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Frederick Steier, Ph.D. - Fielding Graduate University. Temple Terrace, FL, US

Frederick Steier, Ph.D.

Doctoral Faculty - School of Leadership Studies | Fielding Graduate University

Temple Terrace, FL, UNITED STATES

Cybernetics researcher



Frederick Steier, Ph.D. Publication Frederick Steier, Ph.D. Publication Frederick Steier, Ph.D. Publication Frederick Steier, Ph.D. Publication Frederick Steier, Ph.D. Publication



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Frederick Steier, Ph.D, is Professor in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, and Emeritus at the University of South Florida, where he had also served as Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Programs. His work focuses on systemic approaches to social/ecological systems, with attention to learning and whole systems design. He has directed participatory action research programs in a wide variety of settings, ranging from government institutions, including NASA, to science centers, such as the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), in Tampa, Florida, where he was also a Scientist-in-Residence. He is the editor of the volumes, Gregory Bateson: Essays for an ecology of ideas (2005), and Research and Reflexivity (1991), and is a Past-President of the American Society for Cybernetics. He has also been on the faculty of Old Dominion University (where he was also Director of the Center for Cybernetic Studies in Complex Systems), the University of Oslo (Norway) and the University of Pennsylvania. He has also had the honor of being King Olav V Fellow with the American-Scandinavian Foundation, and recently (2019) received the Norbert Wiener award for lifetime achievement from the American Society for Cybernetics.

Dr. Steier received his doctorate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in Social Systems Sciences, in 1983.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (4)


Constructionist Research Methodologies

Relationships Between Information Technologies, Organizational and Inter-Organizational Communication

Work Teams and Communication Processes

Accomplishments (3)

Norbert Wiener Award, Society for Cybernetics


Carl Riggs Scientist in Residence, Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

2005 - 2014

American Scandinavian Foundation, King Olav V Fellow, University of Oslo, Norway

1985 - 1986

Education (3)

University of Pennsylvania: Ph.D.,, Social Systems Sciences 1983

University of Delaware: M.S., Statistics 1971

University of Delaware: B.A., Mathematics 1969

Affiliations (2)

  • American Society for Cybernetics (President, 1989-91)
  • International Communication Association; International Society for Systems Sciences

Sample Talks (5)

Living a Cybernetic Life

(2019) Invited talk. Given as recipient of Norbert Wiener award for lifetime achievement, American Society for Cybernetics annual conference. Held at University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

A Binocular Vision for Design Process for Whole Systems Design Crossing Boundaries

(2018) Presentation, with Flavio Mesquita da Silva and Travis Thompson. RSD-7 (Relating Systems Thinking to Design) Conference, Held at Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy.

Generating New Futures through Collaborative Support Networks

(2019) Paper presentation, with Laurence Habib, Flavio Mesquita da Silva and Sergej van Middendorp. Anticipation 2019 conference, Oslo, Norway.

Collaborative Support Networks as Generative of New Futures: Use of the World Café and Dialogic Methods to foster inclusion, awareness and sustainability

(2019) Curated /Dialogic session, with Laurence Habib, Flavio Mesquita da Silva and Sergej van Middendorp. Anticipation 2019 conference, Oslo, Norway. This session was a participatory session that built on the paper session listed above.

An Ecology of Health

(2017) Invited panelist and participant. Meeting arranged by the Ecology of Health Program and International Bateson Institute. Bromley by Bow Centre, London, England.

Research Grants (9)

Developing Learning Opportunities in the Online Classroom (with implications and lessons learned for the traditional classroom)

USF Innovative Teaching Opportunities (iTOPP) program 

(2009) Grant funded participation in Social Media Collaboratory Stanford University Media X Summer Institute at Wallenberg Hall, Palo Alto, California.

Exploring the role of neighborhood associations in the Development of Social Capital

University of South Florida Collaborative for Children, Families and Communities 


Systems issues in the design of a computermediated 'Lessons Learned Network' in a university setting

Old Dominion University Faculty grant 


Developing communities as complex adaptive systems

niversity of South Florida Graduate School Sustainable Healthy Communities Initiative $125,000

(2007-09) $125,000 for two years. This project involves collaborative research with several community agencies, as well as a graduate teaching component involving a seminar and practicum.

Organizational dialogue and the implementation of a Lessons Learned Information System

NASA Langley Research Center $36,775

(1994-1995) April, 1994- January, 1995, Master Contract NAS 1-19858, Task55.

Re-engineering the university for interdisciplinarity through Learning Communities

Proposed through U. of South Florida re-engineering team grants. Funded through the Provost's office $50,000


Communication and systems issues in the development of a lessons learned program

NASA Langley Research Center $25,000

(1993-94) July, 1993 - April, 1994, Master Contract NAS 1-19858, Task 29.

Survey of Lessons Learned Program

Lessons Learned Programs, at Kennedy Space Center $1.200


Survey of Lessons Learned Program

NASA, Langley Research Center (Master contract NAS1-18584) $10,000

Project is to determine what features would make a system of a NASA wide Lessons Learned computer-based program usable (and to encourage its use) in order to develop a program of continuous and sustained experiential and "shared" knowledge.

