The Sustainable Development Goals: The Missing Dimension
In Geneva this April, The Relational Thinking Network hosted its first Round Table Dialogue , focusing on the “missing dimension” in Social Development Goals. You can download Dr. Michael Schluter’s paper below. A report will follow soon on the conference itself.

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What is a relational organisation?

In one sense every organisation is relational, since by definition they are made up of a group of people working together towards common goals.  However, this doesn’t mean that every organisation either aims at or succeeds in increasing the relational wellbeing of the staff, shareholders, clients and other stakeholders. 


A Relational Organisation is one that places the human factor first, recognising that its most worthwhile goal, alongside its functional raison d’etre, is improving the quality of relationships among all its different stakeholders, including the local community. 


Building a relational organisation depends on four factors:

  • Adopting relational goals for the sector in which they operate (e.g. schools delivering relational education, prisons delivering relational justice, hospitals delivering relational healthcare etc.)
  • Structuring the organisation according to relational principles, bringing greater relational proximity among all the stakeholders.
  • Forming partnerships, contractual obligations, and building external relations in a way that is most likely to achieve these relational goals.
  • Ensuring the organisation’s capacity and effectiveness in achieving this by walking the talk – teaching relational skills and adopting relational practices throughout the organisation.


In Relational Research, we are also promoting another kind of relational organisation: one that specifically promotes Relational Thinking™ at both policy and organisational levels, by inspiring and resourcing leaders to make relational goals and practice the distinguishing mark of their company, organisation or nation.