Modeling reactions to change

temps estimé pour lire ce billet : 9 minutes

The metaphor of the water point

Let’s imagine some changes at Neanderthal’s. A tribe is gathered around its water point, and someone says one morning “oh oh oh it looks like the water is dropping”. Another adds, “Maybe we should move, and I think there is a water point, another water point, over there about 5 km away, but we have to cross the desert”.
At that moment what can happen? :

  • Some may want to go,
  • some shout and are afraid to move,
  • a large majority watch both sides argue and then fight.
  • Some wonders: “is the water really going down? I don’t see that…”.
  • Others: “Is it this way? or that one ? Are we going to make it through this desert?” etc.

In this metaphor of the change of water point, what kind of emotions are present and what kind of attitude does it generates ?

the emotional

We see the following emotions:

  • Excitement (relapse if not sustained)
  • Tranquility
  • ambiguous / hesitant
  • Fear / panic that will generate anger or depression

And this sets in motion (e-motion) the following attitudes:

  • motivation
  • passivity, hesitant; sceptical to grumpy
  • active resistance (vocal resistance/ sabotage / obstruction / combat)

Gallup

If we use the metaphor of the tribe towards a company, it is interesting to recall the 2009 Gallup poll1, which counted 85% of unengaged employees. It was quite noisy at the time, and this survey has been repeated and confirmed every year since then. This is distributed as follows (in Europe):

  • 15% actively engaged
  • 65% liabilities
  • 20% actively disengaged

"engaged at work-wordl"

geographical variation

A potential similarity can be noted as follows:

aspects + + O
Emotion Excitement Tranquillity – Shared – hesitant Fear / panic
attitude motivation passive active resistance
gallup actively engaged (15%) passive (65%) actively disengaged (20%)

Sociodynamics

In fact, there is an approach that measures the synergy and antagonism2 of the actors around a project, and that names the different positions: the [sociodynamic][sociodynamic]. The analysis of the positions is finer than before,

Note the correlation of the figures with the previous ones: 20% at the wings, 60% at the centre.
Possible strategies are identified, and an important recommendation is not to fall into the trap of spending all your time trying to convince the antagonists, but to ally yourself with those who want to move forward3.

Let us put this together as follows:

Aspects + + O
Emotion Excitement Tranquillity – Shared – hesitant Fear / panic
Attitude motivation passive active resistance
Gallup actively engaged (15%) passive (65%) actively disengaged (25%)
Sociodynamic Zealots – Golden triangle (influencers) (20%) Passives – Waverers – Break Away – Moaners (60%) – Opponent – Mutineers (20%)

First synthesis

A similarity is beginning to emerge, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
but some of these approaches deal with a reaction to change, others with a project4, others with an entire company5.
However, it is clear that today no company is “fixed” anymore, and therefore one could consider that a company is a “business project”, in constant evolution and that “the only constant is change – Heraclitus”

We will come back later, on the qualification of change, i.e. whether it is small or large, technical or identity-based, imposed or chosen. Let’s leave this aside for now.

On the other hand, the previous views gave a “static” view, a snapshot at a given time. This could lead to “putting people in boxes”.

However, even if not everyone moves at the same speed, in my career, I have seen attitutes evolving, and people adapting, even transforming. Me first:-).

What if the boxes remained, but if people could move from one box to another over time?

Let us try and imagine a more dynamic than static vision of change.

Dynamic vision

Rogers

The Rogers model examines how innovation spreads , whether it is a new wheat seeds in 19206, or more recently the technology7.

What if we considered a transformation as a diffusion of managerial innovation , a culture as a diffusion of new practices, new beliefs, new values ?

Let’s quickly introduce Rogers’ innovation diffusion model before applying it to our case.

  • Innovators: create new ideas, materials, processes and more
  • Early adopters: apply new ideas in real-world practice, improving them iteratively
  • First majority: work with “new” ideas that seem already proven in real world practice
  • Late majority: apply new ideas only when they are fully established and routine
  • Laggards: apply new ideas, only when it is “forced”, such as when old ones cease to be available.

There is still a correlation on the figures, the majority, ( first and late) around 60%, and the active wings at 20% ( self-motivated and “forced”)8

Aspects + + O – –
Emotion Excitement Tranquillity – Shared – hesitant Fear / panic
attitude motivation passive active resistance
gallup actively engaged (15%) passive (60%) actively disengaged (25%)
Sociodynamic Zealots – Golden triangle (influencers) (20%) Passives – Waverers – Break Away – Moaners (60%) – Opponent – Mutineers (20%)
Innovation Innovators (2.5%) – Early adopters (13.5%) Majority (First – Late) (68%) Late (13.5%)

Wardley


Wardley9 presents an evolution of technology from genesis to customization, to product and finally to commodity . For example, a power plant was something that emerged in 1830, and today, electricity is commonplace and controlled, a commodity.

In addition, Wardley uses a metaphor and associates three very specific types of roles and attitudes that allow us to move from genesis to product: PST : pioneers, settlers and town planners:

  • Pioneers: invention and innovation, finding the emerging and the new – guided by vision, purpose, principles
  • Settlers: refine the emerging and the new into something real, usable and practical – guided by patterns and guidelines
  • Town planner: fine adjustment in specific context – guided by algorithms and analyses

Tom Graves extends these roles and maps them with Rogers.

