On the ways in which change is prevented and how it can be managed

Part 3 On Change

The basis for holistic political economy is an articulated vision of what good looks like. Only with a vision can we evaluate if the results will take us in the right direction or be able to evaluate the utility of the ends we use.

Change management is an integral part of business studies curricula and has a massive literature. It is a multidisciplinary subject making use of human behaviour and psychology. As well having academics, who carry out research, it has practitioners who make use of it or specialise in it. Anyone pursuing a career in HR will have studied change management.

In the discussion of The Nature of Managed Change I described change as a process and stated that it would include

  • Planning & Organisational learning
  • Involvement and Commitment
  • Facilitation, Team work & problem solving
  • Communication

Here I develop what this means for politics; policy making should be open, pragmatic (evidence based), non-partisan and non-ideological and in a change from what we do now it would represent a step towards a shared vision. The vision of what good looks like based on a deep understanding our ourselves as social primates and the human activity system which we all participate in.

Just by looking at The Nature of Managed Change we can see that nothing like this taking place in our current political economy, even from those who say that they want a peaceful transformation of society. So the big answer to what is stopping change is the absence of a clear shared vision of what good looks like, something I have addressed in Part 2 Vision. However we also know that change is always taking place and even though it is messy and contested we are often exhorted to embrace it. So change is happening but makes us uneasy, why? Firstly (its obvious) lack of shared vision means change is essentially directionless; we are either just deploying point solutions which, even though well intended, don't add up to a transformation, or change is being imposed on us by those with wealth and power. Secondly there is constant doing and undoing, the ideological driven change in one direction is reversed by its ideological antithesis in the other direction. It just depends on who has won the competition to control the state for the time being; nothing is ever settled.

Lets make the question, what stops change, more precise. What is stopping the sort of change that would make politics into a quest for good governance and insist that business be about improving the commonwealth?