I recently completed the Foundation level APMG Change Management course. It’s been an interesting course of study, with some insightful ways of seeing the world of work. Naturally, some of my thoughts as I worked through the training, exercises, revision and then the exam, turned to publishing as an industry, a profession and a set of theories. I’ve been looking too at mass communication and media and comms theory – helped along by Paddy Scannell’s book (which I worked on, at SAGE). Media and Communication offers a broad overview of much of twentieth century research and theory pertaining to ‘the media’, a term which in its current usage emerges from the thinking of Marshall McLuhan and other contemporaries.
Some of the most fascinating sections cover Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding framework and having this in mind as I think about what needs to change in publishing is especially useful. There’s a tonne of tacit assumptions made by those in power in publishing that need to change and managing this change so that it is structural, thorough and long-lasting is the challenge. Surface diversity initiatives won’t cut it and neither will attempts that do not start from the top. The guiding coalition that puts these changes into effect needs to be making them from a position of knowledge, activism and deep commitment. How much of that is in evidence? Have you come across examples of good change management in the industry that you want to share?