'Theory and Practice of Leadership/2.Leadership&Organization'에 해당되는 글 6건

  1. 2014.05.25 No More Hierarchy, but Heterarchy.
  2. 2014.05.05 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing To Be More Productive, backed by science.
  3. 2009.10.09 Effectuation Theory. (1)
  4. 2009.09.17 Garbage Can Model
  5. 2009.09.17 Four Models of Organizational Decision Making
  6. 2009.04.16 The Satir Change Model

A recent study ("The Riddle of Heterarchy") indicates that the traditional "Assigned leadership" is not working well especially in a creative team, but "Emergent and collective Leadership" is outperforming. 

1. Teams are likely to operate better when there are a number of members with leadership potential (fears of rivalry notwithstanding) than when 
power is a solo affair.

2. It is not only important that team members have diverse skills and resources but that everyone knows what they are, so that they can be fully leveraged.

3. Internal power expressions among team members should shift as appropriate.

4. Team membership should be fluid, with members entering and exiting as necessary to meet shifting situations


The Riddle of Heterarchy: Power Transitions in Cross-Functional Teams


6 Reference Models for Shop Floor Control


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7 Things You Need to Stop Doing To Be More Productive, backed by science. 

1. Stop working overtime and increase your productivity
2. Don’t say “yes” too often
3. Stop doing everything yourself and start letting people help you
4. Stop being a perfectionist
5. Stop doing repetitive tasks and start automating it.
6. Stop guessing and start backing up your decisions with data
7. Stop working, and have do-nothing time



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Original source: http://www.effectuation.org/FAQ.htm#Process

What is effectuation?

Effectuation is a type of human problem solving that takes the future as fundamentally unpredictable, yet controllable through human action; the environment as constructible through choice; and goals as negotiated residuals of stakeholder commitments rather than as pre-existent preference orderings.  Back to top


What are the key elements of effectuation?

  • A focus on non-predictive control of the future

  • Being tethered to means and being flexible with regard to goals

  • Who comes on board determines what gets done and is in turn determined by what they commit to getting it done.


Back to top


What is the logic underlying effectuation?

To the extent we can control the future, we do not need to predict it.  Back to top


What is the fundamental behavioral assumption underlying effectuation?

Not opportunism and not altruism/trust – but docility (See Simon’s 1993 AER paper titled Altruism and Economics for details).  Docility is the idea that all human beings (leader and member alike) are persuasive and persuadable to varying degrees along a variety of dimensions.  Back to top


How is the use of effectuation related to performance?

At the micro-level (Level of individuals and firms)

  1. First, effectuation separates the performance of a firm from that of the entrepreneur.

  2. Even if superior firm performance is assumed exogenous, effectuation reduces the costs of failure – i.e. in the effectual firm, when failures occur, they occur earlier and at lower levels of investment.

  3. Effectuation also increases the probability of entrepreneurial success, irrespective of the probability of firm success – it allows the entrepreneur to create a larger temporal portfolio.  Because the effectual entrepreneur is able to create more number of firms over his or her lifetime, it increases his or her chances of hitting a home run, ceteris paribus

At the macro-level (Level of the economy)

  1. A larger proportion of the population become entrepreneurs

  2. More firms get founded

  3. Failing firms fail at a lower level of investment            Back to top


What are the boundaries and limitations of effectuation?

Effectuation is most effective in a problem space where the future is highly unpredictable, the decision maker’s goals are ambiguous, and the environment is not independent of the actors involved.  It follows then that it is not effective in exogenous environments that are predictable and where goals are specified ex-ante.

