Revisiting – Change Management

Prepared by Michael Ben – Eli, The Cybertec Consulting Group, Inc.

A Presentation to the Mitchell Madison Group

New York, June 1997

"Something very big has been going on in my particular generation's lifetime

where all the fundamental conditions of humanity are changing at an ever‑accelerating acceleration rate.”

  1. Buckminster Fuller
  2. Introduction
  3. Change
  4. Types of Change
  5. Obstacles to Managing Change
  6. Implications to Change Management
  7. Note on a Change Management Consulting Practice

1. Introduction

  • A review of concepts associated with change management is instructive and timely.
  • Fundamental changes in technology, macroeconomics and social circumstances, and a relentless competitive pressure, have been forcing a wave of major institutional transformations in both the public and private sectors.
  • Management and consulting interventions invariably relate to change, change from an existing to some other, desired state. The broad range of issues involving the management of change, however, makes it easy to confuse the significant with the trivial.
  • The term itself, "change management," has recently emerged as a dominant management buzzword. It has been used so broadly and liberally that the topic can benefit from some clarification.
  • There is a difference between the type of professional capacity needed for ongoing management, and the capacity required for orchestrating special efforts of major organizational transformations. Better understanding of the issues involved can contribute to more successful change efforts.

  • A review of change management literature reveals an increasing proliferation of theories with a sequence of titles, each gaining brief eminence, only to be replaced by "a new and better" approach.
  • From "theory Z" to total quality management; reengineering; downsizing; right sizing; business process reengineering; cultural change; turnarounds; gain sharing; outsourcing, and more.

  • The material is abundant with faddish, sound bite‑like, across‑the‑board suggestions:
  • "Hierarchy is dying. In the new corporate model, you manage across ‑ not up and down. Here is how.”

Business Week, December 20, 1993

  • "Forget what you know about how business should work ‑ most of it is wrong.”

Reengineering the Corporation, Hammer & Champy, 1993

  • It is filled with shallow, quick fix, "how‑to" prescriptions:
  • “10 surefire prescriptions for solving problems and effecting a total turnaround."

The Tumaround Prescription, Goldston, 1992

  • "A timely, graphically exciting volume, loaded with 'howtos' for mastering the new economy.”

The Tom Peters Seminar, Tom Peters, 1994

  • Pronouncements are not entirely devoid of validity, but are often incomplete, based on weak theoretical foundations and are potentially misleading.
  • Imprecise concepts and interchangeable terms abound.
  • A "one cause" orientation is common.
  • Potential for a “sorcerer's‑apprentice" syndrome, whereby a novice follows prescriptions blindly to disastrous results, looms large.

  • In spite of the general hype, many observers point to failing attempts at institutional transformations. Persistent questions remain:
  • Why is managing fundamental transitions difficult?
  • Why are results often disappointing?
  • Why do undesirable situations persist, at times resisting all efforts at change?
  • What can be done in order to improve these conditions?

  • There is a historic significance to management's current preoccupation with change. It is symptomatic of the underlying rate of technological, socio-economic and politcal developments that characterize our time.
  • Experiencing an era of fundamental historic transformations.
  • Condensed time frame ‑ accelerated rate of change.
  • Only likely to continue.
  • Provides opportunities for conscious interventions and for designs of preferred outcomes.

  • Against this background, the purpose of this presentation is four‑fold:
  • To go beyond specific management prescriptions and look at the question of change itself.
  • To suggest a conceptual framework for better understanding of issues underlying change situations.
  • To explore implications with regard to managing change processes.
  • To outline a concept for setting up a consulting practice focused on managing change.

2. Change

  • Change is a pervasive, intrinsic component of human experience.
    • Earliest conscious awareness of nature's cycles, seasons, movement of heavenly bodies, and life passages.
    • Formalized thinking with Greeks and arithmetic conceptualization of invariance.
    • Subject to continuous debate by philosophers and mathematicians ever since.

  • Concept evasive and paradoxical due to inherent relativity.
  • Constancy and change are inseparable.
  • Co‑define one another.
  • Revealed by comparison and contrast.
  • As in Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching: "When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty there arises the recognition of ugliness."

  • Approaches to change affected by cultural perspectives. Emphasis on either consistency, or change, as the basis for a view of the world.
    • Judeo‑Christian myth of creation:

…   No change after the seventh day.

…   Theory of Evolution considered heretical, even recently, in North America

  • Contrast with ancient Chinese perspective as embodied in the I Ching, (Book of Change):

…   Emphasis is on a dynamic view of the universe.

