Coming Even Clearer about Organizational Change (2003) by Jerry Patterson. Book Review by Erica Hawkins and Matt Priest


Types of Organizational Changes:

It is inevitable that change will occur in any organization, which alters the current way systems function to move its people and productivity towards improvement. Various levels of change have specific impacts within an organization. Cultural change refers to a change in practice based on the beliefs that are valued by the staff. Pocket changes only impact small groups of individuals, not an entire district, such as a building initiative. Compliance change is directed from top leaders, sometimes at the state or federal level of education, and is imposed with little to no input from staff. Event changes are typically new initiatives that do not connect to the vision or mission of the district and phase out with minimal impact to the organization. Regardless of the level of change imposed on an organization, resilient leaders prepare for any and all changes to happen to avoid the detrimental effects of adversity.

Effective Leaders Facing Organizational Change:

The dynamics of leading organizational culture stem from a strong commitment to a leader’s core values, doing what is promised, and acting in a way that models what you say and believe.  The shared values and beliefs among staff is what influences the culture of an organization. Leaders should always have a finger on the pulse of their organization to gage the status of the culture and if it aligns with its belief statements to stay true to its mission and the district’s vision. To remain resilient during times of change that may impose on the organization’s values, leaders must continuously monitor and adjust the goals of the organization to avoid cultural drifts.

Harsh Realities About People:

Individuals who make up an organization are the core of its functionality. Various realities of how people function within an organizational system can contribute to its ability to function smoothly or create difficulties in the face of adversity. The harsh realities about people is that most act out of self-interest; they question the reason for change; change is viewed as painful, not an opportunity to grow; they don’t trust the motives of those initiating change; and they feel victimized by change.

Harsh Realities About Organizations:

Harsh realities also reside in organizations as a whole. Most organizations are not run rationally; they protect the status quo; change is event driven; change is expected with little conflict; and the realities that face organizations are typically denied or ignored.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        How to Build Resilience for Yourself and Others Facing Change:

As a leader of organizational change, strengthening resilience in others and yourself will lead to greater gains when dealing with adversity. To strengthen and build on the capacity of your staff to be resilient change agents, leaders must have high expectations for students and staff; create a supportive climate to build its culture; and help move people during times of change from what is familiar to future changes that will allow individual growth. To increase your own resistance as a leader, it’s imperative to stay focused on your core values, act on the courage of your convictions, and attempt to stay positives in spite of adversity. Overall, everyone in the organization needs clarity, choice, and hope when faced with any type of organizational change to remain resilient even in the most difficult times.


One response to “Coming Even Clearer about Organizational Change (2003) by Jerry Patterson. Book Review by Erica Hawkins and Matt Priest

  1. While doing my research on the lifelong learning topic I noticed that change has become a constant feature and it is difficult to understand the lifelong learning phenomenon without giving some thought and understanding the organizational change process.
    This post made me think about the different ways organizational change and changes on different levels of our economy and society have been influencing our ideas about education and the phenomenon of lifelong learning itself.
    If I understood correctly, the lifelong learning can be perceived as a cultural change as well as a compliance change, because it is driven by the people who believe in the self evident good of education/learning and self development, as well as those who are making it become a currency on the labour market and create the called ” global classroom” as Illich and Verne put it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s