Module 5 Discussion
After having the opportunity to review Walden’s definition of social change (Walden University, n.d.), I can define in my words what is social change and what it means to me. For me, social change is used to indicate the changes that take place when people interact with each other. All of human society is a complex web of interlocking social relationships, so to me, social change means to change the system of social relationships. When there is a change in society’s values, customs, social structure, and order, hopefully for good, then I would consider this social change.
Earlier in the course and last week, I took a social change agent test online at Walden, and the score was a social change spectator (Walden University, n.d.). I was not surprised by the results because the description was an accurate description of me. It is true that at some point I have engaged in social change, at the moment I am not an active participant. Sometimes it is hard to see how one person can make a positive change within their community, which is why social change spectators like myself feel that they cannot make any real positive social change.
Reviewing this week’s readings and taking into consideration what type of social change agent I am, has provided me with what I consider the differences between a leader and a change agent. Below are some characteristics that leaders and change agents have.
|Characteristics of Leaders and Change Agents
(Kogler-Hill, 2013, p. 297)
Patient, yet persistent
Asks tough questions
Knowledgeable and leads by example
Strong relationships built on trust (Edmondson, 2017)
The skill sets for both leaders and change agents seem interchangeable, but with some differences. After viewing some of the differences, a question emerges. Must leaders to evolve to change agents (Allen, Smith, & Da Silva, 2013, p. 28) in order to survive in the 21st century workplace?
The answer to this question is yes. Leaders must evolve and become change agents or otherwise face extension. Change management is no longer a term which means to find ways to cut costs and improve performance (Ashkenas, 2013). Change management is more significant in an organization and interwoven as a part of an organization’s fabric. Leaders are slowly beginning to realize that their rank or hierarchy no longer matters. In order for leaders to stay relevant, evolve, and compete, every leader must be an agent of a change.
In organizations today, many leaders have realized that their primary responsibilities and roles have changed. An example of this is a basic job description. Looking at an earlier job description will become apparent that the current job has changed and in some cases become outdated. Job titles are also changing as well. Looking at a current job title, an employee might think that the title does not cover what they do in the company. Just as job descriptions and job titles need to be reinvented to reflect the current job market, so must leaders. If leaders do not find a way to reinvent themselves to the current direction of the organization, they may soon see themselves obsolete.
For leaders to continue on the path of success, social change in the workplace is vital. Organizations are multigenerational and multicultural, and both leaders and organizations must adapt to the changing workplace. Namwon Office of Education, in Namwon, South Korea, the organization of my PIP is no exception. Using Walden’s Eight Components of Social Change (Walden University, n.d.), below are some of the components I intend to propose for my PIP.
|Walden’s Eight Components of Social Change Application to Retaining Namwon’s GETS
||The PIP application will address the scholarship of Walden’s social change by addressing a real issue for the Namwon Educational Office community, which is the retention of NETS.
||The PIP will address reflection by having both GETS and KETS answer a cultural questionnaire to determine what each would wish to learn more about during the GETS employment with Namwon and placement in the school.
||The PIP will use the information obtained from the cultural questionnaire and plan cultural activities for both GETS and KETS around Korea. The hope is that exposure to different cultures and listening to both KETS and GETS would assist in having GETS renew and for KETS to feel more comfortable working with GETS.
||The PIP will note how the KETS, GETS, and the office of education are working together to encourage cultural awareness between KETS and GETS in Namwon.
For these changes to be successfully implemented in the PIP, it would be easier to bring them about as a social change agent. The business environment is changing rapidly and as a result; leaders are required to change just as rapidly to keep up (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010c). The changing business environment is where the transformation from leader to change agent happens. A change agent is anyone, not necessarily a leader, who helps an organization transform (Battilana & Casciaro, 2013). This transformation usually takes place by someone taking the lead and showing ways for improving both the business and interpersonal interaction with both employees and customers. Leaders in an organization who focus on change management are called change agents.
There are two types of change agents; internal and external change agents (Sturdy, Wylie, & Wright, 2013). Internal change agents are people currently employed as employees in an organization. These individuals are very familiar with the company; it’s mission statement and goals. External change agents have usually hired outside consultants who re-evaluate operations and make recommendations for improvements.
For someone to be an effective, external change agent, it is crucial to research the company’s structure, culture, processes, finances, and existing technology. Both internal and external change agents are individuals who are proactive about anticipating and initiating transformation within an organization. Using the above definition, I consider myself an internal agent of change. I may not be the leader in charge, but I can be proactive about anticipating how the recommendations of the PIP will come off to supervisors in the English department.
Allen, S. L., Smith, J. E., & Da Silva, N. (2013). Leadership style in relation to organizational change and organizational creativity: Perceptions from nonprofit organizational members. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 24(1), 23-42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nml.21078
Ashkenas, R. (2013). Change management needs to change. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/04/change-management-needs-to-cha
Battilana, J., & Casciaro, T. (2013). The network secrets of great change agents. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/07/the-network-secrets-of-great-change-agents
Callahan, D., Wilson, E., Birdsall, I., Estabrook-Fishinghawk, B., Carson, G., Ford, S., … Yob, I. (2012). Expanding our understanding of social change: A report from the definition task force of the HLC special emphasis project. Retrieved from http://www.waldenu.edu:
Edmondson, R. (2017). 7 characteristics of effective change agent leaders. Retrieved from http://ronedmondson.com/2017/02/7-qualities-of-good-change-agent-leaders.html
Kogler-Hill, S. E. (2013). Chapter 12: Team leadership. In P. G. Northouse (Ed.), Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed., pp. 287-318). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010c). Leading and managing educational technology: The manager as change agent [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.waldenu.edu
Sturdy, A., Wylie, N., & Wright, C. (2013). Management consultancy and organizational uncertainty. International Studies of Management and Organization International Studies of Management & Organization, 43(3), 58-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.2753/IMO0020-8825430304
Walden University. (n.d.). What kind of social change agent are you? Retrieved from http://impactreport.waldenu.edu/
Walden University. (n.d.). Social Change. Retrieved from https://www.waldenu.edu/about/social-change