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Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
Change paradigms an overview
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Change paradigms an overview

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In dit Engelse artikel geven de auteurs een overzicht van de belangrijkste benaderingen van veranderen. Het gaat dan om vijf theorieën, elk getypeerd in een kleur.

In dit Engelse artikel geven de auteurs een overzicht van de belangrijkste benaderingen van veranderen. Het gaat dan om vijf theorieën, elk getypeerd in een kleur.

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  • 1. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles Abstract The authors present five fundamentally different Change Paradigms: ways of thinking about change, each representing An Overview different beliefs systems and convictions about how change works, the kind of interventions that are effective, how to change people, etc. They are la- beled by color: yellow, blue, red, green, and white Léon de Caluwé and Hans print thinking. Each is based upon a family of theo- Vermaak ries about change. These five models function as communication and diagnostic tools and provide a map of possible change strategies. Introduction A search for the underlying values of the word change results in a whole range of meanings and different rationalities. There is often a world of Léon de Caluwé difference between them. As a result, the practical applications of change strategies or approaches Léon de Caluwé, PhD, is social psy- vary widely. Conceptual clarity is desired to better chologist. He is a part-time professor at express the various meanings of the word change the Free University in Amsterdam where for several reasons: he leads the Center for Research in Consultancy. He is also a partner with the 1. It facilitates clearer communication between Twynstra Group of consultants. He has 25 years of experience in consultancy and the people involved, for example, specialized in change, consultancy and communication between and among managers, interventions. He published more than 80 consultants, and academics. articles and more than 10 books. Several Misunderstandings and conflicts can and do of them are in English, one in Russian. arise, for instance, when change strategies are His dissertation was named “Best Book of the Year” by the Dutch Association of discussed in a management team between Consultants. people who believe change is essentially a power game versus people who believe it is a Contact Information rational endeavor. A new shorthand language Léon de Caluwé and Hans Vermaak for this complex subject matter creates the Twnstra Management Consultants possibility for shared interpretations and PO Box 907 3800 AX Amerfsfoort meanings. The Netherlands 2. It can be used to characterize dominant Telephone +31 33 4677761 paradigms in groups or organizations, serving Email: lca@tg.nl and/or hve@tg.nl as a diagnostic tool for characterizing different actors involved in a change effort. Moreover, the paradigms themselves represent different views of the organization and its Volume 22 • Number 4 • Winter 2004 9
  • 2. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles problems. Such different viewpoints help paint a more complete and complex picture of organizational life. 3. It provides a map of possible strategies to deal with organizational issues. The idea is that not that “anything goes.” It is relevant to know what kind of approaches are available as well as to have some sense of indicators that facilitate a choice of what approach is more fitting given one certain situation rather than others. 4. It offers change agents a tool for reflective Hans Vermaak questioning: “What are your own assumptions? What is your (key) Hans Vermaak, MMC, PhD, is a partner with competence for bringing about change, the Twynstra Group. He has worked as a and what are your limitations?” It can consultant and coach for about 15 years. His assist change agents in delineating their principal area of consulting concerns organizational development within area of expertise and their professional professional firms and institutions. He heads development. the knowledge center Change Management of the Twynstra Group and trains change agents in academic and client settings. He frequently In this article we touch on a meta-theoretical lectures and publishes on the subjects of concept—the colors—that has been devel- professionalism, change, learning and oped in the last five years and has been exten- coaching in Dutch and in English and has sively applied in both in management educa- received several publication awards. tion and change practice in the Netherlands. More recently it is being applied in English- speaking arenas. It has proven to be both robust and versatile. The choice for “colors” as labels is based on the need for some type of shorthand that would not stress any specific order. Yellow-Print Thinking Yellow-print thinking is based on socio- political concepts about organizations in which interests, conflicts, and power play important roles (e.g., Greiner & Schein, 1988; Hanson, 1996; Pfeffer, 1981). Yellow-print thinking assumes that people change their standpoints only if their own interests are taken into account, or if compelled to accept certain ideas. Combining ideas or points of view and forming coalitions or power blocks are favored methods in this type of change 10 Organization Development Journal
