I have read plenty of change management books and invariably there are two types: 1. those that focus on theory and collate/regurgitate word by word what has already been told by other academics and authors; 2. or those who are focused on practice (what i have noticed is that these books are usually very light in content and tell stories like father Christmas and the elves. No I am not joking). This is a refreshing book: the author is a very well known change management expert and tried to find the balance between the theoretical and the practical side. I like that he included also chapters on the human element of change and on communication. The only downside is that sometimes the book gets a little bit hard to digest when the author spends time on the teoretical part. After finishing a chapter the sensation is more often than not "OK so what's the point?" as there are so many theories crammed together that it is not clear what is the posiiton of the authot. Overall a good book, especially if you buy the more affordable paperback version. COuld be improved if the focus was on what the author thinks rather than a list of theories with a sprinkle of "how to"
We've received this book as our main material during the Strategic Change Management module at my Executive MBA and I must say that is beautifully written, with loads of insights, case studies and theories. I highly recommend it and see behind those areas when academic references might put you off a little. This book is essential for managers who need to implement change and a good source of information about employees psychology on a daily basis. Enjoy your reading.
The preface to this book says it was "originally written for practicing managers and for M.B.A. students and others who have considerable experience of working in organizations." That is a great goal, but make no mistake: this is a textbook, with all the good and bad that term implies. On the positive side, it means that author John Hayes is extremely expert, complete and methodical. He defines all the terms, summarizes all the research, and breaks all the chapters into units complete with case studies, diagrams and concluding summaries. On the negative side, it means this book can be very slow-going in spots, the style is sometimes academic and, especially in the early chapters, the author tends to emphasize broad theoretical frameworks rather than tools you can apply immediately. Hayes does get to specific suggestions later in the book and they are quite useful, but getAbstract recommends his comprehensive tome primarily to students of change management and to patient practitioners. Those who want to learn change management will come away far better informed, but not without working at it.
Change fails over 90% of the time according to Fortune magazine. In October 2007 the Hay Group published research that showed 97% of M&As in the UK and 91% in the EU fail to deliver on the strategic objectives expected. Often the failure comes from a less than ideal focus on leadership and the people aspects of change.
These figures suggest that people and organisations need all the help they can get. So could this book help?
John Hayes is Professor of Management at Leeds University Business School where he teaches change and organisation behaviour. The title immediately overcomes the potential barrier of an academic textbook in that the "practice" aspects are much more widespread than the 2002 edition. It includes material on practical interventions which engage people across the organisation rather than just the change initiator or their team. The other "growth area" is around the "soft skills for hard results" in terms of the stakeholder and leadership aspects together with managing relationships during the process of change.
Throughout the book there is a blend of the academic models, many of which will be familiar to MBAs together with illustrative case studies from Asda, BBC, etc as well as the public sector. These are complemented by reflective exercises which enable the practitioner and the commissioning manager/leader to take a holistic approach to the design of any intervention. All of these will help fill the gaps and abysses into which many change programmes fall.
So, who is the book for?
The immediate answer is for anyone who takes the process and success of change seriously, in that it addresses both the surface and deeper aspects - the latter often given insufficient attention hence the low success rate.
For the change and OD practitioner who wants a comprehensive reference in one place it is an everyday resource to have to hand. Certainly this is "must have" book for the corporate library.
For the practicing manager, whilst very readable, at 400 pages, it is perhaps too long to use in its entirety and is best used accessed by the relevant chapters.
For those of us who, as consultants, are helping organisations and teams through change this is a more accessible and practical book than many of the alternatives. I have certainly found the book a beneficial reminder and refresher of the do's and don'ts for success.
This is a very solid book, and well written. If you are after an encyclopedic review of lots of change materials, all properly referenced then this may well be the book for you. It is certainly more accessible than some other academic books on the subject. However, if you are after pratical guidance of delivering change then I think this is less likely to work for you - it is not that the advice is not here, there is lots and lots here, but it is hard to make it into a cohesive view for a change manager of "so what should I do now?".
The Theory and Practise of Change Management. The good bits: Referencing at the end of each section and chapter. This make lifting a quote for further reading easy as it avoids traveling to the back of the book every time. The not so good bits: Type font is poor, As this is core reading for the degree programme i am on, I thought thatit would facilitate those like myself with vision difficulties by printing in a font such as arial and not new roman. The writing style takes several reads to get the information digested. The price, hate it as i had to but it. Overall: I am not sure that if you have picked up this book just to familise yourself with the subject if you would survive more than a couple of pages before going elsewhere. If you are reading it professionaly, you will struggle though and discover that it is well referenced and does balance arguments with pleanty of theory.
Having studied under John at the Leeds University Business School, this review could seem somewhat biased, but the actual fact is that now I'm in business his theories can really be put into practice and I believe that anyone would find his work interesting and implementable.
The theory of punctuated equilibriums is especially interesting. I highly recommend this book as one to read end-to-end or as a tool/reference.
As a MBA kiddie, I found the book a great reference.
Having to work hard to achieve what is expected academically, it is an excellent tool, the way the units are laid within the chapters, research, graphs, summaries and conclusions and more important case studies.
To a practitioner it may be slow moving or hard to understand at times but one has to work hard to understand or move on until relevant is met. Since John Hayes is an expert that he is, the book is complete and comprehensive so one needs to be working hard at it or have great deal of experience.