The following diagrams illustrate two ways of organizing the boundaries for effectuation:

Back to top


What is NOT effectuation?  Comparisons with related extant theories

Effectuation is not Bayesianism

While Bayesianism uses its probability estimates as proxy for the truth and focuses on updating our beliefs about the future based on those estimates, effectuation seeks to falsify the conditioning assumptions of the estimate so the prediction does not come true – i.e., the Bayesian takes the distribution as independent of the decision maker; but the effectuator partitions the event space into controllable and uncontrollable events and takes the distribution as largely endogenous to his or her own actions.  Back to top

Effectuation is not improvisation

While the improviser is creative in the use of his or her means, effectual creativity has more to do with the generation of novel goals.  Moreover, effectuation spells out specific strategies for goal creation with stakeholders taking center-stage rather than available resources.  Effectuation emphasizes a logic that is an inversion of traditional goal driven maximization, rather than a time compressed or even simultaneous execution of traditional notions of rationality.  Back to top

Effectuation is not unconstrained social construction. 

In fact, effectuation is highly constrained by actual means available and negotiations with particular stakeholders on particular commitments.  However, entrepreneurs act on the belief that their actions have a large impact on what will happen in their future.  Additionally, to varying degrees in different settings, these actions can contribute to the creation of their future.  Effectuation spells out a path to transform a wide variety of stakeholders with pluralistic and even conflicting aspirations into a meaningful hierarchy of constraints that converge into valuable pragmatic goals – for the individual, the organization and society.  Back to top


Graphical representation of Effectuation as a Process

Back to top


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  1. Favicon of http://www.mastersdissertation.co.uk/essays/persuasive_essays.htm BlogIcon Persuasive Essay Topics 2011.06.15 16:19  댓글주소  수정/삭제  댓글쓰기

    나는 큰 기쁨으로이 정보를 읽을 수 있습니다. 그런 좋은 게시물 주셔서 감사합니다!

The Garbage Can Model is a theory within the science of public administration that explains organizational decision making from a systemic-anarchic perspective.



[edit] Development of the Garbage Can Model

The Garbage Can model of organizational theory was developed in 1972 by Michael D. Cohen, James G. March and Johan P. Olsen.

It was developed in reference to "ambiguous behaviors", i.e. explanations/interpretations of behaviors which at least appear to contradict classical theory. The Garbage Can Model was greatly influenced by the realization that extreme cases of aggregate uncertainty in decision environments would trigger behavioral responses which, at least from a distance, appear "irrational" or at least not in compliance with the total/global rationality of "economic man" (e.g. "act first, think later"). The Garbage Can Model was originally formulated in the context of the operation of universities and their many inter-departmental communications problems.

The Garbage Can Model tried to expand organizational decision theory into the then uncharted field of organizational anarchy which is characterized by "problematic preferences", "unclear technology" and "fluid participation". "The theoretical breakthrough of the Garbage Can Model is that it disconnects problems, solutions and decision makers from each other, unlike traditional decision theory. Specific decisions do not follow an orderly process from problem to solution, but are outcomes of several relatively independent stream of events within the organization." (Richard L. Daft, 1982, p.139).

The model was based on a computer simulation coded in FORTRAN. The coding was included as an appendix in the original 1972 article , which was the first time a coding sequence appeared in a social science article.[citation needed]

[edit] Streams of events within the Garbage Can Model

Four of those streams were identified in Cohen, March & Olsen's original conceptualization:

[edit] Problems

Problems require attention, they are the result of performance gaps or the inability to predict the future. Thus, problems may originate inside or outside the organization. Traditionally, it has been assumed that problems trigger decision processes; if they are sufficiently grave, this may happen. Usually, however, organization man goes through the "garbage" and looks for a suitable fix, called a "solution".

[edit] Solutions

They have a life of their own. They are distinct from problems which they might be called on to solve. Solutions are answers (more or less actively) looking for a question. Participants may have ideas for solutions; they may be attracted to specific solutions and volunteer to play the advocate. Only trivial solutions do not require advocacy and preparations. Significant solutions have to be prepared without knowledge of the problems they might have to solve.

[edit] Choice opportunities

There are occasions when organizations are expected (or think they are expected) to produce behavior that can be called a decision (or an "initiative"). Just like politicians cherish "photo opportunities", organization man needs occasional "decision opportunities" for reasons unrelated to the decision itself.

[edit] Participants

They come and go; participation varies between problems and solutions. Participation may vary depending on the other time demands of participants (independent from the particular "decision" situation under study). Participants may have favorite problems or favorite solutions which they carry around with them. They may carry these around until they are able to share them with others and either get assistance in resolving the problem or providing a solution to a problem.

