Collaborative Loops

Collaborative Loops

For More Information: The Axelrod Group,

To teach people how to create their own change methodology.


  • Collaborative organizational and community change through a series ofwell-designed, strategically placed events
  • People learn how to create their own change methodology
  • People move from thinking they have to do everything themselves to working cooperatively with others

When to Use:

  • The issues require employee engagement for success
  • You have many different change projects going on in your organization
  • To build organizational capacity for change
  • To create partnerships throughout your organization
  • If you want people to take responsibility for a change

When Not to Use:

  • If the results are predetermined
  • If there isn’t support for the people doing the work
  • If you want complete control

Number of Participants:

  • 6 teams of 10 people each is ideal, up to 20 teams possible
  • 100–200 participants in events designed by teams

Types of Participants:
A broad range of internal and external stakeholders

Typical Duration:

  • Workshop planning: 4–6 weeks
  • Length: 2–3 days (workshop), 0.5 day–2 days (events designed during workshop)
  • Follow-up: 3–12 months

Brief Example:
Following the 1999 strike by Boeing engineers, Boeing Commercial Airplane engineering organization (20,000 people) and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the union that represents Boeing’s engineers, addressed post-strike issues using engagement-based Collaborative Loops. Three years later, the same people who went on strike approved a new contract by 80 percent, and employee satisfaction in the engineering organization increased 40 percent.

Historical Context:
Created in 1995 by Dick and Emily Axelrod. Influenced by Von Bertalanffy, Malcolm Knowles, Emery and Trist, Marvin Weisbord, and Sandra Janoff.