Change Agency in Learning, Instruction, and Performance



The purpose of this chapter is to describe the state of research and theory in the area of Change Agency in instructional and organization systems. The study of the diffusion and adoption of innovations arguably began with a need to understand how external change agents could encourage relatively passive users of an innovation to accept the need for change and implementation of the desired change. The change agents’ frustrations with the lack of relevant useful results led to more collaborative efforts to design, develop, implement and benefit from research, processes and products. The last few decades have seen research on change and change agency that is focused more on how to engage users in the change process through change agents who are internal and external to the system.

We begin this chapter with a brief history of research and theory from diffusion and adoption processes to a more inclusive and collaborative look at organization and system change. This is followed by a discussion of the latest research in business/corporate and nonprofit organization change focused on leadership in change management and communication modes and messages. We finally consider what the overall research tells us and what gaps remain to be filled in order to continue a robust agenda for effective change agency research and practice.


Change agent Organizational change System change Change management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Ramon Savoy
    • 1
  • Alison A. Carr-Chellman
    • 2
  1. 1.Pearson/School Achievement ServicesWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Learning and Performance Systems, College of EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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