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Margaret J. Wheatley (commonly Meg Wheatley) (born 1941) is an American writer and management consultant who studies organizational behavior. Her approach includes systems thinking, theories of change, chaos theory, leadership and the learning organization: particularly its capacity to self-organize. Her work is often compared to that of Donella Meadows and Dee Hock. She describes her work as opposing "highly controlled mechanistic systems that only create robotic behaviors."
Wheatley grew up in the New York City area and then Boston. She received her M.A. in systems thinking from New York University and her doctorate from Harvard University. During the 1960s, Wheatley served in the Peace Corps in Korea for two years while teaching high school English.
Her practice as an organizational consultant and researcher began in 1973. She has worked on every inhabited continent in "virtually every type of organization" and considers herself a global citizen. Since then she has been Associate Professor of Management at the Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University, and Cambridge College, Massachusetts, and served as a professor of management in two graduate programs. She has served in a formal advisory capacity for leadership programs in England, Croatia, Denmark, Australia and the United States, and through her work in Berkana, with leadership initiatives in India, Senegal, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil as well as Europe. She is president of the Berkana Institute, a global charitable leadership foundation.
Wheatley has received many awards and honorary doctorates. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) has named her one of five living legends. In May 2003, ASTD awarded her their highest honor: "Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance."
In 1989 she moved her family to the mountains of Utah, where she has been living ever since. She has raised a large family of two sons and five step-children who have now 17 grandchildren.
Her books include:
- 1996. A Simpler Way. co-authored with Myron Kellner-Rogers
- 1996. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (1999, 2006)
- 2002. Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future
- 2003. Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2005)
- 2011. Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now co-authored with Deborah Frieze (Berrett-Koehler Publishers)
- 2012. So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World
- Margaret J. Wheatley, President, The Berkana Institute[permanent dead link] at National Public Health Leadership Institute. Accessed April 10, 2013
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