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Yves Plourde

The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential lists approximately 12,000 world problems. These problems are complex and difficult to tackle because finding adequate solutions to them requires systemic transformation at the international level. In this chapter, the author discuss some fundamental difficulties that organizations committed to serving as agents of change in the creation of environmentally and socially sustainable world futures – known as global change organizations – face when they seek to bring about global change. Adopting a sense- making perspective, the author examines three specific challenges related to organizing for global change: making sense of the problem to be tackled; developing a coherent action plan to deal with it; and organizing people and resources to ensure that interventions are effective. These challenges are illustrated through three episodes in the history of Greenpeace, an organization whose mission is to bring about global change. Through these episodes, the author argues for the need to examine how global change organizations can improve their ability to identify and make sense of global problems, how they can determine the best action plan for addressing them, and how they can structure their activities more effectively to bring about systemic transformations of international practices and institutions. The author concludes the chapter by outlining a research agenda for the topic of organizing for global change.