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About this book

This ground-breaking textbook describes change as an on-going phenomenon: not an event that will soon be over but a permanent feature of organizational life. Taking a unique and refreshing approach, the text presents change as a communal process reinforced by multi-perspective stakeholder management with significant impact on individual and social responsibilities. It showcases how change is successfully achieved through relational communication based on conversations, narrations and storytelling. This approach has been extensively tested over many years in university education programmes around the world. Now in its second edition, Managing Organizational Change provides students with an insightful overview of change management that realistically reflects the needs of organizations today to respond to, include and empower their employees.
Written by an experienced instructor and researcher, this textbook is ideal for undergraduate and postgraduate students of change management and for those aspiring to become managers and consultants.

Table of Contents

1. Defining Change

Abstract
Change constantly presents us with new and exciting challenges. Many of these challenges require a high degree of people responsiveness, a push for product and service innovation and readiness for a rapid and effective shifting of resources with the aim of staying ahead of changing circumstances. The chapter begins by describing how change is often forced on an organization by a variety of external and internal forces affecting the organization itself. The nature of change is then explored, with an emphasis on change being understood as an ongoing ‘condition’, rather than an isolated event. The chapter also reviews the issues of the type and pace of change. These aspects of change are essential to planning and evaluating the change initiative to be pursued. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is reported to have said: ‘You cannot step into the same river twice.’ To which his student is reported to have responded: ‘Not even once, since there is no same river.’ In making his observation, the ancient (pre-Socratic) philosopher was emphasizing that change is an ongoing process, and his student’s response underlined this notion by emphasizing ‘changing’, rather than mere ‘change’.
Muayyad Jabri

2. Constructing Change

Abstract
This chapter describes the main features of social construction applied to change management. The world scene today is dominated by a drive for social representation and a growing recognition of the fact that the task of changing, in itself, belongs to no one and that change needs to be driven by communication. Ford and Ford (1995: 542) noted that change as an organizational phenomenon ‘occurs and is driven by communication rather than the reverse’. Change communication is, therefore, about social co-construction and multiple points of view. Ford and Ford (1995) believed that communication is, in fact, the medium within which change occurs. We start by defining social construction and its role in constituting the realities of change. Under the social construction model, communication is an act – a sort of a deed, or an achievement. It involves a realization achieved through ongoing talk and conversation. Every round of interaction could lead to some new co-construction. Cunliffe (2004: 410) notes: ‘This reality-constituting process is ongoing … it emerges in the spontaneous, taken-for granted, nonverbal/verbal, subjective, un/conscious ways in which we respond, react, and negotiate meaning with others.’ If conversation is the basis for creating change, then it has to be two-way conversation, not a communication sent down one way. Having defined the notion of social construction, we then consider the pivotal role that conversations play in co-constructing the realities of change.
Muayyad Jabri

3. Understanding the Role of the Change Agent

Abstract
Effective change does not happen spontaneously. Effective change requires a change programme that is coordinated by a change agent (or a change team) that is responsible for planning and sustaining the change effort. The objective of this chapter is to explore the role of such a change agent/team and examine the skills required for success in this role. The chapter begins by comparing the relative merits of internal agency and external agency. The chapter then moves on to discuss relational agency. Standard treatments of agency concentrate on the characteristics of individual change agents as opposed to the relationships between change agents and organizational members. This approach leaves the nexus between the individual and the social largely unexplored, and fails to give a proper account of how change requires the involvement of people at all levels of the organization. An important objective of this chapter is to show how relational (collective) agency contributes to successful change management. The term ‘agency’ basically refers to the activities of a person (or group of persons) that are directed towards getting something accomplished. In terms of leading and/ or managing change, the term ‘agency’ (or ‘change agency’) therefore refers to the activities by which change is accomplished.
Muayyad Jabri

4. Constructing Change Through Narrative and Storytelling

Abstract
This chapter discusses the characteristics of narrative and its importance in change management. In brief, there are three important reasons for studying narrative in the workplace: 1. People habitually talk about change in narrative form; in doing so, they attribute meaning to events as they seek to make sense of change in their workplace. 2. The narrative conversations between those affected by change provide insights into why some people resist change. 3. Narrative essentially conceives change as a process of ‘becoming’; that is, all storytelling is naturally associated with a view of change as something that unfolds in time. Taken together, these three characteristics suggest that narrative and storytelling are intimately concerned with the social construction of change. Narrative permeates every aspect of human life. As Hardy (1968: 5) has observed: ‘We dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticize, construct, gossip, learn, hate and love in narrative.’ We communicate through narratives (Boje, 1995; Gabriel, 1991).
Muayyad Jabri

