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Genarrative is a magnetic memoir of an independent Dutch organization development (OD) consultant who, next to his already dynamic and purpose driven life, spent five years of PhD research into the concept of Organizational Generativity, aiming to contribute to an organization’s capability to create better futures for all its stakeholders.
As a reader – manager, community leader, process consultant, OD scholar or PhD candidate – you are initiated into the unruly art of academic inquiry, and slightly become yourself a co-creator of the research being executed.
Through personal cases, bits of peer-reviewed work, and new (un)frameworks, this book makes you understand and enhance the life of organizations and other communities in unexpected new ways.
In a dialogical and immersive learning journey full of sudden surprises – as emergence requests – you are guided across a richness of sources, wisdom, reflections and practices urging you to learn and share the art of genarrativity yourself.
Cees Hoogendijk not only promotes organizational and societal flourishing; he shows you the way.
“What we call ‘crisis’, would that actually be ‘complexity’ without knowing yet how to deal with it properly?”
Dear visitor, thank you for reaching out and showing interest.
Actually, my research journey into the generative qualities of organizations and communities took much longer than five years and covers a life span of personal and professional experiences of which I share the highlights in Genarrative.
Wrapped in a memoir, and mixed with peer reviewed findings, Genarrative presents an in-depth understanding of how conscious use of the word ‘generative/-ity’ can contribute to organizational and societal betterness.
I hope you will be inspired by my three frameworks – as practical as they can be – connecting generativity to language, processes and social entities.
Moreover, you may enjoy engaging in the ongoing process of future forming inquiry yourself, for which Genarrative provides tools and guidance. The ones who take the effort in practicing the practices, will be acknowled- ged as being ‘genarrative’ and appreciated for being good ancestors: for having created new promising stories, that fueled next generations to build the world they love.
In essence, generativity is the quality to give life and to create healthy futures. It is my sincere hope that this book generates like-minded, actionable ‘genarrators’.
Warm wishes, Cees Hoogendijk www.ceeshoogendijk.com
“The honest and transparent content of this book will leave the readers with a refreshing and warming feeling towards every-person and -thing around them. At least, this is the “smiling” feeling I always experience when practicing appreciative inquiry and that makes me ponder how much different the world would be if all people could embrace this lifestyle.”
“So much to appreciate in this work; the head spins with ideas. The work thus performs that which it attempts to describe. Deep appreciation for your efforts, Cees, stimulating as ever…”
“This book comprises a quest to new human approaches to the flourishing continuation of existing human systems. If I myself could give out a PhD, Cees would have obtained it already!”
My first journey through this work by Cees was a wonderful ride. It was full of inner ‘yes,’ ‘aha,’ ‘never looked at it that way,’ and outer smiles, with some thoughtful frowns. Overall it is a tour-de-force into a deeper view of generativity, generative connections, and the novel idea of the “genarrator” to help those interested in nurturing, transforming, changing or developing human systems toward being spaces for everyone to flourish within. A few things I am appreciating most about this contribution to our global community of practice:
Wordplay Like Cees and many of us in the Appreciative Inquiry and Social Constructionist domains, I adhere to the powerful notion that words create worlds. Cees has given us a masterclass in the power of intentional-yet-playful reframing, rewording, and inventing words to stimulate new ideas and images. This is not jus limited to the new Genarrator role. Everywhere there are delightful twists and turns with language to awaken us from mechanistic reading and thinking.
Communitas Every time I have encountered Cees, and now in his writing, I am reminded of community. He lives and “be’s” for communing with equal voice, shared power, and true appreciation for diversity and inclusion. But now I think he is highlighting even more the moments of communitas that Victor Turner first described. Those emergent moments where a collective finds themselves in a space of true concrescence, or simultaneous “growing along with.” The unknown is embraced, everyone shares a type of bond I would describe as a generative connection, and all join in co-inquiry. The Genarrator can be a positive change agent for these moments.
Power-with Several times during my reading, I found myself thinking of Mary Parker Follett’s sage distinction between power-over and power-with. One occurred when Cees described the Genarrator role as being about the other(s), not about oneself.
I would extend this a bit to suggest it is about our relational space and the beauty, love, influence, curiosity, creativity, difference, etc. that emerges or resides in that relationship. It is beyond any personal ego agenda, not just the Genarator’s.
I look forward to the next time and space to wander through this book again. Like every time I view my garden, there are likely to be experiences of newness and sameness, but always an inviting and fertile space for discovery and growth.
Ron Fry, Professor of Organizational Behavior,
Case Western Reserve University,
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
It often happens that a book challenges you to think. Seldom a book makes you rethink your thinking, and rethink again. That is what this book does. Cees guides us through his journey, his quest, in a way our own quest.
Apart from the inside-description of the Kafkaesque gone-crazy academic ecosystem, this book is disruptive, confusing, and challenging. At many moments it made me reflect and rethink about (psycho-)logic, research, quantum mechanics, the meaning of life, my own contribution to my family, to organizations, to mankind in general, etc. Thinking, of course not merely as a cognitive activity, but also in emotional, spiritual, humanistic sense; multi-modal and multi-perspective. Call it holistic!
Many ideas and perspectives pop up, questions and more questions, surprise after surprise, contradictions that turn out to be non-contradictory, etc. At times it feels like running a Möbius loop. Exhausting, but reviving, exhilarating, and vitalizing at the same time. Call it generative!
Having a real-time meeting (conversational encounter) with Cees leaves you with the same kind of exciting confusion. You end up with more surprises, ideas, and questions, but most importantly, infected with inspira- tion, optimism, and zest. So does this book, it makes you feel humble and powerful (or better, valuable) as well. Call it appreciative!
If the goal of science is to provide answers to our questions, and the purpose of art is to question our answers, then this book is to be seen as a piece of art, making us not only question our answers but also question our questioning. Call it science-art!
Let academics classify this work as constructivist, structuralist, postmodernist, post-postmodernist, whatever; it is enriching, and relevant for all times. Call it genarrative!
Geert W.J. Heling Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Practice in Organizational Behavior, Culture and Change, Tilburg University The Netherlands
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