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A meta model of change


Mike Young
Royal Navy and Henley Management College, Portsmouth, UK

524

Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present a model of change which is both academically
rigorous and practitioner-friendly.
Design/methodology/approach A theoretical meta-analysis is conducted by clustering themes
from across a broad range of change-related literature including: learning; personal, social, situational
and emergent change; helping, systems thinking, process improvement and leadership.
Findings Common themes emerge across all the change-related literature, which suggests the
existence of a common underlying change progression.
Research limitations/implications Whilst the literature covered is extensive, it is not
comprehensive. The intention is to draw attention to the kinds of variables that need to be
conceptualised, observed or enacted when change is studied or implemented.
Practical implications The meta-model has already proved a useful guide to implementing
change and is presented here to stimulate scholarly debate among those studying it.
Originality/value The benefit of considering such a broad range of change-related fields is that
each brings a different perspective to the stages of the common underlying journey. As a consequence,
the meta-model offers both a lens, to provide focus on the stages in this common change progression,
and a prism, to reveal the full spectrum of applicable concepts and activities.
Keywords Change management, Leadership, Process planning
Paper type General review

Journal of Organizational Change


Management
Vol. 22 No. 5, 2009
pp. 524-548
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0953-4814
DOI 10.1108/09534810910983488

Introduction
In the conclusion to their meta-analysis of 52 evaluations of planned organisational
change interventions Robertson et al. (1992, p. 205) highlighted the very real
requirement for the development of change process theory which would also serve as
a useful guide for more efficacious implementation of planned organisational change.
The need for such a guide appears all the more compelling given the frequent assertion
that up to seventy percent of planned change initiatives fail (Beer and Nohria, 2000;
Higgs and Rowlands, 2005; Wheatley, 2006).
Unfortunately, the change literature itself may often form a barrier to broader
appreciation of the key factors which have a significant impact upon change. Weick and
Quinn (1999, p. 364) note that the sheer sprawl of change literature is a continuing
challenge to those who seek simplicity, or at least clarity, and as a result few
practitioners and management theorists understand (Lichtenstein, 2000) or manage to
follow (Doyle et al., 2000) the basic principles surrounding the change process.
Attempts to impose some order on the literature often take the form of typologies
which compare and contrast change based upon: size and speed (Dunphy and Stace,
1988; Nadler and Tushman, 1990); nature of event sequence (van de Ven and Poole,
1995); continuity (Romanelli and Tushman, 1994; Weick and Quinn, 1999); and degree
of complexity and uniformity (Higgs and Rowlands, 2005). However, by their very
nature, these typologies seek differentiation and so the common themes which might
guide the successful implementation of change are not always apparent. Perhaps, this
explains why there may be over a million articles related to change and development

(van de Ven and Poole, 1995) and yet the commonsense or basic factors are often
overlooked when change is implemented or emerges within organisations (Doyle et al.,
2000; Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996).
Method
The traditional scientific philosophy and method of inquiry may actually contribute to
the shortcomings identified above. Since Plato a philosophic dualism has existed
between mind and matter, knowing and doing. Descartes not only brought this to
completion (Russell, 1996, p. 519) but also anchored the scientific way of thinking in
reductionism (Descartes, 1968, p. 41). As a result when the traditional scientific method
of inquiry is extended through positivism (Comte, 1908; Durkheim, 1938) to the study
of social life, know that tends to be valued over know how and the object of inquiry
is often only an aspect of a more complex phenomenon. It is unsurprising therefore, as
noted above, that much of the academic literature on change is of little assistance to
those attempting its implementation.
This seeming ineffectiveness of the academic literature to inform practice has
resulted in a rift between theorists and change agents (Lichtenstein, 1997).
Unsurprisingly, therefore, Huff (2000) notes the decline in support within the
business community for the purely academic Mode 1 knowledge production
(Gibbons et al., 1994) of scientific truths by scientists. Anderson et al. (2001) see this
rift enhanced by Pedantic science studies where the sole criterion of worth is the
evaluation of a small minority of other researchers who specialise in the narrow
field of inquiry. Such research, they observe, is totally devoid of any practitioner
relevance.
By contrast Mode 2, production of knowledge, is driven by practitioner learning
from application. It is validated in use as discovery occurs in contexts where
knowledge is developed for, and put to use, while results which would have
been traditionally characterised as applied fuel further theoretical advances
(Gibbons et al., 1994, p. 9). However, Mode 2 is not without its problems some
methods can be too pragmatic, their practitioners too willing to make do
(Huff, 2000, p. 292). The result can be the generation of popularist science (Anderson
et al., 2001, p. 393) which addresses a relevant theme but fails to do so with any degree
of rigour.
An alternative approach is Mode 1.5 (Huff, 2000) where the issues of importance
arise from practice but academic skills and standards are applied in developing
definitions, comparing literature and data from across organizational settings, and
suggesting generalizable frameworks for further sensemaking. Anderson et al. (2001)
refer to this as scholarly consulting or pragmatic science where both practical
relevance and methodological rigour are high.
The Pragmatic approach to science however is far from new. Over 100 years ago
John Dewey articulated the need for a rigorous and systemic, yet action oriented,
approach to the science of social affairs. He challenged the stimulus response dualism
in psychology declaring that:
[. . .] what is wanted is that sensory stimulus, central connections and motor responses shall
be viewed, not as separate and complete entities in themselves but as divisions of labor,
function factors within the single concrete whole (Dewey, 1896, p. 358).

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The concrete whole was described by Dewey as a coordination. Therefore:


[. . . the] the stimulus is not a thing or existence by itself; it is that phase of a coordination
requiring attention because, by reason of the conflict with the coordination, it is uncertain
how to complete it (Dewey, 1896, p. 368).

Dewey (1910, pp. 68-78) further developed this holistic approach to inquiry through the
analysis of a complete act of thought:
The trained mind is the one that best grasps the degree of observation, forming of ideas,
reasoning, and experimental testing required in any special case, and that profits the most, in
future thinking, by mistakes made in the past. What is important is that the mind should be
sensitive to problems and skilled in methods of attack and solution (Dewey, 1910, p. 78).