…   Constant transformations, within a set of constraints.

  • Such perceptions have a profound effect on the way people handle change situations.

  • An abstract operational formulation was advanced more recently by cybernetics, specifically by Ross Ashby’s theory of finite machines. In this formulation:
  • Basic elements in a change situation include an operand, acted on by an operator, to produce a transform.
  • A transformation event is thus defined by an entity, condition or situation, a decision rule and an end result.
  • No reference to actual embodiment, particular cause, or effect of time scale (e.g. incremental vs. continuous).
  • Different types of transformations are produced by different types of relationships between the three basic elements referred to above.

  • One immediate consequence is a fundamental distinction between two types of transformations:
    • Changing states under a given decision rule; and
    • Changing the decision rule itself.

3. Types of Change

  • The distinction between fundamentally different types of change is important in practical situations. A significant contribution in this regard is due to a definition proposed by Paul Watzlawick and colleagues, based on the mathematical Theory of Groups and the Theory of Logical Types. To paraphrase:
  • Theory of Groups deals with rules which govern membership in a class and transformations in the members, which do not affect the class. It provides a framework for thinking about change which occurs within a given system, that itself remains invariant.
  • Theory of Logical Types addresses issues concerning the distinction between components and wholes and the transformations from one class to another. It highlights cases which require discontinuity and a shift in logical level, where change occurs in the very nature of the system that is involved.
  • The two theories, this group of researchers suggests, provide a consistent, complementary basis for differentiating between two types of change: first-order change and second-order

  • A change within a system and a change of the system itself
  • In Ashby’s terms: a change from state to state under a given decision rule vs. a change in the prevailing decision rule
  • A change from one behavior to another within a way of behaving, vs., change in the way of behaving.
  • In familiar management terms the distinctions would be between:
  • Doing things right and doing the right thing.
  • Change in efficiency and change in effectiveness.
  • Change in how you do things and change in what you are doing in the first place.
  • The distinction between first and second order change is fundamental to management situations and it is critical to the selection of effective change strategies. It highlights two essentially different possibilities:
  • In one, solutions to problems can be generated by "internal" adjustments, while the system, in essence, remains unchanged.
  • In the other, internal possibilities are incapable of production the desired outcome. Here is required a deep metamorphosis in the very nature of the system itself.
  • Confusion between the two types of change is common and quite often, first-order change strategies are applied to situations which require second-order change.
  • Most change situations call for a mixture of first-order and second-order change strategies.
  • The logical distinction between the two should always be kept firmly in mind.
  • Confusing the two can compound difficulties and produce the opposite of intended results.
  • The concepts of first and second-order change are applicable partially (a department, a division) or to an organization as a whole.
  • The concept of second‑order change, in particular, defines the nature of issues related to radical institutional transformations and highlights the paradoxical nature of many of the difficulties which are typical to major change efforts. 
  • In an institutional context, second-order change would characteristically require simultaneously addressing issues in a number if different dimensions. These would include:
  • Underlying vision
  • Institutional mission
  • Product and service mix
  • Organization, management and prevailing institutional culture
  • Resources requirement
  • Operational modalities

4.  Obstacles to Managing Change


  • Change — second-order change — in particular, is often difficult to navigate. Change circumstances can be disorienting, uncertain and threatening. 
  • Four distinct but closely interrelated factors are critical to difficulties that underlie the management of change. They include:
  • The "complexity” factor
  • The "epistemic” factor
  • The "structural” factor
  • The "inertia, or “vested‑interest” factor
  1. The Complexity Factor
  • Change management processes occur in the context of human affairs, an exceedingly complex, dynamic domain where complete understanding of all the factors involved is all but impossible. There are a number of theoretical reasons for this:
  • Systemic nature: The systemic nature of organizations and of the socio‑economic and political context within which they operate is characterized by a large number of variables and by multiple interactions. These systemic characteristics make accurate predictions, even of major events, genuinely difficult.
  • Irreducibility: The fundamentally irreducible nature of systems has been brought to light by General Systems
  • Theory and cybernetics. The central idea pertains to the synergetic characteristics of "wholes" which are more than the simple sum of their parts. This aspect rules out linear, simple minded approaches to the understanding and management of complex systems.
  • Historical Dependence: Behavior of businesses, institutions and all forms of social organizations is conditioned by their past, by their experience. They are able to learn. They behave like "non‑trivial, finite state machines" in the sense proposed by Heinz von Foerster, referring to a class of systems who’s behavior depends on their past. This “historical dependency” produces a particular type of indeterminacy whereby the system's response, observed at a particular moment, may not reoccur under a similar “stimulus” applied at a later stage.
  • Reflexivity: Yet another type of uncertainty relates to the fact that managers are typically "participants‑observers". They are actors in the very situation they attempt to understand and control. This theoretical concept has important practical implications. George Soros, for example, has recognized this particular characteristic with respect to the behavior of markets where participants' perceptions influence market behavior only to be influenced, in turn, by market events. This type of uncertainty is rooted in Heisenberg's "uncertainty Principle" of quantum mechanics. Contrary to the orthodox position that stipulates the separation of the observer from the observed, this principle highlights the fundamental interference of observation with observed phenomena and the particular uncertainty which this interference entails.

