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.
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