This highlights that, for Dewey (1910, p. 213), application is as much an intrinsic
part of genuine reflective inquiry as is alert observation or reasoning itself.
Deweys action-oriented philosophy appears well suited to the complex challenges of
making social changes so it is unsurprising to discover a striking kinship
(Allport, 1948, p. 7) between his approach and that of Kurt Lewin one of those few
men whose work changed fundamentally the course of social science (Cartwright,
1951, p. 159):
The research needed for social practice can best be characterised as research for social
management or social engineering. It is a type of action-research [. . .] Research that produces
nothing but books will not suffice (Lewin, 1946, p. 144).

Sharing Deweys action orientation Lewin (1946, p. 146) proposed that:


[. . .] rational social management therefore proceeds in a spiral of steps each of which is
composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact finding about the result of the action.

Lewin also shares Deweys recognition of the need for a holistic or systemic approach
in studying (Lewin, 1942) or making (Lewin, 1946) social change:
Instead of picking out one or another isolated element within a situation, the importance of
which cannot be judged without consideration of the situation as a whole, field theory finds it
advantageous, as a rule, to start with a characterisation of the situation as a whole
(Lewin, 1942, p. 214).

This paper attempts to adhere to the holistic, action-oriented philosophy of Dewey and
Lewin by analysing the broadest reaches of the change paradigm in order to better
understand its constituent factors and so inform practitioner action and stimulate
scholarly debate. The approach taken is to juxtapose similar theories from different
domains of change and to show how each both reinforces and adds to the others.
Meta-analysis
Since, Glass (1976) first coined the term meta-analysis to mean analysis of analyses it
has provided a potent method to understand what we know and integrate our
information into abstract, general causal and relational form (Willson, 1981, p. 584).
Three premises of theoretical meta-analyses (Gersick, 1991; van de Ven and Poole,
1995) underlie this paper:
(1) that there are important commonalities across a very broad range of
change-related literature;

(2) that we can benefit by comparing theories and research findings from such
disparate areas because different facets of kindred processes may come into
focus as the method, topic and level of analysis vary; and
(3) working out the relationships between such seemingly divergent views
provides opportunities to develop stronger and broader explanations than the
individual perspectives.
However, meta-analysis is not without its potential shortcomings. The quality of the
primary work examined will directly affect any findings of the meta-analysis (AMJ,
2002) as will sampling bias, overemphasis of specific works or any attempt to
combine apples and oranges. (Rosenthal and DiMatteo, 2001) In an attempt to avoid
such problems this paper follows some basic steps (Willson, 1981; Rosenthal and
DiMatteo, 2001; Stanley, 2001; AMJ, 2002) for meta-analysis. From the outset, there is
clarity that the variables of interest are the common factors in diverse accounts of
change. The primary sources examined are collectively as exhaustive as possible,
in terms of the range of perspectives represented, and individually all highly
recognised in their field. Finally, the analysis itself attempts to adhere to the basic
principles of: accuracy, simplicity and clarity.
Mode 1.5 meta-analysis
This paper starts from the premise that there is an important practitioner need for a
simple, yet rigorous, theory to guide those facing the challenge of change. The search
for this change process theory is given academic rigour by the application of the
principles of meta-analysis, discussed above, in order to identify common themes and
so propose a potentially generalizable model for further sensemaking. In effect this is a
Mode 1.5 meta-analysis. If a pure Mode 1 meta-analysis had been conducted the author
would have been constrained to secondary analysis of others quantitative studies of
change. This would have limited the scope of the study and so reduced the likelihood of
producing the clarity and holism needed by practitioners. By contrast a pure Mode 2
meta-analysis of practitioner insights might, especially in a world where every
consultant has a model of change, generate great clarity but the associated rigour
would be at best questionable. Such subjective insights are often little more than
worthless simplicity on this side of the complexity of change. By using Mode 1.5
meta-analysis, this article seeks to find the priceless simplicity on the far side.
Literature
As noted above, this paper is not intended to constitute a comprehensive change literature
review. It is an attempt to provoke ideas about change through the identification and
exploration of common themes in the following areas of change-related literature.
Changing understanding
Learning and change processes are part of each other; change is a learning process
and learning is a change process (Beckhard and Pritchard, 1992, p. 14). One of the
earliest advocates of a sequential approach to learning was Dewey (1896, 1910, 1916,
1927) who stressed that the purpose of learning is only to be found in the solidity,
security and fertility it affords our dealings with the changing future. This forward
leaning approach to learning is shared by Kolbs (1984) experiential learning theory

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and Argyriss (1993) actionable learning. Kuhn (1962) recognised that bodies of
knowledge themselves tend to be changed, not through piecemeal evolution but often
through painful revolutionary reformulation.
Personal change
Throughout the ages cultures have been defined, in part, by the stories they share
about heroes and adventures. Campbell (1949) has suggested the purpose of such
mythology is to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward (Campbell,
1993, p. 11). Of course, for every abstract myth there are myriad real experiences such
as those of Frankl (2004) which lead to the discovery (Allport, 1959) of logotherapy a
meaning-centred approach to psychotherapy. Fritz (1989) builds on the seminal point
of logotherapy, that man can always decide or choose, to develop the concept of
creative personal change through which you can learn to recognise the structures at
play in your life, and change them, so that you can create what you really want to
create (Fritz, 1989, p. 5).
Helping others change
Rogers (2004, p. 27) noted that life at its best, is a flowing, changing process in which
nothing is fixed and his therapy aimed to create a relationship through which the
client could change and grow. Similarly, over eight editions between 1975 and 2007,
The skilled helper (Egan, 2007) has provided a popular problem-management and
opportunity-development framework to help individuals change. Egans work was one
of the precursors (Prochaska et al., 1992, p. 1103) of the transtheoretical model (TTM)
of change (Prochaska and DiClemente, 1982; Prochaska et al., 1992; Prochaska and
Norcross, 2001) which is commonly used in the health arena to help people make
personal changes such as stopping unhealthy behaviours and/or developing healthy
behaviours.
Changing group behaviour
Lewin (1942, 1943/1944, 1946, 1947) made clear the practical task of social management,
as well as the scientific task of understanding the dynamics of group life, require insight
into the desire for and resistance to change. Hendry (1996, p. 624) has suggested:
[. . .] scratch any account of creating and managing change and the idea that change is a
three-stage process which necessarily begins with a process of unfreezing will not be far
below the surface. Indeed it has been said that the whole theory of change is reducible to this
one idea of Kurt Lewins.

