For Dr. Gene Hall, a professor in UNLV’s department of educational leadership and former dean of the UNLV College of Education, the phrase “change is the only constant” takes on special meaning: For more than 30 years, change – or, more specifically, understanding change as a process in organizational settings – has been a nearly constant subject in his research.
Hall’s latest book in this field, a second edition of Implementing Change, written with longtime collaborator Shirley M. Hord, gives readers a model to guide them in facilitating change.
Hall’s interest in the subject emerged when he was a new faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin, many years ago. “One of my first assignments was to work as an external change agent to 40-plus higher ed institutions around the United States that were implementing innovative teacher education programs,” Hall recalls. “Some of the key constructs in my model of change, the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), were derived from that experience.”
Hall received several large contracts from the National Institute for Education to develop measures and to verify whether key CBAM constructs were representative of real-life change processes. Hord, from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in Austin, Texas, was “one of the talented colleagues,” Hall says, who joined the research team and has collaborated with him for 30-plus years.
“We are known as the ‘godfather’ and ‘godmother’ of CBAM, one of about four paradigms that are used around the world for understanding, studying, and facilitating change.”
Hall and Hord start from the assumption that change “is a process, not an event.”
“This is more true today than ever,” Hall says, advising that viewing change as a process is key for those working in organizations. “Don’t make change an event; do not assume that it is ever ‘done.’ Enjoy the process.”
“We also emphasize that there is a personal side to change. You can’t just deal with the innovation. You have to understand the role of people in the process.”
Each chapter in the book describes a key change construct that Hall, Hord, and their colleagues have developed and researched over the years.
Hall notes that in a climate calling for education to pay more attention to the way accomplishments are achieved in the private sector, Implementing Change is one example of “academic research and ideas that are applicable in business.”
He notes that the concepts introduced in the book have already been adopted with success by a national company as it went through major restructuring.