Managing Change/Changing Managers

Managing Change/Changing Managers

Managing Change/Changing Managers

Managing Change/Changing Managers


Primarily a guide for managers and post-graduates entering the territory of the Management of Change, this book offers a thorough and challenging review of the subject, and brings together material from popular management texts to address the theory and practical implications raised by these themes.


In nearly twenty years of management consultancy work in the UK and abroad, I have experienced the management of change in different initiatives in over 300 companies. In 1993 I embarked on an MSc in Human Resource Management and discovered that theory can appear to conflict with assumptions born of previous consultancy practice. Sometimes the academics teaching us found the older, experienced learners in the class less inclined to accept the prescriptions offered by the textbooks. We in our turn had to learn that, in order to contribute to learning, it is necessary first to listen to the general debate contained within a literature before attempting to make a contribution through research and dissertation.

Many textbooks approach their subject by addressing the theoretical principles underlying each topic before offering empirical evidence or case study to illustrate and develop the critical points being made in the text. A different approach seemed appropriate for experienced students and postgraduates. As a management trainer, it had always been my experience that subjects raised with managers benefit from reflection and active discussion of practice encountered and then addressing the implications for underpinning theory. The problem for a book attempting to replicate this approach lies in the difficulty of simulating such reflectiveness in the written text.

Most managers probably read popular management books, broadsheet newspapers or professional journals on the subject of managing change at work. The articles are usually current, topical and well written. However, they can sometimes leave more critical questions either unanswered or only briefly addressed. Besides journalistic contributions there is a range of books which includes what David Collins refers to as guru/hero manager texts together with more closely argued academic works and scholarly monographs.

The layout of each chapter has therefore been planned to enable the reader coming back into study or embarking on postgraduate study to read each chapter in a discursive way. The first section includes popular readings and poses questions arising from the approach taken by the contribution. The critical points arising then lead on to a second section in which the theory underpinning the topic is examined in greater detail together with accounts from practitioners. A third section includes examination questions and offers an opportunity to consider possible structured answers. Finally, a fourth section contains references drawn on throughout the chapter and attempts to include a representative selection of the different books and journals that might offer a point of departure for further study.

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