5. Constructing Change Through the Field Concept

Abstract
Forces affecting organizations rarely unfold in predictable and manageable ways. It is, therefore, difficult to plan for change without having some idea about the forces that push and those that hinder change. This chapter presents an overview of the work of Kurt Lewin (1951), with an emphasis on force-field analysis and action research. Both topics are rooted in Lewin’s (1951) theorizing of the field concept applied to change management. Force-field analysis involves people working individually or collectively to engage in problem-solving in an effort to understand the magnitude and direction of forces – both positive and negative. We will emphasize that force-field analysis could be used as a springboard that sets the group for a working process by which individuals at more than one level are enabled to share their views of the promoting and resisting forces. Action research involves treating theory and problems as inseparable elements in exploring a change situation. The process is iterative, having the aim of resolving the problem as well as the development of new concepts. In so doing, ‘research on action can and will become research in action’ (Snyder, 2009: 239, emphasis added).
Muayyad Jabri

6. Creating Readiness and the Notion of Sensemaking

Abstract
This chapter focuses on readiness, and on how to create a compelling case for change. In the first section we explore the processes by which readiness for change is created. Creating readiness and helping people to make sense of continuous change is also about communication. In the second section, we discuss Weick’s notion of sensemaking. This is an important notion for it helps us to understand the formation of identities achieved through social construction, as well as ways of organizing change when breakdowns or disruptive situations occur without warning. As you might recall from Chapter 1, we emphasized that at the heart of Weick et al.’s (2005) notion of ‘changing’ is that all things flow in a continuous process of organizing. The question is, how can we keep up the flow and continuity of a steady state in the face of a sudden disruption? In order to answer this question, we will introduce Weick’s original story of the Mann Gulch fire disaster, through which the ideas of improvisation and building readiness for dropping one’s own tools (dropping routines, dismantling dominant modes of decision-making, dropping habitual practices, revising outdated procedures, and intervening in the prevailing norms) emerge as imperatives for the organization to cope and be able to move on with continuous change.
Muayyad Jabri

7. The Problem-Centric Model of Diagnosing Change

Abstract
Diagnosis is a central activity in managing change. This chapter begins by discussing the main principles associated with conducting a diagnosis. It then identifies two different orientations in diagnosing change. The first is the ‘problem-centric’ model, which is based on a conscious effort to identify the symptoms and causes of the presenting issues, such as how to enhance communication and/or how to reduce levels of formalization. The problem-centric model of diagnosing change is based on a clear-cut emphasis on the search for symptoms. It has always been popular and many change agents and external consultants still use it. The problem-centric model leads to easily definable and measurable outcomes. Success is visible when that action or intervention is complete. The second is the ‘dialogic’ model, which is based on creating occasions for dialogue in an attempt to capitalize and build on what has already been achieved. In line with this model, symptoms are viewed as having multiple causes, some of which are not fully evident from the outset. We diagnose but we also do our best not to assign or put the blame on any cause; thus, our emphasis is on seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. To that extent, it requires bringing positive storying of success to the fore and getting everyone involved to listen to each other’s stories in order to identify the changes needed for moving forward. The values that underlie each of these orientations will also be discussed.
Muayyad Jabri

8. The Dialogic Model of Diagnosing Change

Abstract
In Chapter 7, the focus was on the problem-centric model of diagnosis. We noted that the problem-centric model is based on a conscious effort to identify symptoms and causes. It takes into account the relevance of the open system perspective as a starting point for the conduct of diagnosis. A problem-centric model aims to resolve a specific problem, is based on data-gathering, and is guided by the premise that there is one reality, and that this reality is that of an organization as an open system. In this chapter, we present another model of conducting diagnosis, one that is inspired by dialogue and the role of appreciative inquiry (AI) (Cooperrider and Srivastva, 1987). Importantly, AI does not adhere to the key assumption associated with the problem- centric model of diagnosis. AI overcomes the centrality of symptoms and problems by approaching diagnosis on the basis of social construction and the involvement of individuals in the conduct of the diagnostic effort. It moves away from being the ‘fixer’ to being an ‘architect’. Hence, it often requires a shift in one’s willingness to see change from a completely different angle. In Chapter 7, we started by contrasting the problem-centric with the dialogic model. We used the everyday question ‘Is the glass half-full or half-empty?’ to draw a contrast between the two models and to indicate that a particular change situation could be a cause for optimism (glass half-full) or pessimism (glass halfempty).
Muayyad Jabri

