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Organization Change: Theory and Practice (Foundations for Organizational Science series) (Paperback) ~ W. Organization Change: Theory and Practice (Foundations for Organizational Science) (Paperback) ~ W. As I thought about Push in the context of Kotter’s model, I imagined the table you see above. I found it ironic that what Kotter envisioned as empowerment is often the stage where resistance takes over. Because participation is normally restricted in steps 1, 2, and 3, the Middles & Bottoms lack ownership. As we have seen (here), Theoretical and Applied Organizing keeps a campaign moving strategically, so that we are always positioning for better options. TAO is a complementary–not competitive–framework that can be applied to any industry or strategy.
Being able to see TAO as an integrated framework containing these three foundational theories is important.
What follows next is a series of key principles that I have gleaned from the three foundational theories. Driving and restraining forces are connected as polar opposites with mutually, interdependent forces of compression and tension. The current state (disorganized and low-engagement) is held in place by a field of driving forces and restraining forces that have a sum total of zero (quasi-stationary equilibrium). It also means that multiple-modalities need to be in sync with each other as well as Beliefs, Values, and Narrative, Affective, Cognitive, and Behavioral factors. While we deliberatively design (planned change), the reactions we encounter may be either predictable or surprising.
Is it more appropriate to use yang energy (overcome, push) or yin energy (welcome in, pull, flip)?
It is important to note that in the absence of resistance, we are still practicing and being prepared!
AHUYS (Anger, Hope, Urgency, Yes You Can!, Solidarity) are the mutually interdependent and polar opposites of AFISI (Apathy, Fear, Inertia, Self-doubt, Isolation).
An “Empowered Shift” is comprised of the 5 conversations that facilitate the shift in thinking from AFISI to AHUYS, along with the ACTIONS that reinforce the shift. For example, when an activity or action is taken, how is it carried out in such a way as to bring us out of Isolation and teach Solidarity?
While it may be relatively easy to get a union activist to take action – as opposed to coordinating collective activity for supporters that may not be as bold – the campaign needs to take the harder route, if it is to facilitate an empowered shift. The flow between Resonating Drives (ie the left side of our TAO conceptual model) and Managing Resistance (ie the right side) is a cyclical process.
Polarity management is the shift of natural, misdirected energy (resistance as restraining field) towards its polar opposite (change as driving field).
We’ve covered the main design principles of TAO, and how they contribute to achieving Shih.
Next, we will go take deep dive into the 5 conversations to facilitate the Empowered Shift. We are a Network of individuals and organizations developing theory and practice in human systems dynamics - HSD. As professionals, we know that our theory and practice dona€™t match, the old solutions no longer work.
Human systems are more complex than the mechanistic models traditionally used to inform theory and practice.
We are learning that the systems we work, live and play in are complex, and that change is necessary for survival at all levels. Models and methods that give answers to or transcend long-standing dilemmas we have faced in our various fields.

