Strategies for Large System Change

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The focus of this article is on assisting large organization change through consultative or training interventions. As used below, “client” refers to an organization’s leader(s) and “consultant” refers to the intervenor or change facilitator. Note that the consultant can come from within or from outside the organization. Intervention is defined here as behavior which affects the ongoing social processes of a system. These processes include: 1. Interaction between individuals. 2. Interaction between groups. 3. The procedures used for transmitting information, making decisions, planning actions, and setting goals. 4. The strategies and policies guiding the system, the norms, or the unwritten ground rules or values of the system. 5. The attitudes of people toward work, the organization, authority, and social values. 6. The distribution of effort within the system. Interventions can affect any one or several of these processes. The first part of this article describes a model of diagnosis and strategy planning which has had high utility for the author during the past several years. The second part examines a number of actual strategies in organization and large system change and the issues of where to begin change and how to maintain change.

Strategies for Large System Change’, RichardBeckhardSloan Management Review, 16 (2) (1975): 43–56. From MIT Sloan Management Review. © 1975 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services. Reprinted with permission.
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