  • All these theoretical considerations are of great practical significance. Using a reductionist, linear approach when dealing with systems is common to management at all levels. It is, however, fundamentally and logically flawed. The impulse to treat complex systems as simple, clock-like machines is always seductive but it can greatly distort the relationships between intentions, interventions and outcomes. In fact, it often exacerbates the very conditions that it tries to resolve.


Examples for this particular syndrome, where a reductionist view, analysis, or policy is applied to complex phenomena with disappointing results, abound.  Below are a few selected illustrations, some from our own consulting experience:


−     “Cooperative Care at New York University's Medical Center: A program designed to reduce the costs of hospitalization ignores potential systemic impacts which could, in fact, substantially increase the cost of care.


−        Management of water level fluctuations in the Great Lakes Basin: A linear engineering perspective drives a mitigation strategy, which could greatly exacerbate impacts of flooding, as revealed by a holistic systems view.


−        Business process reengineering, as applied unsuccessfully in numerous turnarounds, puts emphasis on “hard,” process-related factors while ignoring “softer” issues of human behavior and value.


−        “Sophisticated analytical methods applied to the management of the war in Vietnam, leaves out intangible factors, such as motivation, determination and  stubborn drive, with disastrous results.


−     “Ludwig's Folly,” — Clearing the rain forest, the planting of imported, “superior” pulp-producing trees, and the inevitable failure of the Jari project in Brazil.


−        Industrial development, hydroelectric dams and the failure of resettlement policies, when planners overlooked the flooding of sacred trees harboring the spirits of village ancestors, in Ghana.


−        Modernization efforts involving the introduction of mechanical pumps to water wells, increase in cattle herds size, and consequent desertification in the Sub‑Sahara


−        Reductionist economic and development policies and the destruction of the global environment.


−        Antibiotics, drug resistance and the accelerated evolution of more virulent new organisms.


  1. The Epistemic Factor

  • Another set of difficulties in managing significant change situations relates to persistent "mental models" and the limitations inherent to knowledge and language. The theoretical basis to this limitation is rooted in mathematical logic, specifically, in Godel's Incompleteness Theorem:
  • The theorem states that all languages are defective in the special sense that there are limitations on propositions about a given language, which can be expressed in that language.
  • Attempts by a language to resolve its own propositions produce paradoxical situations as in the familiar statement of Epimenides the Cretan who declares that all Cretans are liars.
  • Such undecidable propositions require the use of a "meta‑language." As Stafford Beer, the British Cybernetician, has shown, a solution can only emerge from the "outside" based on additional premises and concepts not available in the original case.
  • Thus, in a dynamic world, where underlying conditions are changing, old stereotypes of language give rise to paradoxes and to undecidable propositions. These require a paradigm shift in order to be resolved.

  • The concept of "paradigm shift" is credited to Thomas Kuhn, who studied the advent of scientific revolutions and situations in which one conceptual world-view is replaced by another. In such situations, the established tenets of a heretofore successful theory fail to account for some new experimental evidence, and a significant, creative shift is required in underlying premises and criteria for explanation. Examples include:
  • Ptolemaic astronomy and Copernicus' heliocentric revolution.
  • Aristotle's theory of motion and Galileo's theory of failing bodies.
  • Newton's classical physics and Einstein's theory of relativity.

  • The requirement for a paradigm shift is typical to all second-order transformations. The concept is, obviously, of general validity. It can be identified in myriad experiences and contexts including various religious and mystical traditions. For example:
  • The rabbinical commentary on Exodus and the idea that forty years of wandering in the desert were required in order to rid the Hebrews of a generation infused with salve‑mentality, before entering the promised land.
  • The employment of various techniques by many different traditions, designed to alter state of consciousness and jolt the mind from the traps of conventional reality, producing thereby the quantum jump that is associated with “enlightenment.”

