Managing Change: Organisations, People and the Search for Perfection


Advances in Project Management

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire 


Introduction to the June PMWJ Article by Donal Carroll 

Is change management a part of project management?

Change is increasingly recognised as a fact of life in business. Successive surveys and reports confirm that many CEOs consider change to be the greatest challenge facing their organisation. Moreover, in the last five years uncertainty and complexity have combined to make the business environment more ambiguous and unpredictable.

Organisations that do not change tend not to survive. However, the rate of successful change is low; frequently quoted figures suggest that between 70-80% of change initiatives become significant failures. A large proportion of the change literature has become increasingly frustrated at the tendency to create and implement change in a top-down fashion which tends to ignore the role of people in buying into, embracing and supporting change. Recent discourse has engaged the metaphor of change leaders, rather than managers, as the individuals responsible for guiding change endeavours, and transforming organisations attempt to guide others.

The essence of the discourse is that some of the essential mechanisms required to identify, embrace and deploy change successfully are not explicitly recognised within organisational theory. Making change stick is equally difficult. Addressing the implications of change therefore requires new ways of reasoning about the purpose of organisations, the value of initiatives, and the methods required for managing, and leading improvement efforts.

This month’s column attempts to address some of these issues. Donal Carroll’s contribution is extracted from his new book Managing Value in Organisations: New learning, Management and Business Models published by Gower. The book offers a new and fresh perspective on the delivery of change in organisations. Given the recognition that change is inevitable in provides new ways of engaging with and reasoning about change.

Organisations are traditionally judged according to their business model. However, Donal suggests that what is needed is a more sophisticated and dynamic approach to management. The starting point for any change involves learning, which kick starts any learning journey. His key thesis is that in order to manage value, organisations need to update not just their business model, but also their management model and their learning model. The combination of the models offers a richer perspective for engaging with the how alongside the what, whilst also considering the implications on learning and engaging.


To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in the UK.  Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ by Gower author Donal Carroll.  Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement. 

About the Author 

flag-ukdarren-dalcherDarren Dalcher, PhD 

Author, Series Editor 

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire


Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK.  He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.  Professor Dalcher has written over 150 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Software Process Improvement and Practice, an international journal focusing on capability, maturity, growth and improvement. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Gower Publishing of a new companion series Fundamentals of Project Management.  Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.  He is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board.  Prof Dalcher is an academic editorial advisor for the PM World Journal.  He can be contacted at [email protected].