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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Change as a Power-Coercion Process

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


August 24, 2015

For several weeks, Sustaining the Thinking Collaborative Journey is making connections between Chin and Benne’s work on change strategies and the work of Adaptive Schools and Cognitive CoachingSM. This week we consider the Power-Coercion strategy. This has been a common strategy in public education over the last years. Numerous examples can be named – No Child Left Behind, Standards-Based Education, curricular mandates, accountability systems, etc. In this method, the focus is on rapid results and fixing people. It is a political solution in that it relies on one group having more power than another. The focus, like Normative-Reeducative is on the innovation and the organization, not the individual. Although change may occur quickly, the results are often compliance rather than an internalized understanding and belief in the value of the changes. This method often results in loss of relationship and trust.

When have you experienced this type of change and what were the results for you personally and for the organization?

How might children in our schools have experienced this type of change and what were the effects?

How does this method conflict with the underlying values and beliefs of Cognitive CoachingSM and Adaptive Schools?

Might there ever be a situation where this strategy might be called for?

Source: Chin, R., & Benne, K.D. (1969) General strategies for effecting changes in human systems. In W.G. Bennis, K.D. Benne, & R. Chin (Eds), The planning of change (pp. 32-59). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

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