Managing Change is a Human Process which Intervention Approaches Often Ignore

  • Melvyn Chapman


Successful intervention when managing change is affected by technical, social and personal factors. Whilst the technical aspects of intervention are well covered by methodologies and the social aspects of values are beginning to be covered, the way distorted communications affect change management at the personal and social levels is still at issue (Flood and Jackson, 1991, p. 189). Many intervention approaches are primarily technical and are consequently too mechanistic to deal with distorted communications arising out of different worldviews, for example, hard systems methodologies. Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology is a typical hard information systems methodology which concentrates on mainly technical aspects and treats information as having meaning only within very limited contexts. Soft systems methodologies, for example, Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology (Checkland, 1981) although incorporating values arising out of different worldviews, does not consider whether the participants, or culture in which they operate, adversely affect the communication process (Flood and Jackson, 1991, p. 188). One problem with both of these approaches is that the content of communications is favoured over the process of communications, with the result that the former maybe derived unequally because the participants possess unequal power. There is no theory within the approaches governing whether the communication process is rationally driven and this allows the charge to be made that non rational factors can distort the communication process. It is suggested here that a more effective approach can be obtained by using management approaches with other methodologies in a complementary manner. Such methodologies should inform participants about the limitations of their own communication and be able to allow adjustment prior to using harder methodologies.


Technical Aspect Communication Process System Methodology Soft System Methodology Unequal Power 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melvyn Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Engineering and Information TechnologyUniversity of Lincolnshire and HumbersideHullUK

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