The Dynamics of Change: Insights into Organisational Transition from the Natural World

The Dynamics of Change: Insights into Organisational Transition from the Natural World

The Dynamics of Change: Insights into Organisational Transition from the Natural World

The Dynamics of Change: Insights into Organisational Transition from the Natural World

Synopsis

The Dynamics of Change is a groundbreaking work that gives a fascinating insight into the nature of change and transition. It considers which principles govern change, what structural features and processes define it and whether there are any forces which drive and shape change. It examines a variety of change phenomena in the natural and physical world, and how they apply to our understanding of change within organizations.

Excerpt

Soon after the triumphs of leading the people of Israel safely through the Red Sea and out of the clutches of Pharaoh, Moses finds himself called to me summit of Mount Sinai to meet with God. The Israelites were about to embark on an incredible journey that would take them over fifty years to reach the Promised Land. During that time they would learn how to live and survive as a vast community: a moving city of tents and humanity. So long was the road ahead that many would go from the womb to the grave before reaching their destination. Therefore, God wanted to introduce a set of rules and laws that would not only help provide some order and continuity in their nomadic life, but also institute a moral and spiritual code by which they should live. Leaving aside their clear spiritual connotations for a moment, these laws were to provide a fixed, immutable reference point offering some stability and continuity for what was going to be a constantly changing life style.

Moses was duly summoned up the mountain to hear the laws imparted— among them the Ten Commandments. Shortly after the great patriarch vanishes from sight up the mountain, the people become impatient and tired of waiting for the words of wisdom and guidance that he will bring on his return. Life must move on they reason. A focus must be found to balance the uncertainties of their wandering existence. So they turn to their temporary leader—Aaron—and insist that he make them a god to worship and sacrifice to. The old man has been gone too long, they argue. Their restless hearts seek some icon of order and structured activity in the midst of a change-filled life—with its inherent ambiguity and uncertain future.

Aaron eventually relents to their incessant cries. The Bible manuscripts record that Moses returns after forty days to a people feasting and rejoicing under the shadow of their new god—a statue of a large golden calf.

I would suggest dial this salutary tale is an interesting parable through which to portray progress in the field of change management. Today’s managers and business leaders are in great need of some guiding principles and words of wisdom from the academic community in their quest to tame and understand change.

Responses vary. For some, what has emerged from the research literature is perceived as inaccessible—wrapped in the mists of obscurity and jargon. For

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