Bill Torbert
(United States)

Title of contribution:

Exploring “Numbskull in The Theatre of Inquiry”

Where & when:


Exploring “Numbskull in The Theatre of Inquiry”

Collective Evolution requires not only individual development to more embracing and embodied forms of awareness, but also relational development to more mutual kinds of intimacy, organizational development to more liberating exercises of power, and the development of social science beyond paradigms of Empirical Positivism and Postmodern Critical Interpretivism to a paradigm of Collaborative Developmental Action Inquiry.
In this workshop, Bill Torbert will introduce, and invite conversation about, his latest (and last) book Numbskull in The Theatre of Inquiry: Transforming Self, Friends, Organizations, and Social Science. Numbskull begins as autobiography and includes three stories by a Middle Eastern, Millenial woman of color (first-person action inquiry). It continues in the form of sometimes-critical Endnotes by members of his action inquiry community of friends (second-person action inquiry). And it ends with philosophical/methodological/statistical Appendixes (third-person action inquiry).
The conference presentation and conversation will similarly be divided into three parts, with the first two conversational periods occurring in break-out rooms. Like the book, the presentation will explore and illustrate how first-, second-, and third-person research/practice are interwoven. Whereas at the earlier action-logics, like Expert, work, love, and inquiry are (supposedly) separated, at the later action-logics they become mutually necessary.

About Bill Torbert:

Bill Torbert is Professor Emeritus at Boston College and on the Boards of Global Leadership Associates (home of the Global Leadership Profile) and of the Amara Collaboration. The Harvard Business Review named his “Seven Transformations of Leadership” one of HBR’s top ten leadership reads ever. The Center for Creative Leadership gave him its award for Career Contributions to Applied Leadership Research. His 2004 book Action Inquiry has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.


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