[edit] Why "garbage cans"?

It was suggested that organizations tend to produce many "solutions" which are discarded due to a lack of appropriate problems. However problems may eventually arise for which a search of the garbage might yield fitting solutions.

Probably the most extreme view (namely that of organizational anarchy) of the Carnegie School. Organizations operate on the basis of inconsistent and ill-defined preferences; their own processes are not understood by their members; they operate by trial and error; their boundaries are uncertain and changing; decision-makers for any particular choice change capriciously. To understand organizational processes, one can view choice opportunities as garbage cans into which various kinds of problems and solutions are dumped. The mix of garbage depends on the mix of labeled cans available, on what garbage is currently produced and the speed with which garbage and garbage cans are removed.

[edit] Critiques of the Garbage Can

The Garbage Can model was criticized by Bendor, Moe, and Shotts in their 2001 American Political Science Review article, "Recycling the Garbage Can: An Assessment of the Research Program." In addition to a number of substantive critiques, the paper notes that the informal theory and the computer model are dramatically inconsistent with one another.

[edit] References

  • Bendor, Jonathan, Terry M. Moe, Kenneth W. Shotts "Recycling the Garbage Can: An Assessment of the Research Program" American Political Science Review, Vol. 95, No. 1. (Mar., 2001), pp. 169-190.
  • Cohen, Michael D., James G. March, Johan P. Olsen A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1. (Mar., 1972), pp. 1-25.[particularly pp.1-3 & 9-13]
  • Das TK, Teng BS, Cognitive biases and strategic decision processes: An integrative perspective, JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES, 36(6) 757-778 NOV 1999
  • Kilduff M, Angelmar R, Mehra A, Top management-team diversity and firm performance: Examining the role of cognitions, ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, 11: (1) 21-34 JAN-FEB 2000
  • Ryan K. Lahti Group Decision Making within the Organization: Can Models Help?
  • March, James G. and Johan P. Olsen. Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations, 2nd edition, Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1979. [LB2806.M353.1979]
  • Schmid, H., Dodd, P. & Tropman, J. E. (1987). Board decision making in human service organizations, Human Systems Management, 7(2) 155-161

[edit] External links

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Four Models of (Individual / Organizational) Decision Making.

Source: http://www.unc.edu/~nielsen/soci410/nm11/nm11.htm



In this module you will learn
  • the principle of the classical model of rational decision making
  • the limitations of rational decision making and the important concept of bounded rationality
  • 4 models of organizational decision making
    • the management science approach
    • the Cyert-March-Simon (aka Carnegie) model
    • the Mintzberg incremental decision process
    • the garbage can model
  • how the 4 decision making models can be integrated into a single contingency model of organizational decision making based on the 2 dimensions of
    • goal consensus (= degree of agreement on goals among managers)
    • technical knowledge (= knowledge of cause-effect relationships leading to goal attainment)


1.  Rational Approach

The rational approach to decision making is the systematic analysis of a problem and choice of a solution.

Q - Recall one episode in your life in which you feel you have made a decision rationally.  Describe how you arrived at your decision.  (Hint: Choosing a major?  A place to live?  A brand of bicycle to buy?)
Rational decision making takes place in 2 stages (problem identification and problem solution) and can be further broken down into 8 steps.

Exhibit:  Steps in rational decision making  (Daft E11-2 p. 406)

Minicase:  Alberta Manufacturing  (Daft p. 406).  Employee Joe DeFoe is often absent on mondays because of a drinking problem.  The search for a way to handle Joe's absenteeism illustrates the rational approach to decision making.

(NOTE: meaning of "rational approach" used here differs somewhat from the notion of rational behavior in economic theory.  The rational model of economics assumes only that individuals maximize subjective utility.)

