These are articles that have been published in academically reviewed journals or books and tend to be conceptual and theoretical in orientation. Nevertheless, they have been used in MBA and executive education course and have implications for practice. They are listed here from newest to oldest.
LEADERSHIP IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CHANGE: FUNCTIONS, SOURCES, AND REQUISITE VARIETY
Published in the Journal of Change Management: Reframing Leadership and Organizational Practice, 2021 (download pdf)
There are many different theories of leadership and what is required to be effective. This article integrates different theories of leadership into a single framework that proposes effective leadership in the conduct of change is more complex and dynamic than generally considered to be the case.
MANAGEMENT IS MISSING IN CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Published in Research on Organizational Change and Development, 2020 (download pdf)
Laurie and I have been working together as husband and wife, as management professor and management consultant, and as co-authors for over 30 years. During that time, we have tailored an operations research-based approach to represent the functional infrastructure of organizations as networks of agreements for the transfer of deliverables, e.g., products, services and communications, which connect internal organizational units and also their external relations. The network model is useful to understand organizations, support organization change, and develop management practices that improve efficiency, teamwork and effectiveness. Throughout the application of this approach, we have observed often that “management is missing”, in organizations in general and in organization change management in particular, where managers and change agents may underestimate or fail to recognize the productive relationships at the foundation of performance in organizations, that these relationships are different from authority or social/affinity relationships, and that they require management. In this chapter, we distinguish the network approach that is fundamental to our work and the “missing” elements of management that are recognizable by using that approach. We then examine how “management is missing” in change management and how it might be restored.
CHANGE LEADERSHIP: OXYMORON AND MYTHS
Published in Journal of Change Management, 2016 (download pdf)
We have an obligation to challenge assumptions and myths rather than be taken in by them
and treating them as accepted truths. Drawing on Mark Twain’s observation that ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so’, this article consider three myths of leadership and whether effective leadership in the conduct of change is an oxymoron.
CONVERSATIONAL PROFILES: A TOOL FOR ALTERING THE CONVERSATIONAL PATTERNS OF CHANGE MANAGERS
Published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 2008 (download pdf)
Successful implementation of change relies on effective communication. It requires managers to be aware of the effectiveness of their conversational interactions and to alter them when they need to be more effective. Change agents must be able to move among four different types of conversations: Initiative, to introduce the desired future and outcomes; Understanding, to engage participants in defining and developing the plans; Performance, to get everyone into action and producing results; and Closure, to create the accomplishment and learn the lessons from the change process. If managers get stuck in the use of only one or two of these conversations, change implementation can be slowed, delayed, or derailed. The purpose of this article is threefold. First, to demonstrate that managers have an identifiable pattern of talk – a conversational profile – that characterizes the interactions they use in order to implement change. Second, to show that this conversational pattern is directly related to the progress of the change they are implementing. And, third, to illustrate ways in which managers can intentionally alter their conversational profiles in order to positively effect the progress of change.
VISION: FRIEND OR FOE DURING CHANGE
Published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 2006 (download pdf)
This article considers whether vision is actually a friend or a foe to manager engaged in the conduct of change.
CONVERSATIONS AND THE AUTHORING OF CHANGE
Published in Management and Language: The Manager as a Practical Author,
David Holman and Richard Thorpe (Eds), Sage Publishing, 2002 (download pdf)
This chapter proposes that the leadership of change occurs through conversations and that what is actually being changed are the conversations that occur in the organization. If organizations are networks of conversations, then change involves adding, deleting, or modifying conversations and this is done through conversations.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE AS SHIFTING CONVERSATIONS
Published in the Journal of Change Management, 1999 (download pdf)
This article starts with the question “What would be the implications for organization change management if we took the idea of organizations as socially constructed realities seriously?” What happens to our understanding of and conduct of organization change when we consider that they exist in and are a product of what we say and believe about them?
THE ROLE OF CONVERSATIONS IN PRODUCING INTENTIONAL CHANGE IN ORGANIZATIONS
Published in the Academy of Management Review, 1995 (download pdf)
Most perspectives on change propose that communication occurs in the context of change. This article inverts that perspective by proposing that the change process unfolds in a dynamic of four distinct types of conversations. The fundamental nature of speech as performative – producing effects, functions, and actions – suggests that (a) change is language-based and language-driven, and (b) producing intentional change will be facilitated by intentional communication. Five different types of “speech acts” are identified as tools of communication and the foundation of conversation. They are: (1) Assertives, or claims; (2) Directives, or requests; (3) Commissives, or promises; (4) Expressives; and (5) Declarations. Using these five speech acts, we identify and give examples of four conversations of change: Initiative conversations to start a change; Understanding conversations to help people make sense of the change; Performance conversations to get people into action; and Closure conversations to complete the change. Breakdowns in a change process – people not getting on board, not getting into action, or not aware of any accomplishment from the change. The paper discusses the relationships among the conversations and gives implications for theory, research, and practice.