Sara Nora RossDr. Ross is an independent researcher, scholar, and practitioner who has specialized in analyzing complex issues and researching related problem-solving and decision-making processes for over 20 years. She is the founder and president of ARINA, Inc., a global nonprofit organization that publishes the journal Integral Review and has a mission to develop individual and collective capacities to address complex issues. Dr. Ross recognizes that whether associated initially with social, political, economic, or environmental concerns, multi-layered complex issues from local to global scales share the common quality of being disputes over ways of relating. When analyzed through an integral lens, these disputes involve numerous perspectives on ways of relating to resources and influence, rights and duties, and the benefits and impacts of actions past, present, and future. To facilitate integral, developmental approaches to unpack and address such complexity in disputes, and in the cultures and systems that support them, she developed The Integral Process for Working on Complex Issues (TIP). TIP has been used by conflict specialists in Sweden in teaching mediators and organizational consultants as well as in research and practice in international pilot communities.

Dr. Ross has been teaching, training, and mentoring adults in a wide range of long and short term programs since the mid 1980s, including community leadership, personal and spiritual development and ministry, complex issues work in communities, TIP methods, Kettering Foundation action research, and domestic and international consulting. In earlier years, she was a licensed Certified Public Accountant, with a specialty in management advisory services. She has editorial responsibilities in several refereed journals, has published on a variety of subjects related to adult and political development, and is an associate author of the book Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership.

Areas of Interest

  • Fostering natural development in complexity of reasoning, perspective taking, and meaning making while, and by, addressing disputes over ways of relating
  • Depolarizing disputes via multiple perspectives-based framing
  • Deliberative decision making and its nonlinear developmental dynamics
  • Individual and collective action inquiry, reflection, and evaluation
  • Integral theory, analyses, and processes
  • Developmental theory and its applications to micro, meso, and macro processes

Additional Education and Training

  • Advanced Training Institute in Nonlinear Methods for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association, 2007
  • National Faculty Training, Kettering Foundation Public Policy Institutes, 1997-1998
  • Public Policy Institutes: Purdue University, 1993, 1994; University of Kentucky, 1997
  • Athenaeum of Ohio, Pastoral Ministry, 1991
  • Spiritual Direction Internship, Milford Spiritual Center, 1990
  • Spiritual Companionship Internship, Milford Spiritual Center, 1989

Research Interests

  • Developing the explication of new art, science, and purpose for deliberative decision making to address the systemic nature of complex issues and disputes that comprise them
  • Measuring IQ test items for their hierarchical complexity, with Dr. Michael Commons
  • With the presently-informal assistance of scientists in mathematical and nonlinear psychology, in the early stages of developing the formal theoretical explication and measure of the fractal dynamics of development transition processes, including further data collection.

Past research includes:

  • Youth, stress, and substance abuse
  • Community politics
  • Individual and collective hope and motivation to address complex issues
  • Developmental approaches to democratization and corruption