Managing Innovation and Change

James T. Walz (Dean, Rinker School of Business, Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Forida, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




Walz, J.T. (2008), "Managing Innovation and Change", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 206-207.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

A compilation of some of the most innovative research articles in the last 15 years, this 3rd edition of Managing Innovation and Change, pulls together major elements of change to provide essential understanding for the effective change agent. Edited by David Mayle of the Open University Business School, this work focuses on the dynamics of change, from recognizing that change is necessary, through implementing innovative elements in the change process, to leading organizations through change.

When I read for review, I like to scan a book before settling into it. If I discover that the book is a 3rd or 4th edition, I prepare myself for a less than stellar intellectual experience; recognizing that the current edition usually differs only so slightly from its predecessor. This, however, proved to be a very different experience. The 2nd edition focused on the importance of empowerment to facilitate change, whereas, this edition focuses on the importance of innovation in the change process.

I began my review by turning to the table of contents pages where familiar names popped out at me; Robert Allio, Henry Chesbrough, and Jim Collins, to name just a few. But, these names and their associated contributions were not tied to previous editions of this text. Like Pavlov's dogs, I began to salivate with the anticipation of a great read that would provide a wealth of information that I knew would be of immediate value in the classroom and in my consulting. I was not disappointed.

Managing Innovation and Change is broken down into five parts:

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    Change; and

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The fifth and final part on “Leadership” is a completely new section as opposed to previous editions that considered the role of management primarily. The difference emphasizes the importance of leadership influence, along with management control, to facilitate effective change. Within each of the five parts, you will discover seminal articles, all previously published in other venues. So, if you have had the time to stay abreast of the plethora of management and organizational change literature, most of these contributions will not be new. However, the inclusion of these articles in a compilation that addresses innovation in change is where this book runs away with the blue ribbon. These articles are all brilliant choices. The only repeat from the 2nd edition is Bowen and Lawler's (1992) article titled, “The empowerment of service workers”, originally published in MIT's Sloan Management Review. Everything else is a new addition to this 3rd edition. Apparently, the Bowen and Lawler (1992) article is included because of the importance of empowering employees as a crucial factor in successful change processes.

Of particular note is the article by Ian Wilson, “From scenario thinking to strategic action”, which addresses some of the difficulties that top managers have tying scenarios to implementation. You may also find intriguing the Markides and Geroski article, “The innovator's prescription: the art of scale: how to turn someone else's idea into a big business”. Other than a provocative title, they discuss the current reality that consolidators; organizations with resources, branding, and customer loyalty, are able to exploit opportunities presented by colonizers of new markets by deploying their expertise and effectively taking over these new markets. The example they cite is Apple's introduction of the iPod coupled with iTunes as a swift but decisive move to sweep the MP3 market from colonizers of the digital music phenomenon. This innovative approach has been a significant strategy toward controlling the $50 billion market and changing the landscape of digital music downloading. Other articles that are worthy of special mention include; Tushman and O'Reilly's, “Ambidextrous organizations: managing evolutionary and revolutionary change”, and Dale, Zairi, van der Wiele, and Williams's, “Quality is dead in Europe – long live excellence: true or false?”

Lest I give the impression that only a few delectable cherries exist in this basket, this is not the case, you will find a bushel of wonderful, low hanging fruit including Jim Collins's (2001) article, “Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolve,” originally published in the Harvard Business Review. I must say that I give this book, “two thumbs up”. The real genius, however, is the editorial choices that David Mayle has made. This is not meant to denigrate the work of the authors but to emphasize the essential role played by the editor of a compilation. These are the right articles, from the right sources, at the right time, and in the right sequence. This compilation is top‐rate, and my expectation is that this will become another strong link in the chain of change management literature.

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