Organizing and managing across boundaries: A Conference with a difference

Organizing and Managing Across Boundaries

10th & 11th September 2014

A Gathering at The Work Foundation

Our focus:  We'll inquire together on equal terms into situations which are challenging our conventional ideas about organizing, managing and leadership. This collaboration between AMED and inter-logics is a pioneering, ‘hands-on’ Gathering, and reflects AMED's running theme of 'Exploring Frontiers'.

Some inquiry questions:  How can we recognise and sustain effective collaboration in and across complex, stressed environments?  How can we frame our personal communications and pool our resources to enhance cooperation?  What can we do individually and collectively to foster team-working and other forms of cross-boundary working in the interests of service users?

Framing our Gathering:  In the company of highly experienced practitioners, we'll share insights and celebrate  promising practices in the context of four important parallel themes in particular (but not excluding others):

  1. Whistleblowing
  2. Health and Social Care
  3. Citizens and Institutions as Co-Producers
  4. Communities and Crisis Response Organizations

Please click here to view the Gathering Outline Programme and Gathering Booking Details.

Health & Social Care

Led by: Parry Davies, Director of Social Services, Ceredigion, Mid-Wales

How can we achieve integration, the inclusion of service users, and multi-stakeholder collaboration with organizing practices that have evolved primarily for control, exclusion and classical hierarchical institutional ways of doing things?

Health and Social Care providers have been struggling with the integration agenda for quite a few years now. The rhetoric is positive and engaging but all too often the practice is frustrating and dissatisfying. This is a new and different era and we might need to suspend some of our traditional organizational thinking in favour of more inquiring, pragmatic and situational approaches.

How can we 'plan' and 'strategise' if our operational assumptions are out-of-date?

Citizens and Institutions as Co-Producers

Led by: George Thomson, CEO Volunteer Development, Scotland

How can public service institutions make a much greater contribution to social vibrancy, and individual and community security and fulfillment?
Is the 21st Century the era of participation? With the further development of internet communications (Web 2.0, 3.0 , 4.0+ onwards) there is increased expectation of policy-makers and citizens alike that we are no longer the passive recipients of institutionally organized services. Whether we are involved in ambitious community projects (like green, sustainable communities), participative democracy (like internet petitions that change the legislative agenda or single action groups), or active volunteering because we care or have unused skills – there’s a growing expectation that public service institutions, local and national government organizations, and voluntary organizations should be interacting with citizens and communities as partners and creative collaborators rather than simply consumers of imposed professional designs.

For example – how might public service institutions, especially those involved in local government and health and wellbeing, value not only the untapped skills of citizens but also recognize the value of collaboration to community life and social capital?

Communities and Crisis Response (emergencies)

Led by: Dr Angela Mickley, experienced practitioner and Professor, Potsdam University, Germany

Many organizations that respond to natural crises and/or severe conflict adopt what has been described as a formulaic approach to acute recovery and repair. How can they move away from this dependency-based stance and work together with local victims to co-create the community capacity appropriate for long-term sustainable development?

In most emergency settings in both the UK and internationally, a growing industry of non-state institutions and groups provides tools, methods and processes for quick resettlement and sustenance. They do this more or less effectively. When the period of acute need is over, groups and institutions leave the area, taking with them the professional skills they brought into the crisis. Until the next disaster strikes.

This approach to crisis is not as  effective in the long term as help could be, since it disregards the local deficits which led to the crisis. It also disregards the victims’ local knowledge, skills and  capacity as purposeful human beings to learn and develop competences and self sufficiency. Often, nothing is done to build local capacity.
For example, a UN evaluation after the 2004 Tsunami on the devastated Indonesian coast showed how local competences, expertise and experience was not included in the organization of help. Nor was it seen as an element in transforming the emergency help into long-term and sustainable rebuilding in afflicted areas.


Led by: Steve Hearsum, Development Consultant at Roffey Park Institute

Why is it so difficult for service organizations to learn from workers on the front line? How do we manage, as a society, to create the conditions where organizations make it a matter of policy, enacted to deny or hide the dark side of organizing. From banks to care homes, is this where uncritical hierarchy fails us?
It seems as if there are whistleblowing cases in the news every week, replete with their stories of grave injustices, inhumanity and sometimes criminality. There have been many cases recently – particularly in Health and Social Care where it has come to light that  unacceptable behaviour and wrongdoing have been reported but not acted upon or  suppressed by the accountable organizations.  A common theme for whistleblowers is that they are the ones who often end up besmirched and seen as troublemakers.

Do we position whistleblowers as heroes or troublemakers because organizations don’t have useful routines for learning from the unpalatable?

Crossing boundaries?