An introduction to concepts, language, and action that are accessible, practical, and effective.
In the beginning, the diversity of thought in the field of human systems dynamics stimulated new thought and action. To meet this challenge and establish a shared environment of learning and opportunity, we must become aware of the similarities that bind us as well as the differences that enrich us. We must establish methods and modes of communication that will allow us to transform and be transformed as individuals, organizations, and a community of learners. We must explore our differences to establish a rich and flexible tapestry of principle and practice in applications of complexity to human systems.
The following short list of simple rules is the foundation for the emerging system-wide patterns for the field of human systems dynamics and that of the Institute.
Change Whisperer) from Conner Partners the other day and found myself mentioning Seely Brown’s Push-Pull concept again. The principles are the abstract vision; the practice is the concrete, grounded, ear-to-the-grindstone work. It recognizes the impact and interdependence of different levels of the human system: Individual — Small Group — Organization — Community. This may appear to contradict the idea of attending to all levels of the system, however, the small group is the bridge between the individual and the organization. In any given workplace, a psychological field (Cognitive, Affective, Behavioral) is occupying a space on this continuum.
Movement and change towards the desired state (organized and participatory engagement) happens when driving forces (D, V, F) are in greater proportion to the restraining forces (R). Resonance is rather like surround sound, where the energy conveyed is mutually reinforcing.
This requires us to emergently design (adaptive change), in order to manage the resistance we face.
This where we need to observe, monitor, and analyze the forms of resistance that are manifested.
It is nothing short of a paradigm shift, moving employees from being victims to being authors of their own story.
The graceful flow between Resonating Drives and Managing Resistance is the natural yin-yang of successful organizing practice.
Articles following that will focus on the process through which we deliberately design Resonating Drives and anchor it with anecdotes. Possibilities emerged when individuals who worked mostly as soloists found opportunities to play in ensemble. What previously were motivating differences within the field threaten to become containers that establish competition and animosity between and among the various threads of investigation. These conversations must be frequent and fluid, allowing each of us to explore new ideas freely, trusting that our peers will provide encouragement, as well as fair and well-reasoned critique.
We must establish standards of quality for ourselves to ensure that the field moves toward increasing truth and usefulness. Its original purpose remains and has grown: to facilitate development of theory and practice in human systems dynamics to increase adaptive capacity in individuals, organizations, and communities. TAO can be used for design in the planning stages, or, in the midst of the campaign, it can be used as an evaluation and intervention device. It recalls the hanging mobile metaphor—how influencing one part of the campaign will have all kinds of consequences—both predictable and surprising.
Principles inform practice and practice informs principles; they exist simultaneously together. Understanding the location of the cause of resistance will help us understand how to appropriately intervene.
The cognitive (rational) is important, but so is the Affective (emotional), in influencing motivation (Beliefs, Values, Narrative Framework) to drive Action (behavioral).

Parts and wholes are integrated as a dynamic system, and must be attended to simultaneously. This involves keeping driving forces in alignment between all levels of the human system: Individual, Small Group, Company, Community.
The surest sign that Resonance is occurring is when the campaign message is fed back from the employees. As we discussed earlier, this requires a shift in approaches from a deliberative style to an emergent style of design.
In using your opponent’s energy, direction, and weight, one transforms this energy into an improved position—or shih.
If we hold these principles to heart, they become the standard operating procedures for the organizing enterprise. We will end the series with how we practice to be able to emergently respond to Managing Resistance. Organizations such as the Society of Chaos Theory in Psychology and the Life Sciences, as well as the Chaos Network, afforded annual opportunities to meet face-to-face and more frequent communication via newsletters, journals, and email or list-serves. Those who study and work in the field have a choice.A Applications of complexity to human systems could become as factional and internally vitriolic as other applied social sciences from which many of us emerged. Electronic, print, and face-to-face communications will be needed to establish the networks of learning rich and varied enough to carry the transforming exchanges as the field, and each of us, emerges. At the same time, we must be ready to learn from myriad approaches, tools, and techniques as they emerge and are tested by others and ourselves. It can be used to monitor planned design outcomes, allowing for adjustments or interventions. For example, if resistance is popping up in one department, the campaign response—or intervention—does not need to be addressed at company level. To put it simply, while we need to win the argument, we also need to capture the passion and visions of the workplace. When one arm of the mobile is acted on (intervention) then an opposite balancing reaction appears (resistance). Improvisational comedians make their performances seem graceful because they practice under certain groundrules.
Instead of seeing management as the fountains of causation and the impact on employees the inevitable effect (disempowering), the shift seeks to invert the relationship. True grace and seamless flow between Drives and Resistance can be mastered through practice and reflection. Stay in the present state to build deep awareness in order to recognize and open up possibilities to be the polar opposite. Or, we can apply what we've learned about emergent system-wide patterns to influence the dynamics prospectively. Rather than standing at the edges of natural science investigation into complexity or the edges of more traditional social sciences stretching to incorporate nonlinear dynamics, we should stand in the middle of the field as we build it. The most likely path to productive system-wide patterns is through rich interaction of free agents.
Whether it is in the conversations we have or the collective actions we take, when we manage this polarity we are shifting the energy from Restraining fields to Driving fields. Deconstruction of the parts and the whole of the campaign can be used to glean insights into what worked and what did not.
By taking the time to recognize, inquire, and understand resistance, organizers can effectively and quickly use misdirected energy to the campaign’s advantage. It is not easy to do and takes practice to master these conversations, but they happen all the time.

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