Reviewed by Laura Lunsford, Associate Professor, University of Arizona, on 1/8/2016.
The text is targeted at executives and is written in a more popular voice than an academic text. The chapters appear to cover content related to
Comprehensiveness rating: 5 read less
The text is targeted at executives and is written in a more popular voice than an academic text. The chapters appear to cover content related to change for this audience. A figure in the first chapter presents a model for thinking about change and the chapters each discuss the related 8 factors that relate to organizational change. Thus, the book covers a comprehensive model related to organizational capacity for change. The sections on 'practice' come across as 'preachy' in parts - this section would have benefitted from reflection questions or suggestions for how leaders might practice the named skills.
Accuracy rating: 4
There is room for a more critical lens. For example in chapter 2 the author mentions CEO salaries are so high because of a belief that 'change agents are rare' and yet the literature shows no connection between high salaries and organizational outcomes. A more critical stance on these and related points would strengthen the work. There are sufficient citations for the content that appear appropriate in most chapters. In other chapters, e.g. chapter 7 there is an over reliance on a few authors for citations (section 7.2) there are popular citations in addition to academic ones throughout.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 3
Each chapter begins with a quote and later chapters have practice exercise to develop different skills related to leading organizational change. These will not be difficult to update. However, the book focuses on the pace of change in today's environment so it will not be as relevant in a few years. Even the author notes that organizational leaders no longer can afford a long planning horizon of years.
Clarity rating: 5
The book is clearly written in a readable prose. The quotes at the start of each chapter also make it interesting
Consistency rating: 5
The text is written in a consistent format. The chapters are also consistently written and follow a framework of introducing ideas and then suggestions for what items a leader might practice.
Modularity rating: 3
Chapters 3 and on could be reordered although he shows the model in each chapter with the factors covered to date - so putting the chapters in a different order might be confusing to a reader unless instructed to ignore the items in the model not yet covered.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
An eight factor model presents the framework for the text. It is written in a clear, logical fashion. The addition of cases and other resources in the Appendices are nice additions.
Interface rating: 4
The chapter overviews were helpful and I suggest having a new paragraph for each chapter description - some paragraphs have several chapter descriptions. The figures need to be more clear - they are somewhat blurry, e.g. Figure 1.1.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
The text is well written grammatically.
Cultural Relevance rating: 2
The book does not include great reference to cultural differences per se. The author focuses more on diversity of thought rather than diversity of people.
It is an easy read but I'm not sure I would assign it to a class. To be fair, the author notes the audience is an executive one. Perhaps it would be appropriate for executive programs or MBA students.
Reviewed by William Thibodeaux, Associate Professor, Undergraduate program Coordinator, Nicholls State University, on 12/6/2016.
This book does cover all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and quite effectively as well. The comprehensive nature of this book lies in
Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
This book does cover all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and quite effectively as well. The comprehensive nature of this book lies in the way the author approaches the reader. The book does not begin with a 'table of contents', chapter titles and page numbers. However, after I began reading, what the author does provide is a preface of each chapter, its topic, and an explanation of what will be discussed in the chapter. Each chapter begins with a quote or two that is very effective in helping the reader to link the information provided within a chapter to the overall theme of that particular chapter. The author consistently compares and contrasts the information presented which creates a multidimensional way of thinking about what's being discussed. This is an important element at the undergraduate level of study. Too often material is presented in a particular and appropriate 'order' but there is no linkage in terms of how the reader should 'bundle' the themes discussed into pragmatic and applicable learning. This author 'gets it'.
This was a rewarding and timely read for me based on the material provided. My classroom approach has always been to present as much value-added material as possible in the most affordable way possible - the primary issue is always cost to the student and the issues that surface when students need a few weeks after the course begins to acquire the money to buy course material. My current text is good but broad in presentation thus supplementation has been the way I affordably approached the course. This text would serve me well as base material with a reverse supplementation approach which would strengthen the amount, quality, and applicability of the coursework. All at virtually no additional cost which would benefit students greatly and help to keep everyone on pace as well.
Accuracy rating: 5
The content is accurate and the author's sources are cited at the end of each chapter. I detected no errors in the writing and the material is presented in a manner that depicts multiple ways to consider and utilize the information in the chapters.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
The content is up-to-date and essentially timeless in message so the text is not going to face obsolescence easily. Updates would be relatively easy and straightforward to implement. The information is also presented in a way that would allow for classroom examples from different perspectives. The book provides strong foundational material in each chapter. Thus, the instructor would have the freedom to explore and relate the chapter themes as he or she chooses to do so. This to me is one of the most important features - flexibility to relate, link and apply the material to changes in industry and ways of thinking about change at different stages in the 'change' process. Change is occurring in any business from its inception through maturity, and changing operational environments. This overall theme is inherent to a firm's operation and while other factors may come and go, the need for flexibility and adjustment are typically mainstays.
Clarity rating: 5
The text is written in clear and accessible prose presented in usable way. The clarity is increased by the overarching quotes that begin each chapter to focus the reader on the broad themes to which a particular chapter's material applied. I feel that this approach would also help the reader to make sense of and connections to the other chapters as well.
Consistency rating: 5
The chapters are approached in a logical consistency and similarity in presentation method.
Modularity rating: 4
This text would be easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections. Each chapter is a complete thought in terms of the material presented. The chapters are individually supported with appropriate sub-headings and appropriate citing to direct, support and expand on the author's material. The order of presentation would not appear to be a large or disruptive concern for students.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4
The text flows well. There are no issues here.
Interface rating: 3
The book has only a few charts or graphs but the inclusions are informative and well-placed to summarize and relate the chapter information. The material does lend itself to more illustration that could be approached from the individual instructor's perspective relative to the emphasis and application he or she wishes to place on the subject matter. This book could stand alone, serve as a base, or be used as deeper supplemental information for a broader text more designed for broad perspectives on the subject.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I detected no grammatical errors in the text.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
This text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. The book focuses on management actions and reactions to changing and improving an operation relative to its competitive and consumer environments, and the organizations internal capacity to address those environments and other general external forces. As such, race, ethnicity and backgrounds play no part in the material perspective presented by the author. The text focus is centered on actions and reactions to the forces an organization faces during its life cycle rather than any form of social perspective.
The book could be a bit more descriptive in terms of stating chapter learning outcomes and what the reader should be proficient in understanding after completing the readings. Further, the author could utilize more charts to tie chapter elements together. having state these points, the book is pragmatically informative and would be most useful in the classroom setting as a base text, or supplemental information. Additionally, the book provides no testing material, URL links to other information, or Power-points but these could be developed by the course instructor with their choice of emphasis. In all, this book is worth a strong consideration to explore organizational change. I intend to make use of it.