Learning To Change

Amy WrzesniewskiChange has come to publishing.  That’s hardly a news flash.  We are all familiar with the digital transformation of books and related media such as news.  But the change that’s rarely spoken of is what happens to our work and our workplaces.

Amy Wrzesniewski, Professor of Organizational Behavior for the Yale School of Management, studies how employees shape their tasks, interactions and relationships with others in the workplace to change both their work identity and the meaning of their job.  Prof. Wrzesniewski has engaged in research projects with IBM, Google, Sun Microsystems, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and many others; she also served as editor and contributor to Identity in the Modern Organization, a textbook used by leading organizations and business management schools which integrates multidisciplinary theories and research on identity and the shifting cultures in modern organizational work environments.

In a recent lecture for the Yale Publishing Course, held every summer on the Ivy League school’s New Haven, Conn., campus,  Prof. Wrzesniewski presented research on how understanding and managing organizational change can lead to a successful way forward. Importantly, the change in tune begins with disharmony.

“In order to be motivated to change, or to move into some future state or form or strategy or product, there must be dissatisfaction with staying with the way things are,” she tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.  “That, in and of itself, creates tension between people who may feel that they represent the old guard or the traditional way of doing things in the business and what it is that might be coming.

“And so, in order to get people motivated to engage in change, you need to create this dissatisfaction with the status quo, but you must do it in a way that doesn’t denigrate or devalue the things that have brought your business or your organization to where it is today.”

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