According to MLD’s Marshall Ganz, the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society, “To lead is to accept responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty.” But where should a student aspiring to lead for the the greater good begin? For Ganz, the process of leadership starts with the “self” and builds outward into a constituency, creating “us,” a group that’s ready “now” to meet the challenges on the path to shared goals. In MLD-355: Public Narrative Ganz and his highly collaborative teaching team introduce students to the discursive process through which individuals, communities, and nations learn to make choices, construct identity, and inspire action. The goal is teaching students to link their our own callings to that of a community that shares a call to action, translating deeply held personal values into effective action. Ganz continues, “Because it engages the ‘head’ and the ‘heart,’ narrative can instruct and inspire – teaching us not only why we should act, but moving us to act.” Based on a pedagogy of guided reflective practice, students work in groups to learn to tell their own public narrative. Developing their own personal practice of public narrative builds students’ leadership capacity, and is especially critical when they are called to respond in moments of challenge like facing loss, lacking power, confronting inequality and difference, and enacting meaningful change.
Over the years Ganz and his course graduates have introduced public narrative training widely across the globe including in the Obama presidential campaign (2007-8), Sierra Club, Episcopal Church, United We Dream Movement, the Ahel Organizing Initiative, (Jordan), Serbia on the Move (Belgrade), Avina (Bogata), National Health Service (UK), Peking University (Beijing), Tatua (Kenya), Community Organizing Japan (Tokyo) and elsewhere, proving the relevance of narrative practice across disciplines, professions, and cultures.
Students seeking to extend their narrative practice and learning often follow up MLD-355 in the spring by enrolling in Ganz’s other course MLD-377: Organizing: People, Power, Change, in which put into practice what they’ve learned in organizations, movements, and campaigns of their own.
Beyond HKS, Ganz and graduates of his teaching have established the Leading Change Network, a global community of organizers, educators and researcher aiming ” To meet the challenges to democracy by developing the leadership to organize communities which build power and realize the values of equality, solidarity, and dignity.”
To learn more, view a complete (~75 minute) mini-workshop with Marshall Ganz introducing public narrative pedagogy on the YouTube channel of The Resistance School which was founded in March of 2017 by graduate students of HKS and other Harvard schools. Lesson 1 of the 15 short videos is below; the full set is here.
Well before COVID-19 moved HKS teaching online during the 2020-21 academic year, Ganz and his team with HKS Executive Education were pioneering the teaching of leadership and organizing online. With over 8 years experience developing his online public narrative Exec Ed course Ganz and his team have created an exceptionally strong model of experiential, interpersonal, and interdependent learning. For a sample of, and in-depth introduction to their online teaching pedagogy, view here a (~60 min) video of an online interactive session led by Ganz for Harvard Kennedy School faculty on his approach to online teaching.
MLD-355 will be offered at the Harvard Kennedy School in Fall semseter, and MLD-377 will be taught in Spring. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator. You may also contact Heather Adelman, Senior Project Coordinator for Marshall Ganz (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conceived in 2018, at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice advances the social justice and civil rights legacy of William Monroe Trotter. The Trotter collaborative, directed by Cornell William Brooks
fosters research on excellence in social justice and collaboration with local and national level organizations operating in the spheres of public interest and policy, as well as in the areas of community engagement and government. The collaborative conducts and employs applied research that supports efforts to promote advocacy, citizen activism, and impactful, non-partisan policy solutions to civil rights and social justice issues. Through this pedagogy, the Trotter Collaborative meaningfully addresses local and national civil rights challenges.Learn more about the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative by reading here, listening to, or watching, The Avant Guardian podcast, or following the Collaborative’s work in the news.
About Dealing with Dysfunction
How can we intervene in the systemic bureaucratic dysfunction that beleaguers the public sector? De Jong examines the roots of this dysfunction and presents a novel approach to solving it. Drawing from academic literature on bureaucracy and problem solving in the public sector, and the clinical work of the Kafka Brigade — a social enterprise based in the Netherlands dedicated to diagnosing and remedying bureaucratic dysfunction in practice, this study reveals the shortcomings of conventional approaches to bureaucratic reform. The usual methods have failed to diagnose problems, distinguish symptoms, or identify root causes in a comprehensive or satisfactory way. They have also failed to engage clients, professionals, and midlevel managers in understanding and addressing the dysfunction that plagues them. This book offers conceptual frameworks, theoretical insights, and practical lessons for dealing with the problem. It sets a course for rigorous public problem solving to create governments that can be more effective, efficient, equitable, and responsive to social concerns.
De Jong argues that successfully remedying bureaucratic dysfunction depends on employing diagnostics capable of distinguishing and dissecting various kinds of dysfunction. The “Anna Karenina principle” applies here: all well-functioning bureaucracies are alike; every dysfunctional bureaucracy is dysfunctional in its own way. The author also asserts that the worst dysfunction occurs when multiple organizations share responsibility for a problem, but no single organization is primarily responsible for solving it. This points to a need for creating and reinforcing distributed problem-solving capacity focused on deep (cross-)organizational learning and revised accountability structures. Our best approach to dealing with dysfunction may therefore not be top-down regulatory reform, but rather relentless bottom-up and cross-boundary leadership and innovation. Using fourteen clinical cases of bureaucratic dysfunction investigated by the Kafka Brigade, the author demonstrates how a proper process for identifying, defining, diagnosing, and remedying the problem can produce better outcomes.
The Social Innovation and Change Research Seminar is a venue for researchers of social innovation and social change to present and receive feedback on their research. The seminar is explicitly multi-disciplinary; work may draw on fields as diverse as sociology, political science, psychology, economics, and other social science approaches.
On behalf of the recently launched Social Innovation and Change Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, we invite you to join our inaugural research seminar.
THE FIRST SEMINAR IS TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017, featuring
Maureen Scully, Associate Professor of Management at the University of Massachusetts – Boston
on “Mobilizing the Wealthy: Doing “Privilege Work” and Challenging the Roots of Inequality”
Time: 12:30-2:00pm; Location: 124 Mt. Auburn, Suite 160, Room 105
Summary: Wealthy individuals stand to gain materially from economic inequality, and moreover, have shaped many organizational and societal practices that perpetuate economic
inequality to their advantage. Thus, they are unlikely allies in the effort to remedy economic inequality and indeed likely to contest systematic policies to reduce inequality. In this paper, however, we study the mobilization of a small group of wealthy activists who join allies from lower socioeconomic strata to expose and redress the root causes of wealth consolidation. They offer an instructive alternative to “philanthrocapitalism,” whereby the wealthy present their wealth accumulation as a superior qualification for addressing societal problems and do not address the root causes of how their wealth was amassed. Our study contributes to the growing literature on inequality and organizations, which are the vectors for distributing wages and investment returns, by examining how the wealthy may sometimes wrestle with the sources of their wealth. Advocacy from wealthy allies is unexpected and may jolt attention and change. We derive the concept of “privilege work” from our observations of an often awkward and fraught process that enables the wealthy to engage with their own privilege, use their insider knowledge of wealth accumulation as a lever for change, and work respectfully alongside underprivileged allies. Privilege work represents a new type of ally work along the dimension of socioeconomic class, with potential, even if limited, to disrupt escalating inequality.
We hope to see you there!
Learn more about the Social Innovation and Change Initiative (SICI ; pronounced “sigh-see”) and see listing of upcoming seminars at: http://sici-hks.org/