Church Leadership: The Results of Addressing the Problem

Subject: Religion
Pages: 27
Words: 7386
Reading time:
29 min
Study level: PhD

Various cultures and their patterns as an object of cross-cultural research can be both distant in nature and be in direct contact. Evidently, in this case, cross-cultural studies are interested in those changes that occur in different cultures as a result of intercultural contacts. Cultures are not only comparable, but they are dynamic and changeable. Of course, the creators of the cross-cultural method were aware of the tremendous complexity that lies in the attempt to make a comparative analysis of cultures.

Namely, this complexity is the subject of serious methodological reflection. The thesis about the possibility and necessity of comparative analysis immediately raises two questions: what and how to compare in cultures. The answer to the first question requires a deeper theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of culture itself and the identification of comparable elements in various cultures. The answer to the second one reveals the applied and procedural aspects of the method under consideration.

Within the framework of one culture, or cultural unit, there is significant variability in behavioral norms and individual acts, which are predetermined by a wide variety of factors. These factors include both cultural and natural, general and necessary for a given cultural unit, as well as random in relation to the cultural unit.

This circumstance determines the necessity of using the factor analysis method. At the same time, the researcher takes into account the totality of factors, considering possible dependencies between them according to the principle of causality, in which the model “stimulus – reaction (response)” typical of behaviorism is crucial.1

At the same time, the “Self-construct” in cross-cultural studies turns out to be such a personality model that accumulates a set of varied traits and attributes that, on the one hand, can be identified and systematized in a specific cultural context, and, on the other hand, are subject to empirical verification on a specific material, reflecting the cultural diversity of the world.

As a result of the research of the “Self-construct,” depending on the factors of the cultural environment, two relatively stable types of “Self-constructs” were identified. The first one is designated as “western” (“individualistic,” “independent”), in opposition to the “eastern” (“collectivist,” “interdependent”), which is observed in the church community under consideration.2 For both types, the surrounding cultural context is essential in which “The Other,” or “Attitude-Self-to-Other,” represent the focus of individual experience.

An independent “Self-construct” is defined as “a holistic, internally connected, stable“Self,” independent of the social context.”3 Elements, the connection between which forms an “independent I-construct,” include the following: internal abilities, thoughts and feelings; uniqueness and ability to self-expression; awareness of their internal properties and the desire to achieve their own goals; directness in communication.

Reflecting on themselves, individuals with a developed independent self-construct take into account their own abilities, relationships, characteristics, and goals to greater extent than the thoughts, feelings, or actions of others. Similarly, in the process of reflection on others, precisely these characteristics and properties of others focus more than contextual factors.

An “interdependent “Self-construct” is characterized as a “mobile, changeable self,” in which the leading ones are the following: external, public features, such as statuses, roles, connections and relationships; occupying the appropriate place and performing the corresponding functions; the indirect nature of communication and the ability to “read between the lines.”4

The reflexive attitude towards oneself and others reveals, first of all, the interdependence of the “Self” and others. In addition to this, neither “Self” nor “others” are isolated from the situation, but are “fused” with it. The desire to harmonize interpersonal relationships and the ability to adapt to various changing situations are the dominant values of the “interdependent self-construct.”

That is why the “inter-interdependent Self” seeks communication by indirect means and shows increased attention to the manifestations of feelings and expressions of thoughts of others in order to be able to read their thoughts. In contrast to the “independent self,” the “interdependent self” depends on others, on person’s relationship with others and on contextual factors that govern behavior. This is since the main source of self-esteem is communication with others and adaptation; the situation and the presence of others are actively and constantly integrated in the personality structure of the “interdependent self.”5

Meanwhile, at the individual level of analysis, many studies have shown that these constructs coexist to varying degrees in each individual. In practice, these two “Self” coexist as trends that affect the behavior of a parishioner or potential member of the church community. When conducting organizational changes in the church community, these features should be taken into account.

The statistics of any significant transformations in the organizations are rather ‘sad’ ‑ various sources indicate that from 70 to 85% of innovations fail or fail.6 The causes of failure at first glance always seem unique for each individual case. However, in fact, the reason for the failures is usually the same: the changes were carried out without any change management, with complete disregard for the corresponding methods and technologies. This seems to be a very surprising phenomenon, since today change management is an extensive and well-developed section of management in any organizations, including church.

To implement a successful organizational change strategy, relevant tasks must be posed and resolved to demonstrate the economic sense of organizational activity and the established organizational order. The selection of indicators for assessing the effectiveness of organizational changes should be carried out in such a way as to ensure the achievement of goals and the coverage of tasks solved in the organizational system and its individual subsystems.

