Leading in a Culture of Change (Book Review)

Author Michael Fullan is an authority on educational reform, but his ideas can apply to all kinds of organizations as explained in Leading in a Culture of Change. One of Fullan’s core ideas is to help achieve the moral purpose of all children learning. This idea appears in his book and can extend to helping people achieve any morally grounded purpose through effective leadership for change in any kind of organization.

Fullan lists five change leadership components. Besides moral leadership, the components are understanding change, building relationships, creating and sharing knowledge, and creating coherence. Fullan argues that a leader can master these components, and in often difficult conditions, that leader can then mobilize others to accomplish shared goals that are worth achieving as the leader will point out.

Leading in a Culture of Change is based on the idea that change is both inevitable and essential in our modern world. Change can foster creative solutions and innovation plus prevent stagnation. Challenges that come with change can include disruptions due to new technologies and shifting market dynamics. To be an effective leader, one must understand these dynamics and complexities of the process of change plus have a focus on a moral, worthwhile goal.

I was struck as I read this book that one of Fullan’s main ideas is that an effective leader is one who considers that groups should focus on achieving a right and moral goal and work together to do this, which in my mind is an approach leaders could and should use to be effective. Fullan does note, “There is a lot more to moral purpose than moral purpose. It is not a state; it is a dynamic process” (p. 37).

Leading in a Culture of Change

Michael Fullan. 2020. 2nd ed. Jossey-Bass. [ISBN 978-1-119-59584-7. 180 pages, including index. US$29.95 (hardcover).]

Reviewed by Jeanette Evans 
Note to readers: A version of the review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication (the journal of the STC)