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ICA’s Organizational Wisdom

An Introduction to the Organizational Wisdom of ICA Principles, Values, and Perspectives

This handbook is a reference for those who seek to know more about ICA, its special character, and

practical ways that it might continue as a leading organization in fostering social change around the world.


Clickable chart of ICA organizational wisdom:

This chart serves as the handbook’s outline and represents an attempt to answer three questions: What is ICA’s “uniqueness?” What are the essential qualities that account for ICA being ICA rather than the “institute of something else?” How might the characteristics that distinguish ICA from other nonprofit organizations be most easily conveyed to new staff members, volunteers, potential board members, and other interested parties?


The handbook is organized in four broad categories. The first highlights “what ICA is.”, focusing on ICA’s purpose and aims. The second is “what ICA thinks”, describing core intellectual insights and convictions of the organization since its inception. The third discusses “what ICA does”, sharing basic principles that guide the strategic intention and creation of ICA programs. The fourth looks at “how ICA works”, describing important dimensions of ICA’s organizational culture.


The chart consists of 16 major points. While much could be written about each one, the descriptions for each of the 16 points have been limited to a 1-page 500-word summary for each of the 16 pages. In support of each of the 16 points, a list of selected references is offered so that interested readers, if they are so inclined, may pursue deeper investigation of the theme. The items listed include articles, speeches, books, and videos.

This project began as a part of ICA’s 50th Anniversary in 2012 and drafts have been shared with many ICA “veteran” colleagues. This document does not formally represent, unless otherwise approved, any Statutory Member of ICA-International. All members of the ICA community, however, are cordially invited to use it as they see fit as long as attribution is given to the original work and any subsequent changes are shared.