From these positions, conducting research on the formation of a system of indicators that most fully reflects the effectiveness and efficiency of organizational changes is relevant. Depending on the type of tasks to be solved by separate functional subsystems, the effect of the functioning of organizational systems can be determined using various private parameters.

Moreover, a very important step in reinforcing innovation is legitimizing change. It would be naive to expect that this stage can be free from problems. Events may not develop as planned, new unexpected problems may arise, as well as new resistance forces. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor changes and take appropriate management actions. Also, in many cases, a change management team is created that often includes external and internal facilitators and that will manage the implementation of the change implementation program.7

Obviously, the people who make up such a group can measure the results of changes on an informal basis, as they are in close contact with those who directly implement the changes and feel their consequences. However, it is also necessary to have additional independent mechanisms for assessing changes that could reinforce and complement the credibility of the preliminary assessment.

It should be emphasized that change management is carried out in two aspects: at the organization level (how one can manage groups in the process of change) and at the individual level (how each individual experiences changes). Moreover, namely the totality of all the individual employees who accepted the changes and implemented them forms the changes in the organization.

Change management is designed to assist in this, to lead each person through the transition phase between the current state and the future desired, while reducing or eliminating negative factors such as ‘productivity’ decline, resistance to changes, while increasing the speed of adoption of changes and the degree of their implementation.

The tools used for this are sponsorship, communication, coaching. Since changes occur ‑ and, therefore, lead to the desired results and benefits ‑ only when they are supported by all members, change management is also an integral part of the successful implementation of changes. Changes must be clearly defined: what exactly is changing ‑ processes, systems, organization structure, roles in order to manage them properly.

By the type of change, there are two radically opposite approaches to management. The first one is a revolutionary approach, which provides for a cardinal change in processes, casting doubt on the established methods and foundations, thereby achieving an optimal state of things. This approach is also called reengineering. The focus of the approach is determined by a radical increase in indicators, and its application is characteristic only in situations when the solution requires extreme methods.

The second approach is evolutionary; in this case, changes occur within the framework of organizational development. The approach is based on systemic improvement aimed at improving the efficiency of the organization through a change in existing norms and values. The implementation of evolutionary development is based on a modification of the structures and processes that underlie the organization’s activities.

The classification of change management approaches can be carried out on the basis of the temporality of changes. From this point of view, the following approaches are considered: “changes as a project” and “changes as a permanent component.”8 One approach considers changes as a project. In this case, it is assumed that the changes represent a one-time action with clearly defined start and end dates for the project, with an understandable and transparent result. The approach is applied when significant changes to the strategy, restructuring of the activity model due to mergers or acquisitions are necessary.

The advantage of the project is its concreteness, concentration on important management tasks. The disadvantages of the approach include the risk of a gap between the tasks of implementing the strategy and the tasks of the project for managing change, and the likelihood that after the end of the project the company may not be ready for further transformations and evolutionary continuation of development. For this, it is evidently necessary to launch a new project.

The second approach to change management is that the organization and its members develop the ability and willingness to change. This work is ongoing, without time limits and regardless of specific projects. Such a process is aimed at the long-term development of the organization and does not represent a solution to any specific problems, but rather an investment in the development of human resources.

The main risk in this case is the loss of connection with specific business tasks when abilities develop and changes do not occur. Change management can also be classified according to the direction of change. The following approaches are distinguished:9

  1. “Theory O.” From the point of view of theory, organization is an evolving system that can learn. The changes are aimed at developing organizational competencies and abilities. The approach focuses on the behavioral aspects of the organization and focuses on bottom-up changes. The most likely application of this theory is possible in the absence of urgent problems requiring immediate action.
  2. “Theory E.” The approach involves changes affecting the structure of the organization, the main focus of which ensures economic efficiency. The main aspect of the theory is the implementation of leadership from top to bottom, which allows focusing on elements that can be directed to the rapid achievement of the effect. Application of it is due to cases where a decision needs to be taken immediately.

Finally, changes can be planned and spontaneous. The first are carried out in accordance with the developed plan, in which the organization tries to predict its actions taking into account future events. The leadership studies the directions of development of the external environment, its capabilities and threats, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. The purpose of such plans is to prepare the organization for possible environmental changes, to withstand the adverse effects of random factors.

Spontaneous changes represent the organization’s unintended response to unforeseen circumstances as they arise. They, as a rule, are carried out in conditions of lack of time, are not well thought out, and do not allow adapting effectively to the environment. Often after such changes, the need for controlled change increases.10 This happened, in fact, in our case under investigation, as cross-cultural communication problems were revealed.

