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Breaking the Code of Change Hardcover – October, 2000
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From Library Journal
Throughout corporate America, organizational change has become one of the most embraced, yet perhaps the least understood, of all the hot-button issues. Editors Beer and Nohria (Harvard Business Sch.) present a keenly written summary of the findings from their August 1998 conference on change, which featured a diverse group of academics, consultants, and CEOs who have researched, enabled, or led successful corporate-change transformations. The book is organized around debates attended by the conference's "change masters," and the editors present what they perceive as the two main organizational change models in practice today: Theory E (creation of economic value) and Theory O (development of organizational capability). Chapters reveal opposing debates on the purpose of change, leading the change process, and the focus of change, among other topics. A synthesis by a conference moderator follows each debate and is in turn followed by a conference critique and an epilog by the authors indicating what you already could guess: they have not yet broken the "code of change" but have helped better understand organizational change and identify key strategic considerations. Highly recommended for university libraries supporting business curricula.DDale Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In the summer of 1998, Harvard Business School hosted a research conference to review developments, best practices, and research in the field of change management. Among the participants were 50 leading scholars from diverse academic disciplines and management practitioners that included CEOs and consultants. Those in attendance put forward conflicting models of change. Several case studies of major but very different change efforts were presented, and attendees could not even always agree whether these attempts at change had been successful. Here, the editors, both Harvard business professors, organize the papers presented at the conference using a point-counterpoint format that reflects the debates that took place. They first distill two underlying theories of change: Theory E (economic value-driven change) and Theory O (organizational capability-driven change). They follow with seven sections consisting of two papers by opposing debaters and a chapter by a moderator that attempts to synthesize ideas presented. Such contributing luminaries as Peter Senge, Warren Bennis, Chris Argyris, Sumantra Ghoshal, and Christopher Bartlett offer their views. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria's have present a framework toward as an integrative theory of change. Theory E has as its purpose the creation of economic value, often expressed as shareholder value. Its focus is on formal strong hierarchy structure and systems. It is driven from the top down with extensive help from consultants and financial incentives. There's know room the creative managers. You must agreed to the objects (make and keep the shareholders happiest man in town no matter what) that the top commands and demands.
Theory O has as its purpose the development of the organization's human capability to implement strategy and to learn from actions taken about the effectiveness of changes made. Its focus is on the development of a high-commitment culture. Its means consist of high involvement, and consultants and incentives are relied on far less to drive change. Change is emergent, less planned and programmatic. Here there's know place for silos but teamwork and personal development.
Resolving the Tension between Theory E and O
It is vary tempting if you find a business model that can boots the business finance, there's a big chance that you will follow that lead. But this can turn out on the short run well for the business and especially for the shareholders. But on the long run this have a great deal of stress on the employers by taken the human factor out of the workspace, and make the workplace a money machine. The authors argue strategies that works only on behave of the shareholders will not survive in the long run. To solve this problem one must look further than the shareholders and deeper than the business objectives (theory O). There must be a cultural transformation. Everyone must work for the same goal and not draining the gaol for the sake of the CEO. To make the cultural transformation, there will be more benefits to the organization in the long run. Finally this will create a win-win situation for the organization employees and the shareholders.
Even in the change literature are changing. In breaking the code of change the authors have may very well suggest that the old change agents like Weick, Pettigrew, Bennis, Argyris have lost contact whit the reality, they don't have the vision, the energy.
They are not change agents but organization development that help curtain organization to function within the circumstances under the economic situation of that particular moment. At the end of the book Beer and Nohria conclude that these agents didn't succeed to break the code of change.
The interesting thing is when you look at the company's the authors consider that make the loop from good to great, you will be surprise if you think that the good to great company's are IBM, Microsoft, Enron, Shell, well not anymore if you're, if you're looking for the company's that embodied the leadership that make the loop from good to great. Don't look for the company's that appear on the front page, or the company's that make the news. But look around the corner. My advise study this book, search for the human factor, and make your notes and act according to your vision. You may be surprise how in the smallest things you can be the one that turns things around from good to great. Good study material for organization consultants, HRM and MBA's.