Being a Change Agent: Managing Social Change

Category: Social Change
Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
Pages: 12 Views: 950

We believe that the job of being a change agent should start with two kinds of question. First, is a structural question: How do you identify persons and subgroups that are the "strategic levers" of change in any particular public? This means identifying the opinion leaders and community influential who can influence others in the system to adopt change. Second, is a social-psychological or an interactional question: How do you change the behaviors or the minds of the people in question?

The different strategies discussed earlier represent alternative ways of going about change agents can do to reduce resistance to change. What are some of these changes? On can reduce resistance to the adoption of a change by attempting to make the particular innovation (1) simple and easy to communicate, (2) divisible, and (3) maximally compatible with the status quo values and needs (Harper & Leicht). Is it possible that a change agent is for the good, not purely destructive change? In my mind, change is agent is to make people better.

Which is something we should all strive for? In addition, cans someone starting being a change agent, can a person successful in being a change agent? In this paper you learn about what is a change agent and who can be a Change Agent, How to create change, The ethics of Inducing change, What makes a good change agent, Define change leaders on five levels of leadership skills, and Five most important competencies of change agents. In addition, I will imagine myself as a change agent trying to change my neighborhood or community for the better.

Order custom essay Being a Change Agent: Managing Social Change with free plagiarism report

feat icon 450+ experts on 30 subjects feat icon Starting from 3 hours delivery
Get Essay Help

What is a Change Agent? A change agent is a catalyst and when added to the mix, changes everything. It can be a process, an element, a thought, or a person. A social change agent is an individual working to bring about a more life-affirming society. This is a person whose presence or thought processes cause a change from the traditional way of handling or thinking about a problem. They know how to get people involved in solving their own problems. A change agent lives in the future, not the present.

Regardless of what is going on today, a change agent has a vision of what could or should be and uses that as the governing sense of action. To a certain extent, a change agent is dissatisfied with what they see around them, in favor of a much better vision of the future. A change agent has a strong ability to self-motivate. A change agent is fueled by passion, and inspires passion in others. Moreover, at the end of the day, change is about people (Stevenson 2012). Who can be a Change Agent?

A Persons with Innovative Ideas, Calculated Risk Takers, Person coming with different Industry or sector even from different department, That's why reshuffling is done within an organization, External consultants, Trackers who are tracking market ,competitors ,technology etc secretly, Persons ingrained with sharp business knowledge and skills, Team leader who are having a quality to integrate, People possessing qualities like need achievement, positive attitude, ethical behavior, One who think big and realistic, and Who knows more about your company policy and people.

There is no cookbook for creating change. Why? As anyone who has attempted to cook a complex meal knows, exact specifications are always missing and recipes contain many vague instructions: "Add salt to taste”. How much is that? "Cook until vegetables are crisp, but do not over cook. " What does that mean? Like cooking, social change requires experience, making do with imperfect ingredients, and often mudding through. There are some issues that a change agents need to consider. Plans for social change involve a number of issues: The first task is to good plan is to define the goals of the desired change.

Second task, is that a good plan needs to specify as precisely as possible the target or reference public: Who is to change? Third task is to have a good plan will identify situation or times when the target population is most receptive to change. Fourth task is to have a good plan will develop an inventory resource available. Fifth task is that a good plan should consider appropriate strategies (for example, facilitation, reeducation, persuasion, or power/coercion), how they might be combined, and how their contradictions might be addressed.

Finally, a good plan should include mechanisms for the ongoing monitoring of change so that it can be modified, fine tuned, or abandoned (Harper & Leicht). There are various strategies along a continuum in term of the extent to which we believe that they involve ethical problems, as follows: facilitation, reeducation, persuasion, or power/coercion. In the terms of these criteria, facilitation and reeducation (to the extent that the latter can be honestly practiced) do respect the autonomy, rationality, and dignity of person who are the targets of change.

Persuasion, in comparison, respects the voluntary choice to adopt change but may overwhelm the person with distorted (or false) information, withheld information, and non-rational appeals to emotion. Power and coercive strategies carry the greatest number of ethical problems because they deny voluntary adoption and rejection and maximally violate people's autonomy and dignity. There is a bottom line here. Granted that creating social change is often costly and demanding to. Granted that success, even partial success, is always uncertain as well.

Granted that long-term systemic consequences may be well counter productive to one's original intent. Even so, should one refuse to make efforts to change things if the issues are important? The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was long, costly, and difficult effort that only partly succeeded. Being aware of its high costs and limited successes, should its organizers have given up? We do not think so. The lives of millions of minority Americans that are better today for those efforts even thought the goal of complete racial justice remains elusive (Harper & Leicht).

