Entrepreneuring the Social Enterprises with Neo-Fifth Discipline—The Emerging Reciprocity Organization


In this paper, the authors trace the development of social enterprises and the emerging fourth sector from double, triple and quadruple bottom line arguments. It is highlighted that social entrepreneurs’ efforts on entrepreneuring their communities or organizations would play an important role in response to the challenges of quadruple bottom line. In order to enhance the generative collaboration among social enterprises and organizations of the three existing sectors, the authors apply the perspectives of wholeness-praxis to reconceptualize the concept of reciprocity in terms of social behavior orientations elaborated by Bowel and Gintis from Santa Fe Institute. On the base of the social entrepreneurs’ social behavior orientations and reconceptualization of reciprocity from wholeness-praxis perspectives, they propose Reciprocity Organizations (ROs) as co-evolving social enterprises. It is expected that leaders of ROs could endeavor on co-creating generative communities and collaborative mechanisms across various sectors. In order to enhance the ROs’ capacity of building generative networks for the emerging generative communities across social enterprises and three sectors, the authors construct a model of “Neo-Fifth Discipline” with wholeness-praxis spirit for ROs. They contend that as more and more social enterprises are transformed into Reciprocity Organizations, a new economy with social justice, public good and universal greatness would become the global shared vision in the near future.

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Lin, C. and Li, M. (2016) Entrepreneuring the Social Enterprises with Neo-Fifth Discipline—The Emerging Reciprocity Organization. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 6, 45-59. doi: 10.4236/ajibm.2016.61004.

Received 15 December 2015; accepted 23 January 2016; published 26 January 2016

1. Non-Sustainability Crisis and the Wave of New Economy Movement

1.1. Non-Sustainability Crisis and Global Mechanism Malfunction

Civilization achieved by humans in the long history could hardly exceed that attained in the past 300 years in the west. American scholar Fukuyama stated that capitalism and democracy had become the essence of human survival [1] . The 911 incident of USA in 2001 uncovered the great tension between Arabic countries and the United States. Three years later, the American presidential election in 2004 with equal votes to both parties challenges the value of United States’ 200-year democracy [2] . Furthermore, the 2008 global financial tsunami proclaimed the crisis of 300-year capitalism in the west. Since 2000, we have been struggling with all sorts of non-sustainability crises [3] and global mechanism malfunction [4] . According to Laszlo’s proclamations, there are economic non-sustainability crises (market mechanism malfunction), political non-sustainability crises (government mechanism malfunction), social non-sustainability crises (societal mechanism malfunction), and environmental non-sustainability crises (ecology mechanism malfunction), all of which are intertwined to become highly complicated global problems and challenge the whole world. How could we create a new era with old mindsets in dealing with these problems? How could human beings transform their selfish gene with global consciousness and collective intelligence?

1.2. The wave of New Economy Movement

In the era of 1980, Capra began to challenge scientism of the twentieth century, criticizing sternly that militarily- industrial complex had caused unprecedented calamity in the modern society. He then advocated the passage to the solar age, claiming the arrival of ecological economy and earnestly calling for attention to the wave of the new economy [5] . Conversely, the new economy does not mean the digital economy of late 1990s since digital economy goes hand in hand with military strength, often launching merciless attacks on political democracy and social welfare through globalization. Based on Ferguson, the new economy was a set of human’s new values, which did not merely aim at creating economic wealth [6] . Similarly, Henderson and Sethi advocated that the new economy is founded on four pillars of socially responsible investment with a series of principles and rules governing ethical markets in accordance with green economics [7] . Meanwhile, New Economics Institute, a US-based nonprofit organization in Cambridge and Great Barrington, also addressed its mission to build a new economy which prioritizes the well-being of people and the planet.

Indeed, the same observation applies to the ideas of new economy described above sprout with the evolving of social enterprises in the 1980s. Besides, the concept of social enterprise co-evolved with social entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurs, social innovation, and social impact in the 1990s. During this period of time, undoubtedly the growth of social enterprises is accompanied with emerging global non-sustainability crisis and global mechanism malfunction. In another word, social enterprises arise from deficiency or malfunction of the existing sectors. Being a newly developing organizational type, its form and essence are completely different from those of profit organizations, non-profit organizations or government organizations. Social enterprises, coined as the fourth sector by Aspen Institute’s Network in 1998 [8] , have been gaining much attention from both scholars and practitioners in the past two decades. Assuming the critical role in shaping the new economy, we should notice that the fourth sector composed of numerous social entrepreneurs around the world, seemingly forming a collective force to redirect global economy in the 21st century.

