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Peer Review

the Matrix of Change

by Erik Brynjolfsson , Marshall van Alstyne , Amy Austin Renshaw


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 03, 2013 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: The Matrix of Change is a downloadable software program and “visualization tool used to capture existing and desired states of proposed change, the complementary and opposing practices, and how best to proceed in the implementation of change.” It provides a foundation for companies/organizations to identify and build a process for change. This can be done by including all stakeholders that may be affected.
Type of Material: Simulation
Recommended Uses: • Instructors can use this for teaching change management and • Students can use this for practice of business processes with change management homework and/or for completing research/case study assignments (individually or in groups).
Technical Requirements: Firefox 10.0.2/Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 A required zip tool will be needed to unzip the software package after it has been downloaded.
Identify Major Learning Goals: • This tool, as illustrated by MIT, will and does help to characterize change management features. • The user will learn how to use the tool to identify complimentary and interfering work practices. • The user will be able to critically think through the change management process using this software matrice to consider all stakeholders and various areas of the organization that will/can be affected.
Target Student Population: Undergraduate, Graduate, Post-Graduate (business, leadership, IT, and HR majors)
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic understanding of change management and matrix tools.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: • This site provides a clear explanation and definition of the project and The Matrix of Change, what it is used for, why, how to use it and supporting facts, features, and examples. • This site does offer internal links for additional supporting content (through the Case Study tab). • A tab titled PUBLICATION is available and provides users the ability to relate the initial site material/software presentation to additional supporting content and contextual material for clarification/better understanding. • Great way to organize relationships. • Easy application • Solid training opportunity.
Concerns: • The resource’s most current copyright date (for the site) is 2003, was not able to locate a date later than this; therefore, is the software up to date for the most current operating systems for Windows and Mac user? • If students are using this as part of their research practice or course work, they will need to know the update copyright of material presented. • The user must have solid visualization and application skills. Perhaps will intimidate the novice.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: • The development tool provides a significant amount of information for educators, advanced scholars, and undergraduate students. • The author/site provides additional materials/resources that further explain the use of the Matrix as well as supporting documentation via the Case Study. The feature I used most was the Table of Contents within the Case Study and I found this most helpful in being able to “jump around” without having to follow a set protocol. The publication tab provides additional resource links to provide further supporting documentation and answers to related subject matter. • The author(s) is/are very knowledgeable in this field of organizational change and has developed a simple yet effective tool for instructors, students, and the workforce.
Concerns: The program will only be as strong as the person using it. If the materials and illustrations are on-line and then loaded to a private computer (on their servers)-it may provide a security challenge for top secret materials.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: • The site is very easy to use without complicated redirection. • This site is very clear on its instructions. • The downloadable feature is simple to download and had no issues with the initial steps of download. • The supporting step-by-step diagrams and screen shots were helpful in providing further instruction using a visual. • The site provides a link to take a survey so that users can address concerns or provide suggestions. • Visually stimulating and easy to interpret correlations. • Offers great support materials.
Concerns: • Some minor areas of concern regarding the compatibility: I did not see any documentation or instructions related to operating system compatibility which may draw some concern by users, especially in this data age where some users are very picky about what they download and the tracking of their personal information (the disclaimer is helpful in addressing some (not all) concerns). These should be clearly stipulated on the” Download Tab.” • Given the copyright date on the “Download Tab” being 2003 draws concern again to compatibility of operating systems (Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or MAC OS (newer) versions, compatibility is not specifically documented. • I noticed that the FAQ tab is “Under Development” with the copyright date of 2003; it would be helpful to start putting something in there. The first tab I selected when I entered the site was the FAQ and was surprised to see if under development. I typically go to the FAQ to find answers to common questions, especially because it is a developmental tool, I like to know right off the bat about usability and compatibility features. I recommend quick attention to this particular feature for all future interested parties. • Finally, I appreciate the directions and screen shots to highlight user areas of the tool, what would really make this site outstanding is some interaction with the tool prior to download, this allows users to determine ease of use, functionality, etc…This could easily be accomplished using Adobe Captivate where you can download a .swf file that will capture demonstrations and translate automatically into a training tool. That would reach all learning styles and provide a stronger tutorial effect for users.

Other Issues and Comments: As an advanced scholarly researcher, I like the tool that is offered and it is unique in that I have not located this kind of software or creative tool related to organizational change, not to mention, it is rare that a tool/software is ever provided (free). This is an excellent resource that I would provide to students within my own Organizational Behavioral courses and Leadership Courses.