Changes, regardless of their scale, go through a series of stages. Almost always, the difficulties that arise are related to skipping one of the stages and not fulfilling the tasks of this stage. A clear sequence of deployment of the stages of change is important, because, without having a reliable basis, the formed organizational system will inevitably fail.11 In the process of change management, a sufficiently large amount of information about the object of change appears, which requires processing, generalization, and formalization.

Such a problem can be solved by building models. For our case, we used the ADKAR change model (abbreviation for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) ‑ this is a change model that can be used to manage changes in business teams and other social groups. This model was first described in Jeff Hiatt’s book ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community, published back in 2006.

The scope of applicability of the ADKAR model includes change management planning, diagnostics of deficiencies and failures in the implementation of change management, and their subsequent correction. The main idea of the ADKAR model is that in order to successfully manage changes in a group, one must first learn to contribute to the changes of each individual person. This model, in fact, is an enumeration and description of the stages and necessary resources that a person needs to change in one way or another:12

  • Awareness ‑ Awareness and understanding: each member of the group in which changes should occur should know why this is necessary and understand that it is really necessary.
  • Desire ‑ Desire and willingness: everyone in the group should be ready to support the changes and personally participate in them. Any changes are the result of the fact that each individual, personally, decided to change something in himself and his activity. If there is no such decision, there will be no change. Therefore, the task of the change manager is to help people make their choice in favor of change. This means that they need to be convincingly motivated, and in addition, provide all possible organizational and procedural support in the changes.
  • Knowledge: everyone should know how changes should occur and what is their essence. A clear, concrete, substantive knowledge of exactly how things should be changed is absolutely necessary: what tools will be needed for this and how to master them. Here, the manager’s task is to provide people with all the necessary training, instruction, and support.
  • Ability ‑ Opportunity: changes must be feasible, realistic; people should already have the necessary skills and behaviors, or these skills should be easily acquired. It is necessary to demonstrate in practice, to demonstrate to people that the changes expected of them are possible and lead precisely to the results that are attractive to them.

Reinforcement: for changes to be stable and lasting, they must be positively reinforced. If people do not receive permanent, real positive reinforcements, then the changes will be unstable at best, and in the worst they will generally die before they start. Recognition, approval, reward, encouragement of all successes will be the key to achieving the goals of the planned changes.

Only with all five elements of the model, changes will be easy and successful. It should be borne in mind that for each individual, the different stages and elements of the ADKAR model will turn out to be the most difficult and time-consuming. The overall success of the whole group in the changes consists of the individual success of each member of the group.

This defines the task of the change management specialist: to guide each person through all five stages and elements of the model. If the “bottleneck” is the “Desire” block, efforts are needed to manage the resistance, while omissions in the “Knowledge” block are corrected by training, and so on.

There are a number of means of influence that will help solve this problem. These include communication, support, training, coaching and managing resistance to change. It should be borne in mind that different methods are good for working with different blocks of the model.13 So, it is impossible to teach a person to want to change, or to give him the opportunity to change, just talking to him if he is not capable of such changes. The ADKAR model can be successfully used to diagnose key issues that impede change.

Such a key problem may be the lack of formation of any of the five blocks of the model. The main idea of the corrective function of the ADKAR model is that it is necessary to work with the identified problem, without wasting time and effort neither of the leader, nor of the parishioners to work with blocks that have been successfully learned and reflexed. The ADKAR model works as a product of all these factors. If at least one of the factors is equal to zero, then the whole ‘product’ is equal to zero, since the formula for the changes is as follows:

  • Effective Change = A * D * K * A * R

As a result, organizational changes are successful when everyone who is a participant in these changes has all five elements of ADKAR at a sufficient level. This is a fundamental model for understanding “how, why, when” to use various change management tools. In turn, it is obvious that a large number of factors affecting the effectiveness of change management forces to create models and systems of indicators that characterize both the control and the managed subsystem.

On the one hand, a high level of management of the organization’s management is one of the prerequisites for the effectiveness of change management in general; on the other hand, the effectiveness of change management can be described in sufficient detail only by a group of interrelated indicators, the calculation of which is based on general methodological principles.

One of the most common concepts for determining the effectiveness of change management is the terms “quality,” “efficiency,” and “effectiveness.” Important semantic meaning of these terms is for various areas of research. In particular, having systematized the interpretations of the concept of “quality of management,” it can be used to decipher the concept of quality of change management, thus the quality of change management is a set of parameters characterizing the quality level of the environment for the effective functioning of the socio-economic system in the process of changes, taking into account the impact of factors external and internal environment.