Due to the dynamics in the external environment, many organizations find themselves in nearly continuous change. The scope reaches from smaller change projects in particular sub business units up to corporation-wide transformation processes. Unfortunately, not every change process leads to the expected results. There are multiple reasons for potential failure: Typical barriers to change are unexpected changes in the external conditions, a lack of commitment in implementation, resistance of people involved, or a lack of resources.

The implications of failed change projects go beyond missed objectives. More important is the negative symbolism and the de-motivation of people involved. People within the change team may become dissatisfied with their own performance or the lack of support they received. In the result, some of them will probably never again be willing to commit themselves to change initiatives. Similarly, people affected by the (failed) change effort will develop growing skepticism. They might perceive future change projects as “another fancy dea from management”, which brings a lot of work and few benefits. In the light of the many problems and risks associated with change projects, the change agent has a very important function.

The change agent’s or change leader’s capabilities have a major impact on success or failure of the project, and on the extent of potential unwanted side effects. The following article describes required capabilities of good change agents. Readers should keep in mind, however, that there is no ‘ideal’ change agent. Particular requirements normally relate to the actual situation in the organization (e. . corporate culture, strategic relevance of the project, acceptance of the project among management and staff, timeframe, resources etc). Depending on these factors, either change agents may need good project management capabilities in order to guarantee timely progress, or they should be good leaders with the ability to motivate people (Recklies 2001). Jim Canterucci defines change leaders on five levels of leadership ski lls. Although he mainly focuses on leadership capabilities and qualifications, his system can easily be transferred to change projects with varying importance.

The leader of an organization-wide restructuring project will need different capabilities than the one who is responsible for clearly defined project on departmental level. Levels of Change Leadership Skills, derived from Canterucci: is Level I is to Accepts the need for change, communicates and defends the need for change throughout the organization, creates an open and receptive environment. Small change initiatives with clear direction. Level II Defines and initiates change, identifies advantage points for change in processes and work habits. A change projects at local level.

Level III is to leads change, translate the vision of the organization into the context of a specific change initiative and bring this message to the entire organization, redirects approaches in the face of new opportunities. A transformation of a central vision into change initiatives and organization-wide communication. Level IV is to manage complex change, understands the cultural dynamics of the current state of an organization, and creates a strategic practical course, balancing the current reality with the need for rapid adoption of the desired future reality. A generates change with a high degree of transformation.

Level V is that champions makes change, challenges the status quo by comparing it to an ideal or a vision of change, causes crisis in order to support dramatic actions and change efforts, transforms the organization. An ability to revolutionize organizations (Canterucci 2008). Buchanan and Bobby have carried out a study on the perceived effectiveness of change agents. On that basis, they compiled the five most important competencies of change agents. These, too, are evidence for the importance of the soft factors. The five most important competencies of change agents are Objectives, Roles, Communication, Negotiation, Managing up.

Each of these five most important competencies of change agents has descriptive of how to implement change. The first most important competencies of change agents are objectives. The descriptive of how to implement change of objectives are: Sensitivity to changes in key personnel, top management perceptions and market conditions, and to the way in which these impact the goals of the project. , Setting of clearly defined realistic goals, and Flexibility in responding to changes without the control of the project manager, perhaps requiring major shifts in project goals and management style.

The second most important competencies of change agents are roles. The descriptive of how to implement change of roles are: Team-building abilities, to bring together key stakeholders and establish effective working groups, and to define and delegate respective responsibilities clearly, Networking skills in establishing and maintaining appropriate contacts within and outside the organization, and Tolerance of ambiguity, to be able to function comfortably, patiently and effectively in an uncertain environment.

The third most important competencies of change agents are communication. The descriptive of how to implement change of communication are: Communication skills to transmit effectively to colleagues and subordinates the need for changes in the project goals and in individual tasks and responsibilities, Interpersonal skills, across the range, including selection, listening, collecting appropriate information, identifying the concerns of others, and managing meetings, Personal enthusiasm in expressing plans and ideas, and Stimulating motivation and commitment in others involved.

The fourth important competencies of change agents are negotiation. The descriptive of how to implement change of negotiation are selling plans and ideas to others by creating a desirable and challenging vision of the future, and Negotiating with key players for resources, for changes in procedures, and to resolve conflict. The fifth important competencies of change agents are managing up.

The descriptive of how to implement change of negotiation are political awareness in identifying potential coalitions, and in balancing conflicting goals and perceptions, Influencing skills, to gain commitment to project plans and ideas form potential skeptics and resisters, and to have Helicopter perspectives, to stand back from the immediate project and take a broader view of priorities. According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter mentions many emotional components among the most important characteristics of change agents.

In addition to the factors described above, she stresses the need to question the knowledge of the organization. According to Moss Kanter, existing patterns of thinking and existing assumptions about the organization, its markets, customers, and relationships have to be challenged. Thus, change agents should realize that there is more than one right solution. The change agent has to be able to evaluate facts from different points of view, e. g. from the customer’s or competitor’s perspective.