These four themes are rich with examples of organizing and managing where there is a growing expectation for society, communities and citizens to be better engaged and better served. They invite us to unlearn many of our assumptions about what organizing, managing and leading means, and where and how the boundaries of accountability, of cultural practice, of inclusion and exclusion, of control or collaboration are constructed.
For example in any local health and social care economy there are many services, many organizations, many volunteers, many citizens and communities , many clusters of interest and needs, many sources of knowledge and resources. Where would we put the boundary between service providers and users? Does it even make sense to think about traditional, unitary  organizations  any more when there are more clearly multiple stakeholders?

In our view these contexts illuminate the need for organizing to be more inquiry animated, more collaborative, more learning-full and  more attuned to the character of live, complex and dynamic situations rather than relying uncritically on knowledge, planning and tactics that evolved in a different era.

Please join us at the Work Foundation - bring your passion, experiences, stories, insights and ideas - where we will inquire together and share stories of challenges and initiatives, of successes and of less promising outcomes.

Gathering process

In addition to the inquiry streams the Gathering will be managed, overall, by the inter-logics-AMED team of

    Chris Blantern
    Tom Boydell
    Bob MacKenzie
    David McAra

    and Linda Williams

The Gathering will run as a Participative Action Research process.

Please join us at the Work Foundation  - bring your passion, experiences, stories, insights and ideas - where we will inquire together and share stories of challenges and initiatives, of successes and of less  promising outcomes. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from others what’s happening on the ground. Please click here to view the Gathering Outline Programme.


Gathering Booking details

We will be using the limited bank account for taking payments.


  • Participation fee:  £275 plus VAT.

This charge includes:

  • light refreshments and lunch on both days, and dinner on Wednesday 10th September
  • a complimentary advance pdf copy of the Autumn 2014 edition of AMED’s journal e-Organisations and People on the theme of ‘Organising and managing across boundaries’, and a summary of the articles. Please see below for more details.

Prior reading is not required as we’ll be drawing on our experiences generating ideas, performing and co-creating practices on the spot. 

The fee does not include overnight accommodation (which is available at Imperial College London at a special rate, see below) and breakfast on Thursday 11th.

Please select the 'Buy Now' button, to pay using PayPal, or Debit/Credit card if you don't have a PayPal account. The VAT amount will be added automatically to the total at the end. Please let us know which inquiry stream you would like to join. Please also indicate your second choice. Dinner is included in the price, please let us know if you plan to stay for dinner on Wednesday 10th September.

Gathering 2014
Please select which inquiry stream you would like to join?
Please select your 2nd choice of inquiry stream.
Do you require dinner on 10th September?

Cheque or BACS payment:

Please click here to view a PDF and MS Word copy of the booking form for cheque and BACS payments.

Overnight accommodation for Wednesday the 10th September is available at Imperial College, South Kensington. The rooms are in Princes Gardens, the College’s flagship property on the South Kensington Campus. Click here for more information.

We have negotiated a special price for Gathering participants of £70 for an en-suite room inclusive of breakfast. To secure your accommodation you will need to book and pay for the room yourself – it is not included in the conference fee.

To book your room:
T: +44 (0)20 759 49507

And quote the reference: INTERLOG2014

Please note: Provisional bookings are automatically cancelled after 72hrs – so it is advisable to pay in full within this period.

Please click this link to see how to get to The South Kensington Campus from the Work Foundation (3 stops on the Circle or District line). Alternatively we will organize group taxi arrangements at the event – if required.

Dinner, on Wednesday evening, 10th September, is included in the Gathering fee and will be available at 7.30. Venue to be confirmed.

Contributions to Autumn e-O&P

We are in the process of creating and producing a special edition of AMED’s online journal e-O&P on this theme in conjunction with the Gathering, and are now inviting contributions. Guest editors for this edition are Tom Boydell and Chris Blantern of Inter-logics.  Click here for the 'Call for Contributions'.

Latest Activity

Bob MacKenzie updated an event

The Power of Story, with Trevor Day at Roots and Shoots, Lambeth

February 21, 2020 from 1:15pm to 4:30pm
Feb 8
Jonathan Elliott posted events
Feb 2
AMED Admin updated an event
Jan 31
Jonathan Elliott updated an event

Volunteer Management Training - London at St. Luke's Community Centre EC1V 8AJ

March 18, 2020 from 10am to 4pm
Jan 27

O&P News

O&P back issues now for sale. 

We have a rich library of O&P issues and individual articles in electronic format going back to 1994, just waiting for you. Copy of order form for back issues of e-O&P in MS Word format.


Make sure you can reach the Full AMED Members' page or the O&P Subscribers' page to download the latest edition.

Not yet a member or subscriber?
Click here for synopses of recent editions.

© 2020   Created by AMED Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service