Søren Willert has more than 30 years of experience, including training experience, in the fields of organisational development, management development and process consulting – often in the context of the ongoing reform and modernization of the civil sector (decentralisation, local autonomy, budgetary reductions etc.). Willert’s professional activities have included all aspects of team building and training; supervision directed towards all levels of organisational hierarchy; development planning; task and goal analysis; evaluation; conflict resolution; all kinds of process monitoring and facilitation. Methodological orientation has been dialogical, aimed at enhancing the problem solving capacities of the client. A broad range of client systems have been served, mainly in the social sector, but also within education, public service, and private enterprises. During the major part of his career, Willert’s work setting has been academic (University of Aarhus; University of Aalborg) meaning that his professional activities have often been organised as action research. Willert is broadly qualified within the areas of teaching (ranging from lecturing at university level to experiential learning and the running of professional training workshops) and research (typically of a qualitative methodological orientation, often using participatory designs); counselling and psychotherapy; refugee relief work (UNHCR, Burundi); development of academic institutions (Denmark, Bhutan). Willert has been engaged in a broad range of international consulting activities. Today Mr. Willert carries the title of Professor Emeritus. He is attached to the consultancy group AGORA – Social Production.
Søren Willert’s career as an evaluation consultant started in the 80s, during a period when Denmark endeavored to modernize the social sector through practitioner-led experimentation. Requested by the Ministry of Social Affairs he co-authored a Handbook for Social Experimenters, including discussions of the vital role of evaluation as a tool for making the said political strategy succeed. Together with a colleague Associate Professor at Dept. of Psychology, Aarhus University, he founded a unit called Research for Change (sub-title: System Development through System Evaluation; 1986-2005) specializing, not only in conducting formative evaluation work for external partners but also in training psychology students to take on the evaluator role. Below a small selection of Willert’s publications (titles translated) from this professional field.
Willert, S. (1986). Research partner in a social experiment: Functions and possibilities. Nordisk Psykologi, 38 (2).
Willert, S. (1987). Project Family Workshop: An evaluation report. Aarhus: Aarhus Municipality.
Willert, S. (2002) The parts and the whole at Himmelbjerggården <treatment institution for socially handicapped children> – an institutional mosaic. In: Himmelbjerggården – Udvikling af Pædagogik og Institution. Ry: Himmelbjerggården.
Willert, S. (2011) Formative evaluation as value adding practice. In: Laursen, E. og Stegeager, N. Organisationer i bevægelse. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur.
Damsgaard, E. & Willert, S. (2012) Systemic evaluation. Chapter 20 in: Molly-Søholm, T., Stegeager, N. & Willert, S. (red.) Systemisk Ledelse – Teori og praksis. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur.
Stegeager, N. & Willert, S. (2012) Action research as organization development. In: Duus, G. et al. (red.) Aktionsforskning – en grundbog. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur.