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In the past two decades there has been a strong recognition on the academic front that many seemingly

disparate fields of study are actually connected and can provide a wealth of information to one another. Theories, concepts, and knowledge gleaned in one field can often be applied in other fields with surprising effectiveness. This foundational thought process drives Olson and Eoyangs work Facilitating Organization Change: Lessons from Complexity Science. They use their platform to apply to organizational change and human resources development (HRD) the concepts of field theory and complex adaptive systems that have been studied in disciplines ranging from biology to thermodynamics to computer simulation modeling. Olson and Eoyang do an outstanding job of framing their presentation and fitting the information they provide within that construct. From the outset, the authors acknowledge that they are blazing a new trail in organizational change. Their goal is to challenge the traditional norms of organizational change and offer a new way for human resources (HR) professionals to approach organizational change by presenting it through the lens of complex adaptive systems. Throughout the book, each chapter is titled and structured as a counter to traditional ways of thinking in HRD. This assists the theme that the book is designed as a completely new way of thinking that challenges the long-held assumptions about HRD and how organizational change should be and is conducted. The authors constantly present ideas as counters to the prevailing notions of organizational change change comes through connections and not from top-down micromanaging leaders, success is the fit of an idea to an organization and not trying to meet some nebulous and abstract ideal, and other similar ideas. The presentation and design of the book serve to emphasize the new outlook they hope to create in HRD and the fact that its in direct opposition to currently accepted practices.

The use of visual aids is another critical aspect of this book that improves its flow and utility to the user. The book is written to both inform and to instruct. As such, the use of graphs, charts, and other visual tools are significant in their use and importance. These visual aids serve to accentuate certain phrases, definitions, and ideas that the authors want to highlight. Multiple times per chapter, Olson and Eoyang provide charts that distinguish the important differences in the methods theyre advocating and those currently being practiced by HRD professionals. In doing so, they filter the multiple pages of information into a quickly and easily digestible format that practitioners can understand and apply. In terms of the books function to serve as a textbook or guidebook for HR practitioners, these charts play an important role. Olson and Eoyang seem to understand that when discussing theoretical concepts, especially those that run counter to the status quo, the use of visual aids to simplify the material and make it more presentable and approachable aids in its acceptance and improves the readers understanding and ability to employ the information. While one of many possible techniques, its one that fits well with the design and purpose of this book and demonstrates the authors understanding of their audience and the best methods to use in order to accomplish their goals. One of the greatest advantages of this book and a component that I believe is incredibly important to any book of this style is the inclusion of chapters devoted to the practical application of the presented ideas. Olson and Eoyang frame their argument around three essential components to organizational change a container, the boundaries within which change occurs; transforming exchanges, those contacts between individuals that lead to change; and significant differences, the diversity of characteristics and opinions that serve as the impetus for change in many instances. They devote the majority of the book to explaining those ideals and elaborating upon them, but they also understand that theory must be supported by practice. In order to

facilitate this process, the authors devote the final two chapters to explaining to HRD professionals different techniques they can use to incorporate these ideas into their thought processes and training programs. As the creators and developers of a new method of thinking, Olson and Eoyang know that they must help practitioners understand how to employ these ideas or risk them falling to the wayside. As before, the authors demonstrate a clear vision of what they want their book to achieve and implement specific methods to make this goal a reality. By devoting the last part of their book to the practical application of the previously-developed theories, they make it easier for practitioners to apply its ideas and create the desired impression of a work that serves as a textbook and guidebook for HRD professionals. Quite possibly the greatest weakness of the book is its lack of supportive empirical research. Its easily understandable given the topic. Since Olson and Eoyang are arguing for an entirely new way of thinking, there obviously isnt going to be any research to support their arguments at least not from HRD. Olson and Eoyang take time initially to leverage some of the research thats been conducted in other fields to provide a measure of credence to their argument. However, at the time of the books writing, there hadnt been any research done that could confirm or refute the concepts the authors were proposing. When creating new dialogue and offering a new paradigm as Olson and Eoyang were, there are going to be those who are reticent to change and require further proof. Research can provide that evidence. Future editions of this publication would be served by incorporating research that can validate or suggest changes for the authors proposals. Until this evidence can be incorporated, the book is destined to be a book of ideas with limited utility a house built on a foundation of sand. In the end, Facilitating Organization Change is an excellent book that achieves its desired goals. It sets out to fundamentally change the way HRD professionals view organizations

and the mechanisms used to change them. It draws from research and theories in numerous academic specialties and applies them in a novel way to organizational change. Its also easily readable and is designed in such a way that it not only serves as an interesting theoretical book, but allows practitioners to easily incorporate methods that support its concepts. Since it diverges so strongly from the status quo, the book and its ideas will certainly be met with challenges. Nevertheless, in its current state, Olson and Eoyang do a marvelous job of taking abstract concepts and making them relatable, understandable, and applicable to the average HRD professional.