Hilary Bradbury

Hilary Bradbury

Hilary Bradbury, Ph.D., is a scholar-practitioner focused on the human and organizational dimensions of creating healthy communities. A Professor of Management at OHSU in Portland, USA, she is Editor-in-Chief of Action Research Journal and principal convener of the global AR+ commons, an international network of participatory action researchers. Her most recent books include “Eros/Power: Transforming how women and men relate” (Integral Publishers, 2016) and The Handbook of Action Research (Sage, 2015).  Hilary was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, proceeding to Divinity Schools at Harvard and University of Chicago. She earned her PHD at Boston College in Organization Studies with a emphasis on change and transformation.

In her own words...

Transformation is this life just as it is! But unfortunately we don’t realize that. I am suggesting that we live in a world that is in constant interactive flux. Human beings (and all existence) do not have easily defined boundaries; experientially, we are not really separate like our rational mind/human ego assumes. We are part of constant transformative metabolizing of shared resources (air, water, ideas, language) that holds us within complex nonlinear processes (and problems such as climate change). Yet if, following Newton, philosophers and social engineers conceived a clockwork universe of particles that acted as billiard balls, it feels natural that, say, in my field of management, individuals are treated as cogs in a big machine to be fitted into vast bureaucratic systems.  Ignoring that the world is emergent and interactive, the result has been fragmentation, a sense of isolation and natural systems decline.  We continue to treat ourselves and natural processes as atoms, much like billiard balls, as if subjectivity doesn’t matter, as if the “system” has nothing to do with intersubjectivity. As we learn to grapple with the implications of relational subatomic swirl, it is now timely to re-conceive humans and systems coordination as webs of collaboration--the basic orientation of action research--rather than heavy-handed social engineering. There is an invitation here to re-imagine transformation as a collaborative potential, consciously directed toward optimizing our natural and human systems of intelligence, care and creative mystery.

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