There is still one more important piece of the picture that is missing: the people! Who are they? What sort of social grouping are we looking at? How many? How are they related to one another? Does the need for change apply to some or all?
Change never occurs in a social vacuum; there are always people to consider, different people with different needs, related to one another in complex ways. Thus, the very first step in a change process is recognizing what the system really is. In the most general sense, "system" just means a number of things that go together: elements, molecules, cells, organs, organisms, or whatever. Social systems are merely bunches of people that go together in some way. Just who are the social elements, how they go together, and how well they go together are crucial questions for the change agent.
“Systems” come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. What sort of system are you in? What sort of change agents or teams needed will depend heavily on the nature of the system for which change is contemplated.
There are at least three dimensions to consider. Most obvious is size, the shear numbers of people involved in the system, as members, users, clients, or stakeholders omn one kind or another. A second dimension is structure, the extent to which members are held together and constrained by pre-specified roles, relationships, and expectations. These may range from very tight or rigid to very loose or vague. A third dimension is complexity, signifying the number of different roles and the number of interconnections among members as well as the diversity of system goals.
Regardless of size, or structure of the system undergoing change, The Havelock 7-step change model applies.
For each types the rules and the focus changes somewhat but the basics stay the same, regardless of the size, the scope of the project, or the type of problem that is being confronted. emphasis on each stage.
On the other hand, it should be obvious that Types 1, 2, and 3 may require significant resources and more careful consideration of entry strategies.
To enter the situation on firm ground the change agent optimally should:
The mere connectedness of the members of a system may be the central change issue. Do the people involved even see themselves as part of the same system? Do they see themselves as having common goals and interests and an ability and willingness to talk to one another and to work together for the common good? Very often they don't, and if they don't, then the first task of the change agent is to try to bring them together. Groupings of individuals create a challenge to the change agent, and change agents may want to work at any or all of these levels. For example, there are many change situations which can be defined in terms of the relations between two individuals. Indeed, to the extent that we so often tend to.
Where you start from gives you special advantages and disadvantages that you need to be aware of at all times.
Change Agent-1: The “Boss”
Much of the change agent literature assumes that the CA is the boss, a person with leadership responsibility, power, and status.
Change Agent-2: Staff assignment
You are working for the boss who expects you to introduce or manage the change.
What exactly is your charge? Is it clear? Is it doable? Do you want to do it?
Do you agree with the boss on what is needed?
Change Agent-3: from below
You are in the system somewhere and you have no particular charge from the boss, but you think something is wrong and you would like to change it. In-system innovator, trouble maker, revolutionary
Change Agent-4: outside contractor- institutional base
Change Agent-5: independent outsider
Understanding the social context creates Starting Points for change. Not all systems are amenable to change at a given moment, even though there are many who see the need and feel the pain of not acting. The best change agents have to have a feel for timing and appropriateness. The lead question should be”\: is this system ready for a change process at this time. Will there negative on sequences of disruption outweigh the possible realized benefits? Can the system take it?
How does the client system feel about change in general.
2. History of other successful changes over time
3. Anxiety level of system membership regarding changing the status quo
4. Openness to new ideas: