- Chapter 1 -

Unpacking the Patriarchy
Why This Focus is Important at This Time

The huge drama that is now unfolding on the world stage makes anyone’s particular humblings look like so much humus. (Houston, Jump Time 8)

In the context of complex, disruptive social conditions that challenge organizations in the early twenty-first century, there is a deep and growing need to find another way of operating. On the large scale, these challenges include massive new epidemics such as AIDS and SARS, the institutionalization of so-called “free markets” that especially benefit large corporate and agri-business interests while forcing small entrepreneurs and family farms into destitution, and on-going, proliferating wars fought over ethnic and religious conflicts and long-simmering struggles for self-determination. On the smaller, everyday scale, millions of people experience mounting frustration at workplaces where they feel used and abused, and not respected for their potential contributions. When pushed to the edge of their frustrations, some individuals resort to domestic abuse, or explode in a reaction that has come to be known in the vernacular as “going postal.”

Many are resigned to those conditions, and assume “that’s just the way it is.” Yet there is growing awareness that American society is in need of an operating system that promotes a wider base of participation rather than relying on exclusivity; that fosters organizational partnerships rather than maintaining strict top-down hierarchies; and that sustains personal, visionary leadership committed to stewardship of resources rather than their exploitation for the benefit of a select few. In that light, we are called to create a society where circles and communities of trust flourish, where collaboration replenishes our sense of security and direction, and where integrity grows from a larger sense of service to our shared progress.

A cultural transformation is called for: not just to repair the existing crumbling infrastructure, but to replace it. Indeed, as community activist and cultural theorist Sharif Abdullah observed in Creating a World That Works for All, “We live in a world that works only for a few.” Therefore, he declares, “Our times cry out for change” because from his perspective, “America is coming apart at the seams” (28). While a fortunate few may be content to reinforce—and exploit—the status quo, there is growing discontent fueling calls for substantive transformation of social, economic and political systems. This book outlines a compelling and proven path toward such transformation, and the fresh organizational framework offered herein seeks to replace the current system and its over-reliance on “might makes right” with a viable alternative.
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Jonathan Edmonds,
Sep 6, 2010, 12:28 PM