  • 3. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles process. Change is seen as a negotiation exercise aimed at feasible solutions. The foremost consideration of for oremost considera Yellow-print thinkers believe that getting yellow-print chang ag hange the yellow-print change agent everyone on the same wavelength is a alw is to always bear in mind the change in itself. In this view, enabling conglomer lomera interests ests, conglomeration of interests, change requires getting the powers-that-be parties ties, players strive parties, and players and strive behind it, whether power based on formal for agreements and policies. ag policies. position or informal influence. It is thought that resistance is built in if key players are not brought on board. Facilitat- Blue-Print Thinking ing communication, lobbying, negotiating, Blue-print thinking is based on the ratio- and third-party conflict resolution are nal design and implementation of change much-used interventions. Stakeholder (e.g., Hammer & Champy, 1993). Scien- analysis is crucial. Sticking to and realiz- tific management (Taylor, 1913) is a ing the outcome of these processes—goals, classic example. Project management one policies, or programs—is a huge task its strongest tools (e.g., Wijnen & Kor, because the socio-political context is and 2000). In blue-print thinking, it is as- stays dynamic. Consequently, the result of sumed that people or things will change if change is difficult to predict because it a clearly specified result is laid down depends on the distribution and shifts in beforehand. Controlling the change by standpoints and influence of the most managing, planning, and monitoring the important players. Moreover, for a change progress is considered feasible. The agent, the process is difficult to plan and process and the result are deemed, more or predict. less, independent of people. Management is able to compel and effect the change. The change agent is a facilitator who has Both outcome and process are planned an independent position. Such facilitators down to the last detail. Change is consid- guard their power base carefully. It is ered to be a rational process aimed at the based on their experience, reputation and best possible solution. There is continuous connections but can be augmented by monitoring based on pre-determined specific mandates. They have a good sense indicators to check whether the activities for power structures and balances. Self- are leading to the desired result as control, diplomacy, stability and flexibility planned. If not, adjustments are made to are important attributes of such a change achieve that which has been agreed upon agent. The foremost consideration of the within the frameworks of time, money, yellow-print change agent is to always quality, information, and organization. bear in mind the conglomeration of inter- Other interventions are analytical endeav- ests, parties, and players and strive for ors such as SWOT analyses, agreements and policies. We call this way benchmarking, business process redesign, of thinking “yellow-print thinking”: Yel- total quality management, restructuring low is the color of power (e.g., symbols and so on. There is a wide array of well- like the sun, fire) and the type of process defined methods. The subject of the (brooding and coalition formation around a change (the project leader) and its object fire). (the target group) are often different Volume 22 • Number 4 • Winter 2004 11
  • 4. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles people or entities. The approach is rational plished by stimulating people, by making (planning) and empirical (indicators). it appealing to adjust behavior. Thus a key Think first (define and design) and then do concept is barter: the organization hands (implement) is the maxim. Naturally this out rewards and facilities in exchange for approach lends itself best to hard aspects personnel taking on responsibilities and of organizations: structures, systems, and trying their best. On top of this, however, strategies. Change agents are experts on management’s care and attention are also the content of the change effort. They take important. Red-print thinking strives to full responsibility for implementation and develop competencies and making the monitoring when mandated to do so. most of people’s talents. The aim is a good Result orientation, decisiveness, accuracy, “fit” between what individuals want and and dedication are necessary attributes for what the organization needs. Red-print such a change agent. The foremost consid- thinking makes abundant use of HRM erations of the blue-print changer are tools. People are rewarded (salary, promo- these: Plan and organize first; use all tion, bonus, a good evaluation) for desired possible expertise and do not let people’s behavior or penalized (demotion, poor individual ideas and preferences interfere; evaluation) for undesired behavior. Career and never lose sight of the intended result. paths, assessments, recruitments, out- We call this way of thinking “blue-print placements, work design (task enrichment thinking”: A blueprint is the (architectural) and enlargement) and employee wellness design or plan that is drawn up beforehand programs are all relevant interventions. and guarantees the actual outcome. Management gets up on a soapbox, gives speeches, and induces people into embark- ing on a change. Social activities and team The foremost considerations building are used to create a positive of the blue-print changer are atmosphere and social cohesion. The these: Plan and organize first; outcome of the change (the result) can, use all possible expertise and according to red-print thinking, be thought do not let people’s individual out beforehand, but it cannot be fully ideas and preferences inter- guaranteed because it depends on employ- fere; and never lose sight of ees’ response; the desired outcome might the intended result. change somewhat as a result. Monitoring takes place, but for both ethical and politi- cal reasons, there is a limit to how force- Red-Print Thinking fully the process can be adjusted along the Red-print thinking has its roots in the way. Change agents are good at motivating classic Hawthorne experiments (Mayo, people and at devising systems and proce- 1933; Roethlisberger, 1941). McGregor dures that facilitate this adjustment. They (1960) developed the tradition further. In are “people managers” who manage by more recent times, Human Resources walking. They can also be HRM experts Management (HRM) has been an expres- who supply people managers with HRM sion of this approach (e.g., Schoemaker, tools. Carefulness, steadfastness, and 1994). Change in this way of thinking loyalty are relevant attributes of the equates with people changing their behav- change agent. The foremost consideration ior. This approach to change is accom- of the red-print change agent is that the 12 Organization Development Journal
