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Reflection – David Gui

by on November 30, 2007

In my opinion, change management is a vague term without clear definition; a lot of actions or implementations organizations of different sizes take can be claimed as change management. Therefore, although I have kept hearing this term from various courses, internship, and other work experiences, I am still puzzled by what change management really means. For this reason, the class has been very instructive and enlightening for me, as I have learned a great deal of why change is important for organizations of any size and how organizations tackle issues when facing change. The two books assigned for the course, accompanied with the additional resources have provided very insightful models, mechanisms, and theories about modern organizational change management; and I also appreciate the instructor’s efforts of using video cases from Stanford Graduate School of Business as a major teaching tool, as well as using blog as the major communication tool for the class.

For the video cases, I must admit that I liked every single one of them, since they provided real-life examples how particular change management issues are faced and change management initiatives are implemented by organizations of any size in any industry. I believe this is a very valuable addition to the theories we have touched base by reading the books and other assigned materials. For me personally, spending hours reading a book is not as fruitful as watching an interactive video, because by watching the video, I could also engage in real-time discussion with other classmates. Therefore, for future class, if it is possible, I think the instructor may consider building a “video case database”, which stores all the videos we watched and new ones found. Also, besides the Stanford Graduate School of Business, I think there are other useful educational resources where video cases could be found. This database can also be used for other related courses.

Using the blog as the communication tool throughout the quarter was a really excellent idea, for we had chance to see what other classmates’ thoughts about change management. Overall, the blog was a really nice tool for serving such purpose; however, I found it was somewhat problematic to use due to some usability issues, mainly because of the large volume of items posted in the blog; and this was getting more serious as the quarter getting close to end. Over the quarter, the blog has served as the storing and displaying reserve for more than 20 students’ works; these included reflections, book reviews, etc., not counting the numbers of comments we posted. Therefore it is no surprise it became so crowded and hard to manage. For me, the item list on the right side of the blog interface was messy and findability of items was not well supported. To tackle this issue, I would recommend that build a hierarchical folder structure for the item list, which all items will be grouped according to their types. For example, reflections can be bundled into a group called “Reflection”, and all book reviews can be kept under the group “Book Review”. An alternative solution to this issue is placing all items submitted by one person under one folder. I am not familiar with therefore I do not know how much it can score for information architecture functionalities; but if it is not that good at such aspect, a radical solution will be to identify another blog hosting Website which provides better information architecture functionalities. I am not a regular blog user therefore I cannot recommend a specific blog hosting site; I also understand that since the instructor is already busy enough on a daily basis, he may not have the time to explore another site. However, I also believe that a better managed blog will better benefit both the instructor and students; and because of the instructor’s busyness, an easy-to-manage blog would be desired. Moreover, this is the blog for a change management class; therefore it should be more “change-adaptive”.

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