[OSList] Open Space and Authority

paul levy paul at cats3000.net
Sat Mar 29 15:36:02 PDT 2014


I think there is a better word than "authority" when considering Open
Space. That word is "mandate". Mandate can include formal authority but it
can also include moral authority. I believe that an open space event
mandates self-organisation. The process of volunteering, both to attend the
open space event, and also the offering and attending of sessions at the
open space event, reflect individuals practicing moral authority. It also
can be called "taking permission" to self-organise.

When the mandate includes formal authority to hold an open space event, as
well as moral authority to attend, participate and self-organise, the
mandate is complete. Moral authority at an open space event is
self-determined, not given from "higher". An open space event could never
succeed without:

- formal authority for it to happen
- a clear mandate that the formal authority ends at voluntary attendance,
and then moral authority takes over, which is self-assumed by the circle
and the community. When moral authority meets formal authority in just the
right, needed, conscious balance, then a mandate for the open space event
exist. This is a mandate for self-organisation. In my own belief, this
mandate only appears to come from we, human beings. In truth, it comes from
the always existing and restless realm of potential.

warm wishes

Paul Levy

On 29 March 2014 20:57, Daniel Mezick <dan at newtechusa.net> wrote:

>  I am asking for help. Will you help me clarify my thinking?
> I'm wondering if 100% equivalence in authorization for all participants is
> actually a key/defining characteristic of any genuine and authentic Open
> Space event...
> First things first. Definitions:
> Authority: The right to do specific work
> Authorization: The conferring of authority
> Formal Authority: Authorization conferred from the formal organization to
> a person. Example: "the CEO".
> Informal Authority: Authorization conferred from peers, colleagues and
> co-workers. Example: "emergent leadership".
> Now let's get into it. I currently think, and believe, that:
> 1. For an Open Space event inside an organization, the Sponsor must occupy
> a role with substantial formal authorization, definitely more than enough
> to actually authorize that OST event. The higher the level of formal
> authorization of the Sponsor, the better it is for the event overall.
> 2. The Sponsor authorizes the participants- the "invitees"-- to meet
> together, and do the specific work of exploring and investigating the
> Theme. This "authorized work" is done in "authorized space"...in that
> specific place, for a specific period of time. The Sponsor explicitly
> authorizes all of the above and conveys this message after they stand up,
> and before they sit down, at the opening.
> 2. The Facilitator is formally authorized by the Sponsor to do the
> specific work of OST event. Absent this authorization, the Facilitator has
> no standing.
> 3. This is the big one: Everyone else, Sponsor included, has 100%
> equivalent authorization (100% equivalent "right to do work") as of the
> moment of opening of the Bulletin Board and/or the opening of the
> Marketplace.
> 4. As the event progresses, authorization dynamics are in play. These
> "informal authorization" dynamics occur continuously throughout the day in
> real time, moment by moment. Those who experience net increases in levels
> of informal authorization as of the end of the meeting have membership in
> the "emergent leadership" group.
> I am very interested in what experienced folks think about the validity of
> the assertion in (3) above.
> Ex the Facilitator, does everyone else actually have 100% equivalent
> authorization in an OST meeting? Why or why not?
> Is this 100% equivalence of authorization actually a key/defining
> characteristic of any genuine and authentic Open Space event?
> Thanks for any insight you may be able to provide, and
> Kind Regards,
> Daniel
> --
> Daniel Mezick, President
> New Technology Solutions Inc.
> (203) 915 7248 (cell)
> Bio <http://newtechusa.net/dan-mezick/>. Blog<http://newtechusa.net/blog/>.
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