Furthermore, Moss Kanter stresses the importance of coalition building, which she describes as an often-ignored step in change processes. Change agents should identify and involve opinion leaders, decision makers on resources, functional experts and other important persons as early as possible in the project-planning phase. The importance of the factor motivation is well described with the phrases transferring ownership to a working team and making everyone a hero. In my opinion, Moss Kanter gives the most important preconditions for successful change management – the involvement of the people – with these two phrases.

Members of the change team and other employees affected by the change initiative must not feel like as if they are just the tools for change or the subject of change. In my experience, it is not enough to have a convincing vision. Real commitment can only be gained by giving people the chance to become actively involved, to contribute their own experiences. Every employee needs to know that his contribution to the project is important and is valued. Thus, people will develop a sense of ownership for the project, which, in turn may serve as a major source of motivation when it comes to the inevitable problems and barriers. Kanter 1999) provides a great summary of the characteristics of good change agents when she writes that the most important things a leader can bring to a changing organization are passion, conviction, and confidence in others. Imagine myself as a change agent trying to change my neighborhood or community for the better. What are some issues that I would consider to change in my neighborhood or community? Assume that I have some, but not having unlimited resources and money to use. How would I go about it? What things would you consider in order to change that particular issue?

As I sit here and imagine myself as a change agent, a few things come to my mind that I want to change in my neighborhood or community. I would consider changing in my neighborhood or community is they way we go about our health on a daily basis. Having limit to the resources and money it can consume. If that limit is a problem, then the project may really end up being a waste of time. With limited resource, I would go about it by make a plan to pull out of the project or at least good backup plans for handling failures.

At worst, make sure to minimize any risks. Get more resources. Sometimes this is hard work, but it may pay off. Get help. Sometimes someone with more experience may know of resources or can spot misuse of resources in a project. Just be willing to accept criticism. Cut out any parts of the project those are unnecessary. However, one part of a project it be well liked, it may not be truly important. Plan, study, research, prepare. There is a saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Good preparation can eliminate the need for many resources (wikihow). With limited money, I would need to raise some extra capital; there are a number of different ways that I can raise money. The good thing about this strategy is that they cost little, if anything, to use. After all, the last thing you want is to spend a lot of money to raise the cash you need. How I would raise, money is to have an online auction. By cleaning out my closets and I can make some extra money at the same time by posting unwanted belongings on online auction sites.

Pay a small listing fee when I post each item, then another commission based on the final selling price. To start me need a free online auction account as well as having a good digital camera for taking photographs. Then I can make even more money by offering to sell unwanted items on commission for family members, friends, and co-workers (ehow. com). I can bring in to friends that I would help my neighborhood and community on dieting and fitness tips. They will explain the ten essential elements of good health. If you take all of the actions listed below, you will be much healthier.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast, Drink at Least 8 Glasses of Water, Take a Good Quality Multiple Vitamin/Mineral, Connect with Other People, express Your Emotions Appropriately, Eat Fruits and Vegetables, Spend at Least 30 Minutes Outdoors Active, Take Some Quiet Time for Yourself Keep Regular Sleep Hours, and Establish a Relationship with a Doctor You Can Trust (Bauer 2009). In conclusion, a change agent has a strong ability to self-motivate. There will be many days where everyone around does not understand and will not offer props.

The change agent needs to find it within themselves to get up every day and come to work and risk being misunderstood and miss-appreciated, knowing that the real validation may be far in the future and may be claimed by someone else. A change agent must understand people. At the end of the day, change is about people. If you change everything but the people, I doubt you will be effective as a change agent. Change will really "stick" when people embrace it. Therefore, change is part sales, part counseling, and part encouragement. It is all about people, at the end of the day.


Bauer, Carl H: (2009); Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Get Healthy and Stay Healthy. Buchanan D. & Bobby D. (1992); The Expertise of the Change Agent: Public Performance and Backstage Activity . Prentice Hall. Canterucci, Jim: (2008); are You a Change Leader? Recklies, Dagmar: (2001); What Makes a Good Change Agent? Haper, Charles L. and Leicht, Kevin T. (2010); " Exploring Social Change: America and the World, 6nd ed." Upper Saddle River, NJ; Prentice Hall. Moss, Rosabeth K. (1999): The Enduring Skills of Change Leaders. In Leader to Leader; Nr. 13. Recklies, Dagmar: (2001); What Makes a Good Change Agent?  Stevenson, Dennis: (2012); What is a Change Agent? Http://

Cite this Page

Being a Change Agent: Managing Social Change. (2017, May 19). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

plagiarism ruin image

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer