Winter 1989 // Volume 27 // Number 4 // Tools of the Trade // 4TOT1

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Planning of Change


Roger A. Rennekamp
Extension Program Specialist for 4-H
University of Kentucky-Lexington

The Planning of Change. 4th ed. Warren G. Bennis, Kenneth D. Benne, and Robert Chin. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985. 528 pp. $30.95 hardcover.

As agents of planned change, it's imperative that Extension professionals develop a working philosophy for implementing change efforts in human systems. The Planning of Change may well be considered a cornerstone resource in helping to build such a working philosophy for thought and action.

The main authors paradoxically proclaim that "the only constant of today's society is change." However, by planning change, we work toward specified goals in a comprehensive and organized manner.

The book is comprised of essays, readings, and assorted works by a broad array of individuals, each making a contribution to achieving the book's central goal of "helping the reader in the application of valid and appropriate knowledge in human affairs for the purpose of creating intelligent action necessary to bring about planned change."

In the book, planned change is described as a "conscious, deliberate, and collaborative effort to improve the operation of a human system." Greatest emphasis is placed on the processes of planning change, on how it is created, implemented, evaluated, maintained, and resisted. Other topics discussed include the social and psychological consequences of planned change, conditions necessary for change, strategies for bringing about change, plus the role of training, consulting, and applied research in creating and maintaining change.

The book is relevant to both effecting change in the internal structure and function of Extension organization as well as in the clientele systems we serve. In short, The Planning of Change is a valuable book to use in developing a personal philosophy about the ethics and intervention strategies necessary to bring about change.