Lewins spirit and assumptions are deeply embedded in the work of Schein (1988, 1990,
1995, 2002) who has further developed Lewins three-stage process.
System approaches to organisational change
How are organisations changed? To answer this question we need some way of
thinking about organisations (Nadler, 1982, p. 38). Beckhard and Harris (1977),
Checkland (1981), Lawrence and Lorsch (1967, 1969), Nadler and Tushman (1990) and
Optner (1965) among many adopt a system perspective by viewing organisations as:
the coordination of different activities to carry out planned transactions with the
environment (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1969); a mechanism for transforming needs and
raw materials into services and products (Beckhard and Harris, 1977); or for taking

input and turning it into patterns of performance or output (Nadler and Tushman,
1990). Such a process-orientated conceptualisation of organisations allows for an
equally systemic approach to planning change therein.
Organisational change through process improvement
When Michael Hammer urged organisations dont automate, obliterate (Hammer,
1990, p. 104) he typified the approach which suggests that managers can actively
reengineer organisations. Hammer finishes his call for reengineering in US firms by
highlighting the threat posed by already streamlined Japanese companies who,
decades before, had taken similar process improvement teachings of the American
quality gurus such as Deming (1982) and Juran (1964) to their hearts (Liker, 2004).
Situational factors in organisational change
In times of change, it is vital to be in touch with the assumptions and theories that are
guiding our practice and be able to shape and reshape them for different ends,
otherwise we run the risk of being trapped within existing mindsets (Morgan, 1997).
In common with Morgan (1997), Dunphy and Stace (1993) and Nadler and Tushman
(1990) argue that, in order to execute the appropriate change for a given organisational
situation, contingent, rather than universalistic, approaches are required.
Emergent change
When the implications of localised concrete changes are generalised into more broadly
held concepts emergent change has occurred. (Mintzberg and Waters, 1985). Senge
(1990, 1997) has highlighted that in a world of increasing interdependence and rapid
change it is no longer possible to figure it out from the top whilst Wheatley (2006) goes
further by suggesting that relationships are the basis of existence, and disorder must
be embraced as the source of new order. Within this paradigm philosophies such as
wholeness (Bohm, 1980; Wheatley, 2006) as well as methods such as dialogue (Bohm,
2004) and sensemaking (Weick, 1995) become increasingly relevant in order to deal
with the chaotic demands of emerging team, or group, learning.
Leading major change
Despite the great theoretical debates over the differing interpretations of the change
phenomenon in the academic literature, there is an equally significant body (see,
Fernandez and Rainey, 2006, for a full review) of research indicating the pragmatic
reality that individuals frequently do get tasked with, and are successful in, making
change happen in organisations. Fernandez and Rainey (2006), Kotter (1996) and
Kouzes and Posner (2007) among many present guidelines through which leaders can
master the challenges of leading change. Indeed, the original concept of
transformational leadership was anchored very much in the ability to create such
change: leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose; that the effectiveness
of leaders must be judged not by their press clippings but by actual social change
(MacGregor Burns, 1978, p. 3).
Meta-analysis
The premise of this paper is that there are shared constructs underlying the
progressions described within each the above change paradigms. A thematic analysis

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(Boyatzis, 1998) was conducted by clustering similar themes from each field of change
literature to examine the support for this premise. The following commonalities
emerged.
Existing or pre-change paradigm
The literature themes, from each of the fields of change, in Table I suggest that the first
commonality is the existence of an established coordination of activity (Dewey, 1896),
social habit (Lewin, 1947) or paradigm (Kuhn, 1962), prior to the commencement of the
specific change event.
The nature of the existing, or pre-change, situation will determine the manner in
which the potential need for change will be discovered and subsequently perceived.
The paradigm of a dynamic, changing world (Dewey, 1916; Kolb, 1984) will encourage
active searching for new information and experiences but, by contrast a Normal
Science (Kuhn, 1962) or inappropriate Master Programme (Argyris, 1993) will act as
a barrier to the recognition of the early signs of the need for a reformulation. Similarly
people with an evolving (Campbell, 1949), response-able (Frankl, 2004) approach to
life will seek out or create (Fritz, 1989) opportunities to change whilst others will be so
wedded to an existing social habit (Lewin, 1947) or cognitive structure (Schein, 1995)
that they will be precontemplative to change (TTM). Within organisations the
dominating paradigm or culture will determine whether or not there is an active
programme of environmental scanning (de Geus, 1988), internal quality scrutiny
(Deming, 1982; Juran, 1964) and variety (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992; Pascale, 1999)
to seek out signs of the potential need for change.

Commonality 1
Learning
Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change
Table I.
An existing or
pre-change paradigm

Leading change

Existing coordination, anticipatory sensation (Dewey, 1896); normal science


(Kuhn, 1962); learning territory (Kolb, 1984); master programme (Argyris,
1993)
Evolving human spirit (Campbell, 1949); potential for meaning in life (Frankl,
2004); creative orientation (Fritz, 1989)
Capacity to help (Egan, 2007) or facilitate growth (Rogers, 2004) in helper but
also point of precontemplation in client (TTM)
Phase space, social field, or habit (Lewin, 1947) existing cognitive structures
(Schein, 1995)
Organisational system of interdependent parts and environmental relations
serving a purpose (Beckhard and Harris, 1987; Checkland, 1981; Lawrence
and Lorsch, 1967; Nadler, 1982)
Constancy of purpose for improvement through reengineering (Hammer,
1990) transformation (Deming, 1982) or breakthough ( Juran, 1964)
Organisations are neither uniform (Morgan, 1997) nor stable (Nadler and
Tushman, 1990) so contingent approaches are required (Dunphy and Stace,
1993)
Inductive change (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992) and co-evolution (Wheatley,
2006) is possible in learning organisations (Senge, 1990) through dialogue
(Bohm, 2004), sensemaking (Weick, 1995) and internal variety (Pascale, 1999)
Leadership delivers change (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996;
Kouzes and Posner, 2007) and leadership is about delivering change
(MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003)

A stimulus
Table II shows that all the literature reviewed clearly identified the experience of a
stimulus as the first stage in the active process of change. The stimuli may range from
individual happenstance, whether personally experienced or highlighted by another, to
procedural discrepancies or catalytic events within organisations. Immediate responses
may include attention (Dewey, 1896), perplexity or confusion (Dewey, 1916), anxiety
(Schein, 1995) or refusal to acknowledge (Campbell, 1993) the stimulus all together.

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Consideration
The stimulus furnishes the motivation to attend to what has taken place; to define it
more carefully. (Dewey, 1896, p. 368) So it is unsurprising that, as Table III shows,
there is universal consideration of the stimulus across the literature although methods
vary greatly. Personal reflection is the most accessible means of considering a
stimulus, however, it is limited to the paradigm of the observer. Even within the
learning literature, the need for multi-perspective is highlighted and the provision
of such additional views is the basis of therapy. Within social settings the provision of
new perspectives (Egan, 2007) can assist the development of better understanding
(Rogers, 2004) and greater insight (Schein, 1995) which can balance the psychological
anxiety of the disconfirmation (Schein, 2002). In organisations, better understanding of
the causal and consequential factors of the stimulus (Beckhard and Harris, 1987;
Lawrence and Lorsch, 1969; Nadler, 1982) and the existing theories and assumptions
(Morgan, 1997) can be better achieved through deeper listening (Bohm, 2004) to a
variety of view points. Finally, articulating the compelling case for change in a manner
which allows each individual or group to recognise that their perspective and needs

Commonality 2
Learning
Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change
Leading change

Experience of (Kolb, 1984) stimulus and associated attention (Dewey, 1896)


perplexity or confusion (Dewey, 1916); paradigm violation (Kuhn, 1962)
detection of mismatch or error (Argyris, 1993)
Blunder, chance (Campbell, 1949) life challenge, question (Frankl, 2004) or
problem (Fritz, 1989)
Problem, opportunity (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004) or unhealthy behaviour
(TTM)
New force acting on quasi-stationary social equilibrium (Lewin, 1947);
dissatisfaction or frustration generated by disconfirming data (Schein, 1995)
Discrepancy (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967) problem situation (Checkland,
1981) changing demand (Beckhard and Harris, 1987) or catalytic events
(Nadler and Tushman, 1990)
Lack of fit with environment (Hammer, 1990) organisational challenges
(Deming, 1982; Juran, 1964)
Strengths and weaknesses in existing mindsets (Morgan, 1997) lack of fit with
environment (Dunphy and Stace, 1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990)
Local concrete challenges (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992), problem (Bohm,
2004; Senge, 1990), stimuli (Weick, 1995) organisational anxiety (Pascale,
1999) chaos and disorder (Wheatley, 2006)
Urgent need (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996) opportunity and
innovation (Kouzes and Posner, 2007) peoples new wants and needs in
changed environment (MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003)

Table II.
A stimulus

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Commonality 3
Learning
Personal change

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Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change

Table III.
Consideration from
multiple perspectives

Leading change

Reflection from different viewpoints (Kolb, 1984) careful survey of all


attainable interpretations (Dewey, 1916); different schools of thought (Kuhn,
1962); feedback findings for learning (Argyris, 1993)
Helpers magical aid (Campbell, 1949) discovery of meaning outside own
psyche (Frankl, 2004) and life outside emotions (Fritz, 1989)
Help develop new perspectives and better understanding (Egan, 2007; Rogers,
2004) raise consciousness and stimulate contemplation by helping with the
achievement of insight (TTM)
Fact finding within total relations of social field (Lewin, 1947) understand all
relevant factors acting on target system (Schein, 2002)
Structured inquiry of the complexity (Checkland, 1981) including all causal
factors of discrepancy (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967) and consequences
(Beckhard and Harris, 1987; Nadler, 1982)
New conceptualisation of requirement (Hammer, 1990) gathering more data
(Deming, 1982) participative diagnosis to enhance perspective ( Juran, 1964)
Reading the theories and assumptions in practice (Morgan, 1997) and
changing cognitive limitations (Nadler and Tushman, 1990) based on mutipersepcitve views of environment (Dunphy and Stace, 1993)
Conceiving local ideas (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992) interrelationships
(Wheatley, 2006) and patterns of change (Senge, 1990, 1997) deeper listening
(Bohm, 2004) retrospect (Weick, 1995) and use of Socratic questioning to
evoke self-discovery (Pascale et al., 1997)
Clarify compelling need (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996) ideals,
possibilities; encourage contribution (Kouzes and Posner, 2007) articulate the
need (MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003)

have been accommodated will maximise the likelihood of their engagement (Fernandez
and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996; Kouzes and Posner, 2007; MacGregor Burns, 1978,
2003; Pascale et al., 1997).
Validating the need
The next commonality across the change literature fields, as Table IV highlights, is a
decision point. Having been considered from multiple perspectives the stimulus must
be accepted as sufficiently valid (Schein, 1995) and legitimate (MacGregor Burns, 1978,
2003) to overcome the allure of the status quo and proceed to a planning stage. This
decision may be a very personal one of accepting the need to change a habit, life style
(Frankl, 2004; Fritz, 1989) or behaviour (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004; TTM) or an
organisational decision that a new demand (Beckhard and Harris, 1987) requirement
(Hammer, 1990) or event (Nadler, 1982) requires an organisational change or response.
Of note this is not a decision on what action is appropriate but an agreement that the
need for change is valid (Deming, 1982; Juran, 1964; Morgan, 1997).
Preparation
Table V shows that some form of planning or goal setting is the most frequently cited
form of preparing for change. This can range from a plan of action to test theories and
concepts (Dewey, 1916; Kolb, 1984), through personal goal setting (Egan, 2007; Fritz,
1989; Rogers, 2004), preparing strategies for redefining social standards (Lewin, 1947;
Schein, 1995), planning system variable interventions (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967)

Commonality 4
Learning
Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change

Leading change

Commonality 5
Learning
Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change

Leading change

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Precise hypothesis (Dewey, 1916) or theory incorporating observations (Kolb,


1984) validity test (Argyris, 1993)
Decision to answer call to adventure (Campbell, 1949) answer for life (Frankl,
2004) make the fundamental choice (Fritz, 1989)
Help client agree need to change (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004) by weighing pros
and cons and self-reevaluation (TTM)
Disconfirming data accepted as valid (Schein, 1995)
Consequences of change clarified (Checkland, 1981; Lawrence and Lorsch,
1967) future state deemed more attractive than current (Beckhard and Harris,
1987) need for strategic adjustment agreed (Nadler, 1982)
New requirement sufficient to overcome inertia of old processes (Hammer,
1990) agree change needed (Deming, 1982) demonstrate need for change
( Juran, 1964)
Decision to shape, re-shape (Morgan, 1997) or change (Dunphy and Stace,
1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990)
Decision to generalise local change (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992) embrace
the invisible (Wheatley, 2006) share understanding (Senge, 1990, 1997)
suspend assumptions (Bohm, 2004) enact (Weick, 1995) and cultivate internal
variety (Pascale, 1999)
Create a guiding coalition, communicate the need (Kotter, 1996) top
management support (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006) decide to innovate and
experiment (Kouzes and Posner, 2007) legitimise the need (MacGregor Burns,
1978, 2003)

Table IV.
Validation of the need

Plan of action (Dewey, 1916) to test concepts (Kolb, 1984) and action strategies
(Argyris, 1993)
Summoning the forces of unconsciousness (Campbell, 1949) self
determination (Frankl, 2004) creating tension through vision (Fritz, 1989)
Help set realistic goals and strategies for growth (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004)
prepare for action (TTM)
Create psychological safety by redefining concepts and standards (Schein,
1995) against which group decisions are made (Lewin, 1947)
Plan (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967) or map (Checkland, 1981) action on system
variables develop options to manage transition from current to future state
(Beckhard and Harris, 1987) redefine tasks (Nadler, 1982) made
Organise around outcomes not tasks (Hammer, 1990) design for quality
(Deming, 1982) separate the vital few from the trivial many (Juran, 1964)
Imaginize the new ways (Morgan, 1997) incorporate relevant contingent
factors (Dunphy and Stace, 1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990) into plan
Shift the mindset (vision) (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992) establish shared
vision, strategy (Senge, 1990, 1997) and plan (Wheatley, 2006) think together
(Bohm, 2004) socially (Weick, 1995) and delegate decision making to those
closest to the action (Pascale, 1999)
Develop a vision strategy and plan, (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter,
1996) develop competence and increase self determination (Kouzes and
Posner, 2007) arouse the motives of followers (MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003)

Table V.
Preparation

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right up to designing full organisational reengineering (Hammer, 1990). However,


whilst plans are needed to effectively prepare for the use of inanimate resources,
humans will need to be engaged in a vision (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996)
to emotionally arouse them for the change (Kouzes and Posner, 2007; MacGregor
Burns, 1978, 2003).

534

Commitment to act
Table VI shows a second common decision point in the literature. Having validated the
need and prepared for change, the individual, group or organisation must make the
decision to get going (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004) as insight alone does not bring
change (Prochaska and Norcross, 2001). The decision to act is a function of
commitment to (Beckhard and Harris, 1987; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Nadler, 1982),
and acceptance of (Argyris, 1993; Deming, 1982), the planned intervention. It is at this
point that, the status quo is slain (Campbell, 1949), the social habit broken and the
custom unfrozen (Lewin, 1947).
The transition (do-check-act)
The breadth of the literature covered in this analysis makes it difficult to summarise
the commonality of this action or transition phase in one word. However,
Campbells (1993, p. 345) phrase the cycle rolls the hero grows captures the essence.
The experiment (Dewey, 1916; Kolb, 1984), action (Argyris, 1993), turbulent transition
(Beckhard and Harris, 1987; Morgan, 1997) or transformation (Deming, 1982) must be
actively managed (Dunphy and Stace, 1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990). During this
period, it is important to recognise the importance of accepting responsibility (Egan,
2007; Frankl, 2004; Rogers, 2004) and harnessing learning (Bohm, 2004; Senge, 1990,
1997; Weick, 1995) in order to be able to frame and re-frame the vision as needs evolve
(MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003) and so inspire, align, empower and enable (Kotter, 1996;
Kouzes and Posner, 2007) those making the change (Table VII).

Commonality 6
Learning
Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change
Table VI.
Commitment to act

Leading change

Taking a stand on the projected hypothesis as a basis for action (Dewey, 1916)
commitment to intervention (Argyris, 1993)
Slaying the status quo (Campbell, 1949) choosing ones attitude (Frankl, 2004)
formally choosing (Fritz, 1989)
Help client get going (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004) self-liberation (choosing
and committing) (TTM)
Decide to break the social habit, unfreeze the custom (Lewin, 1947)
Accommodation (Checkland, 1981) leading to commitment (Beckhard and
Harris, 1987; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Nadler, 1982)
Change the rules (Hammer, 1990) decide to act on plan (Deming, 1982) and
breakthrough (Juran, 1964)
Commitment to reshape (Morgan, 1997) and proactive management (Dunphy
and Stace, 1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990)
Acceptance of emergent concepts (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992; Senge, 1990,
1997; Pascale, 1999) as people support what they create (Wheatley, 2006)
Model the way (Kouzes and Posner, 2007) mobilise the resources (MacGregor
Burns, 1978, 2003)

Commonality 7
Learning
Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change
Leading change

Hypothesis testing (Dewey, 1916) active experiment (Kolb, 1984) action and
observation of consequences (Argyris, 1993) reformulation of paradigm
(Kuhn, 1962)
Cycle rolls, hero grows (Campbell, 1949) take responsibility (Frankl, 2004)
resolve the tension (Fritz, 1989)
Support and help client make it happen (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004)
behaviour modification (TTM)
Moving the equilibrium (Lewin, 1947) through cognitive restructuring or
reframing (Schein, 1995)
Implementing action (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967) to improve (Checkland,
1981) managing transition (Beckhard and Harris, 1987) modification (Nadler,
1982)
Changing the processes (Hammer, 1990) taking action to accomplish the
transformation (Deming, 1982) create good changes ( Juran, 1964)
Manage the turbulence (Morgan, 1997) execute appropriate change (Dunphy
and Stace, 1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990)
Synthesis of initiatives into programme (Mintzberg and Westley, 1992)
harnessing emergent change (Senge, 1990, 1997) shared meaning (Bohm,
2004) structuring unknown (Weick, 1995) self-organising (Wheatley, 2006)
Inspire, communicate, align, empower, enable (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006;
Kotter, 1996; Kouzes and Posner, 2007) frame and re-frame vision as needs
evolve (MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003)

Specific result
The effect of change (Deming, 1982) may not always be that which was expected but, as
Table VIII shows, the experiment result (Kolb, 1984), solution (Fritz, 1989), adaptation
(Beckhard and Harris, 1987; Dunphy and Stace, 1993; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Nadler,
1982; Nadler and Tushman, 1990; Morgan, 1997), emergent concept (Bohm, 2004;
Mintzberg and Westley, 1992; Pascale, 1999; Senge, 1990, 1997; Weick, 1995;) or change
(Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996; Kouzes and Posner, 2007) share the
commonality of being the active products of their specific change progressions.
The enduring benefit (new normal)
By contrast with the commonalities in Table VIII, which are the specific active products of
their various change progressions, Table IX highlights the, often more valuable, benefits
that are the enduring by product. Knowledge is finite but an enhanced capacity to learn
brings with it infinite possibilities and a firm basis for dealing with an uncertain future
(Dewey, 1916; Kolb, 1984; Kuhn, 1962). Similarly, whilst addressing specific problem
situations or seizing opportunities may bring transitory relief or satisfaction, enduring
happiness (Seligman, 2002) comes from the capacity to take responsibility for life (Frankl,
2004; Fritz, 1989) through enhanced ability to live it effectively (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004;
TTM). Social change for a group may establish a new equilibrium (Lewin, 1947) which
accommodates the new force at a moment in time, but it is the groups ability to retain
congruence with the environment which will minimise the likelihood of subsequent
rounds of disconfirmation (Schein, 1995). Similarly, organisations may change to
accommodate a specific discrepancy (Beckhard and Harris, 1987; Lawrence and Lorsch,
1967; Nadler, 1982) or lack of fit (Deming, 1982; Hammer, 1990; Juran, 1964) but the

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Table VII.
Do-check-act

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Commonality 8
Learning
Personal change

536

Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change

Leading change
Table VIII.
Specific result

Commonality 9
Learning

Personal change
Helping
Social change
System approach
Process improvement
Situational factors
Emergent change

Leading change
Table IX.
The enduring benefit
(new normal)

Knowledge created (Dewey, 1916) experiment result (Kolb,


1984) specific correction or change (Argyris, 1993) anomalous
now expected (Kuhn, 1962)
Hero returns (Campbell, 1949) answer for life (Frankl, 2004)
solution created (Fritz, 1989)
Problem overcome or opportunity seized (Egan, 2007; Rogers,
2004) and behaviour changed (TTM)
New quasi-stationary equilibrium frozen (Lewin, 1947)
restructure refrozen (Schein, 1995)
Adaptation to discrepancy (Beckhard and Harris, 1987;
Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Nadler, 1982) improvement
(Checkland, 1981)
Redesigned processes (Hammer, 1990) the effect of change
(Deming, 1982) transition to the new level (Juran, 1964)
Contingent adaptation to new conditions (Dunphy and Stace,
1993; Nadler and Tushman, 1990;)
Generalised implementation of emergent concepts (Mintzberg
and Westley, 1992; Senge, 1990, 1997) shared meaning (Bohm,
2004) and sense (Weick, 1995) create best solutions to problems
of the moment (Pascale, 1999) and so growth (Wheatley, 2006)
Wins, gains, change (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996;
Kouzes and Posner, 2007) satisfied followers expectations
(MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003)

Basis for dealing with future (Dewey, 1916) enable decisionmaking and problem-solving (Kolb, 1984) change to the
master programme (Argyris, 1993) new paradigm
(Kuhn, 1962)
A life guide (Campbell, 1949) meaning (Frankl, 2004) the
essence of living (Fritz, 1989)
Live more effectively (Egan, 2007; Rogers, 2004) healthy
unconscious behaviour (TTM)
Social equilibrium congruent with the environment (Lewin,
1947; Schein, 1995)
A continuously adaptive system (Beckhard and Harris,
1987; Checkland, 1981; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Nadler,
1982)
Culture of Continuous Improvement (Deming, 1982;
Hammer, 1990; Juran, 1964)
In-built flexibility (Dunphy and Stace, 1993; Morgan, 1997;
Nadler and Tushman, 1990;) to change
Thinking together (Bohm, 2004) in learning (Senge, 1990,
1997) sensemaking (Weick, 1995) dissipative structures,
self organising systems (Wheatley, 2006) and generative
(Pascale, 1999) organisations
Institutionalised new culture (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006;
Kotter, 1996;) spirit of community (Kouzes and Posner, 2007)
continued evolution of followers (MacGregor Burns,
1978, 2003)

enduring benefit comes from the emergence of a culture of continuous adaptation and
improvement both for processes and people.
Discussion
The aim of this paper is to identify common themes from a broad range of change
literature in order to better understand the basic principles of the change process and
so inform practitioner action and stimulate scholarly debate. The benefit of considering
both organisational- and individual-based change models is that each brings a different
perspective to the stages of the common underlying change progression.
From the outset, the theoretically rigorous yet action-oriented approach of Dewey and
Lewin presented very compelling general philosophies, systemic methodologies as well
as more specific techniques and guidance. And, despite the breadth and quality of
literature subsequently reviewed, the works of Dewey and Lewin remain the strongest
influences running through the meta-analysis. Through Deweys rejection of the
Cartesian knowing-doing dualism (Bush, 1994) and Lewins obliteration of the
research-practice boundary (Bargal, 2006) their work established the need for, and
benefit of, systemically-based action-oriented approaches to social research and
improvement a tradition to which this paper attempts to adhere. It is unsurprising
therefore that Dewey and Lewin are not only key references within the field of action
research (Reason and Bradbury, 2001; Greenwood and Levin, 2007) but also their
ongoing influence is explicitly acknowledged by many of the change theorists and
practitioners reviewed in this article. (Argyris, 1993; Checkland, 1981; Egan, 2007; Kolb,
1984; MacGregor Burns, 1978; Morgan, 1997; Rogers, 2004; Schein, 1995; Senge, 1990).
Dewey (1910, 1916, 1927) argued that the purpose of education was to train the mind
not only to safeguard the individual but also to allow them to better participate in the
improvement of society through the process of democracy. Similarly, when Lewin
urged us to realise that there is nothing so practical as a good theory (Lewin,
1943/1944, p. 288), he did so to highlight that when theory and practice are linked it
strengthens that rational approach to our practical social problems which is one of the
basic requirements for their solution (Idem). With Dewey and Lewins aspirations in
mind the following learning points, associated with each of the themes which emerged
from the meta-analysis, are presented as potentially useful guidance for those
attempting to help solve social problems and improve the implementation of change.
Pre-change paradigm
One of the strengths of counselling-based change models is that they identify
pre-change as the first stage of the journey. In so doing they draw attention to the
seminal importance of understanding the pre-change paradigm. This is significant as,
without a paradigm which encourages active searching, organisations, like
individuals, often ignore early warning signs and wait until a crisis highlights the
need for change. Too many companies needed scandals such as the collapse of Enron
and Parmalat (MacMillan et al., 2004) to give corporate governance the attention it
deserves. And sadly it often takes diagnosis of a medical condition or the threat of
divorce to highlight to individuals the need for a change in lifestyle or outlook. Many
such organisational and personal crises could be avoided through regular, targeted
stakeholder engagement. From the famed scenario planning of Shell (de Geus, 1988) to
family discussions at the dinner table, the message is clear: make sure you know who is

