Reshaping Change: A Processual Perspective

Reshaping Change: A Processual Perspective

Reshaping Change: A Processual Perspective

Reshaping Change: A Processual Perspective

Synopsis

This book sets out to examine and explore change as a process and not as a one-off event. It analyzes change in context, and features case studies based on in-depth data research, interviews and extensive fieldwork by the author. There are chapters on Pirelli Cables, General Motors, as well as Shell Expro and Britax Industries.

Excerpt

It is an accepted tenet of modern life that change is constant, of greater magnitude and far less predictable than ever before. For this reason, managing change is acknowledged as being one of the most important and difficult issues facing organizations today. This is why both practitioners and academics, in ever-growing numbers, are seeking to understand organizational change. This is why the range of competing theories and advice has never been greater or more puzzling.

Over the past 100 years there have been many theories and prescriptions put forward for understanding and managing change. Arguably, the first person to attempt to offer a systematic approach to changing organizations was the originator of Scientific Management - Frederick Taylor. From the 1930s onwards, the Human Relations school attacked Taylor’s one-dimensional view of human nature and his over-emphasis on individuals. In a parallel and connected development in the 1940s, Kurt Lewin created perhaps the most influential approach to managing change. His planned approach to change, encapsulated in his three-step model, became the inspiration for a generation of researchers and practitioners, mainly - though not exclusively - in the USA. Throughout the 1950s, Lewin’s work was expanded beyond his focus on small groups and conflict resolution to create the Organization Development (OD) movement. From the 1960s to the early 1980s, OD established itself as the dominant Western approach to organizational change.

However, by the early 1980s more and more Western organizations found themselves having to change rapidly and dramatically, and sometimes brutally, in the face of the might of corporate Japan. In such circumstances, many judged the consensus-based and incrementally-focussed OD approach as having little to offer. Instead a plethora of approaches began to emerge that, whilst not easy to classify, could best . . .

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