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Overview - 2ND Edition

In 1999, the first edition of The Change Handbook provided a snapshot of a nascent field that broke barriers by engaging "whole systems" of people from organizations and communities in creating their own future. In the last seven years, the field has exploded. In this completely revised and updated second edition, lead authors Peggy Holman, Tom Devane, and Steven Cady profile sixty-one change methods--up from eighteen in the first edition. Nineteen of these methods are explored in depth, with case studies, answers to frequently asked questions, and details on the roles and responsibilities of the people involved, conditions for success, and more. This tremendously expanded second edition--400 pages longer, nearly twice the length of the first edition--will undoubtedly become the definitive resource in this rapidly expanding area and:  

  • Features descriptions of sixty-one change methods.
  • Over 90 International Contributors.
  • Methods Include:
    • Appreciative Inquiry
    • Open Space Technology
    • Whole Scale Change
    • The World Cafe
    • Future Search, and many more...

What Is the Book About? 

This book is about effective change. It describes methods for changing “whole systems,”that is, change based on two powerful foundation assumptions: high involvement and a systemic approach to improvement. High involvement means engaging the people in changing their own system.It is systemic because there is a conscious choice to include the people,functions,and ideas that can affect or be affected by the work.Whole system change methods help you initiate high-leverage, sustainable improvements in organizations or communities. “High-leverage” is emphasized because in any improvement effort,we want the highest possible value for the effort invested. We believe that involving people in a systematic way is a key to high leverage and that the methods in this book can provide this leverage for you.You’ll need to determine the one(s) best suited to moving your organization or community to the culture you want.We wrote this book to support your efforts. 

Which questions will the book answer? 

  • What methods are available that have proven successful in addressing today’s needs for organizational or community change? 
  • What are the key distinctions among these methods? 
  • How do I know if a method would be a good fit for my organization or community? 
  • How do I get started after I select one or more methods? 

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who needs a change that involves people. In particular, we intend it for lifelong students of effective, sustainable change. It is a guide that is useful to readers irrespective of their current functional discipline, community or organizational position, age, country of origin, or educational background. The principles and approaches covered have wide applicability around the world in organizational and community settings for a variety of human conditions. If you are interested in change that involves people, you’ll likely find some of the methods and principles in this book extremely useful. For example, these practices are for anyone who wants people in organizations or communities to: 

  • Commit to a shared vision of the future 

  • Operate from the “big picture” 
  • Make change happen 
  • Seek responsibility and take initiative 
  • Use their creative powers to their fullest potential. 

This book is written for people in organizations and communities who are seeking dramatic, sustainable change. It supports people focused on achieving better results, higher quality of life, improved relationships, and increased capacity for succeeding in turbulent times.


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