  • Exploiters: operating at maximum efficiency – guided by rules and procedures
  • Laggards: retention and reuse after the end of the main production – guided by the vision, purpose, principles

It is interesting to see the similarity of these roles with the motivations of Rogers’ segments.

aspects + + O
Innovation Innovators (2.5%) Early adopters (13.5%) First Majority (34%) Late Majority (34%) Late Majority (13.5%)
innovation create make innovation applicable use proven ideas maximize and proceduralize preserve
Wardley Pioneers Settlers Planners Exploiters Stayers
Wardley find the emergent and the new refine the emergent by usable fine adjustment in a context maximum efficiency retention and reuse

Spiral Dynamics

The spiral describes how the beliefs and values of individuals and groups evolve through its development phases. 10

We suggest the following hypothesis of correspondence between the spiral11 and Rogers’ segments. Note that this follows the progression of the spiral with one exception, onto which we will come back later.

  • The actively disengaged is conservative, change makes him angry, he will assert his principles, and will position himself in red.
  • In the middle, the majority is driven by the group mindset: order for blue and keeping the connection for green.
  • Oranges seek performance, are ready to stand out from the group, in an individualistic way and will use yellow’s innovations, driven by discovery, to make them applicable and outperform.
aspects + + O
Innovation Innovators (2.5%) Early adopters (13.5%) First Majority (34%) Late Majority (34%) Late Majority (13.5%)
innovation create make innovation applicable use proven ideas maximize and proceduralize preserve
Spiral Yellow Orange Green Blue Red
Spiral discover perform Caring connection Order and discipline Self-affirmation (by force)

It should be noted that we find the order of the spiral with the exception of green and orange, interchanged. The explanation I saw there is that early innovators and adopters are rather individualistic, think by themselves, independently, and are not blocked by the group mindset . On the other hand, this will be the case for green, which will wait until the whole group agrees or approves, 12 and therefore everybody wait for everybody’s approval. or blue, who prefers established order ( and which will only change it on the diret order of the legitimate authority).

Synthesis map

Here is a cross map juxtaposing the different models, as well as the attributes and motivations

Aspects + + O
Emotion Excitement Quiet – Shared – hesitant Fear / panic
attitude motivation passive active resistance
gallup actively engaged (15%) passive (65%) actively disengaged (20%)
Sociodynamic Zealots – Golden triangle (influencers) (20%) Passives – Waverers – Break Away – Moaners (60%) – Opponent – Mutineers (20%)
Innovation Innovators (2.5%) Early adopters (13.5%) First Majority (34%) Late Majority (34%) Late Majority (13.5%)
innovation create make innovation applicable use proven ideas maximize and proceduralize preserve
Spiral Yellow Orange Green Blue Red
Spiral Discovering Performing Caring Connection Order and Discipline Self-affirmation (by force)
Wardley Pioneers Settlers Planners Exploiters Stayers
Wardley find the emergent and the new refine the emergent by usable fine adjustment in a context maximum efficiency retention and reuse

We can distinguish a coherent form emerging.

Conclusion

This provides some language to reason and model the reaction of groups to change13. Juxtaposing the different approaches makes it possible to identify fertile crossovers, design strategies and avoid tactical mistakes (sociodynamic), suggest solutions for the evolution of individuals in organizations (Spiral), and to calibrate the effective and required mindsets (Wardley) according to the degree of project emergence.

It also avoids the pitfalls of well-thought-out but simplistic approaches, very popular today, but often monolithic, where it is imagined that everyone will walk under the same banner, at the same pace, in the name of a superior dogma.14

Once the illusion of simplicity has been abandoned, realistic strategies can then be developed, calibrated for each group, for example, where the most motivated groups take off first, and lead the others, who then get moving, albeit longer and slower, but thus spread the change from group to group.

We will elaborate on these conclusions in a future article, if interest is expressed.

Tags: #emergence, #diffusion, #change, #SD, #transformation, #sociodynamics, #published

Related :

Organizational Transformation

Synthesis of sociodynamics


  1. Samples of 200,000 employees: http://news.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx 
  2. Also called cooperation and opposition, according to the editions. 
  3. the different strategies will be discussed separately in another article. 
  4. (sociodynamic) 
  5. (Gallup) 
  6. Rogers initially studied how new seeds were adopted in farming. 
  7. The version popularized byGoffrey Moore launched the investment in the internet bubble 
  8. let’s not be fooled by the apparent precision of the numbers here, everything depends on theskew and kurtosis of the curve, which in reality is not so symmetrical, and which has afat tail. But it will be fine for our purpose here, which is more metaphorical than precise measurement : -) 
  9. An explanation of the Wardley map can be foundhere. We use it in ouremergence scale 
  10. for example for autonomy: ( beige-violet-red-blue) (Dependent (Child), orange: Independent (Teen), green: Autonomous (Adult), yellow: Interdependent) . 
  11. The spiral is a “color code” placed on coherent sets of beliefs and values, which represents the development of a human being, from child to adult, and also phases of civilization. There is an alternation between the individual and the group, each level being built in reaction to the limits of the previous one. 
  12. the “glue” of consensus, from which one escapes from above with consent, or from below with strict directivity
  13. Keeping in mind generalization and other cognitive biases, or pre-complex reductionist approaches. see Morin -sociology on this subject. 
  14. Sociodynamics, for example, identifies which groups are interested and motivated by participatory approaches, and unfortunately, it appears that the majority are not motivated by participatory approaches (for example, the passives, which are the challenge of a transformation, and which do not want to be the actors, will be rejected by a participatory approach, while detecting a facilitation-manipulation, which will rob them). A simplistic participatory approach, even if well-intentioned, has every chance to come to a halt after raking the first 20%, if it does not get swallowed up before then under the sarcasm of the irreducible. 
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