The Forge

Prescribing Vs. Discovering

Is it better to prescribe the steps for organizational change or allow employees to discover a path to the desired change? Research has a lot to say about change management (favoring the prescriptive approach) vs. organizational develop (favoring inquiry and discovery).

Prescribing steps with a resistant group may result in compliance to a process without the vision for how to benefit from the new systems. Alternatively, a willing group who discovers a path for change can be led astray by processes that are not proven.

Leading change within organizations is based on influence which is based on trust which is based on relationship. Therefore, whichever model we favor, it makes sense to factor in the judgement of the stakeholders who are “being changed.”  Is it possible that discovery and prescribed (research-based) processes are mutually dependent for effective change?

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