What are the characteristics of social enterprises in the fourth sector? How do they develop and operate? How do the successful social entrepreneurs break through malfunctioning mechanism of the organizations? What might the bottlenecks and predicaments of social enterprises? Is the movement of new economy advocated by social entrepreneurs only in temporary influences, or will it bring forth unexpected economic revolution? Could the quadruple bottom line (politics, economy, society and environment) for developing social enterprises claimed by many experts and scholars dissolve the entanglement, and conflicts threatening human survival? Could we find the middle path for global thriving as though the third road preached by British Prime Minister Blair?

In this paper, the authors take organizational development of social enterprises as the core thesis. They first probe the essence of social innovations, social entrepreneurship, social impact and multiple bottom-line. Following that, they adopt the “reciprocity” concept proposed by Santa Fe institute to investigate collective human nature and social behavior orientations for new possibilities and organizational types of social enterprises.

In order to distinguish the fourth sector or citizen sector from the three major sectors (profit organization, government organization and non-profit organization), the authors frame social enterprises as Reciprocity Organizations (RO). They further construct a “Neo-Fifth Discipline Model of Cross-organization Learning” for the emerging Reciprocity Organizations with wholeness-praxis spirit. They also design a set of strategies and tactics for the booming social enterprises regarding organizational innovations and transformations. Finally, they conclude as more and more social enterprises are transformed into Reciprocity Organizations, a really new economy would possibly emerge in the near future.

2. Challenge of Social Enterprises

2.1. Development of Social Enterprises and the Emerging Fourth Sector

Muhammad Yunus utilized microcredit and microfinance as savings products, which he developed as a professor of economics at Chittagong University in the United States since 1970, to enhance economic and social development from below. Since he had come back his country home, Yunus helped millions of people lift themselves out of poverty in rural Bangladesh by providing them with credit without requiring collateral. Best of all, he developed this revolutionary micro-credit system with the belief that it would be a cost effective and scalable weapon to fight poverty. His intelligence, vision, passion and action ultimately have exerted great impact on Bangladesh and quickly spread the concept of social enterprise (social business) to the whole world [9] . The emerging forces of social enterprises up to date growing from the bottom all over the world are taking more and more significant roles in the contemporary economy.

The “fourth sector” that Bill Drayton has been advocating in the past two decades not only attracts countless volunteering entrepreneurs’ attention, but also inspires numerous entrepreneurs’ multiple talents and collective intelligence for creating divergent management models of social enterprises with various organizational scales. Over the past few decades, the boundaries between the public, private, and social sectors have been blurring as many pioneering organizations have been blending social, political and environmental aims with economic approaches.

It is clear that the fourth sector arises from the malfunctioning governmental organizations (GO), of which management is often complicated by the economic, political and social and environmental problems. Since the late 1980s, increasing unemployment rate has been challenging many countries and fund-raising became a tough task for most non-profit organizations (NPO). While the Asia economy plays a more important role in the 1990s, however both European and American economy were afflicted. At that period, the British government initiated a series of policies to foster the growth of social enterprises with more cost-effective operations in order to cope with the social and political problems intertwined with the increasing unemployment rate. Likewise, the USA government preached the necessity of developing social enterprises with great efforts, trying to break through the limited resources predicaments which innumerable nonprofit organizations are confined within. Given that all of the three sectors seem to be struggling with an arduous battle, social enterprises emerge as the fourth road for many political, social and economic leaders to engage in. It as well becomes a new business model which the government and non-government organizations are eager to invest with more resources in the end of the 20th century.

In the beginning of the 21st century, economic tsunami hit the American economy and spread to both western and eastern countries with tremendous side effects. As a result, the large-scale economic recession has become global crisis and challenges capitalism and the existing economic systems. Therefore, social enterprises become a promising driving force to redirect the global leaders’ collective anxiety, and expended their efforts on designing alternative approaches to resolving the aggravating problems. Meanwhile, social entrepreneurs use various business models, such as public private partnerships, social economy enterprises, faith-based enterprises, civic and municipal enterprises, community development financial institutions, community wealth organizations, cross-sectoral partnerships, non-profit enterprises, sustainable enterprises, blended value organizations and so on. More and more globally networking platforms are created to interconnect social enterprises in a large scale, like Acumen Fund, Ashoka, Aspen Institute, Echoing Green, Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI), Grameen Bank, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundations, Social Earth, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) and Youthline. Most of them have set great examples or paradigmatic models for the global practitioners and scholars to further explore the possibilities and opportunities social enterprises could enact. As this activity matures, it is becoming formalized as a “Fourth Sector” of the economy.

