Leadership Change

“Organizations recognize that excellence is, by definition, a form of deviance.”
– Robert E. Quinn and Ned Wellman, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Have you heard of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS)? This approach to studying the interpersonal and structural dynamics of organizations is an emerging alternative to the more traditional framework used to analyze organizations. POS suggests thinking of organizations as living systems in which change is constant and necessary, and that managing change proactively is critical to successful leadership. Further, POS emphasizes positive processes and transparency, with a mission of discovering what makes organizations flourish.

This white paper, by Robert E. Quinn and Ned Wellman of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, thoroughly yet succinctly outlines the differences between traditional (or “normal”) change, and “positive” change, at both the individual and organizational levels. For instance, the authors remark that “normal” change often involves the change being presented as an obstacle to overcome, while positive change attempts to welcome the change’s “transformational potential”. Leaders are encouraged to embrace self-reflection, think beyond self-interest, and manage challenges through consensus building. Read on to see a list of next steps and a valuable comparison chart covering the differences in perspective between traditional and positive change.

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