Hickson, Traci, Class of 2005 – (West Virginia, USA)

Practicum Summary:

Future Generations: A Global Learning Community

Traci Hickson’s research draws upon the theory of social constructivism to understand the process by which norms and ideas emerge within an organizational context and to present practical models for Future Generations, an NGO that is struggling to internalize a norm it seeks to promote. Non-governmental organizations work to promote issues such as global climate change, poverty, and human rights, on the premise that the promotion of ideas as well as the successful demonstration of new ideas and methods will impact social change on a global scale. Due to the increasing criticism associated with NGOs due to claims of not following the philosophy that they promote, Hickson decided to examine how NGOs internalize, practice, and diffuse the norms that they seek to influence. The paper is organized into three models that provide methods for internalizing and diffusing ideas and norms within an organizational context. These three models, epistemic, communities of practice, and learning organizations, are evaluated to identify principles and collaborative learning and sharing that could benefit Future Generations. In conclusion, Hickson puts forth a proposal of how Future Generations can internalize and diffuse the norm of collaborative learning and sharing within its own organizational context which highlights the importance of an organizational dialogue focused on what it means to be part of a global learning community and what value this is to the organization, its staff, and partners. In order to do this, Future Generations needs to commit itself to engaging in a global dialogue to achieve the community “walking forward together.”