For the facts mentioned above, the uprising of social enterprises indeed has become a global movement. Such a movement integrates countless social enterprises with both grass-root and top-down forces, and even speeding networking on the global scale. In the past decade, social enterprises undoubtedly have been regarded as powerful alternatives to transform the entangled problems challenging our age. Since Bill Drayton founded Ashoka to search for social entrepreneurs in the world, we have seen significant growth of social entrepreneurship education and practice, with hundreds of courses being taught at the university level as it were. With the efforts expended in this newly booming field, multiple theoretical frameworks are proposed and divergent applicable models are implemented, which, however, reveals structural conflicts and institutional contradictions challenging many social entrepreneurs. As far as it is concerned, searching for a middle way to manage the quickly growing social enterprises seems to be the necessary revolution in this burgeoning field. This will lead us further into a consideration of different perspectives on social enterprises.

2.2. Perspectives on Social Enterprises-from Double to Triple and Quadruple Bottom Line Arguments

Here we get nearer to some arguments about different perspectives on social enterprises. First and foremost, Emerson and Twersky proposed the double bottom line, economic and social, as goals for distinguishing social enterprises from either profit enterprises or nonprofit organizations [10] . Such an idea is also echoed by OECD a decade ago. Generally, the so-called economic goal means products and service that social enterprises offered, and social enterprises are expected to be able to make profits from the market competition. However, the social goal means the operation of social enterprises and forms its core, which is established for serving public interests [11] . As to the opposite, Peter F. Drucker had ever stated that non-profit organizations should learn the management knowledge with high performance from profit organizations whereas profit organizations should cultivate their missions and visions by learning the spirits from non-profit organizations [12] .

Despite the different social and cultural backgrounds giving rise to social enterprises in America and Europe, incorporating both economic and social goals is well-recognized and gaining consensus in this field. Social enterprises are thus regarded as hybrid organizations [13] , and their pursuing goals are viewed as blending values [14] . Based on the double bottom line, European Research Network (EMES) specially advocated significance of social impact, and designed two categories of indicators for measuring the social impact of social enterprises.

However, under the guidance of double bottom line, social enterprises, like many nonprofit organizations, are still facing difficulties in breaking through structural predicaments. For example, the social enterprises in the United States have been endeavoring in resolving financial predicaments through commercialization. But the commercial behaviors of social entrepreneurs were queried due to the mission drift phenomenon of nonprofit organizations [15] , which consequently results in legitimacy crisis [16] . In another words, when the structural dilemmas and goal conflicts remain, social entrepreneurs would choose to mainly focus on creating social value. Considering that, they would measure productivity and yield in terms of social impact [17] .

Unequivocally, in order to resolve the structural predicaments, Nussens, Adam and Johnson organized two analytic facets incorporating multiple goals and multiple stakeholders as foundations for constructing the “triple bottom line” of social enterprises [18] . The core of all the points is that the facet of multiple goals placed emphasis on economic, social and citizen goals which could raise the people’s public engagement. The facet of multiple stakeholders advocated the model of deliberative democracy to turn the public’s role from customer to staff, focusing on team collaboration and meanwhile resolve the structural predicaments. Henriques and Richarson also proposed feasible developing directions, such as detailed professional procedures for environmental accounting and management and social auditing [19] . In 2006, European Commission (EC) issued the book “Social Enterprise: At the crossroads of market, public policies and civil society”, suggesting civic involvement in public policies and adoption of strategies like contract outsourcing and accreditation.

In another trend, to resolve the legitimacy crisis of social enterprises and the structural predicaments, the environmental indicator was incorporated into the double bottom line framework and “triple bottom line” thus becomes a new framework for conceptualizing development and responsibilities of social entrepreneurs. Some Scholars even claim to replace social entrepreneurship with ecopreneurship or ecopreneuring to further legitimize the development of social enterprises [20] [21] . All in all, many proponents of social enterprise, social investing, corporate social responsibility, and venture philanthropy subscribe to the triple bottom line, which includes environmental, economic and social impact. The Brundtland Commission at the United Nations defines development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” [22] Indeed, the phrase “Triple Bottom Line” was coined by UK environmentalist, John Elkington, and became widely popular after Elkington’s 1998 publication was issued. In his book, Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, triple bottom line is also referred to as “People, Planet, Profit” or “3BL”, and the objective of Triple Bottom Line is for companies to report on their financial bottom line, corporate social responsibility and the impact they have on the environment [23] .

Norman and MacDonald argued that the triple bottom line (“3BL”) is a rhetorical device with little substance. It may distract managers and investors from more effective approaches to social and environmental reporting and performance. Their critique is not aimed at corporate social responsibility efforts in general, but rather at misguided approach to CSR. They even claimed that the concept of a Triple Bottom Line in fact turns out to be a “Good old-fashioned Single Bottom Line plus Vague Commitments to Social and Environmental Concerns.” [24] Take a step further, Reid and Griffith suggested that potential social entrepreneurs have to tackle the quadruple bottom line?blending of economic, social, ecological and community concerns at same time, because each of them should receive equal weight in evaluating the success of a social enterprise. They contend that social entrepreneurs not only promote economic development but also improve social capital, equality and community development as well. Social entrepreneurs should be like magicians to bring about thrivability, innovation and social transformation. They also claim that quadruple bottom line could be regarded as four pillars of social enterprises [25] . Below is comparison of the double, triple and quadruple bottom line for probing social enterprises and their responsibilities and impact (Table 1).

2.3. Response to the Challenges of Quadruple Bottom Line

No matter how we frame our discussion of social enterprises from the double, triple or quadruple bottom line, there always exist various degrees of conflicts between or among the economic, social, political and environmental goals. In this section, we only title the response to the challenges of quadruple bottom line, because it includes the similar problem about the double and triple bottom lines.

First of all, social entrepreneurs need to deal with the structural conflicts between capitalism and democracy, and manage the possible contradictions between public good and stakeholders’ personal interests [36] . With the

Table 1. Double, triple and quadruple bottom line for probing social enterprises.

rising of non-profit organizations in the 1980s, the so-called non-profit entrepreneur and entrepreneurship emerged. In Skloot’s words, non-profit entrepreneur is a person who applies resources by creative construction in capitalism; and non-profit entrepreneurship could be referred to creative construction for whole society [27] . Social entrepreneurship focuses on innovative and creative approach to managing complicated social problems [28] . Social entrepreneurs, therefore, need to deal with the structural conflicts between capitalism and socialism. During the 1990s when aggravating environmental crisis became the global issue, more and more enterprisers endeavored in probing the essence and necessary development of ecoprenership [30] , and incorporated it into their corporate social responsibility or corporate social innovation, social entrepreneurs have to deal with the structural conflicts between Capitalism and environmentalism.

To sum up, social entrepreneurs have to deal with the structural conflicts between capitalism and democracy, socialism, environmentalism. Realistically, the challenges of quadruple bottom line need more creative responses than traditional reacts.

According to Dees, social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents by:

Ÿ adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value),

Ÿ recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission,

Ÿ engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning,

Ÿ acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and

Ÿ exhibiting a heightened sense of accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created [37] .

Indeed, more and more social entrepreneurs not only undertake the social innovation approach created by Schumpeter [26] and Drucker [38] , but also respond to environmental sustainability issues with ecopreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are likely to remain what Dees described as a “rare breed,” and social entrepreneurship should be restricted to truly catalytic change, not whatever happens to be new to an organization or industry [39] [40] . We shall now look more carefully into the social behaviors of social entrepreneurs.

3. Framing Reciprocity from the Perspectives of Social Behavior Orientations

3.1. The Social Entrepreneurs’ Social Behavior Orientations

In this section, the authors borrow the essence of reciprocity, elaborated extensively in a series of study conducted by Santa Fe institute, to pinpoint a new path to dissolving the dilemmas and structural conflicts numerous social entrepreneurs have encountered. Santa Fe Institute not only makes the most significant contribution to contemporary complexity science, but also collectively constructs “Theory of Human Social Behaviors Orientation.” This theory of human social behaviors orientation explicates that in a steady society, people’s social behaviors could be categorized as selfish, altruistic and reciprocity in the proportion of 38.2%, 24.6% and 37.2%”, and 11.1% of them might shift to Shirk under certain circumstances [41] - [43] . Theoretically, it shows the proportion change between selfish and altruistic is not big, but the reciprocity group is potential to grow with more engagement in environmental protection, community development, civil movements, social interaction and cultural integration. By and large, the proportion of reciprocity group in a healthy society is higher than standard value; and the proportion of Shirk is lower than standard value. On the contrary, the proportion of Reciprocity in an unhealthy society is lower than normal value; and the proportion of Shirk is higher than standard value. Based on this theory, the proportion of the selfish group plus shirk group would exceed 60%, yielding to evil quality embedded in various social systems. It is clear that the proportion of Reciprocity group could thus be regarded as an important indicator to determine whether a society is healthy enough [41] - [43] .

Bowles and Ginitis contend that reciprocity behaviors possess the value of social justice, including getting reciprocal interaction, reciprocity or the golden rule “We must treat others as we wish others to treat us.” Reciprocity behaviors manifested in this golden rule not only embody social just value, they are also regarded as common core of great religions. The “Declaration Toward a Global Ethic” from the Parliament of the World’s Religions proclaims that the Golden Rule (“We must treat others as we wish others to treat us”) is a common principle for not only religions, but also all other belief systems [44] . Martin and Osberg from Skoll Foundation frame their discussions on social entrepreneurs from the perspective of social justice too [45] . Some other scholars also view social justice as critical to resolving the dilemmas of attaining the multiple goals mentioned above [46] [47] .

As shown in Figure 1, capitalism, socialism, democracy and environmentalism take up the four end-point of the social entrepreneurs’ quadruple bottom line. Basically, capitalism emphasizes human’s natural instinct of

Figure 1. Quadruple bottom line of social entrepreneurs.

selfishness by reinforcing the principle of the free competition, and maximizes individual interests. Most profit organizations embrace the principle of selfish behaviors, which is clearly exemplified by numerous business entrepreneurs in capitalism. On the contrary, socialism emphasizes human’s natural instinct of altruism, by holding the principle of cooperation and maintains social order and social good collectively. Most non-profit organizations regard altruistic behaviors as their guiding principle, and non-profit entrepreneurship could be nurtured in socialism. While democracy emphasizes the natural instinct of human justice, environmentalism emphasizes the natural instinct of human unity. Democracy follows the principle of equality and justice, encouraging people to pursue personal right and taking into consideration others' rights too. Basically, most governmental organizations are expected to abide by the principle of democratic reciprocity [48] [49] .

By comparison, environmentalism aims at universal good while pursuing human interests, and thus emphasizing co-evolving with the whole earth and even planet. Environmentalism also expects all human beings’ behaviors to follow the principle of environmental reciprocity [50] - [52] .

Extending the arguments about quadruple bottom line mentioned above, the authors contend that social entrepreneurs who believe in and practice the principle of social reciprocity would be the potential change makers to create collaboration across organizations with personal interests, public good or universal wellbeing altogether. Such social entrepreneurs would redesign established organizations or create new organizations with reciprocity spirit, instead of merely taking initiative from selfish or altruistic motivation. According to Santa Fe Institute’s research findings, the reciprocity group of people in a society is critical to its healthy development. If entrepreneurs with reciprocity spirit are cultivated with cross-organizational collaborative visions and capacities, it is possible that the structural conflicts or institutional contradictions might be resolved to a certain extent.

3.2. Reciprocity Organizations as Co-Evolving and Generative Social Enterprises

In view of the fact that most countries nowadays suffer from humanity’s exploitation of environment and focusing on only human interest, all of capitalism states, nationalism states or socialism states are facing unprecedented challenges. Since it seems that sector 1, 2 and 3 are not able to manage the local problems and global crises, a demand for more visionary and passionate social entrepreneurs with reciprocity to create powerful collaborative platforms and generative networking for organizations across sector 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the glocal fields is needed.

If we depict the social enterprises with reciprocity spirit as “Reciprocity Organizations,” they could be describe as organizations with fair means, social justice, open will and heart, and eco-self & collective intelligence. Based on the ideal fourth sector or citizen sector proposed by Drayton mentioned above [28] , reciprocity organizations could be the majority of social entrepreneurs engaged in. Such reciprocity organizations aim at: 1) attaining economic-political goals; 2) resolving conflicts among economic-political and social-cultural goals; 3) dissolving conflicts among social-cultural and achieving spiritual-ethical goals; and 4) enabling reciprocity organizations to realize environmental-ecological goals through enacting opportunities inherent in problems and conflicts among multiple complex goals.

But, how could people with different mentalities, visions and paradigmatic thinking in the reciprocity organizations (ROs) work together? When power struggle is working in the form of democracy, could leaders of ROs take different attempts to engage divergent stakeholders to listen to each other? How could they identify the numerous constellations of minds and souls in various communities and organizations?

The most critical approach is to build bridge between the ideal world and reality by creating a new language for those who travel in between. What would be the language for people to travel freely between reality and ideal, between obstacles and opportunities, and between problems and possibilities? In the following section, the authors would further articulate how leaders of ROs might harness reciprocity with wholeness-praxis spirit by creating collaborative platforms for divergent organizations across sector 1, 2, 3 and 4 in principle.

3.3. Missions and Goals of Reciprocity Organizations

Leaders of reciprocity organizations as defined are oriented toward being altruistic to society with strong sense of social justice, open will and eco-self. Laszlo claim for global consciousness also shed great light on the essence of reciprocity. That is shifting 1) from competition to conciliation and cooperation, 2) from greed and deficiency to abundance and carefulness, 3) from external authority to inherent appreciation, 4) from separated parts into whole, 5) from machinery into an activity system, and 6) from division of organization into the integration of consistent all [53] .

However, the word “reciprocity” is underlined with synchronistic altruism for self and others in the eastern wisdom tradition, such as Confucianism and Buddhism. If we reconceptualize from “reciprocity” into “wholeness praxis” perspective in which embodies both contemporary western knowledge and eastern wisdom tradition, social enterprises with divergent orientations would be understood deeply. As Li & Lin observed that wholeness praxis surrounds and holds within possibilities [54] , Senge et al. differentiate problems from possibilities by “sense of human purpose.” [55] They clarify that if our primary role is to fix problems, individually or collectively, rather than to create something meaningful, it’s hard to maintain a sense of purpose. Accordingly, if people belonging to an organization lack a sense of human purpose, it is difficult to harness the energy, passion, commitment, and perseverance needed to thrive in challenging times.

If leaders of ROs are engaged in cultivating synergetic thinking for encompassing possibilities, they, as well as all stakeholders, will undertake both divergent and convergent dialogues on infinite mastery of problems and possibilities for awakening a collective consciousness of shared wholeness, ultimately enhancing convergent infinite practice of wholeness for nurturing a more sustainable world. As more and more people come to realize William James’ famous quote, “we are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep,” the wholeness nature of diverse cultures and values will be more deeply appreciated. Hubbard also emphasizes that new economic, social, educational, environmental, and political systems naturally emerge out of the wholeness consciousness [56] . Below (Table 2) we would represent the complex goals of reciprocity organizations at the four levels of wholeness-praxis, namely involutionary, evolutionary, revolutionary and genevolutionary transformation.

According to Li & Lin [54] , involutionary transformation focuses on observable problems, quick and short- term solutions, cost-effective investment; and consensus reached through superficial participation. Leaders of

Table 2. Complex-goal of reciprocity organizations with wholeness praxis.

ROs of this level would frame reciprocity with fair means, they would reasonably attain economic-political goals. Comparatively, evolutionary transformation is undertaken in view that competing forces between problems and possibilities, and the co-existing, unending cycle of problems and solutions, organizations tend to take the evolutionary approach to transform problems despite its incremental effect. Hence, leaders of ROs at this level would also frame reciprocity with social justice, they would significantly resolve conflicts among economic-political and social-cultural Goals.

Organizational leaders oriented toward revolutionary transformation are those who are adept in envisioning the wholeness of two seemingly contrasting and conflicting driving forces. They might not be willing to be confined within the problem realm, and tend to determinedly enact any change with quantum effect. They are the adventurers of revolutionary transformation in an organization. Therefore, leader of ROs at this level would envision reciprocity with open will and heart, they would envision possibilities arising from spiritual-ethical goal aiming at dissolving conflicts among economic-political and social-cultural goals. Genevolutionary transformation could arise from human’s collective consciousness, inner growth and holistic wellbeing of an organization. When organizations come to grip with the quantum effect of energy flow and the synchronicity of deep, positive consciousness, they would enter the holo-volutionary transformation stage. Leaders of ROs at this ultimate stage would enact reciprocity with eco-self & collective intelligence. They would incredibly enable ROs to realize environmental-ecological goals through enacting opportunities inherent in problems and conflicts among multiple complex goals.

All of the four levels of ROs require new perspectives of learning at the collective level, be they communal or organizational.

4. Neo-Fifth Discipline for Social Entrepreneurs of Reciprocity Organization

4.1. The Fifth-Discipline and Neo-Fifth Discipline for Organizational Transformation

A “learning organization” is continuously expanding its capacity to create the future. Since the book “The fifth discipline: the art & practice of the learning organization” was published in 1990, its field practice was widely spread and utilized from PO, to GO and NGO. The “five disciplines” proposed by Peter Senge in 1990, as the core competencies for organizational learning include systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning [57] . Systems thinking focus on seeing oneness of fundamental solutions and side effects. The commitment by an individual to the process of learning is known as personal mastery for self- realization. The assumptions held by individuals and organizations are called mental models, which are to be transformed through consciousness evolution with authentic openness. The integration of individual vision to the whole organization is shared vision. The accumulation of individual learning within organization constitutes team learning. Learning organization is characterized as 1) deep learning and co-learning from single-loop to double-loop learning and 2) presencing transformation in the letter-U path [55] [58] .

In the past 2 decades, the idea of a learning organization has been applied to enhance collective learning in many countries. However, “generative learning” for enhancing collaboration across organizations among PO, GO and NPO has yet been paid much attention. There are two reasons in support of this argument. First, learning organizations focus on dealing with organizations’ systems problems instead of innovative or emerging opportunities. Secondly, “structural conflicts” are not to be resolved in many learning organizations. Indeed, learning organizations do not pursue “both/and” thinking by virtue of complexity science, and are thus confined in “either/or” thinking in systems dynamics.

Since reciprocity organizations as depicted above aim at enacting opportunities inherent in problems and conflicts among multiple complex goals in this chaotic era, the authors propose that reciprocity organizations need not only five disciplines of organizational learning, but also a more holistic approach to tackling global dynamics across organizations among four sectors. We frame it as the neo-fifth discipline.

Why is it necessary to propose the neo-fifth discipline? The five neo-disciplines are not merely revision of the five disciplines. They are specifically designed for the emerging praxis-communities, such as numerous green communities and social enterprise with various orientations of reciprocity. They are also realistically designed to be integrated with organizational culture, organizational leadership, organizational structure, organizational strategy and organizational generative systems. The neo-learning organization emphasizes transformative learning with double-loop co-learning and unlearning with wholeness spirit and praxis.

The five neo-disciplines for cross-organizational learning include 1) cultivating wholeness leadership for collective transformation; 2) crystalizing ecology of mind for collective consciousness evolution in shared wholeness; 3) enacting global vision with familial, social and ecological ethics for glocal reciprocity; 4) generative networking across praxis communities (justice alliance with praxis wisdom) and 5) complex systems thinking for envisioning possibilities inherent in problems. All of them are intended to nurture cross-organizational learning on the base of wholeness-praxis paradigm [54] . It is expected that its field practice would extend from RO (Reciprocity Organization) to NGO, PO and GO. Below the Table 3 indicates the comparison of the fifth discipline and neo-fifth discipline.

In comparison, the “fifth discipline” enhances collaboration across divisions within the single organization, but the “neo-fifth discipline” nurtures collaboration across organizations among PO, GO, NPO and RO. In addition, the learning organizations might resolve problems in the traditional approach, while the neo-learning organizations deal with problems with emerging possibilities, which are in resonance with the spirit of social entrepreneurship.

4.2. Constructing a Model of Neo-Fifth Discipline for Reciprocity Organizations

Reciprocity organizations are the kind of social enterprises which place much emphasis on collaborative networking and generative learning across organizations. They take a more holistic and synergetic approach to shaping their organizational goals, and therefore view economic-political, social-cultural, spiritual-ethical and environmental-global as integral in nature.

Like most POs, GOs and NPOs, there are various types of ROs with divergent orientations. As shown in Figure 2, the first category of ROs (RO1) regards reciprocity as means and aims at economic-democratic goal for personal interest. The second category of ROs (RO2) undertakes reciprocity with social justice and resolves conflicts among social-cultural goal for collective interest. The third category of ROs (RO3) internalizes reciprocity with open will and envisions possibilities from spiritual-ethical goal for conflicts dissolving and self- transcending interest. The fourth category of ROs (RO4) practices reciprocity with eco-self and enacts environmental-global goal for creating opportunities and universal interest.

In reality, within each category of ROs, though they predominantly led toward certain direction, there are always members of ROs with mindsets of other orientations. More important, the shared wholeness spirit embodied in human nature and revealed from human’s social behaviors plays the critical role in interconnecting the generative praxis communities within and across those different ROs, which is like the multidimensional implicate order [59] , the sea of energy in Wilber’s AQAL model [60] or the infinite social reality in Ritzer’s Integration Model [61] .

Before explaining the practice of the neo-fifth discipline across organization, the authors would briefly describe the practice of a learning organization. According to Senge (1990, 1994), the fifth discipline should be practiced at the following five dimensions [57] [62] .

Table 3. Comparison of fifth discipline and neo-fifth discipline.

Figure 2. Wholeness praxis of cross-organizational learning for ROs.

1) Personal mastery encompasses “clarifying personal vision,” and “holding creative tension,” simultaneously focusing on the vision and current reality, and allowing the tension between the two to generate energy toward achieving the vision.

3) The practice of shared vision involves the skills of unearthing shared “pictures of the future” that fosters genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance. In mastering this discipline, leaders learn the counter productiveness of trying to dictate a vision, no matter how heartfelt it is.

4) The discipline of team learning starts with “dialogue,” the capacity of member of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine process of “thinking together.” The discipline of dialogue also involves learning how to recognize the patterns of interaction in teams that undermine learning. The patterns of defensiveness are often deeply engrained in how a team operates. If unrecognized, they might undermine learning. If recognized and surfaced creatively, they can actually accelerate learning.