  • 5. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles human factor plays a vital role. People the most relevant learning goals. Green- make changes happen if guided in the print thinking is concerned with allowing right direction. The color chosen here and supporting people to take ownership refers to the color of human blood. The of their learning. Typical interventions are human being must be influenced, at- coaching, simulations, survey feedback, tracted, compelled, and stimulated. open-systems planning, action learning, feedback, and leadership training. The change process takes time: Learning is not The foremost consideration of forced. It is a fluctuating process of learn- the red-print change agent is ing and unlearning, trial and error. The that the human factor plays a change agents play a facilitating role, not a vital role. controlling one. They design learning situations, give feedback, support experi- menting with new behavior, structure Green-Print Thinking communication and are learning them- Green-print thinking has its roots in selves in the process. Thinking and doing action-learning theories (e.g., Kolb, are tightly coupled, not sequential (as it is Rubbin, & Osland, 1991; Argyris & in blue-print thinking): All involved are Schön, 1978). It has been expanded enor- frequently reflecting on their actions. mously in the more recent thinking on Empathy, creativity, and openness are learning organizations (e.g., Senge, 1990). important attributes of the change agent. Changing and learning are conceptually The foremost consideration of the change closely linked: the terms change and agent is to motivate and support people to learning have very similar meanings. learn with each other and from each other People are motivated to discover the limits in order to establish continuous learning in of their competencies and to involve collective settings. The color green is themselves in learning situations. They are chosen because the objective is to get provided with means for learning more people’s ideas to work (with their motiva- effective ways of acting. The aim is to tion and learning capacity), giving them strengthen the learning abilities of the the “green light.” But it also refers to individual and the learning within the “growth,” as in nature. organization. If people learn collectively, the organization learns and as a result, different organizational behavior results The foremost consideration of and change is a fact. The process is char- the change agent is to moti- acterized by setting up learning situa- vate and support people to tions—preferably collective ones as these learn with each other and from allows people to give and receive feedback each other in order to estab- as well as to experiment with more effec- lish continuous learning in tive ways of acting. Monitoring is not collective settings. meant to adjust the change in the direction of some predetermined outcome, but just White-Print Thinking for planning a follow-up that is in line White-print thinking arose as a reaction to with what the people involved regard as the deterministic, mechanistic, and linear Volume 22 • Number 4 • Winter 2004 13
  • 6. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles worldview derived from Newton and sive factors. Outside influence, whether Descartes. It is nourished by chaos think- from a change agent or a manager, can be ing, network theory, and complexity of only limited effect and then only if this theory, all of which are based on living influence is welcomed by the ones who are and complex systems with limited pre- changing. The above does NOT equal dictability (e.g., Capra, 1996; Prigonine & doing nothing or laissez faire. On the Stengers, 1986; Bateson, 1972). Self- contrary, it demands in-depth observation, organization is a core concept. Stacey analysis of underlying drivers, and often (1996) defines it as a process in which confronting interventions. Change agents people interact according to their own must be capable of making sense out of norms without a map of what to do or complexity, often looking at historical how to get there. The self-organization patterns and psychological mechanisms. process encompasses the emergence of Honesty, authenticity and self-confidence new structures and behavioral patterns are relevant attributes of such change through developmental, learning, and agents. The foremost consideration of the evolutionary processes. The system finds white-print change agent is to observe its own optimal dynamic balance. In what is making things happen and change, white-print thinking, the dominant image supply meanings and perspectives, remove is that everything is changing autono- obstacles, get initiatives and explorations mously, of its own accord. Where there is going, and empower people while giving energy, things change. When this is the them sufficient free rein. The belief that case, the time is ripe. Complexity is “crisis provides opportunity” applies here. regarded as the enriching nature