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Friday, 10 June 2016

Managing Successful Change - How recommendations from my own PhD research can best be integrated into your NFPs change program

Change management is one of those topics that has been at the forefront of organisational discussions for over 70 years, as a topic that has engaged practitioners and academics alike, all attempting to better understand it so that successful organisational change can become the norm, as distinct to the apparent high failure rates that have been evidenced over the decades. Yet throughout this period, little or no research has been undertaken in change management from a purely nonprofit perspective.

Whilst some argue that this may  not be necessary be! cause organisational characteristics are alike across the sectors, others, including myself, argue that change must be considered from those that are involved in it, rather than purely the organisational perspective. The point here of course is that personnel characteristics within the nonprofit sector are quite different, and in some respects unique, hence the need to consider change management research within this sector, being an important addition to the broader research on change.

My research was undertaken at a Sydney-based nonprofit hospital undergoing major change with regards the design and implementation of an electronic patient management system. The full details of this study have now been published in the Journal of Management and Organization and form the central paper of my soon to be completed PhD. Whilst the full paper, entitled "A Longitudinal Qualitative Case Study of Change in Nonprofits - Suggesting a New Approach to the ma! nagement of Change" can be accessed on-line through Cambridge University Press ( the key recommendations, as presented in the paper, which may be of interest to those within the sector were as follows:
  1. There is a need to formally include reflection time and reflective practices for all change participants in the planning, execution, and concluding stages of change, understanding that those experiencing change react to a wide range of emotions leading up to the change, during the execution phase, as well as in the post-change phase, and throughout this period, need to not only absorb the practicalities of the change and what this may mean for their own positions, but to also be able to verbalise their thoughts and discuss these in an open and supportive environment with colleagues, including internal change agents and management.
  2. There is a need for the organisation to openly reflect on both the success and failure of past change experiences as a fundamental component of the planning stages of change, reinforcing trust and confidence in management with regards their ability to plan for, and execute change successfully.
  3. There is a need for management to maintain an adequate focus on the individuals experiencing the change rather than an organisational focus as a primary (and often sole) consideration, creating an organisation-wide view as to management's interest in the welfare of change recipients throughout the change process and reinforcing an inclusive approach to the challenge of change within the organisation.
  4. Finally there is an expectation that timing considerations are appropriately identified in the change-planning process, with specific reference to communication and change-recipient engagement processes, underpin! ning a strong correlation between the level of change preparation and readiness, with actual change execution.
Change is now pervasive within the nonprofit sector, with much of it being quite transformational with regards the design and implementation of new business models that really do challenge the core of many of these organisations. They also present very real challenges for staff, who are now being expected to absorb more commercial elements in their long-standing dealings with their clients. The culture of many of these organisations is being challenged.

OPTIMUM NFP has been actively engaged in assisting organisations design and implement change strategies, using processes that add substantial value to the change outcomes.

Contact David Rosenbaum of OPTIMUM NFP at or 0411-744-911 for a no-obligation discussion on how these findings can be best integrated to changes planned for your own organisation.

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