The effective operation of socio-economic systems is directly related to the effectiveness of management. In this regard, it is necessary to consider the concept of “management effectiveness.” Change management should be evaluated from the point of view of the final result and analyzed in accordance with the existing goals, methods, processes. In ISO 9000/2000 standards, performance is defined as the degree to which the planned activities are realized and the planned results are achieved.14

Thus, the more correctly the goal is formulated and the more accurately the set goal is achieved, the higher the effectiveness. In the analysis of the works devoted to this topic, one can conclude that the effectiveness of change management is an indicator characterizing the degree of achievement of the set goals, both qualitative and quantitative, in the process of managing changes in socio-economic systems.15 Accordingly, the above approach can be applied to the church community as a social system.

The definition of “change management effectiveness” helps to identify opportunities for change in the socio-economic system, provides information on the need for deeper changes or on the creation of new activities. The effectiveness of change management is the main condition for the effectiveness of ongoing changes.16 The concept of efficiency characterizes the degree of readiness of the tasks, depending on the rationality or irrationality of the means and methods used to solve the tasks.

It is also necessary to clearly distinguish between the effectiveness and the efficiency of change management. Effectiveness is the performance of the necessary functions, regardless of the resources expended. Efficiency, in turn, is the implementation of changes, taking into account the optimization of available resources.

However, the interconnection of different areas is the reason for the impossibility of a correct assessment of the effectiveness of change management without taking into account other indicators. Often, the concept of efficiency means the concept of optimality.17 The main task of effective change management is to find control actions with maximum efficiency.

Returning to the ADKAR model, we should note that in our case the Awareness stage involves the realization of a sharp drop in church attendance and the activity of its members in extra-liturgical activities. In addition, at the same stage, one of the main reasons for the current situation was identified ‑ the problem of cross-cultural communications. At the Desire stage, the willingness and desire of the parishioners to support the changes and personally participate in them was determined (these indicators were not high during the initial diagnosis).

At the Knowledge stage, training was conducted according to the Kolb cycle method, to ensure reflection and assimilation of the knowledge gained ‑ exactly how to change, what tools will be needed for this and how to master them. At the Ability stage, it was clearly and practically demonstrated to people that the changes that were expected of them are possible and lead precisely to the results that are potentially attractive to them. An assessment was made of how possible, realistic, and feasible the changes are, as well as what barriers can impede the implementation of the changes.

At the Reinforcement stage, as it is known, a deflected pendulum tends to return to its original state.18 In order for changes to be stable, they must be positively reinforced and well controlled. Answers to the following questions were formulated:

  1. What is the individual significance of the changes?
  2. Are there any negative consequences of the changes?
  3. What is the system for reporting changes?
  4. What helps maintain change?
  5. What is contrary to this change?
  6. Are there any effective incentives for making changes, as well as incentives in order to adhere to the chosen direction?
  7. To what extent do change support activities expressed?

Changes of each individual member of the church community in accordance with the ADKAR model can be schematically represented in the form of the following scheme (Fig. 1):

Changes to each individual member of the church community in accordance with the ADKAR model.
Fig. 1. Changes to each individual member of the church community in accordance with the ADKAR model.

In turn, Kolb cycle model for learning is presented below (Fig. 2).

Kolb cycle learning model.
Fig. 2. Kolb cycle learning model.

If to collate these models, it is possible to see that Awareness stage corresponds to Reflective Observation stage in Kolb model; stages of Desire and Knowledge correspond to Abstract Conceptualization; Ability corresponds to Active Experimentation; Reinforcement correspond to Concrete experience based on recognized and mastered knowledge, awareness, skills, ability, desire, etc.

When a person begins to become aware of a problem, it falls into the focus of his attention and this is the first step on the path to successful change. In the process of analyzing a problem, its importance is determined and an understanding of the need arises, expressed in the desire to change. To satisfy the latter, it is necessary to understand thoroughly the situation and problem, to obtain the missing knowledge. After this stage, it may turn out that there are not enough existing abilities and, therefore, it is necessary to develop skills.

When a person has learned new behavior, he is ‘attacked’ by temptations, demanding a return to the past. Therefore, it is necessary to consolidate skills by turning them into a habit. Knowing the described pattern, it is not difficult to help a changing parishioner or potential member of the community ‑ the addressee of the sermon, evaluating which of the five described stages he is at. For example, if he has a Desire stage, but further movement towards solving the problem is difficult. In this case, it is needed to help with the acquisition of missing knowledge.

At the same time, the current assessment of cross-cultural competence was necessary for a systematic verification of the addressees’ mastering of the material and making the necessary adjustments to the learning process. In the case of training in various aspects of cross-cultural competence, the current assessment is usually not used due to insufficient training time.

An intermediate assessment of cross-cultural competence is necessary to assess the dynamics of a cut in the development of learners, identify gaps in the assimilation of material, and make the necessary changes to the curriculum, adjusted for the individual characteristics of individuals and the group as a whole. This assessment makes learning outcomes transparent. Ideally, an intermediate assessment gives a chance to form an adequate self-esteem and readiness for final control.

The final assessment of cross-cultural competence consists in comparing the level of formation of cross-cultural competence obtained as a result of training with the reference level established by the requirements of the system within which training takes place.

The final assessment provides additional information regarding the quality of training and the effectiveness of the program, and the optimal time for its implementation: immediately after completion of training, and then after 3, 6, or 9 months, since the formation of cross-cultural competence presupposes natural periods of rise and fall. Accordingly, for constant manifestation of change in the activities of parishioners and especially church leaders, time is needed.

As already noted in the previous chapter, the Multicultural Team Leadership Model that we propose implies the implementation of the concept of harmonizing leadership, which includes the integral (i.e., systemic) unity of three factors: leader’s behavior, behavior of followers, and situational factors. At the same time, valid measuring material involves the development of a culturally specific scale for assessing the cross-cultural competence of church leaders and their followers, based on the respondents’ culture ‑ the emic approach and the cross-cultural transfer of universal tests if they have the necessary similarity ‑ the etic approach.19

Despite the impossibility of developing a tool that is neutral for all cultures, today a more culturally neutral approach is used to form measuring materials. However, this position is not final and the creation of various tools for assessing cross-cultural competence continues. In this study, direct and indirect methods for assessing cross-cultural competence were used, since their combination gives the results that most adequately reflect reality. Knowledge of cross-cultural interaction issues was tested using a cross-cultural assimilator based on a set of cross-cultural interaction situations.

As a result of the introduction of the change program, the results shown in Fig. 3 and 4 below were obtained.

Religiosity and church attendance among respondents before and after changes implementation.
Fig. 3. Religiosity and church attendance among respondents before and after changes implementation.
Distribution of the answer to the question “Do you believe religion is overrated?” before and after changes implementation.
Fig. 4. Distribution of the answer to the question “Do you believe religion is overrated?” before and after changes implementation.

Thus, as it is evident from the figure, the results were unexpectedly positive and, to some extent, even surprising. Presumably, such results were obtained due to the competent use of change agents, which, in turn, showed high efficiency, due to which the realization of the possibilities for manifestation of constructive activity became the mechanism of interaction between the subject and the educational environment.

The subject selectively implements the opportunities that are provided by the integration of personally significant and socially relevant, i.e., the implementation of a significant opportunity for the subject in the activity based on the reproduction of patterns of activity. The implementation of the opportunity is carried out through the attraction of available environmental resources: material, axiological, informational, technological, organizational. Realizing the possibilities, the subject forms and expands the subject field of activity, which in turn enriches the educational environment, creating new opportunities for other participants.

Thus, from the perspective of the subject-environmental approach, organizing non-formal education within the framework of the church community and missionary activity, we form its educational environment, which includes components (spatial-subject, information-technological, social-communicative) and resources (material, axiological, informational, technological, organizational), It provides the choice and implementation by the subject of the possibilities of manifestation of activity, formation and expansion of the student’s social subjectivity.

An analysis of the scientific literature revealed that the essential characteristics of social activity are the following:20

  • Self-determination (the source of social activity, the needs of the individual, internal conscious motivation, due to the formed image of the “required future,” significant for the individual);
  • Inclusion in social interaction (social activity is the result of a person’s awareness of the relationship with society and the construction of a way of interacting with it, which reveals the potential of the person, purposefully transforming himself and the environment; it manifests itself in the form of productive activity, communication, cognition);
  • Prosociality (focus on the transformation of the carrier of activity and society in a socially positive direction for the benefit of the church community, society and the individual, following cultural values, social norms, laws and moral ideals, co-evolution).

Based on the characteristics described, we consider social activity as a state and at the same time an integrative property of a person (social group) to carry out primarily interaction with the social environment determined by him in the process of activity, communication, knowledge on transforming himself and society in accordance with the tasks of missionary activity, working with the flock, social, social and religious development of the local community and personal self-development, which is achieved as part of the application of the Kolb training cycle.

Taking two criteria ‑ self-determination and involvement in the activity ‑ we distinguish four states of social activity: activity ‑ with a positive value of indicators according to two criteria; passivity ‑ with a negative; pseudo-activity ‑ if involvement in an activity is not accompanied by an awareness by the subject of its value (imposed activity); potential activity – with awareness of its value to the individual, but non-inclusion in it (Fig. 5).

Activity and engagement in the interactions in frames of activity and values.
Fig. 5. Activity and engagement in the interactions in frames of activity and values.

However, even showing genuine activity, i.e., consciously interacting, the subject does not always demonstrate constructive activity. However, with the correct application of the ADKAR model, such situations will not arise – otherwise, it means that the model does not work, since its most important components ‑ Knowledge and Reinforcement ‑ are zero.

So, depending on the coordination of personal and social interests, i.e., aspirations to act, realizing their own interests, and act in the interests of society, we can talk about a constructive way of manifesting a person’s social activity (acting in the coordination of his own interests of a person and society’s interests) and three options for a destructive way of manifesting an activity: egocentric (personal interest prevails, ignored social, which disturbs social ties), altruistic (the desire to achieve public interest prevails contrary to the personal, which rides in a loss of self, the internal activity of the source), destructive (when the person is acting against their own interests and the interests of society, which hinders his personal development).

This approach implies the principle of holism ‑ a holistic effect on the personality in the interconnection of its components (value-motivational, cognitive, regulatory), as well as the principle of flexibility, including the program and the process of its organization ‑ the ability to change programs and the process of their implementation (place, time, methods) taking into account current needs, educational level, the capabilities of program participants.

Interaction mechanisms provide interactivity, mutual enrichment of interaction participants. Experts in the field of corporate education relate to interaction mechanisms the following:21

  • Diversification (expanding the stock of variability in actions, generating ideas, developing different ways to accomplish a common cause with the aim of subsequently selecting the most optimal options for joint activity);
  • Addition (each brings into the common cause that which the other subject does not have, the shortcomings of one subject are compensated for by the merits of the other);
  • Aggregation of ideas and actions (their integration into a common, more complex structure and implementation in it in a transformed, transformed form);
  • Delegation of authority (a method in which one of the entities voluntarily removes certain subjective functions and transfers them to another entity), etc.

It can be assumed that the list of mechanisms can be supplemented by the following: coordination (streamlining the actions of interaction participants), differentiation (highlighting the interaction that is special in the subject of interaction and grouping of entities based on these features to more fully reveal their potential), cooperation (joining forces, contributions of interaction participants for achievement of the goal of joint activity), autonomization (gaining by the subject of self and subjectivity in the ongoing interaction with others, voluntary and ostoyatelnoe commitment).

Since non-formal education is designed to activate the subject itself, increase its activity, we believe that it should affect both activity substructures ‑ intrapersonal, or self-awareness activity, including the cognitive, regulatory, value component, and activity substructure, which provides the manifestation of activity in social interaction, direct change and transformation of oneself within the framework of the teachings of Christ, the transformation of their church community, effective participation in the life of the local community etc., etc.

Activity is a property of self-organizing systems, the development of which is subject to the laws of rhythm and cyclical change of states, through a change in the evolution modes of complex systems: LS-mode of acceleration and manifestation of potential and HS-mode ‑ slowdown of processes.22

Based on these laws, it is possible to consider the development of constructive social activity as a polycyclic process in which a cycle is a set of successive phases of a stable and unstable state of a system, comparable to a change in the evolution modes of complex systems. Three phases of the development cycle of social activity can be distinguished.

  • The first phase ‑ the accumulation phase ‑ the subject gets acquainted with the available capabilities, norms of interaction and activity. He participates in proposed (externally initiated) activities; he recognizes the contradictions that are significant for him and studies the available ways to resolve them (this phase is comparable to the HS mode).
  • The second phase ‑ the insight phase ‑ exacerbation and growth of personally significant conscious contradictions lead the participant to a bifurcation point, at which he makes a choice of path (attractor), corresponding to his inner nature to resolve the contradiction. Such an attractor can be a human-defined target.
  • The third phase ‑ the phase of manifestation ‑ the phase of realization of the goal set by the subject within the framework of the existing structure of social activity, which begins to evolve to a relatively stable state, showing the ability to self-build. At this phase, the participant acts proactively, energetically, intensively, resolving the contradiction that is relevant to him (comparable to the LS mode).

Gradually, reaching a certain limit of ordering leads to instability, the subject is faced with contradictions associated with the limited capabilities of the existing structure of social activity and the functions it implements, and the growth of environmental needs and requirements for their implementation, which leads to the beginning of a new cycle.

In fact, within the framework of one cycle, the subject of activity masters and implements a number of sequentially related functions: orientation (understanding the problem, its understanding, acceptance), goal-setting and planning (setting the problem, choosing the means and methods of solving it, formulating the main goals that can and should be achieved, the definition of ways, methods and methods of the proposed activity), organization (implementation of actions to implement the plan), evaluation (evaluation of the results).