  • Other situations can receive a similar interpretation. In her book, The March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman demonstrated how ruling establishments, in the face of changes in underlying historical conditions, can sometimes pursue a set of accepted policies with great vigor, obtaining results that are contrary to intended objectives. Her case studies include the following:
  • Decades of Renaissance Popes ignoring pleas for church reforms which brought about an ultimate break in Christendom with the advent of Protestant secession.
  • The case of England's George III and his government who, in spite of the obvious and rising discontent of their subjects, pursued oppressive policies which lost them the American colonies.
  • The United States involvement in Vietnam, with the steady expansion of the war effort, following deeply entrenched policies with ever‑mounting losses, until the final collapse.

  • In all these cases a similar scenario is being played out. Invariably, the challenge is that of producing a second order change in mind set. Typically:
  • A system is trapped by a set of conventions, unable to produce an effective solution from within its existing frame of reference.
  • The "blind‑spot" syndrome that is typically involved is particularly difficult to overcome because the system is not only blinded by the governing epistemology to new data, it is also blind to the very fact that it is blind.
  • Moreover, this type of trap is usually associated with mechanisms which automatically reject all evidence that is contrary to accepted norms. At times this rejection can be expressed with great violence directed at the promoters of change who appear deviant by definition.

  • All these characteristics converge to make it difficult for an epistemic community to transcend itself. Albert Einstein echoed the nature of this difficulty when he wrote:

"The problems we are facing cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

  • Businesses and other organizations show evidence of the very same quandary in cases where new solutions require transcending existing frames of reference, a requirement that is often made all but impossible to achieve by a prevailing culture and by existing procedures and rules. Moreover, a history of previous success can foster a combination of complacency and arrogance which often prevents management from seeing the need and taking appropriate actions in time.


Again, a few selected examples:


·       Assis Ltd., a citrus-products processing company in Israel: A mile-stone in the company’s life cycle and the failure of a provincial, local mindset to pursue a global opportunity.

·       Government officials managing science at Canada's Ministry of the Environment: the rift of incompatible cultures and the call for privatizing government research laboratories.

·       Medical education and medical practice: A powerfully established mind-set and the perpetuation of a disease oriented mode, as distinct from an orientation towards prevention and wellness.

·         Situations of conflict in interpersonal relationships and in relationships between groups and nations, where solutions are sought in the argument rather than in a level which transcends it.

·       Crises in dominant, leading companies, as in the cases of GM, Chrysler, IBM, Revlon and countless others, where a successful, well established management culture consistently overlooked the need for deep change.



iii. The Structural Factor

  • In their now classical paper of 1943, Behavior, Purpose and Teleology, Norbert Wiener and his colleagues established the connection between the output of purposeful systems ‑ their behavior – and their internal structure. The latter, as it turns out, relate to underlying mechanisms of feedback nature, an idea which became a central tenet of cybernetics. There are a number of significant implications to this:
  • Fundamentally different behavior would require a different underlying structure.
  • Feedback homeostatic mechanisms which characterize purposeful behavior are, by their very nature, resistant to change. They work to preserve a particular status quo.
  • From the view point of change management an especially significant type of structural homeostasis relates to the case in which the condition that is being maintained is the organization itself.

  • A few important change-related difficulties emerge, accordingly, in relation to this “structural” factor:
  • The inherent tendency to trigger an automatic, compensatory response to any attempt at changing existing structures, seeking to return to the starting position.
  • The fact that, more often than not, a new and different structure is called for, in order to support new performance requirements and goals.
  • The incidence of pervasive cases in which fundamental change is attempted without changing the existing organization.

  • Individually as well as collectively we are circumscribed by our organizations and their underlying structures, much as we are by the very language we employ.
  • Existing institutional homeostatic mechanisms have to be neutralized or replaced if the objectives of change are to be achieved and sustained.
  • Organizational architecture and the design of alternative structures must always be a central component of change management efforts.
  • In particular, the different requirements of ongoing management processes, and special efforts of managing fundamental transitions, must be recognized and embodied, respectively, in different supporting structures.

