Re: Change vs. Development LO97
Mon, 13 Feb 1995 14:29:11 -0400 (EDT)

From: IN%"" 12-FEB-1995 22:28:38.28
To: IN%""
Subj: RE: Change vs. Development LO85
I would like to clarify the distinction [if there is one...since we already
agree that it is a question of perspective...]

> The vision of "now"
> may define whether the next phase of transition needed is "incremenntal
> change" or "radical change."

>I want to challenge the either/or nature of incremental versus radical
>change that is frequently posed in these conversations. It seems that we
>keep forgetting that the assessment is largely one of perspective rather
>than something that can be clearly distinguished at the time of action.

>If you accept that we are operating in a complex adaptive system and/or a
>system that is self organising, then it seems to me that we won't know if
>the change resulting from our action will be incremental or radical
>untilafter the fact. And even then, remember that it will be a matter of
>perspective and previous belief states.

>My scond thought on this arena is that these are not mutually exclusive.

In response to the above argument, my response is "Yes you are correct to
some extent." If you are discussing from a retrospective viewpoint, there
is no contention that one can assess the 'resultant change' only in
retrospective [rather than perpective]. But, most change efforts are
initiated in 'prospective' or in anticipation of changing the status quo.
In this context there is a distinction between the two types of change, as
has been mentioned by Connie J. Gersick in the Academy of Management
Review (Vol. 16, No. 1, 10-36) article "Revolutionary Change Theories: A
Multilevel Exploration of the Punctuated Equilibrium Paradigm." Briefly,
citing from this article (p. 19): "The difference between the incremental
changes of equilibrium periods and revolutionary changes is like the
difference between changing the game of basketball by moving the hoops
higher and changing it by taking the hoops away. The first kind of change
leaves the game's deep structure intact. The second dismantles it. The
definitive assertion in this paradigm is that systems do not shift from
one kind of game to another through incremental steps: such
transformations occur through wholesale upheavel." Further... "The
example of removed basketball hoops suggests how changes to the core of a
system's deep structure affect the whole system. The contrast with the
gradualist paradigm is not, again, simply a matter of many incremental
changes "bunching up." According to punctuational paradigms when basic
premises change, all the premises contingent on them are affected. This
idea also contradicts the gradualist view of systems as never moving (or
having to move) very far from their status quo during any one step."
Of course, viewpoint of the respondent is well taken. Since every
person interprets symbols through one's one cognitive schema and may
express it in a manner most conducive to oneself, therefore it could be
very possible that there are various perspectives and some or most of them
are correct "from their own perspective." The discussion may progress
further about the philosophical debate on one truth or multiple truths and
into the realm of fuzzy thinking (Ref: Bart Kosko). My personal
perspective on this issue: 'would entertain all different viewpoints on
an issue - in the true spirit of learning (of course again a subjective
assumption) and would adopt ones which are most revealing/interesting to
my own cognitive schema.

Yours etc.
Yogesh Malhotra
University of Pittsburgh