Your Invitation to Write for E-Organisations and People

Your Invitation to Write for E-Organisations and People

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Your invitation to write for e-Organisations and People

Vol 24, No 2, Summer 2017

Provisional theme:‘Reciprocity in Organisational Life’


Reciprocity involves mutuality, interaction and exchange. Ideas about reciprocity have influenced the fields of biology, mathematics, electrical engineering, psychology, political philosophy, and anthropology. Repeated observations by a developmental psychologist of babies with their carers (Brazelton, T. et al, 1974; Douglas 2007) challenged the idea that infants were merely passive recipients of adult attention. He believed that from our earliest days we are active participants in our interactions with others and proposed that we typically engage in a ‘dance of reciprocity’ that involves stages of initiation, orientation, acceleration, a peak of excitement, deceleration and withdrawal or turning away.

This dance metaphor can help us make sense of interactions between individuals and groups of adults in organisations and communities, as well as in families. At our OST (open source thinking) Gathering in Tostat in 2016, we found that it supported us to choreograph how we wanted to be and what we wanted to do during our time together. Of course, we cannot always be in perfect step with each other: there are often stumbles, misunderstandings, and breaks in the rhythm of our relationships. But these ruptures are valuable too. Through them we learn that disrupted relationships can be repaired and we learn skills to do this. Reciprocity may have its shadow side too. There is always the potential for mutuality to slide into exclusion, favouritism and self-referential thinking, which is the antithesis of the spirit of open source praxis that has been explored in this journal.

The Summer 2017 of AMED’s quarterly online journal, Organisations and Peoplewill take reciprocity in organisational life as its theme. You are warmly invited to send usa brief proposal of no more than a couple of paragraphs and a provisional title for an original article that critically and creatively examines the value of reciprocity to organisational and community life, drawing upon your own personal and professional research, insights and experiences.

What might you address?

To help prime your thinking, some issues you might consider include:

  • How relevant is the notion of reciprocity to organisational life today and tomorrow?
  • How might Brexit, and the seeming epidemic of populisms, nationalisms, terrorisms, inter-state aggressions and voluntary and involuntary migrations, affect our resources, abilities and willingness to reciprocate?
  • Under what conditions might reciprocity best flourish?
  • How can we as private citizens and practitioners help to nurture reciprocity within our social networks and communities of practice, on behalf of our clients,orfor the benefit of society at large?
  • What can we do when reciprocal relationships become rupturedor seem inappropriate, or to address the shadow side of reciprocity?

Our publication timetable

  • Wb 1 February: Expressions of interest to our guest editor, Anna Fairtlough .
  • 15th April: First drafts to guest editor (earlier if possible).
  • 1 June: Summer 2017e-O&P is published online.

About e-Organisations & People (e-O&P)

e-O&P is AMED’s quarterly online journal, published in pdf format. For 25 years, e-O&Phas been connecting the worlds of work, theory, ideas, innovation and practice by making new knowledge and original thinking available to developers, facilitators and their clients through clear and persuasive writing.Our readers and authors are both practitioners and academics who are curious about life in organisations and about how we might affect that life and each other for the better. Articles are normally between 1,500 - 3,000 words, written in an engaging and lively style that will be of interest to all our stakeholders. We encourage the use of headings, images, diagrams and live hyperlinks. Following acceptance of your expression of interest, we will send you a copy of e-O&P’s Guide to Contributors. Editions of e-O&P are often associated with a lively highly interactive pre- or post-publication f2f Gathering.

About our guest editor

Anna Fairtlough is a registered social worker with over thirty years’ experience of social work practice, management and education. Her research and publications are in the fields of professional leadership and organisational development, equalities and social work, and work with parents in different contexts. As a practitioner, front line manager and trainer she has developed policy, practice and training in the areas of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, supervision and practice education. Anna has wide experience of developing and teaching on qualifying and post-qualifying social work programmes. She is interested in exploring how ideas about reciprocity, containment, distributed leadership and open source thinking can be embodied in progressive social work, educational and organisational development practice. Her current book (Fairtlough 2016) addresses the theme of reciprocity, amongst other relevant issues.

What to do next?

Please contact Anna at to discuss your proposal. If it matches the ethos of this edition, we will provide you with author guidelines, and critical friendship when appropriate as you develop your ideas further.


Brazelton, T.B., Koslowski, B., Main, M. (1974) ‘The origins of reciprocity in mother-infant interaction’. in: M. Lewis, L. Rosenblum (Eds.) The Effect of the Infant on Its Caregiver. 1. Wiley, New York; 49–77.

Douglas, H. (2007) Containment and Reciprocity, Integrating Psychoanalytic Theory with Child Development Research for Work with Children. Hove: Routledge

Fairtlough, A. (2016) Professional Leadership for Social Work Practitioners and Educators.Hove: Routledge