Call for Authors for IOA’s First Book

By Dr. Shannon Lynn Burton and Dr. Loraleigh Keashly

We are currently seeking authors for select chapters for the upcoming book: "The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & its Future."

Organizational ombuds first appeared in North America in the 1960s as an offshoot of classical ombuds practices rooted in Northern Europe. While there have been many publications that address organizational ombuds practice in the form of articles and journals (Journal for the International Ombudsman Association & The Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds), as well as publications that serve as legal guides to practice (Howard, 2010 & 2022), there has yet to be a comprehensive handbook that addresses the interdisciplinary and nuanced history, theory and practices found within the field.

This handbook provides a holistic look at the work of organizational ombuds, including its historical roots, theoretical approaches in the field, sectors in which it is practiced, its organization and delivery, as well as the future of the field. Those outside of organizational ombuds often relegate it to an alternative dispute resolution function. However, it is, in fact, much more diverse a practice that stretches organizational structures, communications, human development, systemic problems and concerns, as well as conflict resolution. To comprehend the whole of organizational ombuds practice, both researchers and practitioners must have a solid footing as to what constitutes the field. This handbook hopes to provide just that. This handbook will also seek to foster inclusivity, equity, multiculturalism, and internationality in its discussions of history, theory, and practice. Final chapters should be between 5,000 – 7,000 words.

Please see the outline of available proposed chapters below. 

If interested in writing a chapter, please include the following documents in your application:

  • Letter of Interest – with specific emphasis on experience related to organizational ombuds research and/or practice. Please let the editor know what chapter(s) you are interested in writing and explain your rationale for writing, including a statement of vision or detailed outline for the chapter(s). Please also indicate if you would be willing to work with a co-author.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Writing Sample (if possible) Application Deadline: January 15, 2023 Applications as well as questions should be submitted via email to: Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D.Editor (517) 353-8830, [email protected] 

Use of Theory for the Organizational Ombuds – Part I (Interpersonal Dynamics): This chapter should deal with theory as it informs organizational ombuds practice as it relates to interpersonal dynamics. It will grapple with the issues of theory including, but not limited to, conflict theory, communications theory, and psych-social/developmental theory. It should also look at other theoretical approaches that could further inform the work of ombuds. 

Use of Theory for the Organizational Ombuds – Part II (Systems and Organizations): This chapter should deal with theory as it informs organizational ombuds practice from a systems/organizational level. It will grapple with the issues of theory including, but not limited to, systems theory and organizational design. It should also look at other theoretical approaches that could further inform the work of ombuds. 

Ethical Considerations for Organizational Ombuds Practice: This chapter concerns the creation and establishment of ethical codes for organizational ombuds practice, as well as grapples with some of the more difficult ethical decisions that face ombuds practitioners.  This chapter could include illustrative scenarios, specifically addressing the ethical principles of confidentiality, neutrality, independence, and informality, including their historical evolution.  It should also address the considerations/debate centered on adherence to these standards. 

Legal Issues for Organizational Ombuds Practice: This chapter reviews the essential legal issues and trends that Organizational ombuds and their organizations should be cognizant of in their daily work. It will also expand upon the legal rights of visitors in this space and provide key recommendations for protecting the ombuds office. 

Academic Organizational Ombuds: The organizational ombuds first appeared on college and university campuses in the United States in the late 1960s.  This chapter will expand upon that history and incorporate this history and experiences of K-12 educational ombuds and the professional research associations. Included in this chapter will also be discussions related to specific concerns related to this sector: Title IX, working with families/parents, and others.  Additionally, it will look at the unique structures/models of ombuds in these spaces. It should also include an ombuds perspective vignette or two from this sector to illustrate its nuance. 

Governmental Organizational Ombuds: Many organizational ombuds can be found in the governmental sector. This chapter will examine organizational ombuds at the federal, state, and local levels and highlight concerns/issues specific to this space (including the role of political affiliation). Additionally, it will look at the unique structures/models of ombuds in these spaces internationally. It should also include an ombuds perspective vignette or two from this sector to illustrate its nuance. 

