Large extent Transformation Strategies

It is shared in the workplace to hear statements from leadership about change. Statements like: change is a continued or the only thing that is a continued is change. The doom and gloom of change has had a negative connotation for quite a while. Organizational change does not have to negative, painful or already disturbing if it is done correctly from the onset. The goal if his paper is to analyze different strategies that can be used in a transformational change strategy. The viewpoint will be from a consultant working within an organization of higher education. These strategies that will be examined will be search conferences, top down and bottom up, experimental, quality, and rule/lag. The goal is to bring an understanding of these strategies and how they can be applied in a higher educational setting.

Search Conferences

Search conferences are a great strategy to use as a consultant to gain a strategic understanding of what the organization’s long-term vision might require or become. Emery and Purser (1996) define search conferences as using the theory of open systems which is a system that is viable and viewable to all. basically, it is transparent with nothing to hide. The goal of a properly conducted search conference will have all the correct decision makers in the same room that have the ability to provide valuable input. When organizations use search conferences to help with strategy, leaders of the organization that are attending the conference are asked to estimate three main areas of the organization. These areas are environmental, system and integration.

The first phase is the environmental appreciation. Consultants and conference leaders will ask participates to take a hard look at the world around them and what changes are happening that could impact their organization. In addition, what are some desirable outcomes for the organization that are future based? As participates begin to think about all the desirable outcomes and really begin to create a roadmap in their head for strategy, the second phase will be deployed.

During this second phase, participates are then asked to examine the past and how the organization got to where they are today, analyze the present and dream of the future of their system. For example, a consultant might ask participates what is rare about their culture or what has shaped out identity? The goal of this phase is to help participates analyze their own internal ecosystem and look at where they have come from.

The third phase is the combining of the first two phases or a integration of systems and ecosystem. Emery and Purser (1996) define this phase a place with substantial and action planning with operational plans that align with a desirable future. This is phase that the strategic plans are mapped out with all participates of the search conference. Examples of successful search conferences include, school reform, water quality planning, juvenile justice system.

As a consultant, this kind of transformational strategy can be very useful when working with a lot of decision makers or already working with external stakeholders that can provide input. This kind of transformational strategy looks at the organization as a question and brings problem-solvers together to put it back together in a way that is stronger than before. In the field of education, there are a lot of stakeholders that might want to have their opinions heard but due to the internal character of higher education, not having the external involved would be the best recommendation due to focus and objectives.

Focus on Quality

Total quality management or TQM has been a transformation strategy since the 1980’s Beer (2003) explored the why TQM programs do not persist as a transformational change strategy in organizations. What they found was that patience and top-down leadership are to blame for the failures of the TQM initiatives. For example, when a CEO and the senior leadership decide it is time to make a change they might delegate the responsibility out to the a small task force for implementation. What happens, according to Beer (2003) is that these small task forces dissolve before the transformation is complete or they only tell the senior leaders what they want to hear and do not disclose the truth in fear of consequences. The main issue is that leadership wants an immediate impact and results and with the implementation of a TQM changes strategy, quick in not an option. In addition, due to the top-down strategy from leadership and then the delegation of responsibilities to a task force, there is little motive for employees to make any changes since senior leadership does not seem vested enough to work by the change with their employees. This can cause resistance to change and can damage the trust factor of leadership. If senior leadership at every level is not vested in the TQM transformational strategy then the behaviors and actions of the organization will not align and any policies or new behaviors will not adopted by the new culture.

Consultants that are working within the TQM form within higher education need to understand all the rules and regulations associated with higher education. This is a great form when used correctly and can really streamline the time of action for large distant learning schools that have many campuses globally in addition as nationally.


This is a rare transformational strategy in which leadership can mix and match strategies to find the right fit for their organization. Macintosh and Maclean (1999) state that organizations cannot successfully change with a one size fits all mentality that most models deployed. The authors used the example of Newtonian laws in which systems cannot exist unless there is equilibrium but since change is non-equilibrium, change with a combination of different systems to create a new system that will present equilibrium for the organization. For example, organizational learning is a rather new field of study and can but can be used in this example. The example will state that equilibrium of an organization will present itself as a static or routine like institution but this can be dangerous since innovation will fall off causing the organization to become extinct. By using organizational learning and questioning the current strategy, the organization can cause the organization to go into non-equilibrium and then can develop a new system within the organizational learning paradigm that fits best.

A consultant needs to be careful when working in this kind of transformational strategy. There needs to be plans in place and predictable outcomes that can be measured during the state of non-equilibrium otherwise a state of chaos might be later to that the organization cannot retrieve from. however, this could be a advantageous transformational strategy by having the organization step out the static and routine and develop a new system that can re-engineer their own identity. In addition, this kind of transformational change can be a good choice if there are many different avenues that need to be explored.

In addition to experimentation, during this kind of transformational change, a consultant can use the rule-lag strategy as a comparison and contrast to see what is working and what is not working within the change. If a certain strategy is leading the way while the other is lagging behind then the lagging strategy will be cut. According to Breja, Banwet, and Iyer (2010) as long as the strategies goal is on achieving the organizational objectives, a pattern will appear that will in fact help the transformational change and provide insight into a strategy that is congruent with the organization.


With all the transformational change strategies, models and concepts in the business world, it is hard to believe that some organizations believe in the one-size fits all models. Consultants can provide sustain and guidance but leadership of the organization needs to be held accountable for successful transformation. by search conferences, top-down and bottom-up TQM to experimentation, a transformational change strategy can be found for any organization as long as that organization has the patience to see it by. If change is done correctly, it can be painless and can provide incentives to employees and stakeholders alike. Though change is a continued, it does not have to be gloom and doom


Beer, M. (2003). Why total quality management programs do not persist: The role of management quality and implications for leading a TQM transformation*. Decision Sciences, 34(4), 623-642.

Breja, S. K., Banwet, D. K., & Iyer, K. C. (2011). Quality strategy for transformation: A case study. TQM Journal, 23(1), 5-20. d

Emery, M., & Purser, R. E. (1996). The search conference: A powerful method for planning organizational change and community action. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.

MacIntosh, R., & MacLean, D. (1999). Conditioned emergence: A dissipative structures approach to transformation.Strategic Management Journal, 20(4), 297.

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