Some things change, others stay the same. 

Bob MacKenzie
David McAra

The Winter 2012 Edition

Sadly, our Guest Editor for this edition had to withdraw at short notice.  So we are delighted to have produced this miscellany of new pieces and ‘classics’ from our archive, If you have an old favourite you would like to see reissued or indeed a piece of new writing for publication, please do get in touch. 

Taking stock

Having given over the last several editions to guest editors, it is interesting to look up from the presses, blinking in the light for a moment and consider where we’ve come from.  With the all-pervasive influence of the internet and social media, text is constantly challenged to be agile, relevant and accessible.  You may recall that AMED’s pre-internet journal Organisations and People (O&P) metamorphosed into e-O&P in August 2009 from a paper journal into a pdf document for download from the AMED website

Since then, we have been learning about online publishing and continue to do so, although we could really use some youthful creativity and energy.  We also need help to reach new readers.  The world still needs to hear about the breakthroughs which become possible when we start to see people as people rather than as human resources or sophisticated components of our organisational machines. 

What will you discover in this edition?

New writing

In ‘Writing with the internet: paradise or desert for developers?’, Clare Coyne draws on Will Self’s experimental essay “Kafka’s Wound” to reflect on whether, using digital technologies, developers can successfully extend the boundaries of conventional writing.  This has powerful resonances for the way in which we’d like e-O&P to develop.  Then Siobhan Soraghan throws down a timely gauntlet in ‘Tomorrow’s Leadership: beyond abuse of power’.  She challenges powerful people (including developers) to guard against abusing and misusing their power over less powerful others, and suggests how to counter this.

From the treasure chest

Here, we have four re-issues:

Chris Rodgers, in ‘Informal Coalitions’, argues that successful leadership requires informed engagement with the hidden, messy, informal dynamics of organisational life.  Next, you’ll find ‘Valuing leadership development: a practices and challenge approach’ by John Burgoyne and Mike Pedler.  They contend that, in leadership development practice, an over-preoccupation with personal characteristics overlooks the crucial challenges and contexts of other leadership domains.  This is followed by Bob Garratt’s article ‘Project-based education and assessment’.  Bob advocates staff- and student-oriented learning rather than administration-oriented systems of education, and offers a radical yet balanced argument in favour of project-based learning.  The final piece selected from the treasure chest is ‘When men and women meet’, by Sue Lieberman.  Here, Sue explores in a balanced way the more unconscious realms of gender dynamics and how these might affect the ways in which men and women come together in organisations.. 


Older readers of O&P may remember the Soapbox section in which contributors can sound off about their pet theories, hates and passions.  Patricia Lustig and Lynda McGill reinstate this tradition in their piece ‘Why are there still dinosaurs in the business world?’.  Here, they propose that Dinosaur Organisations are doomed to extinction, and suggest that Self-Renewing Organisations are an evolutionary solution to ensure survival.

From our own correspondent

In his ‘Postcards from Trinidad’, David McAra, sends greetings and warming pictures from the sunnier climes where he’s been enjoying a brief assignment. 

Book reviews

Finally, we’ve published reviews by Bob Thomson of two recent books.  One is by Jeannie Wright and Gillie Bolton called ‘Reflective Writing in Counselling and Psychotherapy’, and the other is ‘A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Coaching and Mentoring’, by Bob Garvey. 

Invitations and Notices

Then, as usual, we close with information about some forthcoming exciting AMED events, as well as your invitation to become involved with e-O&P, and a note about AMED

Writing and editing in the digital age

We hope you enjoy reading this edition as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.  Finding the most suitable ways of transforming pre-digital articles into digital format has been a creative and stimulating challenge, and we’ve learned a great deal from this process.  It’s raised interesting issues about re-issuing past writing. Is our task essentially to reproduce a facsimile of the original, albeit using new technologies, or is it to make ‘improvements’ in format as well?  We trust we’ve made a reasonable fist of this. We hope to put that learning to good use in future editions, and we’d welcome your views on the subject. 

We hope this edition of e-O&P will help you to survive what looks like being a bleak Winter and tide you over until Spring, with its promise of fresh growth and renewal.  On behalf of AMED, we wish you Compliments of the Season.


The publication of this edition of e-O&P – as any other – could not have happened without the dedicated, expert and voluntary support of many people.  So we’d like to thank all the authors who appear in this issue, either for allowing us to re-publish an earlier work, or for writing something afresh.  We’d also like to thank Deborah Booth, Ned Seabrook, David Sharman and Sheila James for sending us their recommendations for such interesting pieces from the archive. Linda Williams and Ned Seabrook are constant sources of support behind the scenes.  Linda beavers away on our web pages, and Ned works his magic in converting non-electronic documents into Word, as a prelude to our transforming them into pdf documents.  Following publication on the AMED web page, Ned is a stalwart in disaggregating the online journal into individual pdf articles for those who prefer to read them in this way.

About the Editors

Bob is Professor of Management Learning at IMCA Business School, Convenor of the AMED Writers’ Group and half of the e-O&P Editorial Board.  He can be contacted at: 

David is the other half of the e-O&P Editorial Board and a Learning Consultant for Petrotechnics Limited.  He can be contacted at:

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