The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here October 2018

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked: Part 1, Part 2
Downside | Summary

What We Liked, Part 1

In her Introduction and up front, author Barbara Davis makes the point that:[8]

"The reality is that people want to feel as though they have some modicum of control over what happens to them and how they work. Naturally, change that is well managed is going to have a more positive impact on morale than change that is not."

And on the inevitable inertia:[9]

"By employing the right techniques in the correct order, inertia can be used to help motivate people to change when the perception of success with those changes is high."

She goes on to say:[10]

"This is why the underlying barriers to change as well as the process of change are so critical for practitioners to now and understand."

And notes that:[11]

"Change management uses specific communication tools to reach broad audiences and address the issues and feelings of uncertainty that could sabotage any project."

Barbara explains that:[12]

"Four basic strategies that are often employed in change management include: normative, coercive, adaptive, and rational. The normative strategy seeks to reeducate, the coercive strategy utilizes the balance of power, the adaptive strategy proposes that people will gradually adapt to the new circumstances, and the rational strategy appeals to self-interest. However, these strategies are geared to meet various behavioral styles of employees[13] and do not necessarily consider the other factors of change such as the process utilized or the communication activities[14] leveraged."

"Remember, change management strategies are designed to mitigate the impact of change on both the individual employee and the corporate environment. ... The language and image — or the overall look and feel of both the announcement and the foundation of the corporate change itself, whether it is a deployment, new policies, or a merger — should already be consistent with the existing culture."[15]

Even though any organizational change is, or should be, a project, Barbara identifies the leader as a "Change Agent"[16] and describes five types of participants with whom that change agent has to deal. These groups fall into the categories of the Nonparticipant, the Heckler, the Hijacker, the Kamikaze, and finally probably the most important group, the Active Participant. We enjoyed these descriptions and recognize the owners of all of them.[17]

Book Structure  Book Structure

8. Ibid, p2.
9. Ibid, p3
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid, p4
12. Ibid.
13. In other words, the prevailing culture of the workforce generally.
14. Always assuming that the organization has an active and effective communication structure in the first place. As we have argued elsewhere, some organizations do not give effective communication a high priority.
15. Ibid, p6-7. That's assuming that the existing culture is a healthy one. If not, presumably a prior project is required to fix that problem first.
16. Ibid, p10
17. Ibid, pp11-15
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