Corporate Organizational Ombuds: Corporate organizational ombuds developed in the 1980s to address concerns found in the workplace. This chapter will look at the role of the ombuds in corporate settings worldwide in a wide range of industries focusing on the skills needed by corporate ombuds and their unique structures (manufacturing, technology, etc.). It should also include an ombuds perspective vignette or two from this sector to illustrate its nuance. 

Emerging Sectors in Ombuds Practice: Historically, the ombuds field has discussed four sectors where work takes place: academic, corporate, governmental and international. In recent years, organizational ombuds have begun to expand into new arenas as organizations have come to see their value and importance in addressing conflict. Some of these sectors include healthcare, faith-based organization, and professional associations.  This chapter will explore the emergence of these unique sectors and provide an outline for considerations as other sectors emerge in our current era. 

Mission, Goals and Objectives for Organizational Ombuds Program:  This chapter should underscore the relationship between the culture/history of the organization and the goals/objectives of the Organizational ombuds program. It should outline how the organizational culture impacts the extent to which ombuds can operate according to the Standards of Practice and how the ombuds office can advocate for their Code of Ethics. 

Models of Organizational Ombuds Practice: This chapter reviews the structure of ombuds offices within their organizations. Structure includes placement of the office within the organization, including reporting lines, whether the ombuds is internal or external to the organization, staffing (full-time/part-time, volunteer/paid, solo practitioner/multiple practitioner, collateral roles, etc.) charters, and constituents served. 

Collaboration and Partnerships for Organizational Ombuds Consideration: Organizational ombuds rely on relationships built and trust within the organization to address concerns brought forward by their visitors. Many times, ombuds work requires collaborating and building partnerships with other offices. This chapter highlights some of the key relationships (administration/executives/leadership, attorneys, unions, and others) and how an ombuds engage with these partners while abiding by their Standards of Practice. It should also provide a framework for ombuds consideration when looking to engage in committee work, invited presentations, etc. 

One to One Practices in Organizational Ombuds Practice: One aspect of the work done by Organizational ombuds focuses on skill building with individual visitors. These practices may span from conflict coaching to building agency, and at the most basic level, listening to this visitor. This chapter centers on the types of individual skills that should be considered by Organizational ombuds and their impact on the office and visitors. 

Ombudsing Virtually: The years 2020, 2021 and 2022 offered a new landscape for Organizational ombuds in that many offices were required to operate virtually. This chapter outlines the issues and considerations for ombuds operating virtually, a well as the tools utilized to facilitate ombuds practices. 

Model Programs in Organizational Ombuds Training: This chapter outlines exemplary training programs including mentoring, formal programs, individual coaching, and other skill-building options for Organizational ombuds. It should make the case that successful training efforts result from understanding the organization, establishing a definition of ombuds practice, and identifying the training needs of individual ombuds. Assuring

Organizational Ombuds Program & Individual Effectiveness: Understanding program effectiveness contributes to protecting the ombuds office and providing the essential resource to constituents. This chapter should describe the major components of qualitative and quantitative assessment of ombuds programs, including the uses of process evaluation and the valuation of outcomes as mechanisms for assessing the impact of the ombuds program. While assessing program effectiveness is vital to the work, so is that of assessing individual ombuds. This chapter should also outline the essential elements of evaluating individual ombuds, including both formative and summative assessment. 

Meeting the Needs of Tomorrow’s Organizational Ombuds’ Visitors: This chapter will take a broad view of the organization of tomorrow and how Organizational ombuds might prepare for tomorrow’s visitors. This chapter should include conversations related to the impact of current social movements, social media and other current events/trends that might impact ombuds practice. 

Anticipating Changes in Organizational Ombuds Practice: Not only will organizations and visitors change, but so too might Organizational ombuds practice. This chapter will highlight future change in ombuds practice and how practitioners can implement specific actions now to ensure that it will still be viable and relevant in a new age. This chapter should include conversations related to resources, restructuring, budget cuts, and technology.

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