizational change

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Jamieson, David W.