It is known that the change management process begins with the realization of the existence of a problem of loss of effectiveness or the threat of this problem in the future. After this follows the setting of the goals of the administrative project, which consists in designing a new strategy, systems and management structures that correspond to changing business conditions. After the new organizational project is ready, a program for its implementation is drawn up.

In the process of implementation, monitoring of the achieved results should be carried out. The term “change” itself implies a certain dynamic process unfolding in time. As a rule, in life such processes are manifested in the form of specific events that are clearly fixed by consciousness. Therefore, it is most convenient to describe the changes as a certain sequence of events related to each other.

However, no job description, description of a business process or a specific order can provide for the whole variety of situations that arise at the workplaces of employees of lower levels of the hierarchy. Moreover, inside and outside the organization, there are constantly a lot of events that violate the usual course of work.

At the same time, the information transmitted through vertical and horizontal channels in the form of reports, orders or instructions is inevitably distorted. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve full control over the events and processes taking place in the company. In the behavior of members of the organization and, therefore, in the work of the whole organization, there is always some part regulated by informal norms of behavior.

At the same time, the “corporate” strategy and processes carried out at any level of the management hierarchy are based on norms and stereotypes of behavior that are only partially regulated by formal rules and even documents. A significant part of them is fixed at the subconscious level of parishioners.

These behavioral stereotypes, which were largely randomly selected and passed through a kind of “natural selection,” are some unique combination. Thanks to this, each church community has behavioral and strategic features that are unique to it. Therefore, the reasons that lead each organization to success, or, conversely, to inefficiency and failure, are purely individual.

The flip side of the coin is that changing the organization’s strategy requires changing a significant part of the established corporate, group and individual stereotypes of behavior, updating the accumulated knowledge base. Processes and repetitive operations are rubbed together. Changing one of them becomes impossible without an adequate change in the others. Thus, behavioral stereotypes that allow performing regularly routine operations, give the whole system resistance to external influences.

The combination of behavioral stereotypes and the established procedure for performing routine operations are increasingly affecting management decisions. On the one hand, this allows not to spend too much time searching for the right solutions in typical situations for the company. However, on the other hand, such stereotypes impede the adoption of adequate decisions when the situation changes. Also, starting at some point, management becomes hostage to those stereotypes and processes that he himself formed.

A situation arises, figuratively characterized by the Americans as a “tail wagging a dog.” From this moment, the system gains stability of behavior, which persists even despite a possible decrease in the effectiveness of activity.

The presence of stable stereotypes of behavior and routine creates resistance to consciously conducted changes at the individual and group levels. Individual resistance can be caused, first of all, by the psychological unwillingness of an employee to realize the objectivity of external changes and accept the proposed organizational innovations that require a review of previous experience in developing successful managerial decisions. Another, but more rational basis for resistance is the psychology of the perception of innovations by many people as a threat to their current situation. This is primarily due to a lack of competence to work in a new capacity.

Systemic resistance to innovations arises due to the lack of capacity at enterprises to analyze external changes and develop an adequate response. So, if the solution of strategic tasks as an additional burden is entrusted to the units responsible for operational activities, current problems push into the background the work of introducing organizational and technical innovations.23 A similar situation occurs when managers specially appointed for this work are not competent enough.

To overcome organizational resistance, a change in the value system of members of the organization (leaders and parishioners) and the organizational structure as a whole is required. At an individual level, learning contributes to solving the problem. To get support for innovations, it is necessary to convince parishioners that working in a new capacity opens up new perspectives for personal and Christian growth in intercultural interaction.

In 1954, Donald Kirkpatrick defended his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Wisconsin (USA) on the topic “Assessing the effectiveness of program management.” He proposed a brief formula to describe the learning cycle: reaction – learning – behavior – results. The division of the learning process into stages helped explain how to ensure the application of new skills in the workplace, without which the desired results cannot be achieved. In addition, practitioners received tools to assess the effectiveness of each of the stages of training. In 1959, D. Kirkpatrick wrote a series of articles for the ASTD Journal, in which he clearly formulated criteria for all four levels of assessment (Table).

Table. Four levels of training assessment of Donald Kirkpatrick.

Levels What is evaluated Key Questions
Level 1:
How participants respond to a training event • Did the participants like the learning process?
• What do they plan to do with new knowledge and skills?
Level 2:
To what extent did the participants learn knowledge, skills and form the necessary relationships at the end of the training event • What skills, knowledge, attitudes changed after training?
• How significant are these changes?
Level 3:
How participants apply at the workplace what they learned during training Did participants change their behavior in church and missionary activity after training?
Level 4:
To what extent are the results achieved Do changes in the behavior of participants have a positive effect on the organization?