Q - "The stage of the rational approach to decision making in which alternative courses of action are considered and one is chosen and implemented is called problem solution."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

2.  Bounded Rationality

Q - Recall an episode in which you could not choose/decide in a rational manner (systematically evaluating all the alternatives and choosing the optimal one).  Describe how you arrived at the decision, and why you could not use the rational approach.  (Hint: Choosing a brand of running shoes to buy?  A book to read over the weekend?)


  • programmed decision:  repetitive, well defined, procedures exist to find a solution (cf. analyzable task in Module 4)
  • non programmed decision:  novel, poorly defined, no procedure exists for finding a solution (cf. unanalyzable task in Module 4)
The bounded rationality perspective on decision making recognizes that the rational approach is often inapplicable, because of bounded rationality (limited time & mental capacity, limited information, & limited resources), as well as personal & social constraints on the individual; bounded rationality constraints are especially important for non programmed decisions.

Exhibit:  Constraints in non programmed decision making  (Daft E11-3 p. 408)

Bounded rationality perspective explains the importance and pervasiveness of intuitive decision making, based on experience, gut feelings, etc., rather than a logical sequence of steps.  EX: buying a tie

Minicase:  Paramount Pictures Corp.  (Daft p. 410-411).  Describes how Barry Diller and Michael Eisner (who were chairman & president of Paramount, respectively) successfully used intuitive decision making to choose movies that the public liked.

Q - "Intuitive decision making uses logic to make decisions."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

Q - "In the Paramount Pictures example, Michael Eisner used intuitive decision making in selecting films."  (TRUE/FALSE?)


Q - Recall an episode in which you made a decision together with one or several other persons.  Describe the decision making process.  How was the decision making process affected by the fact that several persons were deciding together?

In organizations, decisions are made by a collective rather than a single individuals, so that decision making processes are more complicated.  The complication arises from the possibility of disagreement among influential members (such as managers) or factions within the organization.

4 types of decision making processes are distinguished.

1.   Management Science Approach

Developed during World War II, the management science approach is the organizational analog of rational approach at the individual level.  It is based on the use of statistical & mathematical models to find optimal solution to problem (aka operations research).

Minicase:  Urgence Sante  (Daft p. 412).  This public agency schedules ambulance services in the Montreal area involving 80 ambulances and 700 workers with the goal of keeping costs as low as possible.  Urgence Sante uses mathematical techniques to optimize scheduling according to the day of the week and the season.

EX: in the training of flight attendants by an airline decisions must be made concerning how often to schedule classes, and how large the classes should be, to minimize total cost of training.

The management science approach is best used for problems

  • that are analyzable
  • where variables can be identified & measured
 Q - "Management science works best for decisions when problems are analyzable."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

2.  Cyert-March-Simon (aka Carnegie) Model

Developed by Richard Cyert, James March, and Herbert Simon, originally at Carnegie-Mellon University.  This model is the organizational analog of the bounded rationality approach at the individual level.  It emphasizes:
  • bounded rationality (limited time & mental capacity of managers, limited information & resources, so a rational solution often cannot be derived)
  • there is often disagreement among managers about goals, so decision making often necessitates the formation of coalitions of managers who agree on goals and priorities; thus the Cyert-March-Simon model emphasizes the political process involved in decision making
  • hence, managers tend to engage in a problemistic search (= looking around for a quick solution in the immediate, local environment, rather than trying to develop the optimal solution)
  • thus, solution is often chosen to "satisfice" (satisfy + suffice) rather than optimize
Exhibit:  Cyert-March-Simon decision making model  (Daft E11-4 p. 414)
Minicase:  Greyhound Lines, Inc.  (Daft p. 415).  Top management plans to reorganize Greyhounds with cuts in personnel and services and comprehensive computerization are thwarted by disagreement with middle managers.  This illustrates the importance of coalition formation in decision making.

NOTE: the C-M-S model was revolutionary when it appeared because it opposed two traditional assumptions about organizations:

  • the view that the organization makes decisions as a single entity (which presumes that decision making power is concentrated at the top)
  • the assumption that organizations optimize (as in the theory of the firm in economics)
Q - "Problemistic search means that managers look around in the extended environment for a solution to eventually resolve a problem."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

Q - "The Cyert-March-Simon (aka Carnegie) model of organizational decision making says that coalition building is important only at lower levels of management."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

Q - A small university department was comprised of six male faculty members.  During faculty meetings when the department was faced with a difficult decision, a faculty member would suggest they take a break.  During the break, four faculty members would adjourn to the rest room and agree on the decision that would be made.  This an example of what aspect of the C-M-S (aka Carnegie) model?

Q - "The case of Greyhound Lines, Inc. shows that lack of coalition building can lead to organizational failure."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

3.  Incremental Decision Process Model

Developed by Henry Mintzberg at McGill University on the basis of empirical research into the actual decision making process of firms developing new products.  The incremental decision process model emphasizes the structured sequence of activities leading to the solution to a problem.  Major decisions are broken down in small steps taking place in three major phases: the identification, development, & selection phases.
Exhibit:  Incremental decision process model  (Daft E11-5 p. 417)

Minicase:  Gillette Company  (Daft pp. 418-419).  The 13 years development of the Sensor razor illustrates several aspects of the  incremental decision process, including internal and external interrupts.

Contrasting the C-M-S & incremental decision models reveals that the 2 models differ in their emphasis on

  • problem identification (emphasized in C-M-S)
  • problem solution (emphasized in incremental decision process)
Exhibit:  Problem identification versus problem solution  (Daft E11-6 p. 420)
Q - "The incremental decision process model emphasizes political factors."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

Q - "In the incremental decision process, a decision interrupt occurs when an organization must cycle back through a previous decision and try something new."  (TRUE/FALSE?)

4.  Garbage Can Model

The garbage can model was developed by Michael Cohen, James March, & Johan Olsen to describe organizations characterized by organized anarchy (= high uncertainty in both problem identification and problem solution), such as universities.

Organized anarchies have 3 characteristics:

  • problematic preferences (i.e., substantial disagreement on goals)
  • poorly understood technology (= cause & effect relationships difficult to identify)
  • rapid turnover of participants
EX: a university dealing with the "parking problem", the "minority enrollment" problem, the "intellectual climate" problem, etc.

The garbage can model is embodied in a computer simulation with 4 streams of events:

  • problems (= point of dissatisfaction with current situation)
  • potential solutions (= ideas proposed by someone)
  • participants (= employees who come & go)
  • choice opportunities (= occasions for decisions)
Exhibit:  Garbage can model  (Daft E11-7 p. 422)

Examination of the results of the computer simulation reveal the consequences of the model.  The results include

  • solutions without problems (EX: "let's put it on the web")
  • choices made which do not solve problem (EX: changing fraternity rush to improve the intellectual climate)
  • persisting unsolved problems (EX: the parking problem)
  • some problems are resolved (EX: ?)
Minicase:  Casablanca  (Daft p. 423).  The garbage can model is appropriate to describe the chaotic filming of Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, with its numerous changes in plot and last minute casting of actors.

Q - Which of the following are characteristics of organizational anarchies?

  • clearly defined problems (Y/N)
  • routine technology (Y/N)
  • slow change (Y/N)
  • ambiguous goals (Y/N)
  • rapid turnover (Y/N)
Q - "In the garbage can model solutions may be proposed even when problems do not exist."  (TRUE/FALSE?)


The contingency framework is based on 2 dimensions:
  • goal consensus (= degree of agreement on goals among managers)
  • technical knowledge (= knowledge of cause-effect relationships leading to goal attainment)
The contingency framework is shown in 2 steps.

Exhibit:  Decision situations  (Daft E11-8 p. 426)

Exhibit:  Decision making processes in 4 decision situations  (Daft E11-9 p. 427)

Exhibit:  Consolidated contingency framework for decision making  (cf Daft pp. 426-427)

Q - What is the best decision making model to describe the production of the movie Casablanca?

Q - In the contingency approach to decision making, when there is a high degree of agreement among managers concerning goals, but there is uncertainty about cause-effect relationships leading to goal attainment, what is the appropriate decision making process?

Q - In the contingency approach to decision making, when there is disagreement among managers concerning goals, but there is no uncertainty about cause-effect relationships leading to goal attainment, what is the appropriate decision making process?

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Written by Steven M Smith

Source: http://www.stevenmsmith.com/my-articles/article/the-satir-change-model.html  

Every technology organization must deal with change. Virginia Satir, a pioneering family therapist, created a change model to help families process change. Her model fits high technology organizations equally well. This article explains Satir's model and offers insights into how to more effectively manage the change process.

Improvement is always possible. This conviction is the heart of the transformation system developed by family therapist Virginia Satir. Her system helps people improve their lives by transforming the way they see and express themselves.

An element of the Satir System is a five-stage change model (see Figure 1) that describes the effects each stage has on feelings, thinking, performance, and physiology. Using the principles embodied in this model, y

ou can improve how you process change and how you help others process change.

Figure 1. The impact on group performance of a well assimilated change during the five stages of the Satir Change Model.

Stage 1: Late Status Quo

The group is at a familiar place. The performance pattern is consistent. Stable relationships give members a sense of belonging and identity. Members know what to expect, how to react, and how to behave.

Implicit and explicit rules underlie behavior. Members attach survival value to the rules, even if they are harmful. For instance, the chief of an engineering group has an explicit rule—all  projects must be completed on schedule. When the flu halts the work of several engineers, the chief requires the group to compensate by working ten hours a day, seven days a week. After experiencing too many crises at both work and home, the engineers begin to bicker and the project falls apart.

For this group, the chief's explicit rule about deadlines is their Late Status Quo. They don't necessarily enjoy the amount of work they had to do, but they know and understand what is expected of them. The team feels the pressure from the chief's rule about deadlines and compensates accordingly. The pressure works for small problems. With a major problem, like the flu, the group cannot cope with the chief's expectations and a pattern of dysfunctional behavior starts.

Poor communication is a symptom of a dysfunctional group. Members use blaming, placating, and otherincongruent communication styles to cope with feelings like anger and guilt. Stress may lead to physical symptoms such as headaches and gastrointestinal pain that create an unexplainable increase in absenteeism.

Caught in a web of dysfunctional concepts, the members whose opinions count the most are unaware of the imbalance between the group and its environment. New information and concepts from outside the group can open members up to the possibility of improvement.

Stage 2: Resistance

The group confronts a foreign element that requires a response. Often imported by a small minority seeking change, this element brings the members whose opinions count the most face to face with a crucial issue.

A foreign element threatens the stability of familiar power structures. Most members resist by denying its validity, avoiding the issue, or blaming someone for causing the problem. These blocking tactics are accompanied by unconscious physical responses, such as shallow breathing and closed posture.

Resistance clogs awareness and conceals the desires highlighted by the foreign element. For example, a powerful minority within the marketing department of a tool manufacturer engages a consultant to do a market survey. She finds a disturbing trend: A growing number of clients believe that a competitor is producing superior quality products at a lower price. Middle and upper management vehemently deny the findings and dispute the validity of the survey methods. But after a series of frank discussions with key clients, upper management accepts the findings. They develop a vision for propelling the company into a position as the industry leader in product quality and support.

Members in this stage need help opening up, becoming aware, and overcoming the reaction to deny, avoid or blame.

Stage 3: Chaos

The group enters the unknown. Relationships shatter: Old expectations may no longer be valid; old reactions may cease to be effective; and old behaviors may not be possible.

The loss of belonging and identity triggers anxiousness and vulnerability. On occasion, these feelings may set off nervous disorders such as shaking, dizziness, tics, and rashes. Members may behave uncharacteristically as they revert to childhood survival rules. For instance, a manufacturing company cancels the development of a major new product, reduces the number of employees, and reorganizes. Many of the surviving employees lose their ability to concentrate for much of the day. Desperately seeking new relationships that offer hope, the employees search for different jobs. Both manufacturing yield and product quality takes a nosedive.

Managers of groups experiencing chaos should plan for group performance to plummet during this stage. Until the members accept the foreign element, members form only halfhearted relationships with each other. Chaos is the period of erratic performance that mirrors the search for a beneficial relationship to the foreign element.

All members in this stage need help focusing on their feelings, acknowledging their fear, and using their support systems. Management needs special help avoiding any attempt to short circuit this stage with magical solutions. The chaos stage is vital to the transformation process.

Stage 4: Integration

The members discover a transforming idea that shows how the foreign element can benefit them. The group becomes excited. New relationships emerge that offer the opportunity for identity and belonging. With practice, performance improves rapidly.

For instance, an experienced accounting group must convert to a new computer system. The group resists the new system fearing it will turn them into novices. But the members eventually discover that skill with this widely used system increases their value in the marketplace. Believing that the change may lead to salary increases or better jobs, the members begin a vigorous conversion to the new system.

Awareness of new possibilities enables authorship of new rules that build functional reactions, expectations, and behaviors. Members may feel euphoric and invincible, as the transforming idea may be so powerful that it becomes a panacea.

Members in this stage need more support than might be first thought. They can become frustrated when things fail to work perfectly the first time. Although members feel good, they are also afraid that any transformation might mysteriously evaporate disconnecting them from their new relationships and plunging them back into chaos. The members need reassurance and help finding new methods for coping with difficulties.

Stage 5: New Status Quo

If the change is well conceived and assimilated, the group and its environment are in better accord and performance stabilizes at a higher level than in the Late Status Quo.

A healthy group is calm and alert. Members are centered with more erect posture and deeper breathing. They feel free to observe and communicate what is really happening. A sense of accomplishment and possibility permeates the atmosphere.

In this stage, the members continue to need to feel safe so they can practice. Everyone, manager and members, needs to encourage each other to continue exploring the imbalances between the group and its environment so that there is less resistance to change.

I've observed groups, after many change cycles, become learning organizations–they learn how to cope with change. The members of these organizations are not threatened or anxious about the types of situations that they used to experience as foreign element. Instead, these situations excite and motivate them.

For example, the customer services group of a computer manufacturer learns to adapt their repair policies and techniques to any new product. Supporting a new computer system used to scare the group but not anymore. Management communicates and reinforces the vision of seamless new product support. Some members influence the design of support features for the new products. Other members plan and teach training courses. All members provide feedback to improve the process.

Postscript: Coping With Change

Virginia Satir's Change Model describes the change patterns she saw during therapy with families. In my experience, the patterns she describes occur with any group of people when confronted by change.

I use this model to select how to help a group make a successful transformation from an Old Status Quo to a New Status Quo. Table 1 summarizes my suggestions on how to help during each stage of the change model:



How to Help


Late Status Quo

Encourage people to seek improvement information and concepts from outside the group.



Help people to open up, become aware, and overcome the reaction to deny, avoid or blame.



Help build a safe environment that enables people to focus on their feelings, acknowledge their fear, and use their support systems. Help management avoid any attempt to short circuit this stage with magical solutions.



Offer reassurance and help finding new methods for coping with difficulties.


New Status Quo

Help people feel safe so they can practice.

Table 1. Actions for each stage that will help a group change more quickly and effectively.

The actions in Table 1 will help people cope. Actions that inhibit coping retards an organization's ability to make core changes. These organization are resisting the fundamental foreign element of change. But organizations that create a safe environment where people are encouraged to cope increase their capacity for change and are much more able to respond effectively to whatever challenges are thrown their way.

Comments or Questions?


Satir, Virginia, et. al., The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond, ISBN 0831400781, Science and Behavior Books, 1991.

Weinberg, Gerald M., Quality Software Management: Anticipating Change (Volume 4), ISBN 0932633323, Dorset House, 1997.


A special thank you to -- Jerry Weinberg and Dani Weinberg for introducing me to the work of Virginia Satir;  Jean McLendon for deepening my understanding about Satir's work; David Kiel for sharing his insight into the Change Model; Naomi Karten for editing and improving this article; and my family and friends for teaching me about change and supporting me during my change efforts.

© 2000-2008 Steven M. Smith

Other Change Models 

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