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Proposals for change are
usually based on promises of a better future. These promises
are based on the benefits
that will flow when the change has been fully implemented and is working very
well. However most changes also involve a number of counter productive elements.
Change increases the need for resources while decreasing productivity (at least
- Change does not happen in a vacuum. Thus it involves competition between
the proposed changes and what is already happening (at least during the implementation
- Change requires preparation which may involve the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, materials,
equipment, facilities, …
- Change is disruptive since it requires that the organisation prepare for new tasks while still doing the existing tasks.
- It is often necessary to run parallel systems during the change over from one system to the next.
Change also involves loss
- change means that something, that was, no longer exists or occurs
- it is easy to be distracted by the improvements associated with change and
so fail to notice the losses involved
The costs of change
- Resources (tools, arrangements, facilities, supervision...) for new activities
- Resources for implementing the change (training, managing the
overlap, building commitment...)
- Losses (knowledge, skills, identity, arrangements...)
'Improvement' through change, ie, the introduction of new processes
- In social systems such schools where the financial costs
appear largely fixed and financial benefits are
poorly understood change is often falsely seen as 'cost neutral',
especially by those who are proposing the change but do not have to
- People are often reluctant to give up what works reasonably well (or is
perhaps just familiar) for the promised but as yet undemonstrated
- As a result the additional costs of implementing change are often hidden because
they are created by, and/or passed on to, the people involved (teachers, students and families)
and/or deferred to a later time and place.