The first Kirkpatrick’s articles stimulated further research in the field of learning effectiveness assessment (mainly at levels 1 and 2). In the 1970s, four levels of Kirkpatrick were already widely used by many organizations around the world, over time they were designed into a holistic assessment model (Four LevelsTM Evaluation Model) and adopted as a standard for assessing vocational training. Throughout the 1980s, many different assessment methods and tools were developed, but practitioners continued to focus on levels 1 and 2.

It wasn’t until 2005 that Donald Kirkpatrick proposed a Level 3 Assessment Toolkit (Behavior), which he described in Transferring Learning to Behavior. Ensuring the effective application of learning outcomes in real activities (transfer of knowledge and skills) today continues to be one of the most important tasks for many training organizations.24

The quantity and quality of research in the field of training and human resource development is constantly growing. For practitioners, increasingly more approaches, methods, and tools are offered. The real revolution was the application in the field of training and development of the concepts of cognitive psychology and the concept of organizational development. The field of learning and development is becoming interdisciplinary. The widespread use of modern technology radically changes our ideas not only about forms and types, but also about the essence, and even about the goals of learning. The learning function is recognized as an integral (and most important) part of the organizational system.

In 2006, in the third edition of the Evaluating Training Programs book, Kirkpatrick significantly expanded the scope of the model, based on four levels. Now the main emphasis in it is made at level 4 (results); therefore, the model can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of both training programs and the change management process, and in addition to demonstrate the value of the training function as a whole.25

What is important, the algorithm for working with the model has been revised: now it is proposed to start the assessment “from above” – from level 4, and then to move “down” consistently to less difficult levels. According to the author, this will allow the training specialists to focus on achieving the planned results and supporting the necessary behavior ().

Due to the limited number of research and training participants, we took the original Kirkpatrick model as the basis for assessing the effectiveness of organizational changes based on cross-cultural interaction skills, which made it possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes achieved in all three parameters indicated at the beginning of this section ‑ “quality”, “efficiency” and “effectiveness”, confirming the extremely positive effect of the completed project.


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  1. Maria Triana, Managing Diversity in Organizations (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Alan S. Gutterman, Cross-Cultural Leadership Studies (NY: Business Expert Press, 2019): 34.
  4. Ibid: 60-62.
  5. Ibid: 64-65.
  6. Kurt A. Richardson, and Andrew Tait, Complexity and Knowledge Management (Information Age Publishing, 2010).
  7. Michael A. Moodian, Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence: Exploring the Cross-Cultural Dynamics Within Organizations (Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications, 2008).
  8. Gina Abudi, Implementing Positive Organizational Change: A Strategic Project Management Approach (J. Ross Publishing, 2017).
  9. Lee Roy Beach, Leadership and the Art of Change: A Practical Guide to Organizational Transformation (SAGE Publications, 2005).
  10. Anna Moretti, The Network Organization: A Governance Perspective on Structure, Dynamics and Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
  11. Jan Dobrovic, and Veronika Timkova, “Examination of Factors Affecting The Implementation of Organizational Changes,” Journal of Competitiveness 9, no. 4 (2017): 5-18.
  12. Jeffery Hiatt, ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community (Prosci Learning Center Publications, 2006).
  13. Lee Roy Beach, Leadership and the Art of Change: A Practical Guide to Organizational Transformation (SAGE Publications, 2005).
  14. Jeffery Hiatt, and Timothy Creasey, Change Management: The People Side of Change (Prosci Learning Center Publications, 2013).
  15. Tayo Rockson, Use Your Difference to Make a Difference: How to Connect and Communicate in a Cross-Cultural World (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2019).
  16. Ian Palmer, Dunford Richard, and David Buchanan, Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach (McGraw-Hill Education, 2016).
  17. Robert A.Paton, and James McCalm, Change Management: A Guide to Effective Implementation (SAGE Publications, 2008).
  18. Reza Malek, and Yazdanifard Rashad, “Overview of Change Management and Its Implementation,” International Journal of Operational Management, Marketing and Services 1, no. 1, (2011): 99-102.
  19. Moodian, Michael A. Contemporary Leadership.
  20. Jerry Wellman, Organizational Learning: How Companies and Institutions Manage and Apply Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
  21. Anthonie Wurth, and Kees Wurth, Training Reinforcement: The 7 Principles to Create Measurable Behavior Change and Make Learning Stick (Wiley, 2018).
  22. Jonathan H. Westover, “Managing Organizational Change: Change Agent Strategies and Techniques to Successfully Managing the Dynamics of Stability and Change in Organizations,” International Journal of Management and Innovation 2, no. 1 (2010): 45-50.
  23. Wurth, Anthonie, and Kees Wurth. Training Reinforcement.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Ibid.