5) Systems thinking entails as using the “systems archetypes” in order to perceive underlying structures in complex situations.

As to the neo-fifth discipline developed by the authors, they include the essence of the fifth discipline, and incorporate new embodiments.

1) The first neo-discipline for cultivating wholeness leadership for collective transformation could be practiced through: seeing from part to whole, moving from self to eco-self, unleashing domination to support and shared autonomy in decentralization.

2) The second neo-discipline is to crystalize ecology of mind for collective consciousness evolution in shared wholeness. Four strategies could be applied, such as rebuilding personal relationship, redesigning knowledge networks, co-creating wholeness communities and co-building eco-health homes.

3) The third neo-discipline for enacting global vision with familial, social and ecological ethics for glocal reciprocity includes evolution of ecological civilization, mission of wholeness paradigm, building evolutionary learning laboratories and strategies of blue or green oceans.

4) The fourth neo-discipline for generative networking includes engaging in self-organized learning, facilitating collective deep dialogues, harnessing emergence of wisdom ba and building an RO lab across divergent social enterprises.

5) The fifth neo-discipline is to foster complex systems thinking for envisioning possibilities inherent in problems. Its practice relies on enacting scenarios for holographic thinking in complex actions, complex systems thinking with high leverage actions, glocal thinking with synchronistic actions and wholeness sharing with experiential gaming.

In the past 3 years, the authors have applied them in numerous collective deep dialogues across green communities, nonprofit organizations and social enterprises. The neo-fifth discipline they propose would enable more social entrepreneurs to transform social enterprises into reciprocity organizations so as to foster human’s global shared vision of a new economy with social justice, public good and universal greatness (Table 4).

Table 4. Neo-fifth discipline for ROs’ cross-organizational learning.

As shown in Figure 3, RO1, RO2, RO3 and RO4 represent mainly four categories of reciprocity organizations. Due to their different orientations of organizational goals, they are inclined to pursue various organizational responsibilities. While RO1 practices neo-fifth discipline in order to manage problems and resolving conflict dilemmas, RO2 applies neo-fifth discipline for envisioning possibilities and enacting opportunities. As RO3 undertakes neo-fifth discipline for opportunities envisioning & conflicts dissolving, RO4 engage in neo-fifth discipline both for opportunities enacting & synergetic collaboration.

Figure 3. Neo-fifth discipline of cross-organizational learning for ROs.

It is expected that the implementation of the neo-fifth discipline would enable more ROs to co-create possibilities and opportunities, and proactively resolve and dissolve emerging complicated problems. The authors contend that through cross-organizational deep dialogue and collective action, social entrepreneurs and ROs which practice neo-fifth discipline would share global vision and restructure positive ecology of minds so as to form generative communities with wholeness leadership and complex systems thinking. Building community networks is indeed an essential task for social enterprises’ growth and evolving toward reciprocity organizations. Ashoka, Aspen Institute, Schwab, Skoll Foundations and Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) are all great examples.

5. Conclusion: Reciprocity Organizations Leading the Global Citizens toward a Just and Ethical Society

In this paper, the authors clarify that social enterprisers might not break through the structural conflicts and institutional contradictions simply by social entrepreneurship. It is not plausible to hold social goal as the final criteria for evaluating social impact of social enterprises. The authors suggest that social entrepreneurs cultivate reciprocity with wholeness-praxis spirit in order to enrich their capacities to dissolve conflicts and to fulfill the multiple responsibilities when pursuing multiple goals. They also construct a model with neo-fifth discipline for social enterprisers to build collaborative platforms and generative networks across RO1, RO2, RO3 and RO4. While practicing the neo-fifth discipline, social entrepreneurs and leaders of ROs need to take into account cultivation of reciprocity in wholeness-praxis. If more and more citizens learn to practice the neo-fifth discipline and become social entrepreneurs with reciprocity in various fields, ROs would become the mainstream of the fourth sector to transcend global tension and environmental crisis. The authors would like to extend Harvard Professor Michael Sandel’s two questions rose in his last lecture on “Philosophy of justice-a journey in moral reasoning”. “Is it necessary to reason about the good life in order to decide what rights people have and what is just? And if so, how is it possible to argue about the nature of the good life? They believe that if social entrepreneurs and leaders of ROs could engage themselves in “The Neo-Fifth Discipline” and cultivate the fellow citizens’ wholeness-reciprocity for being change makers, then truly just societies with global ethics would emerge with the growing of social enterprises.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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