Examples of difficulties associated with the structural factor, where an underlying      organization is incompatible with desired objectives, or where structural tendencies to resist change are ignored, are numerous too:


o   The Great Lakes water level management: attempting to manage a regional system with fragmented, local, multiple foci of governance and control.


o   The Global Environment Facility: redesign for effective international cooperation, aligning a decision making structure with pluralistic development goals.


o   Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York: Historically fragmented organization and a design for a unifying corporate structure.


o   International multilateral organizations: global objectives and structural arrangements which reflect, primarily, competing national goals.


o   Violent reactions to attempts at far reaching reforms.  The Shah of Iran, accelerated modernization program, and the reactionary swing to orthodoxy.


o   Jean‑Claude Trichet, governor of the Bank of France, expresses desire to install American style entrepreneurship in Europe, without "American style capitalism.” (International Herald Tribune, January 22, 1997).



  1. The Inertia or Vested-interest Factor

  • Inertia is a general characteristic of systems, and both living and non‑living systems exhibit various modes of resistance to change:
  • Physical bodies resist change in position or motion.
  • Life preserving conditions are maintained by physiological homeostatic mechanisms that restore deviations from critical norms.
  • Similar mechanisms operate at different levels of biological and man‑made organizations where they operate to secure the repetition of successful precedence.

  • In the special case of human social systems, both language and structure – both epistemic communities and existing organizational arrangements – are embodied in a system of benefits which reinforce a strong interest in preserving a status quo. Thus:
  • Any existing order benefits some interest or group of interests.
  • The link between personal interests and organizational prerogatives can prove to be particularly stubborn in resisting change.

  • This basic feature of organizational life needs to be addressed with every significant change effort. "Evolution" or "revolution" are invariably the two available strategies:
  • The first seeks to bring about change by resolving a situation of competing, at times seemingly irreconcilable interests, by producing acceptable "win/win" solutions. The signing of the Magna Carta, with its consequent sharing of power, is an instructive historical example.
  • The other relies on forcing change by the use of some mode of coercion, often violent, where entrenched interests refuse to budge. Examples are furnished by the French, Russian and other revolutions.

  • The factor of vested‑interest becomes particularly significant when a manager, bureaucrat, monarch, or government, controls a reform process, in the course of which they, themselves, become the target of change.


Examples of needs for reform clashing with prevailing, well entrenched interests are numerous:


o      The abolition of slavery and plantation owners in America's South.

o      Land use reform and governing elites of land owners, in many developing countries.

o      A ruler, Mobutu of Zaire, in a recent example, negotiating his own overthrow – Agreeing to leave while insisting, for a while, on maintaining influence from a distance.

o      Management-related tensions, between “corporate” and departmental prerogatives.

o      Short‑term interests of shareholders and long‑term interests of society.

5.  Implications to change Management

  • Second‑order change interventions occur in the context of complex systems, embedded in a dynamic, complex world. In this context all the four factors described in the foregoing combine to make the task of major organizational transformations genuinely demanding.
  • All four factors combine to preclude a linear, simplistic perspective.
  • Typical second‑order transformations require a systemic, multi‑level, multi‑dimensional approach, tackling all facets of organizational issues comprehensively, including the "hard" (restructuring) and the "soft" (human interactions and values).
  • There is required a demanding balancing act between stability and change; order and freedom; autonomy and integration; tradition and innovation; planning and laissez‑faire.
  • By definition circumstances mean operating in uncharted territory, with little instructive precedence and no manuals or accurate road maps.
  • Gearing for the long haul is essential (see Robert Allen and the story of AT&T). The effort required can be anything but a simple, quick fix.

  • Under such circumstances, standardized prescriptions are necessarily suspect. What is required is genuine innovation, critical judgment and a customized approach.
  • Major institutional transformations are never merely a technical matter.
  • Determining what needs to be done is only one part of the effort. Skillful implementation is crucial as well.
  • Successful change calls for a heavy dose of essentially qualitative aspects including a unique combination of imagination, enthusiasm, courage, commitment, persistence, and drive.

  • Three primary elements appear to characterize successful change management efforts. They include the requirement for comprehensiveness, coherence and creativity, a combination that is not common in institutional life.
  • The requirement for comprehensiveness pertains to the fact that a whole range of institutional aspects must come under simultaneous consideration. They encompass:

…   First: Value related issues including over all vision and  underlying purpose

…Second: Core business‑related issues including products, services and markets.

…   Third: Resource‑related issues including financing, technology, physical infrastructure and human capital.

… Fourth: management and organization issues including institutional culture and leadership style, organizational structure, roles, reporting relationships, management processes, and procedures and rules.

