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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 11, Issue 5
In this issue of Strategic HR Review, which has change management as its theme, there is a focus on new and emerging approaches, such as the Rapid Spread methodology based on the social movement and arts-based learning to enhance diversity. There is also a focus on existing techniques and theories that are applied in new and improved ways, including employee surveys, art and science based learning brought together as a combined approach, and action learning designed to address change at an individual and organizational level.
Dr Valerie Garrowexamines the social movement theory within an organizational change framework in her paper, “Mobilizing for rapid change.” The theory is based on inspiring people to act on deeply held values and beliefs. The author breaks social movement down into four stages – from the persuasive message that resonates with values and experiences of individuals through to building a collective identity, coordinating action and demonstrating improvements. There are challenges to this approach, in particular the need to combine passion with solid organization and leadership. With little evidence to show if social movement theory can be successfully applied to organizational change, the author discusses work being done in the UK National Health Service. It involves a Rapid Spread methodology, based on the social movement theory and including project management principles, to engage hearts and minds with implementing sustainable change initiatives. Early evidence from the initial pilots is positive as the author demonstrates through the featured case study.
“Arts based learning within an arts organization,” by James Wilson, explores learning and development within a complex and changing environment. The author suggests that diversity is a topic that needs exploration and understanding, particularly as the environment becomes ever-more complex and places strain on our understanding of our relationship with others around us. With arts based learning methods evolving and increasingly used, he shares a case study of an arts based learning program within a not-for-profit, arts organization. The program combines reflective techniques that allow participants to use art to explore their own self and the subject under discussion (such as a change strategy), asking what does the object say about you, and what does the object say about the strategy? It brings to the fore the different approaches to “sense-making” and creates awareness of different experiences and the diversity and complexity that exists. While an abstract approach, the case organization demonstrates tangible organizational benefits, such as cost savings from improved retention and increased internal retention.
In “Achieving change through a best practice employee survey,” Dr Jack Wiley looks at the role that employee surveys can play in the change process. Drawing on research from the Kenexa High Performance Institute, he outlines the key challenges facing survey practitioners in trying to improve the effectiveness of surveys. These include the difficulty in gainingsenior leader involvement and buy in to action plans post-survey and, most likely a contributor to the former, the challenge of effectively linking survey metrics to organizational priorities – and therefore leadership priorities. He shares the research participants’ key learnings and best advice and puts forward suggestions and recommendations for how practitioners can overcome these challengesin order to use employee surveys effectively as a tool to drive change and improve engagement.
“Post-merger integration the art and science way,” by Harold Schroeder, looks specifically at change from a post-merger integration perspective. While research points to a lack of attention to people and cultural issues during mergers and acquisitions as a cause of failure in organizational transformation (art-based issues), the author argues that neglect of the science of organization change post deal closure is also to blame. He uses a case study in the financial services sector to demonstrate the value of taking a combined art and science based approach to organizational transformations. This is designed to reduce both science-based risks relating to planning and performance measurement, and art-based risks relating to culture and communications.
Dr Anton Franckeiss gives an overview of a major change program in “Organizational and individual change: a case study.” The program was designed to help an international publisher undergo the change required to adapt to and embrace electronic publishing and workflow systems. The program devised incorporated a range of techniques to assist and support at an organizational and an individual level. Examples include live cases for change that enabled teams to develop skills and understanding of implementing change during the actual introduction of new practices, as well as two-levels of workshops, webinars and one-to-one and team coaching. All levels of staff were included, with the workshops covering leading and implementing change and experiencing change, and this inclusive approach helped ease the change process by giving everyone coping strategies to minimize challenges such as negative emotional responses to change.