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538

important to you, regularly canvass their opinion on what they want, how you are
doing and what if anything could be improved.
Stimulus and consideration
The counselling-based change models also highlight the importance of raising
awareness to the signs of a potential need for change. Of course, in todays business
and social environment of 24/7 news, e-mails, Blackberries, mobiles, away days, team
and shareholder meetings, we are bombarded with external and internal stimuli
thankfully not all of which signify the need for change. But the mere action of
considering the need for, or rationalising the reasons not to, change constitutes the next
distinct stage of the journey. Active consideration from multiple perspectives, followed
by an informed decision that the status quo is preferable, is a productive learning
activity. What must be guarded against is the denial that any stimuli exist. However, it
is also important to recognise that, even when change is required, the disconfirming
data is likely to induce anxiety which can prevent its acceptance as valid unless the
threat is balanced with positive visions (Schein, 1995). So whilst the nature of the
pre-change paradigm will determine the tendency to recognise or ignore the stimuli, in
either case, the provision of Socratic questioning can assist in the achievement of the
required insight and balance (Pascale et al., 1997; Prochaska and Norcross, 2001).
Validation of the need
It is crucial to be really clear about who needs what, by when and why in order to
establish whether a compelling need for change exists. Newtons first law of motion
applies: overcoming the inertia of the existing status quo will require energy and only
leadership can blast through the many sources of corporate inertia (Kotter, 1996, p. 30).
At this point the transforming leadership model (MacGregor Burns, 1978, 2003) is
particularly appropriate as the transformational leader will take the initiative by
articulating peoples new wants and needs in the changed environment, thus
legitimising them and gathering support. The recognition of followers specific wants
not only validates the social need for change but also secures support.
Preparation
The danger of a really energising need is that it may stimulate a premature reaction as
opposed to an effective plan of action. Initiatives are regularly launched with no clearly
established criteria for success and, by implication, no means of achieving them. Even
more frequently organisations start to change things without first establishing a
baseline without which it is impossible to monitor progress or to quantify the
magnitude of change required or achieved. Beckhard and Harris (1977) provide a
process to avoid such mistakes by assessing the present system and clarifying the
desired future state; thus clearly identifying the scale of change required and allowing
informed options to be developed to mange the transition. However, such preparation
should not be done in isolation; early participation will uncover, at the very outset, the
objections which are bound to emerge as resistance later. If these objections are faced
when proposals are still in a fluid state, the solutions are easier to find, and the personal
relations are less abrasive ( Juran, 1964, p. 152). Similarly early engagement of groups
in the planning phase provides an advantage in that:

[. . .] if one uses individual procedures the force field which corresponds to the dependence of
the individual on a valued standard acts as a resistance to change. If, however one succeeds in
changing group standards, this same force field will tend to facilitate changing the individual
(Lewin, 1947, p. 36).

Commitment to act
Many change models correctly acknowledge the significance of the decision that a
compelling need for change exists (Fernandez and Rainey, 2006; Kotter, 1996).
However, an equally important decision is confirming that the planned action is the
most effective and efficient way to deliver the required change. The status quo may not
merely be a level of equilibrium resulting from whatever forces the circumstances
provide. Frequently, the level itself acquires value. Strong commitment is needed to
overcome this inner resistance to break the habit to unfreeze the custom (Lewin,
1947, p. 32).
Do-check-act
With a compelling need for change and an effective plan for its delivery, the change
itself should flow by necessity but this transition stage must be kept aligned.
Whether it is a business improvement cycle of plan-do-check-act (Deming, 1982) or a
personal review of your goals, current situation, options and actions (Egan, 2007; Fritz,
1989) the key message is that once the momentum for change has been successfully
established, what is delivered must be actively steered. You either lead the change you
want or end up managing what you get. However, within organisations such steering
must not take the form of micro-management:
The leaders provide the vision and are the context setters. But the actual solutions about how
best to meet the challenges of the moment, those thousands of strategic challenges
encountered every day, have to be made by the people closest to the action the people at the
coal face (Pascale, 1999, p. 91).

Specific results
If successful, the planned change initiative will deliver results which may range from
millions of dollars of increased revenue in a multi-national, to improved health for an
individual. In delivering such change the individual, or executive team, must learn
from both success and failure. This ability to build learning and flexibility into the
process of changing is a touchstone for ongoing success (Nadler and Tushman, 1990).
But by the very nature of the fact that these are the results of a planned change
programme they are, by consequence, dependent on the maintenance of that conscious
change effort.
New normal
By contrast enduring benefits will only accrue when some new behavioural norm is
embedded which continues to deliver the desired results as an unconscious by-product.
When a month without a targeted improvement initiative or a day without exercise is
unusual then business growth or personal fitness will be assured. Of course, as soon as
it is established the new normal becomes a pre-change paradigm for whatever emerges
next. This realisation is crucial because:

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[. . .] in times of change it is vital to be in touch with the assumptions and theories that are
guiding our practice and be able to shape and reshape them for different ends (Morgan, 1997,
p. 375).

Otherwise, we run the risk of being trapped within existing mindsets practice is
never theory free (Morgan, 1997, p. 377).

