Monday, September 26, 2011

"We can only hope for incremental situations of mild crises,”-P.Keen,1980,re Counterimplementation

Valuable concepts from Peter G. W. Keen:  Counterimplementation Strategies and Countercounterimplementation Strategies!

"...Obviously there is a fine line between honest resistance to a project one feels is misguided and selfish sabotage of a necessary innovation. The difference is a matter for conscience and self-scrutiny. In both cases, the response is political, whether "clean" or "dirty" politics. 

"...Whether we like it or not, we can only hope for incremental change [except, as Ansoff points out [2] in situations of mild crises, where the status quo is no longer satisfactory, and organizations rethink their goals and are more willing to think "rationally"].  

"The bringers and sellers of change--academics, computer specialists, and consultants-- assume that what they offer is good. In practice, there are many valid reasons to go beyond passive resistance and actively try to prevent implementation. Many innovations are dumb ideas. Others threaten the interests of individuals and groups..."
- Excerpts above & below from article  “Information Systems and Organizational Change,” Peter G. W. Keen, May 1980, Communications of the ACM, January 1981, Vol 24, No. 1, pp. 24-33 pp. 27-28, 30-31.
I first encountered "Counterimplementation Strategies" in one of the most memorable and useful lectures I've ever heard - by guest speaker Peter G. W. Keen at the Wharton School, Univ. of Pa. ca. 1980.

More excerpts, including suggested tactics, strategies...

"Believers in rationalism generally view resistance to change and protection of vested interests as faults to be ignored or suppressed. The tactical approach to implementation sees resistance as a signal from a system in equilibrium that the costs of change are perceived as greater than the likely benefits.

"...Countercounterimplementation (CCI) is largely defensive, whereas the facilitative tactical approach is proactive. To an extent, CCI involves containing and doing the opposite of counterimplementers, whose strategy may be summarized as:

(1) Lay low;
(2) Rely on inertia;
(3) Keep the project complex, hard to coordinate, and vaguely defined;
(4) Minimize the implementers' legitimacy and influence;
(5) Exploit their lack of inside knowledge.

"The tactical model [CCI] addresses some of these issues:

(1) Make sure you have a contract for change;
(2) Seek out resistance and treat it as a signal to be responded to;
(3) Rely on face-to-face contracts;
(4) Become an insider and work hard to build personal credibility;
(5) Co-opt users early.

" A strategic model for change needs to resolve some additional concerns:

(1) What happens when consensus is impossible?
(2) How can large-scale projects evade social inertia?
(3) What authority mechanisms and organizational resources are needed to deal with the politics and data and counterimplementation?
(4) What is the role of management?
"This reality... requires nontechnical resources such as (1) a meaningful steering committee and (2) authority."

Permission from original publication:  
"Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the ACM copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of the Association for Computing Machinery. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and/or specific permission.
© 1981 ACM 0001-0782/81/0100-0024


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1 comment:

  1. Really interesting article. Thanks for posting! This is particularly relevant to my current research, which focuses on why faculty members are so resistant to adopting pedagogical innovations, even when there is significant empirical and theoretical evidence that it does/would improve student learning outcomes.


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