Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics in the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Advisor: Dr. Alan M. Barstow


This thesis examines the evolution, rationale and application of the Interactive Planning Methodology described by Russell Ackoff (1981). It focuses on the facilitator, particularly on the competencies required, for one to successfully facilitate the methodology. Data were gathered from direct observation of an interactive planning exercise at GlaxoSmithKline in Philadelphia, PA, and interviews conducted on select practitioners and clients of the methodology. Results indicated that an effective facilitator must possess excellent communication skills, a high degree of analytical skills, and considerable people skills. In addition, one must be able to: (1) understand group dynamics and the differences in personalities of individuals, and must know how to use this knowledge to guide the group in a productive way; (2) establish an atmosphere in which the participants are willing to share their ideas and build on others' ideas; (3) maintain the energy level of the participants and enable them to stay focused on the task; and (4) connect their previous knowledge and experience to the current situation. Lastly, a facilitator of the Interactive Planning Methodology must be creative. Creativity is manifested by expressing unusual thoughts and being interesting and stimulating.



Date Posted: 27 June 2007