Who says change can be managed? Positions, perspectives and problematics

John Wiley & Sons
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Strategic Change, 2002, 11 (5), pp. 243 - 251
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We pick up a current challenge in the change management literature - whether change can be managed. The answer to this question depends upon the underlying image one has of both managing and change. We develop a model based upon two images of managing (management as controlling; management as shaping) and three images of change outcomes (intended, partially intended and unintended). From this we identify six views on managing change: directing, navigating, caretaking, coaching, interpreting and nurturing. We outline different theories associated with each of these views. Theorists and practitioners hold differing images of what managing change actually means - which leads them to talk past each other when attempting to engage in dialogue around how change can be managed.
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