Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review By Prof.M.S.Rao – “Change Management – A Guide to Effective Implementation” Authored by Robert A. Paton and James McCalman

“The first law of the jungle is that the most adaptable species are always the most successful. In the struggle for survival, the winners are those who are most sensitive to important changes in their environment and quickest to reshape their behaviour to meet each new environmental challenge.” - John Cotter, in his book ‘The 20% Solution (1995)’

I have read the book titled “Change Management – A Guide to Effective Implementation” authored by Robert A. Paton and James McCalman (Publishers - Response Books- Sage Publications) It has several takeaways that are beneficial to change agents, change practitioners, senior leaders and students. The authors roll out ten key factors in effective change management. They are:

1. Change is all-pervasive.
2. Effective change needs active senior management support.
3. Change is a multi-disciplinary activity.
4. Change is about people, pure and simple. Change management is about people management. When managing change, you manage people. Remember the basics such as openness, communication and involvement.
5. Change is about success.
6. Change is a perpetual process.
7. Effective change requires competent change agents.
8. In terms of methodology, there is no one best way.
9. Change is about ownership.
10. Change is about fun, challenge, and opportunity.

What Do Authors Say?

We shall look at what the authors say along with several relevant references the book contains.

Change is challenging. Changes can either make you or mar you. If you take change positively you can excel as a better manager and leader and you can stand out from the pack.

Force field analysis is a positioning tool that assists the management of change by examining and evaluating, in a basic yet useful manner, the forces for and against the change.

The change agents have to ask the following questions:
1. What is causing the problem?
2. Why do I want to enter into this relationship?
3. Who is likely to be affected by change in this client system, and how are they likely to react?
4. What can I do to help this organization change?
5. Who should I be at certain points in time?
6. How do I get constant change in this organization?

According to Kanter (1983) effective organizations, or at least the masters of change within them, are adept at handling, ‘the triggers of change’, namely:
• Departures from tradition.
• The crisis of a galvanizing event
• Strategic choice
• Prime movers
• Action vehicles

Peters and Waterman (1982) and Kanter (1983; 1989) would suggest that there are common culturally related attributes associated with organizations recognized as being masters of change. The attributes may be presented as follows:

1. A clear and communicated strategic vision
2. Visible senior management involvement
3. People-based competitive edge
4. Marketing ethos
5. Consensus-driven management
6. Awareness and reflection of social responsibility

Follow the guidelines when communicating the change events:
• Customize the message
• Set the appropriate tone
• Build in feedback
• Set the example
• Ensure penetration

The effective change agent must be capable of orchestrating events; socializing within the network of stakeholders; and managing the communication process.

Warner Burke (1994: 72) identifies seven phases which the organization experiences during a typical OD change process. These are described below with appropriate examples from our own experience.
• Phase 1: Entry
• Phase 2: Formalizing the contract
• Phase 3: Information gathering and analysis
• Phase 4: Feedback
• Phase 5: Planning the change process
• Phase 6: Implementing the changes
• Phase 7: Assessment

According to Margulies and Raia, the effective change agent takes on a number of roles:
• To help the organization define the problem by asking for definition of what it is
• To help the organization examine what causes the problem and diagnose how this can be overcome.
• To assist in getting the organization to offer alternative solutions
• To provide direction in the implementation of alternative solutions
• To transmit the learning process that allows the client to deal with change on an ongoing basis in the future.

Margulies and Raia (1972) note that there are three attributes that the individual needs to enable them to take on a consulting role in the area of organization development. They are: the change agent must have a particular personality. Secondly, the change agent requires both analytical and diagnostic skills. Thirdly, the change agent needs to have client-related experience.


The authors refer the four ‘golden rules’ (Lippit, 1959) that the change agent has to observe:

Rule 1: the nature of the relationship.
Rule 2: to action an organization development process within any organization, the change agent has to help solve a current or potential problem.
Rule 3: the relationship is a temporary one and the change agent and the organization must accept the temporary nature of the assistance being provided.
Rule 4: the change agent must be an outside who is not part of the hierarchical power system in which the client organization is located.

Authors provide stages of ‘Intervention Strategy Model(ISM)’ such as
1. Problem/systems specification and description
2. Formulation of success criteria
3. Identification of performance measures
4. Generation of options or solutions
5. Selection of appropriate evaluation techniques
6. Option evaluation
7. Development of implementation strategies.
8. Consolidation.

Authors compare organization as the structure of a spider’s web. They say, “The spider builds a complex structure which, if the imagination is stretched, may be regarded as its organization. The structure is organized in such a manner that it provides a collective strength that may be brought to bear against intruders, be they a potential lunch or an aggressive predator. An organization is built on a foundation of systems which, just like those of the spider, have a common primary role of some description and may respond in a like manner when faced by an intruder, or indeed change.”

Authors eulogize Peter Senge who has been described as the ‘intellectual and spiritual champion’ of the learning organization by Fortune magazine and his philosophy is based on a humanist view of organizational change: that business should pay more attention to the conditions that motivate people to do great things for themselves and for their companies.

Senge’s work has led to the development of the five disciplines, which he describes as artistic rather than traditional management disciplines, aimed at enhancing an organization’s creative capability.

• Personal mastery (1990b:139-73: This is the ability to clarify what one most desires in life and work and to apply the principles and values most important to achieving those goals.
• Mental models (1990b: 174-204): These are the assumptions that shape one’s view of the world, developed from past experience, and feed the judgments and perceptions that influence what one hears and says and how one reacts to others.
• Building a shared vision (1990b: 205-32): Senge argues that whether a vision is created by an entire company or a team of two is not important. The key factor is that it is created collectively because the collective capability to realize the vision is more powerful than that of a single individual.
• Team learning (1990b: 233-72): This is based on the acceptance that people who work well together can learn more and accomplish more than is possible individually.
• Systems thinking (1990b: 6-7): This refers to a conceptual framework that defines a system as a set of interrelated parts. The key is to understand how all the parts connect and interrelate.

“Our organizations work the way they work, ultimately, because of how we think and how we interact. Only by changing how we think can we change deeply embedded policies and practices. Only by changing how we interact can be shared visions, shared understandings and new capabilities for co-ordinated action be established.” - (Senge, 1990b)


“We are not creatures of circumstances, we are the creators of circumstance” – Disraeli

The book unveils practical and step-by-step means of handling change. It is widely researched. It provides several activities that help the readers to think and come out with their solutions. It contains several case studies that are beneficial to practicing managers, change agents and students. It outlines several models that suit various scenarios. Overall, the book is worth reading and there are meaningful takeaways for the readers.

1 comment:

RizqySultanAlfaroby said...

communicated strategic vision is not easy, Managemet must be selective about that, Communication Between employee and a top manager with an open, honest and continuous communication, sometime just only one stage only, so employees not aware about the future vision of the desired company