Academic Research on Open Space

Thanks to [LarryPeterson] and [LisaHeft] for finding most of these research papers

See also:

[Research-related blog posts] – papers, articles and some discussion of practical research issues

OSWorldNET:OpenSpaceResearch — research project design by [Chris Corrigan], [Peggy Holman] and [Larry Peterson].

Books, and Articles in Books

Bainbridge, Fr. Brian S. Transforming Organizations by Open Space Technology. In Self-Transformation of the Forgotten Four-Fifths. Robert Dyck, Matjaz Mulej. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Dubuque, Iowa. 1998.

Duffy, Frances. Blick, Charles & Rogerson Lynda. Redesigning America’s Schools: A Systems Approach to Improvement. Christopher – Gordon Publishers, ISBN 1-929024-12-6 (, search). 2000

Peterson, Larry E. & Peterson, Rebecca, (2006). Moving to the Next Level at the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Bunker, B.B., & Alban, B.T. (Eds), The Handbook of Large Group Methods, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, pp. 343-353.

Weber, Susanne. From The Status Quo To The Future. Participative Approaches And A New Rationale Of Planning. In: Keiner, Edwin (ed.) – Evaluating Pedagogy. Weinheim / Basel, p. 255-272. 2001

Some articles gathered in 2006 from what we believe are peer reviewed journals:

Brigham, Steve Open Space: An Innovative Technique for Partcipatory Planning. Planning for Higher Education. 2000. 28(4): p. 35-41.

Bourner, Tom. Exploring the future of Management Development: experiencing Open Space. Career Development International (ISSN: 1362-0436). 1996, Volume 1, Number 4. University of Brighton.

Freedman, Rebecca: Creating a Climate of Public Dialogue and Action: Involving Community in the One-Tonne Challenge. Master’s Thesis. York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies. Toronto. May 2006.

Leith, Martin. Organizational change and large group interventions. Career Development International (ISSN: 1362-0436). 1996, Volume 1, Number 4. University of Brighton.

Lightfoot, Elizabeth, Pappas, Vicki, Chait, Jeffrey. Setting Off Right: using open space technology to enable citizens to set the agenda for state disability planning. Journal of Disability Policy Studies. V14 il. Summer 2003.

Peterson, Larry. Healthcare and Open Space Technology. The First Canadian Healthcare Conference. Toronto. August 2009.

Rao, Srikumar. April 1994. Welcome to Open Space. Training Magazine. Minneapolis. Lakewood Publication.

Weber, Susanne. Open Space and Organization. A discussion of dilemmas and the transition to polyvalent space. OD Practitioner (Journal of the Organization Development Network). In Preparation. 2004

Participative planning in German-speaking countries: A survey of applications and spread. German Politics and Society, University of California, Berkeley. In Preparation. 2004.

Spread And Employment Of Large Group Interventions In German-Speaking Countries. Zeitschrift für Organisationsentwicklung (Journal of Organisation Development), 2/2003, p. 58-59

Designing Networking As A Process With Large Group Interventions. In: Zeitschrift für Organisationsentwicklung (Journal of Organization Development), 2/2002, p. 60-73

Power To The People!? Self-Organization, Systemic Learning And Strategy Development In Large Groups. In: Sozialwissenschaftliche Literaturrundschau (Social Sciences Literature Overview), 2/2000, p. 63-89. 2000

Weber, Susanne & Freitag, Matthias. Open Space as a Tool Of The Organizational Development Of Knowledge. In: Wehner, Theo / Dick, Michael (ed.) – Knowledge Management – Psychological Perspectives and Redefinitions. Special Issue of Wirtschaftspsychologie (Economic Psychology), 2/2003

Weber, Susanne & Kolenaty, Erich: Open Space and organization. From dilemmas to integration in polyvalent space. In: Zeitschrift für Organisationsentwicklung (Journal of Organization Development), 2/2003, p. 48-57

These dissertations would also be considered “peer reviewed”:

Aitken, Jeff (2006) Opening space for shalom: An indigenous and organic inquiry of open space technology. PhD? dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California.

Biver, Nancie, An Approach to Community-University Partnerships: Discoveries on the Road to America’s Promise

This paper is a journey that explores the complexity and optimism of community/higher education partnerships to support youth. It provides an analysis of the dynamics and history of power and racism. It raises critical questions regarding the role and approach of higher education and America’s Promise, the national alliance for youth. Ultimately, it offers an opportunity to view our communities differently and engage in a process that provides the potential for authentic democratic solution generating, inclusive of the grassroots voice. The paper includes a discussion of Open Space Technology and it’s application in the above contexts.

Dixon, Elaine. Open Space Technology: A Large-Group Approach to Whole-System Change. Master’s Thesis. Univerity of Calgary. 1999

Theo Groot, Between Mystery and Mastery, Sheffield Hallam University UK and Kampala, Uganda
In September 2001, Theo Groot had the privilege to take a one-year sabbatical to embark on a course in organization development and consultancy at Sheffield Hallam University in the U.K. One of the characteristics of the above mentioned OD course is the harmonious integration of academics, practical skills and personal development. This dissertation is a reflection of his learning journey.
Development workers are by the very nature of their work focussed on bringing about deliberate change in communities and organisations. During Theo’s course he became increasingly interested in complexity theory and its implications for development work. He considered Open Space Technology to be a practical way of dealing with change from a complexity perspective. Furthermore Open Space is very close to Central and Eastern Bantu approaches to change as he explains in this thesis.
Theo Groot can be contacted on:

Legault, Marie. Bringing people together: A study of generational diversity and organizational culture, Master’s Thesis. Royal Roads University, BC, Canada. April 2002

Norris, Richard. A Grounded Theory Study On The Value Associated With Using Open Space Technology. Webster University. Merritt Island, Fla. May 2000. …contact Rich Norris at

Olsen, Linda. Open Space Technology and Self-Organization: A Case Study. Master’s Thesis. School of Business and Management, Pepperdine University. 1996

van der Zouwen, Tonnie. An evidence based practical guide to effective use of Large Scale Interventions. Towards sustainable organisational change with the whole system.

Walker Daniel, Marlene. An Ethnographic Study of an Open Space Technology Meeting: Self-Organization at Work. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. University of Maryland. 1994.

Other papers that may or may not be dissertations or peer reviewed:

Reeler, Doug. (1994). Exploring the Elements and Essences of Participative Processes in Organisations Opening Personal and Collective Spaces and the Mysteries of Facilitation. Address: 146 St. Kilda R. Landsdowne, Cape Town, South Africa 7780. 18 pages.

Saam, Nicole J. (submitted): Towards a rational foundation of Open Space Technology. PD Dr. Nicole J. Saam — Institut für Soziologie, Universität Leipzig, Beethovenstraße 15, D-04107 Leipzig GERMANY Tel: +49 (0) 341/9735690/691 Fax: +49 (0) 341/9735669

2003-06-25 Tsung-Hsien Tsai To Analyze The Improvements and Results of Open Space Technology