of things, The color white reflects all colors. But not as disruptive chaos. Influencing the more important, white denotes openness; it underlying dynamics is a favorite ap- allows room for self-organization and proach. White print thinkers try to under- evolution. The outcome remains somewhat stand where opportunities lie and search of a surprise. for the seeds of renewal and creativity. Sense-making plays an important role in this, as does the removing of obstacles The foremost consideration of and explicitly relying on the strength and the white-print change agent is soul of people. In a way white-print to observe what is making change agents catalyze the emergence of things happen and change, more white-print change agents. They call supply meanings and perspec- on people’s strengths, self-confidence, tives, remove obstacles, get inspiration, and energy. Whereas interven- initiatives and explorations tions that take away obstacles can seem to going, and empower people be of a very different color (e.g., while giving them sufficient delayering the organization), interventions free rein. that tap people’s energy are more easily identified: e.g., open space meetings, appreciative enquiry, dialogue, search conferences, self-steering teams. The inner desires and strengths of people, both individually and as groups, are the deci- 14 Organization Development Journal
  • 7. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles Expansion of the Model and to the colors in addition to the ones men- Search for a Meta-paradigm tioned here and summarized in Table 1. Is this a complete overview? The colors do These are characteristics like output seem to cover most of the steady stream of criteria, diagnostic models, glossaries and experience, research, and publications of typical sayings, bodies of literature, styles which we are aware. Nevertheless, the of communications, norms and values of overview is probably never fully complete. change agents, ways to deal with contract- Since we put forward the concept of colors ing or with resistance, typical pitfalls, and of change, we have found that people ideals. We are addressing these in separate easily attribute many other characteristics publications (e.g., de Caluwé and Vermaak, 2003). Table 1. The Five Colors at Glance Yellow-print Blue-print Red-print Green-print White-print Something bring common think first and stimulate people create settings for create space for changes when interests together then act according in the right way collective spontaneous you… to a plan learning evolution power game rational process exchange exercise learning process dynamic process in a/an.... a feasible a motivating solution, a win- the best solution, solution, the best a solution that a solution that and create.... win situation a brave new 'fit' people develop releases energy world themselves Interventions forming project assessment & training and open space such as... coalitions, management, reward, social coaching, meetings, self- changing top strategic analysis, gatherings, open systems steering teams, structures, policy auditing situational planning, gaming appreciative making leadership inquiry experts in the facilitators who By... field procedure experts create settings for facilitators who who elicits learning personalities who use their own involvement use their being as power base instrument analytical and HRM knowledge OD knowledge Who have... planning skills and motivational and feedback an ability to a good sense for skills skills discern and create power balances new meanings and mediation knowledge and procedures and the setting and patterns and And focus results working climate communication persons on... positions and context Result is... partly unknown described and outlined but not envisioned but unpredictable on and shifting guaranteed guaranteed not guaranteed a practical level Safeguarded decision benchmarking HRM systems a learning self-management by... documents and and ISO systems organization power balances The pitfalls dreaming and ignoring external ignoring power excluding no-one superficial lie in... lose-lose and irrational and smothering and lack of action understanding aspects brilliance and laissez faire Volume 22 • Number 4 • Winter 2004 15
  • 8. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles There is also a meta-paradigm behind the 2. A foundational (color) focus on the five-color classification described here. change strategy is needed, especially The description of five ways of thinking when problems are deeply rooted as emerges from a meta-paradigm that posits different colored approaches, can a need for distinctions in diversity and a interfere considerably with one search for professional insights and values another. For instance, trying to create based on these (de Caluwé and Vermaak, a learning environment (green) while 2003b): not keeping power games at bay (yellow) or downplaying the predictability of outcomes (blue) In order to survive in the long means that the learning is bound to be run, organizations seem to superficial. Each color has its strong need qualities of each and and weak points. The kind of any one of the colors. organization, the issue at hand, the kind of resistance, the style of the change agents, the time pressure and other circumstances, all are factors 1. We start to suspect that any strong that influence what change strategy, or color dominance in organizations is color print, can best make a unwanted. In order to survive in the difference. This is not to say that a long run, organizations seem to need change strategy has to be restricted to qualities of each and any one of the one color, but does imply that one colors. Organizations need to deal should take interferences between properly with power and different colored actions into account when interests (yellow), must effectively intervening in organizations. A and dependably get results and relatively easy way of dealing with maintain organizational hygiene interferences is to space different (blue), must take the irrational human color interventions in time or have being into account and insert care and different people involved. More perspective in organizational life challenging is to maintain one (red), have to create spaces to learn constant underlying color tenet while and cooperate (green) and need to allowing for more superficial, other- align themselves with the times they colored contributions. live in and the people they live with and innovate accordingly (white). The 3. The color of the change agent should different colors have conflicting match the change effort: incongruence principles, meaning that a balanced or frustrates change. It makes little sense sound organization has to cope with to embark on a yellow endeavor with the paradoxes that result from these an analytical expert who strives for conflicting principles. This realization the best solutions (blue) rather than reinforces the need to diagnose what is feasible given the balance of organizations from the different power. While change agents might be colored viewpoints in order to be able to at least intellectually grasp that aware of imbalances. all colors are equal, when it comes down to it, most change agents have 16 Organization Development Journal
  • 9. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles more narrowly defined beliefs/intentions organizations is best based on and these should match their role in collectively taking multiple realities and order for them to be believable. This is corresponding paradoxes into account. not to say that change agents can be branded in single colors and remain as they are over the years. Change agents Moreover, organizational may be able to handle different change is a collective effort approaches to change but not to their and, more often than not, full potential. They may change colors involves people with multiple but take many years to do so as each perspectives on color brings with it a whole body of organizational life and knowledge with many interventions, multiple definitions of reality. competencies, and diagnostic viewpoints. 4. Lastly, we posit that dialogues in References organizations based on a multi-paradigm Argyris, C. & Schön, D. A. (1978). Organi- perspective (such as the colors) enhance zational learning: A theory of action organizational vitality. “The difficulty perspective. Reading, MA: Addison- for change is not in the development of Wesley. new ideas, but in escaping the old ideas, Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of that determine our thinking” (Wierdsma, mind. New York: Ballantine. 2001, p. 3). Seeing too many things Caluwé, L. de & Vermaak, H. (2003). through green glasses and applying Learning to change. A guide for green interventions will give a lot of organizational change agents. reflection but a lack of action, results, Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage and consensus. Moreover, organizational Publications, Inc. change is a collective effort and, more often than not, involves people with Caluwé, L. de & Vermaak, H. (forthcoming 2004). Transformational multiple perspectives on organizational conversations about change. An life and multiple definitions of reality. article accepted for publication in the Instead of narrowing participation to Academy of Management. reach easy consensus on issues, the inclusion of multiple perspectives not Capra, F. (1996). Het levensweb. Kosmos- only can create the kind of richness that Z&K, Urecht. Greiner, L. & Schein, V. (1988). Power and does justice to the complexities of the organization development: Mobiliz- social systems but also the kind of ing power to implement change. ownership that is instrumental in Reading MA: Addison-Wesley. addressing such complexities. When Hammer, M. & Champy, J. (1993). problems are simple, single-minded Reengineering the corporation: A viewpoints might suffice (e.g., building manifesto for business revolution. a house with a blue paradigm only). But London: Nicholas Brealey. for ambiguous problems involving Hanson, E. M. (1996). Educational adminis- people with many different backgrounds, tration and organizational behaviour. understanding and intervening in Volume 22 • Number 4 • Winter 2004 17
  • 10. Feature Ar ticles eatur Artic ture ticles Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Kolb, D., Rubbin, I. M. & Osland, J. S. (1991). Organization behaviour, an experiential approach. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. Mayo, E. (1933). The human problems of an industrial civilization. New York: Mac Millan. McGregor, D. (1960). The human side of enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pfeffer, J. (1981). Power in organizations. London: Pitman. Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I. (1986). Order out of chaos: Man’s new dialogue with nature. London: Fontana. Roethlisberger, F. J. (1941). Management and morale. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Schoemaker, M. J. R. (1994). Managen van mensen en prestaties. Personeelsmanagement in moderne organisaties. Deventer: Kluwer Bedrijfswetenschappen. Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday/ Currencey. Stacey, R. D. (1996). Complexity and cre- ativity in organizations. San Fran- cisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Taylor, F. W. (1913). The principles of scientific management. New York: Harper and Row. Wijnen, G. & Kor, R. (2000) Managing unique assignments: A team ap- proach to projects and programmes. Gower, UK: Aldershot/Brookfield. 18 Organization Development Journal

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