Courses (4)

Selected Fielding Ph.D. Dissertations Chaired

Sandy Jianhui Zhang: The Co-Evolution Process between Workgroups and Designed Organizational Change in the Context of Chinese Culture (Fielding Graduate University, 2020) Alberto DiBiasi. The Interplay of Talent and Discipline: A Study of the Experience of Elite Italian Football Players (Fielding Graduate University, 2020) Richard LeBoon. How Leaders Interpret their Business Challenge Through a Generative Metaphor Framing Process: A Conceptual Study (Fielding Graduate University, 2020) Mary Ann Parrish. Adolescent Girl Friendships and Resilience (Fielding Graduate University, 2020) Kathy Adelman. Conditions and Factors Influencing Nonprofit Board Engagement: A Qualitative Study of a Board of Directors (Fielding Graduate University, 2019) Flavio Mesquita da Silva. Generation of Peace Dialogues: How the World Cafe Approach to Community Understanding Led to Cultures of Peace (Fielding Graduate University, 2017) Gayla Napier. Beyond Community: Understanding the Experience of Communitas Among Information Technology Road Warriors (Fielding Graduate University, 2016) Sergej van Middendorp. Embodying Metaphors in Systems (Fielding Graduate University, 2016) Alice MacGillivray. Perceptions and Uses of Boundaries by Respected Leaders: A Transdisciplinary Inquiry (Fielding Graduate University, 2009)

Action Research and Design Thinking: Enabling Communities through Enacting Change

(2016-17) Invited faculty member at the University College (now Oslo Metropolitan University) International Summer School, Oslo Norway, teaching with Jane Jorgenson.

Researcher in residence at the Overheating Project

(2013-14) Housed in the Dept. of Social and Cultural Anthropology, at the University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Associate, Taos Institute


Articles (32)


Humberto Maturana: Reflections on Bringing Forth Worlds


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Cybernetic invitations: Metalogues as invitations to learning relationships

Cybernetics and Human Knowing

(2020) 27(4), 39-42.


Mary Catherine Bateson: Compositions in Living Cybernetics


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Towards an ecosystemic flexibility

Transdyscyplinarne Studia o Kulturze (i) Edukacji (Transdisciplinary Studies of Culture in Education)

(2017) 12, 52-63.

Dancing with Cybernetics (On Bridges in the Wind)

Cybernetics and Human Knowing

(2016) 23(1), 50-58.

The World Café in action research settings

The SAGE Handbook of Action Research III

Sage Publications

(2015) (pp. 211-219)

Systemic design of an idea zone at a science center

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design 2015 Symposium

Systemic Design Research Network


Learning Conversations: Inviting community partnership in a science center

ASTC Dimensions

(2014) 24-27

World Café process transforms science center community into co-designers

Communication Currents

(2014) 9(4)

Communication process in the design of an Idea Zone at a science center

Journal of Applied Communication Research

(2014) 42(2), 208-226.

Frames, framing and designed conversational processes: Lessons from the World Café

Journal of Applied Behavioral Science

(2014) 49 (3), 388-405.

Museums as third places: Designing for complex webs of interaction

CHI 2013: Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems


Entertaining, performing, persuading: Figures of speech to prepare for health and safety

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

(2013) 6(1).

Gregory Bateson gets a mobile phone

Mobile Media and Communication

(2013) 1(1), 160-165.

Boundaries within the flow: Workspaces, environments, identities

Spaces and Flows, An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

(2012) 2(3), 71-83.

World Cafe: Förderung der Teilhabekultur (The World Cafe: Fostering cultures of participation)

Politische Beteiligung: Einführung in dialogorientierte Instrumente politischer und gesellschaftlicher Partizipation.Wiesbaden


A choreography of cybernetics and performativity

Framemakers: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change


Conversation as a core process: Creating a culture of dialogue

The world café: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter


Ethics and aesthetics of observing frames

Cybernetics and Human Knowing


Taking Cybernetics seriously at a science center: Reflection-in-interaction and second order organizational learning

Cybernetics and Human Knowing

(2000) 7(2-3), 47-69

A relational framework for professional communication in international organizations

.), Exploring the Rhetoric of International Professional Communication: An Agenda for Teachers and Researchers

(1999) (pp. 157-169).

From records to relationships: Courting organizational dialogue at NASA

Cybernetics and Human Knowing

(1997) 4, 51-58.

From universing to conversing: An ecological constructionist approach to learning and multiple description

Constructivism in Education

(1996) (pp. 117-142).

The cybernetics of cybernetics and the organization of organization

Organization Communication: Emerging Perspectives, Volume III

(1996) (pp. 117-142).

From universing to conversing: An ecological constructionist approach to learning and multiple description

Constructivism in Education


Reflexivity, interpersonal communication, and interpersonal communication research

Social Approaches to Interpersonal Communication


Social cybernetic and constructionist issues in intercultural communication

Teoria Sociologica

(1994) 3, 63-77. (Also translated in same journal: Questioni di cibernetica sociale e construzionismo nella comunicazione interculturale, 287-297).

Issues in constructing a second order cybernetic methodology in culture

Communication Faculty Publications

(1991) Communication Faculty Publications. Paper 481.

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Toward a radical and ecological constructivist approach to family communication

Journal of Applied Communication Research

(1989) Communication research is produced by and understood through processes of communication. The communication processes by which communication research is produced are researchable processes involving researcher(s) as observers constructing a world.

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"Om å reise til et sted for første gang og se det som der du kom fra: Refleksjoner om krysskulturelle refleksjoner"

Gjennom Speilet og Tilbake (Through the Mirror and Back)

(1988) Title Translation: (On going to a place for a first time and seeing it as where you are coming from: Reflections on cross-cultural reflections)

Organizations and second order cybernetics

Journal of Strategic and Systemic Therapies

(1985) 4, 53-65.

Toward a cybernetic methodology of family therapy research: Fitting therapy research to therapy methods

Integrating Research and Clinical Practice