Intersection of Change Management and Kirkpatrick evaluation

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So, what happens when you mash up a change management strategy with the Kirkpatrick model for learning effectiveness?  You get Etienne Wenger et al‘s newest concept, as detailed in Ruud de Moor Centrum’s Rapport 18 (Report 18) – Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework¹.

Oh, yes.  And if that’s not obscure enough, throw in a bit of story-telling magic to really bring it all together.

What could have been overly academic treatment of an intersection of ideas really does turn out to be a fairly pragmatic use of intersecting ideas and approaches, to deliver a method for tying Communities of Practice to valid business objectives.  How?

Start with the change management framework.  Imagine the “current state” on the left column, an open space, and the “future state” on the right.  Now, snake a line, descending across time down the page, to traverse the space between the current and future states.  If you’ve imagined that the way Wenger did, you’ll have something that looks like this:

Current to future state stories

Current to future state stories

(This is where the stories come in – describing the current and future states in a manner that is memorable and relate-able.  Wenger calls these the “Ground narrative” and the “Aspirational narrative.”)

And now, for the Kirkpatrick model.  Using the 4 Kirkpatrick Levels (Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results), Wenger proposes the following “Cycles” to facilitate the change from current to future states:

  1. Immediate value
  2. Potential value
  3. Applied value
  4. Realized value
  5. Reframing value
The fifth cycle is really a refining step that leads to an additional round of change process.  The authors imagine the process visually in this way:
Value creation stories

Value creation stories

So, there you have it – a brilliant mash-up of change management and Kirkpatrick learning effectiveness, spiced with a bit of storytelling.  Worth the read, and worth the implementation.  Next time you’re asked, “Where is the value in CoPs and Organizational Learning?”, tell them some stories…

¹Wegner, E., B. Trayner, et al. (2011). Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework. Heerlen, NL, Ruud de Moor Centrum Open Universiteit: 60. (available at

1 Comment

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  1. drlarryhiner

    A reader asked about the arrows in the second diagram (from the post). The article, or course, goes into greater detail; but essentially, the arrows represent narratives that can move the value across the cycles to more advanced levels. For instance, the reddish-purple arrow at the top of the diagram might represent a story that talks about how discussions that were held over the phone or via email are now being recorded in an on-line, community forum. While that is good as a ground narrative, if the story closes by seeing the potential value of having an historical record of that discussion thread for future members of the team (so that the discussion need not be re-hashed, for instance), then the value moves from “ground” through “immediate” to “potential.”

    Further, if you follow the dotted line down to the next phase of that same story, imagine that – subsequently – a new member joins the team and task about how they were able to catch up with the team and be more productive more quickly by having reviewed the discussion threads in the community forum. Would that not take the value from “potential” through “applied” to “realized?”

    For me, not all the arrows follow a completely logical progression; but the idea is there that stories can accelerate real value across the phases of the community life.

    Thanks for the question, Catherine!

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