Change management in large scale organisations

Change management involves two axes: the coordination of a team of change agents and the communication/evangelisation of objectives to influence the wider organisation. 

But a successful programme is entirely dependent on what is being communicated: what the programme intends to change. There can be no communication if your language is not the organisation’s language, if your change is not a garment tailored specifically to the dimensions of the org. 

Successful change cannot be revolutionary, it cannot be one sign system to replace the previous, it cannot be a Kuhnian paradigm shift or strong poetry: otherwise the body of the org will reject it like a failed transplant. The garment of change must be purely superficial, to be communicated successfully: it covers the body of the organisation to revitalise it, to further its Darwinian competitive advantage, but never to challenge the body itself, never to go deeper. Signs are changed, but not the biosemiotics of the organisation’s embodied tradition.

Successful communication must respect the embodied habitus of the organisation. Because without fully embodying the habitus of the organisation, you will not communicate, you will be an alien spouting gibberish.

And therefore change is a misnomer: it implies a departuee from a point of stability. Rather the art of change management involves a strategy of superficiality that is more analogous to the fashion industry: what’s this season’s meme? It is fundamentally circular and often recycles previous years’ objectives, but with a new, weakly poetic, twist.

This could all be taken very cynically: what’s the point of change management if, fundamentally, it necessarily fails to deliver radical improvements to an organisation? 

The point is that change management is a necessary function of revitalisation that all successful large organisations employ: its point and job description is internal, not external to a successful company. Corporations hire change agents in the same way a snail has a biological ability to regrow a shell or a snake to shed its skin. Corporations possess this function, they have naturally evolved this function, in order to maintain their core dynamic, which moves like a snail or a snake, independently of the regenerative capacity of the cellular function of superficial change, and evolves — “really” changes — in relation to its environment. But of course the shell or skin of change management is essential to protect this dynamic, to keep it fresh and alive.

A successful change agent must accept that they have a definitive, essential, job description, one that lasts as long as the organism of the company requires skin to be regrown, garments to be refreshed. And, in terms of self analysis, the pursuit of personal happiness, work life balance — the more philosophically inclined change agent should reflect on their relationship, at a cellular level, to their thrownness within the wider context of the organisation’s external situation. But this interest serves the greater good of the company, too: otherwise the regenerative cellular function of the change agent cannot evolve effectively in harmony with the business of the corporate organism. The job description of a change agent requires individual evolutionary capacity, individual bodily change, the agent to take a professional, historical and self serving interest in the external influences of fate: simply in order to get paid for next year’s weakly poetic, but protective, garment.


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