540
Meta-model
It has been suggested that all social entities have similar properties and predilections
[. . .] and because organisations are basically utility maximising entities they will share
many behavioural characteristics with self-interested individuals (Staw, 1991, p. 812).
Support for this position is evidenced by authors who have applied therapeutic models
of planned personal change to metaphorically guide practices of planned
organisational change (Grover and Walker, 2003; Matheny, 1998; Staw, 1991) as well
as those who have used models of organisational change to assist individuals
transitions (Emiliani, 1998; Maxwell, 1993; Pedler et al., 2001). The meta-analysis in
this paper is an attempt to pull these, and other theoretical approaches to change,
together by identifying the themes they all share in common.
The meta-model in Figure 1 is shown as a visual representation of the
coordination (Dewey, 1896) of change which emerges from the themes identified in
this meta-analysis. Where the meta-analysis served as a lens focussing the literature
down to nine common themes, the meta-model should be considered as a prism
illustrating the common themes but reminding the reader of the range of concepts and
activities which could be of benefit, at each stage. It can be viewed as a deductive
model moving in a clockwise direction from Pre-change and this best represents the
overarching progression in most of the fields of change examined in this paper.
However, the derivation of Figure 1 means it is not only a model of change but also a
model of learning, and in the latter capacity it exists within itself. For example, within a
macro phase of Do-check-act a stimulus may be encountered which sets of another
micro round of learning and change as shown in Figure 2.
The resulting localised, or micro, new normal may in itself become a new macro
stimulus in which case the model can reflect inductive or emergent change as shown in
Figure 3.

Consideration

Validate
need

Preparation

Commit

Do - check - act

Result

Change
active
conscious
Stimulus
Culture
passive
unconscious

Figure 1.
A meta-model of change

Pre-change

New normal

Pre-change

Stimulus

Consideration

Validate
need
Preparation
Commit

New normal

Do - check - act

Pre-change

Stimulus

Consideration

Validate
need
Commit

Culture
passive
unconscious

Change
active
conscious

Result

Preparation

Culture
passive
unconscious
New normal

Do - check Result
act
Change
active
conscious

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541

Figure 2.
Cycles of learning within
cycles of change

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542

When change is effective, learning also occurs between, and so informs, each stage of the
active progression. This would take the form of the application of lessons identified in
order that they become lessons learned. Learning is also responsible for creating the
new normal when fresh perspectives or behavioural norms are embedded into the
unconscious, or culture. Such a norm might be an emerging mindset that constant
adaptation is good. In this way, single-loop learning (applying lessons identified) can
be seen to occur above the line whilst double-loop learning (the new paradigm of
actively seeking stimuli) occurs below the line in the model. Using the meta-model of
change in Figure 1, we can see that both deductive and inductive learning and change,
when effective, progress through similar phases. By contrast Mindless change
(Mintzberg and Westley, 1992) occurs when an idea is imported directly into the
planning or preparation phase and can be illustrated as shown in Figure 4.
As a result of bypassing consideration, and validation of the need, such an approach
will, at best, lack personal ownership or group commitment or organisational fit and, at
worst, be a solution in search of a non-existent problem.
Application
This paper set out to identify commonalities from a broad range of change literature in
an attempt to present a useful guide for more efficacious implementation of planned
organisational change (Robertson et al., 1992, p. 205). Support for the utility of the
meta-model developed, as such a change guide, comes from the observation that the
commonalities identified in this paper also feature strongly within the consultancy

Consideration

Validate
need

Preparation

Commit

Do - check - act

Result

Change
active
conscious
Stimulus

Figure 3.
Inductive learning
and change

Culture
passive
unconscious
Pre-change
New normal

Consideration

Validate
need

Preparation

Commit

Do - check - act

Result

Change
active
conscious
Stimulus

Figure 4.
Mindless change

Culture
passive
unconscious
Pre-change
New normal

literature. For whilst approaches to consultancy may be variously defined as Gestalt


(Nevis, 2005) process (Schein, 1988), phase- (Block, 2000), or philosophy-based
(de Haan, 2006) in essence they are all assisting progression through the same generic
stages of change identified above.
Anderson et al. (2001) caution that, when organisational interventions are delivered
against popularist practitioner frameworks, the following areas are likely to suffer:
.
the clear analysis of what the real problems are on the basis of reliable, current
evidence;
.
the search through the records of previous attempts to understand and address
these issues;
.
the choice of development of interventions that are validly based on theory and
research;
.
the monitoring and evaluation of the process and outcomes of interventions in
terms of their total systemic effects; and
.
the incorporation of the theory and practice of the interventions into the
capability set of the organisation (Anderson et al., 2001, p. 405).
However, as these are some of the specific phases of learning and change advocated by,
and embedded in, the meta-model this suggests the chosen methodology of scholarly
consulting, guided by the philosophies of Dewey and Lewin, was successful and that
the product is worthy of the term pragmatic science.
Within such a Mode 1.5 knowledge production paradigm the conversation is not
expected to terminate in one round of investigation but rather create a virtuous circle
that generates its own further agenda (Huff, 2000). This agenda continues to evolve as
the meta-model is currently being used to successfully manage the British Royal
Navys Transformation Programme and the associated change management was
recently adjudged an exemplar of good practice during a governmental audit (OGC,
2007). A subsequent paper will present a case study of the use of the meta-model in the
Royal Navy and it is hoped that other scholar consultants will add to the
conversation by applying and reflecting on the utility of the model in understanding
and making change.
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About the author


Mike Young has been a key driving force behind Leadership Development and Organisational
Change activity in the Royal Navy for the past seven years. His current post is that of Continuous
Improvement Team Leader for the transformation of the Royal Navy. Previously, he spent four
years as Head of Leadership and Management Development following six years on attachment
with the Royal Marines. He also commanded one of the famed Royal Navy Field Gun Crews.
He is a graduate of the Joint Services Advanced Command and Staff Course, and holds two
Masters degrees with dissertations on leadership and change as well as a Doctorate in Business
Administration. He has published numerous articles on competency, change, leadership and
organisational development. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development, Fellow of the Institute of Business Consulting, Certified Management Consultant
and Coach. His contribution to leadership development in the Royal Navy was acknowledged by
the award of an MBE in the 2005 Queens Birthday Honours List. He is a Visiting Fellow of
Henley Management College and, in his spare time, consults to a wide variety of organisations in
the fields of organisational change and leadership development. Mike Young can be contacted at:
mail@consultmike.com

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