Change, Conflict and Community

Challenging Thought and Action


  • Barbara Kenton, Freelance HR Consultant and Director of WHooSH, Whole Systems Health, UK
  • Suzanne Penn, Independent facilitator, consultant and writer and lead tutor on the MSc in People and Organization Development Programme at the Roffey Park Institute.

The cost to business of unresolved conflicts is high; tribunals, loss of productivity, resignations and damaged reputations are serious consequences for all concerned. With increased organizational change in the form of changes in leadership, restructuring, downsizing, matrix management, mergers, acquisitions and systems changes comes increased political activity and the potential for either increased learning and growth or tension and unproductive conflict.Change agents, HR practitioners and managers need to be skilled at empowering others to use or resolve conflict effectively for a more productive working environment and greater employee satisfaction. Change, Conflict and Community takes readers through the essential theory and hands-on practice of working with change and conflict by considering:* How we can increase our understanding of the tensions that often exist when change is ever present in the organization* How to work more effectively with the dynamic relationship between change and conflict* How the idea of “community” can help us to work with the energy of change and human interactionBarbara Kenton is a freelance consultant and Director of WHooSH Whole Systems Health. She is an experienced consultant, mediator, facilitator, coach and trainer with over 25 years' experience as a manager and development specialist working with individuals, teams and organizations both in the UK and internationally. She has published a number of articles on the role of the internal consultant and challenges facing those in HR. She is a qualified workplace and community mediator.Suzanne Penn is an independent consultant, facilitator and coach with 20 years' experience in the HR and Organization Development field. She has worked as an internal and an external practitioner across all sectors and industries in the UK, mainland Europe and the US. A previous Assistant Director at Roffey Park Management Institute, she brings to this book particular expertise in leadership development, group facilitation, strategic HR and organizational change and culture. The HR SeriesThe HR Series is edited by Julie Beardwell, Principal Lecturer in Human Resource Management at DeMonfort University, and Linda Holbeche, Director of Research and Policy at CIPD, and is designed to plug the gap between theory and implementation. The books draw on live examples of strategic HR in practice and offer practical insights into how to transform individual and functional delivery to improve value-added. Intended for serious HR professionals who aspire to make a real difference within their organization, The HR Series provides resources to inform, empower and inspire the HR leaders of the future.
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HR OD and change practitioners; internal and external HR consultants.


Book information

  • Published: August 2008
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-8194-0


Seeing conflict and change as a source for learning might sound nice, but is hard to accept in the realities of our professional lives. Understanding change and how we deal with change on an individual and organisation level, is an important topic for managers, professionals and especially those of us who work in the area of learning and people development. I recommend this book to anyone who is as curious to improve our contribution to individual and organizational development Klaas Wassens, Director Executive Education & Development, RSM Erasmus University We cannot eradicate conflict and we cannot make change painless, but we can learn how to use natural tensions more constructively. This book offers new insights on the human side of change and helps business practitioners to understand that managing change is more than re-engineering a business process. Diane Moody, Head of Leadership and Change, ING Group

Table of Contents

List of FiguresList of TablesForewordAcknowledgementsChapter 1: IntroductionChapter 2: Making sense of changeChapter 3: Pattern pastChapter 4: Change and conflict – a chicken and egg debate?Chapter 5: Resolving conflictsChapter 6: From conflict to collaborationChapter 7: Learning through changeChapter 8: Energising the organisationChapter 9: Holistically healthy organisationsChapter 10:The bigger picture: communityIntroduction to Case StudiesCase studies1. Affinity Sutton2. Portsmouth NHS Trust3. Red Bee4. Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service5. O2 – “A better place”6. Organisational health from a Gestalt perspective7. A change agent’s story