9. Modes of Intervening

Abstract
Chapters 7 and 8 contrasted problem-centric modes with appreciative-centric modes of conducting diagnosis. In Chapter 7, we made the point that a problemcentric mode of diagnosis is largely characterized by pursuit of objectivist modes of organizational development. Under a problem-centric mode, diagnosis is generally viewed as a distinct stage preceding intervention. In Chapter 8, we shifted the emphasis from a problem-centric to a dialogic mode. A dialogic mode is largely characterized by pursuit of social construction and a reliance on affirmation and positively focused interventions. We made the point that, under this mode, both diagnosis and intervention are treated as overlapping each other – by diagnosing, we are essentially intervening. This chapter extends the arguments in Chapters 7 and 8 by examining some of the important premises needed for understanding modes of intervention, intervention styles and how we decide on the level of intervention to be pursued as we embark on the journey of change. The definition of intervention draws on its Latin root, venire, meaning ‘to come in between’ the organization and the situation in an attempt to gain insight into the problem at hand. Midgley (2008: 56) defines intervention as ‘purposeful action by an agent to create change’.
Muayyad Jabri

10. Understanding and Managing Organizational Resistance

Abstract
Why is there resistance to change in organizations? Resistance occurs when people witness a period in which the organizational values, lessons and experiences of the past no longer provide a reliable guide to the work profile of the future. Resistance also occurs because change threatens established job and social relations. A perceived threat to job security, loss of seemingly useful expertise, shifts in influence, and changes in customs increase fear and reduce the happiness and wellbeing of the organization’s members. Some of the fears may be real; others may be imagined. Change cannot successfully occur if the workforce does not adopt and accept the changes. Consider how many reports of industrial action you see on TV or read in the papers. It is just not good enough to explain what will change and how it will change, the important factor is why it will change. This chapter discusses resistance as a central concept in managing change. It attempts to play down the notion that members of an organization are at fault every time they resist. There are always some potentially positive intentions that persuade organization members to resist. Capitalizing on such intentions provides opportunities for raising useful issues. This can be achieved by fostering dialogue and providing opportunities for people to talk about the way they see change.
Muayyad Jabri

11. Communicating Change

Abstract
This chapter explores change communication under conditions of ‘changing’ as a continuous process. It starts by discussing communication models applied to managing change, explores the notion of consensus, and builds on Weick’s notion of ‘organizing’ and the notion advanced here, namely that of ‘communicating’. Unlike communication based on the transmission of messages between a speaker and a listener, the notion advanced in this chapter is that of communication as a social constructionist activity driven by recurrent and responsive interactions between an addressor and an addressee. Communication is generally defined as the process by which information is exchanged and understood by two or more people. Much of the emphasis on the role of communication in managing continuous change is instigated by an everincreasing number of environmental and technological advances occurring in the world of business (Doyle et al., 2000; Marques, 2008). Although we speak of ‘changing’ and ‘communicating’ as if they are separate, managing change is closely intertwined with change communication. The emphasis on ‘change communication’ begs a fundamental question.
Muayyad Jabri

12. Making Sense of Organizational Identity

Abstract
This chapter explores the notion of organizational identity under conditions of ‘changing’ as a continuous process. We generally use the term ‘organizational identity’ to refer to ‘who we are’ as an organization and what it stands for in terms of attributes or distinguishing features that differentiate one organization from another. We also use the notion of individual identity, ‘who I am’, to explore how the individual identity of an organization member overlaps with that of organizational identity. We will also explore changing organizational identity and the fact that there might well be more than one organizational identity operating at any one time; and how organization members make sense of their own identity in view of their organizational identity. First, we will present a brief literature review of organizational identity. This is followed by an exploration of the lack of accord between individual and organizational identities. The final section explores the connections between empowerment and identity. In their introduction to the special forum on organizational identity, Albert et al. (2000: 13) explain why organizational identity, identification and empowerment are becoming critically important. They note that ‘as the environment becomes ever more dynamic and complex, organizations become ever more organic.
Muayyad Jabri
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