Addressing and Leading Change

Addressing and Leading Change

Lesley Farmer (California State University-Long Beach, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0062-1.ch002
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Abstract

Change occurs at several levels within any system: the individual, a group, and the system as a whole. At each level, internal or external factors can drive change (although internal factors are usually responses to outside factors). Change can be viewed in terms of the changer and the entity being changed. The theories of change can be approached in several ways: change theory (defining change), change in terms of the process itself (what occurs), levels of change (noting group dynamics), and change agency (catalyst for change). Technology adds another dimension to the change process since it explicitly entails technical skill and the affective domain.
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Introduction

Education is closely linked to change. Education exists in a world of change, and needs to prepare students to deal with the change that they experience and hopefully facilitate. Education itself is changing more quickly than ever due to internal and external forces Especially as technology’s role in education expands, the issue of change becomes paramount. Educational leaders in particular need to deal with change, and serve as change agents.

Change occurs at several levels within any system: the individual, a group, and the system as a whole. At each level, internal or external factors can drive change (although internal factors are usually responses to outside factors). Change can be viewed in terms of the changer and the entity being changed. The theories of change can be approached in several ways: change theory (defining change), the change in terms of the process itself (what occurs), change agency (catalyst for change), and change management. This chapter provides representative studies on the change process as it relates to educational leadership and technology.

Definition and Basic Information

Bend or break. Change or die. Change is a necessary process for survival. Schwatz and Ewald, 1968 defined changed as “a never ending process of readjustment and re-adaptation, as man responds behaviorally to ever changing circumstances” (p. 454). Such change may be internal, such as a person’s decision to stop smoking; or external, such as globalization or an earthquake. An individual or a group, including a organization, might change.

Hohn (1998) discussed four types of changes:

  • 1.

    Exception: A specific change that is an exception to the rule of one’s knowledge or belief system.

  • 2.

    Incremental: Change that happens so gradually that the individual is not aware of it.

  • 3.

    Pendulum: Change to results in extreme exchanges of viewpoints.

  • 4.

    Paradigm: Fundamental rethinking of premises and assumptions.

These types may be considered in terms of degrees or orders. Change may be shallow, such as moving to a different office but keeping the same position; or deep, such as coping with a loss of legs. Generally, the greater the change, the harder it is to make the change, but once made, reverting back is less common.

Bergquist (1993) defined first-order change is an adjustment within an existing structure, similar to Hohn’s concept of exception or incremental change. Bergquist contended that learning is not required at the first order of change, and that the goal is homeostatis or a restoration of balance. Second-order change is irreversible, requiring a new perspective and learning. A third-order of change is a fundamental disruption that requires changing the framework of belief and action. Rather than an evolution, such change is revolutionary. Third-order change most resembles Hohn’s paradigm change. Hohn’s pendulum change fits well with the complex adaptation system model, which is explained below.

Change is evolutionary, according to Popper (1979). He thought that change was a result of adjusting in response to feedback. Popper also asserted that all change was social, in that a person changed only as influenced by others; in the same manner, Popper also argued that a person could influence organizational change. Context is vital in either case.

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