Understanding Change

1st Edition

Theory, Implementation and Success

Authors: Linda Holbeche
Paperback ISBN: 9780750663410
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 20th October 2005
Page Count: 432


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Table of Contents

Introduction; The Changing Context and the Impact of Change: Beyond ‘white water’; Drivers for change in the business environment; The impact of change on organizations; The impact of change on people; Change and Organizational Theory: The evolution of organization theory; What is a high performance?; Change theory; Organizational culture (or what is it we’re trying to change anyway?); Creating a ‘change-able’ organization; Bringing About Change: Organizational development; Leaders as change agents; Leading transformational change; Communications in change; Radical change; Managing the people aspects of implementation; Transforming the Human Resources function; Conclusion: evaluating change; References; Index.


Change is now so commonplace that people no longer talk in terms of the "whitewater epoch". Every sector of the economies of the developed world has experienced huge swathes of change in the last decade of the twentieth century alone. Increased global competition, aided and abetted by technological advances, has led many organizations to seek to re-invent themselves in the hope of being able to survive and thrive. In mature sectors in particular, where the pace of consolidation is accelerating, organizations have had little option but to grow through acquisition or be absorbed. Whether the change is labelled "continuous process improvement", "restructuring", "downsizing" or re-engineering", to employees, change usually brings with it added pressures, job insecurity and a consequent loss of commitment to the organization.

Understanding Change: theory, implementation and success argues that strategic change in the new millennium will be geared increasingly to achieving sustainable high performance, rather than just short-term gains. Most theorists now agree that the real challenge of change lies in gaining employees" willingness to commit to the change effort. Change leaders at every level need to be able to understand the elements at work in any change process, and to use judgement about the style of leadership required to give the change effort the best chance of success.

Understanding Change: theory, implementation and success provides an overview of change and organizational theory, leading in particular to the author"s definition of the "input" elements of the high performance organisation, based on extensive research into UK and international organisations. It also contains a section looking at the management of change, with case studies illustrating approaches to managing change which are conducive to achieving sustainable high performance.


Key Features

  • Defines the 'high performance organization' and discusses the impact of change on the business environment
  • Offers tools and solutions for managing change and guidelines on how to achieve sustainable high performance
  • Outlines change and organizational theory in a structured and thought-provoking way
  • Text is based on extensive research on UK and international organizations


HR Professionals and OD specialists; Change Agents; Line Managers; Students taking Chartered Management Institute units on Recruitment and Selection, Managing Performance. MBA and Post Graduate courses.


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About the Authors

Linda Holbeche Author

Linda Holbeche is Research and Policy Director at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Linda is responsible for leading the CIPD’s extensive management research programme and the translation of that knowledge into practice for the benefit of all those involved in the management and development of people. She heads a 40 strong team, including 12 expert research advisers, and is a key spokesperson and advocate for the people management and development profession, in the media and in relations with government and other opinion formers. Linda was previously with the Work Foundation where she was Director of Leadership and Consultancy and prior to this she was Director of Research and Strategy at Roffey Park Institute for 12 years.

Affiliations and Expertise

Research and Policy Director, Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), UK