New Perspectives on Large-Scale Systems Change

Event Date: Thursday April 23, 2015
Time: 12:15 PM
Location: Wasserstein Hall Room B010

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is pleased to present

New Perspectives on Large-Scale Systems Change


Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) at the University of Illinois

Thursday, April 23
12:15 – 1:30 pm
Wasserstein Hall Room B010 (Basement level)
Harvard Law School


About the talk:

Broad societal challenges, such as global climate change, industrial revitalization, and personalized medicine depend on effective models for large-scale systems change.  This seminar will feature two powerful lenses into large-scale systems change – stakeholder alignment and embedded operating assumptions – both of which contrast with traditional top-down or bottom-up change models.

Stakeholder alignment is central to multi-stakeholder consortia and public-private partnerships.  New ways to visually represent system-level data on stakeholder alignment will be presented, with applications to the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium, which is at the frontiers of personalized medicine, and the NSF EarthCube Initiative, which is advancing the cyberinfrastructure for geoscience.

The transformation of traditional operating assumptions to integrated operating systems for Ford and the UAW can be traced through 56 pivotal events over thirty years, enabling world-class quality and safety performance and generating an estimated 18,000 new jobs since the 2007 recession.

In all three cases, distributed stakeholders are enabling change at systems and institutional levels of analysis – accomplishing together what they could not do independently.


About the presenter:

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld is a professor and former dean in the School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) at the University of Illinois, United States.  He holds a joint appointment in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and has a fractional appointment in Work and Organisation Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia.  Joel is an award-winning author who has co-authored or co-edited eleven books and over eighty-five articles, book chapters, and policy papers on high performance work systems, transformation in labor-management relations, negotiations and conflict resolution, economic development, and engineering systems.  His current research is centered on stakeholder alignment in complex engineered systems – a foundation for institutions in the 21st Century.  Joel was the 2009 President of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA). He has extensive experience leading large-scale systems change initiatives with public and private stakeholders in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Denmark, England, Iceland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, South Africa, and the United States.  Joel holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Relations from MIT and a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.


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