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Engaging Resistance: How Ordinary People Successfully Champion Change (Stanford Business Books) Paperback – January 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Engaging Resistance meaningfully builds an emergent theory in an engaging style. Anderson grounds his framework well, illustrating how two institutions of higher education overcome resistance to change. The stories of these institutions include exemplary detail, so that students can easily transfer the lessons-learned to other organizational settings. This book makes a welcome addition to the reading list for my Strategies for Institutional Change course."—Sharon F. Rallis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, author of Learning in the Field: An Introduction to Qualitative Research and Leading with Inquiry and Action: How Principals Improve Teaching and Learning


"In a refreshingly clear voice, Anderson presents powerful ideas on transformational change and resistance in an easy-to-understand format. Engaging Resistance serves as a template that may be used by change agents anywhere who are committed to making a positive difference in for profit, non-profit, and governmental settings."—Jane C. Edmonds, Senior Fellow, Northeastern University College of Professional Studies

About the Author

Aaron D. Anderson is Director of Strategic Organizational Initiatives with the College of Business at San Francisco State University, where he also teaches Managing Organizational Change.
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Product Details

  • Series: Stanford Business Books
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Business Books (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804762449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804762441
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Gibson Scheid on March 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a university professor who teaches a course on the theory and practice of organizational transformation, I am always on the lookout for new perspectives on the nature of change. In particular I want to read works that provide an in-depth... and understandable...analysis of what it takes to make a change within an organization. When I searched "organizational change" on Amazon, I received 8,200 results. Clearly, there is much that has been written on the topic. So, why did the author (and his publisher) decide we needed one more book on the subject?
If you read this book, and I recommend you do, you will discover the answer.
The author's writing style is professional, yet friendly. He might have chosen to write the book in the traditional academic style, but I am glad he did not, as the way the book is written will make it more accessible to a larger audience of both scholars and practitioners.

His work is a well done qualitative study, using a grounded theory approach, with the purpose to "discover and examine how ordinary people become successful change agents." We learn from studies of change taking place at two educational institutions: Olivet College in Michigan and Portland State University in Oregon. But we also learn from the author's comprehensive review of what we know and do not know about organizational change in general and resistance to change, in particular. He urges us to consider 'engaging resistance in the change process, rather than behaving as though it does not exist, and he offers a new model for understanding of to do this (New Theory of Engaging Resistance).

So, if you think this is simply another book offering the "12 steps" to making effective change, you are mistaken.
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Format: Paperback
First a disclosure, Aaron was a professor of mine at SFSU, as well as the Dean of the Executive MBA program. Having said that, I can say without reservation that this is a fantastic book and is a must-read for anyone working through difficult organizational change. Just about a decade ago I began working at Kaiser Permanente on their electronic medical records project (KP HealthConnect), that was the largest EMR implementation in the history of private sector medicine and was a huge change to the organization. I've also implemented similar systems at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and now at UCSF, so I'd like to think I know something about the management of change. We studied it extensively in my MBA program, but this book is unlike others, in that it explores change not as a handbook for consultants, but as a deeply thoughtful study of institutional change on the entire organization, not just from the perspective of the change champion or interested executive.

This is a fantastic book that builds on what seems like the entire field of change theory in the course of unfolding two very compelling case studies about transformative change at Portland State University and Olivet College at times in which the institutions faced change-or-close scenarios. These turn out to be great stories on their own, and in the course of unfolding these stories we wind up with some amazing insights into the role of change champions and change resistors. Rather than looking at change resistance as something to be quickly trampled, Anderson examines the causes behind resistance and the modes resistors take.

The book uses great examples and analogies to make the lessons and language of sophisticated change analysis approachable and enjoyable.
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