Leading Change in a Web 2.1 World: How Changecasting Builds Trust, Creates Understanding, and Accelerates Organizational Change

Larry W. Hughes (Assistant Professor of Business, Nebraska Wesleyan University)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 28 September 2011




Hughes, L.W. (2011), "Leading Change in a Web 2.1 World: How Changecasting Builds Trust, Creates Understanding, and Accelerates Organizational Change", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 757-758. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437731111170049



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

In the past decade, there has been a proliferation of books about change and change management. One cannot open a business magazine or management journal without facing admonitions about the “contemporary business environment” or topics “that affect organization in today's dynamic world”. These admonitions largely address a world in which organizations are bound not only by technology, but the spirit in which technology is integrated into our lives, whether by ubiquity or by social networks.

Jackson Nickerson's Leading Change in a Web 2.1 World takes the conversation a step further by introducing Web 2.0 technology to the process of organizational leadership. Nickerson argues that successful change and change management is married to the effectiveness of leaders in facilitating the process through communication. However, this is not a book about communication and change. It conveys to the reader how to leverage current technology applications, and their prevalence and success in other contexts, to transparently communicate the state of affairs, news of impending change, and to lessen the resistance typical to such change.

When facing Y2K, organizations struggled with upgrading legacy systems, but also making technology available to masses of employees in the form of connectivity to each other. This occurred almost simultaneously with the infusion of the Worldwide Web into organizations. Managers felt traditional control slip between their fingers as employees could communicate laterally, and hierarchically, through their organizations, finding information and building relationships necessary to get the work done, but also to more clandestinely talk about “goings on”. With the internet thrown into the mix, managers fruitlessly tried to restrict employee use of the Web to “business relevant” purposes only. In the course of ten years the workplace looks considerably different with more open discussions of flexible work arrangements and boundaryless organizations. But these Web 1.0 discussions recently gave way to Web 2.0, or user generated content, in the form of Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, and countless other user sites. Nickerson offers yet another version of the work environment in the form of Web 2.1, or ChangeCasting. Nickerson defines Web 2.1 as the combination of “specific processes and guidelines” of Web 2.0 and how it is used to lead and accelerate change. Web 2.1 is a custom version of Web 2.0 applied to organizations.

The book is structured with a preface, and 11 chapters. The chapters are followed by a “next steps” section, end notes, and an index. The chapters are not organized into overarching sections, but could easily have been. The introductory chapter is followed by chapters on managing, enabling and the difficulty of leading organizational change. The “Web 2.1 world” is introduced in Chapter 5 followed by six chapters describing Web 2.1, or what the author calls ChangeCasting, how it is managed, and whether or not this concept is appropriate for any particular organization. The content is such that future editions are easily envisioned as the technological environment changes, and organizations continued to be affected by it.

An example of the power of this book includes the examples used to illustrate the various points made therein. For example, in Chapter 4 – Enabling Organizational Change, Nickerson deftly uses story from the early years at Ford Motor to bring to life the autocratic approach to change management and then contrasts it with a succinct set of principles to guide a more relational approach.

This volume is useful reading to any working manager, administrator, or executive, interested in leveraging contemporary technologies and, more importantly, their applications in leading organizations. Equally important to the previous, is Nickerson's repeated affirmation throughout the book, that leaders need not fear social networking and other user‐generated content applications, but can learn how to embrace these tools in executing their leadership.

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