Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Donald C. Weaver

Second Advisor

Dr. Maurice Seay

Third Advisor

Dr. Frank Scott


The purpose of this study was to develop a model for introducing change in large social systems. The model was based on (1) a review of existing models, and (2) the analysis of a participant-observer study of an attempt at intraducing large system change. Organization Development was the focal change modality examined. It was intended that the model thus developed would be of utility to the practicing change agent in whatever field--education, social work, community development, government, unions, business, or industry.

From the review of existing models and related literature, it was concluded that a useful model for practitioners would include consideration of the change agent, the client system, the nature of the change, the process, and time. Six months of a detailed case history of an attempt at launching organization change was then presented, followed by summary shapshots of the state of this organization change process at two later time periods--the case thus encompassing a total of 2-1/2 years. The launch strategy used in the first 6 months was then assessed for its relative success, and existing models reexamined to determine the extent to which they helped explain or predict the level of success of the launch strategy employed.

Based on this review and analysis, an integrative model was developed which was characterized as two-dimensional, nonrnathematical, dynamic, and analytic, and meeting the two main criteria of utility and relative simplicity. The model integrated the concept of an s-curve rate of change with Lewin's phases of change--unfreezing, change, refreezing-and five stages of change agent activity: Scouting, Entry, Conducting Trials, Managing Diffusion, and Fostering Institutionalization. The first three of these stages--Scouting, Entry, and Conducting Trials--were identified as the "launch period," the focal point of this study, and guidelines for change agent behavior were developed for each of these three stages. Finally, the model incorporated the concept of the system, moving first to a state wherein it is increasingly ready to adopt innovation and then on to a state wherein it is increasingly adaptive with optimum boundary permeability and mutuality of relationships. Implications of the model were discussed in relation to practice and research in the field of educational leadership and other fields.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access