  • The requirement for coherence pertains to the need for internal consistency, functional alignment and mutually reinforcing initiatives, all of which must be appropriate – both with respect to a real strategic advantage and to a genuine institutional capacity to absorb the proposed change.
  • The requirement for creativity pertains to the orchestration of a myriad of issues, at different levels and at the appropriate times. It relates to such considerations as the scope of initiatives, intensity of efforts, sequence of activities, and relationships between events. It also pertains to the need to balance numerous political, strategic and operational considerations, and ultimately to the ability to actually produce the required shift in institutional paradigm.

  • These three elements of comprehensiveness, coherence and creativity constitute the essential prerequisites which underlie all the other more specific demands for the effective management of change. These include:
  • A galvanizing image of a desirable end result
  • A compelling purpose
  • An effective leadership
  • A motivating milieu
  • A winning strategy
  • A specially created organizational structure in support of the change effort itself
  • A well orchestrated process
  • A combination of perseverance and flexibility with the ability to correct initiatives in mid‑course

  • In the life of organizations of all kinds, circumstances which require second‑order change are perceived as periods of threatening crisis. They are also times of great opportunity ‑- for redirection, rejuvenation and renewal.

  • Quality and integrity in intention and in execution is critical. Ultimately there are no shortcuts to long‑term excellence, as it has been said long ago:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."


6.      Note on a Change Management Consulting Practice

  • "Change management" has emerged as a major current trend in management consulting, and change management practices have been established by most large international consulting firms and by many boutique operations.
  • Some have simply re‑packaged familiar activities under a new banner.
  • Many focus on specific issues, or classes of issues, such as information technology, organizational behavior and other specialized functions.
  • There are different practice modalities, different arrangements within firms and in general, a state of flux in the myriad approaches.
  • Few seem to offer a comprehensive service in support of top management involved in complete second‑order institutional transformation.

  • A simple matrix can be used to represent the possible range of change-related consulting activities. It is constructed with two axes depicting types change on one side, and institutional scope of change, on the other. Typical consulting activities can be placed in the four boxes which result.




Relative Institutional Scope
Partial Whole

Type of Change

Transformation which
changes the nature
of major components
Complete institutional
transformation and change in
the very nature of the enterprise
Improvements on
specific existing practices
Improvements in practice
across institutional components

  • Support for "whole," second order institutional transformations offers attractive possibilities for a consulting practice and there are compelling reasons for moving to exploit this particular niche.
  • Most observers suggest that the major factors which underlie the pressures on organizations to change are very likely to continue and if anything, become more pronounced.
  • Consulting support for second‑order whole institutional change required a unique combination of skills, not easily available, and a rapid development of a competent, preeminent practice in this area could provide for a winning advantage.
  • The economic opportunities in making significant contributions to successful transformations can be considerable. In less than five years since 1992, for example, restructuring efforts at IBM resulted in approximately $40 billion gain in the company's market value.

  • Typical client opportunities for support of complete organizational transformation would be limited to the following typical cases:
  • Basically successful organizations where management anticipates the need for a fundamental transformation.
  • Organizations in difficulty, requiring crisis intervention and a thorough reform.
  • Some cases of mergers where similar conditions exist.


  • A practice dedicated to assisting management in complete institutional transformations would be designed to support the complex, high‑risk, non‑routine aspects that are typically involved.
  • Its areas of competence would include a wholistic, systems perspective; technical analytical skills; diagnosis and strategic synthesis capabilities; and expertise in organizational design, organizational behavior and process management.
  • It would also provide a pivotal orchestrating role, assisting in the integration of all myriad specific initiative which would typically be required.


  • Such a practice would be designed with the following characteristics:
  • Support to top management.
  • Limited number of simultaneous assignments.
  • Seasoned, multidisciplinary team.
  • Skill in navigating through unfamiliar circumstances.
  • Relatively low leverage of junior level talent, with high value‑added emphasis.
  • High level of billing partially tied to actual results.


  • While demanding, a practice developed along these lines could provide a number of attractive possibilities.
  • It would provide opportunities for helping in the resolution of difficult organizational cases.
  • It would provide an intensive, varied, potentially lucrative professional challenge.
  • It could contribute to advances in management theory and management practice.

  • In particular, it could provide opportunities for experimenting with the design of future‑oriented organizations, vested with the intrinsic ability to learn and adapt to changing events, thus insuring that the cost of political, social and economic transformations can be minimized.


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